Tethering Measuring Instruments

For many reasons including safety of the ride passengers and cost to individuals and schools, measuring instruments must be tethered when taken on rides. The strength and nature of the tethering can vary depending on the size and nature of the devices, but all must remain with the student throughout the ride. Be particularly sensitive to protecting items like cell phones and cameras during your ride. When they are not needed, it's best to leave them on the loading dock until you return from your ride.


For the hand-held accelerometers as sold by Pasco Scientific and others, the weight and size are such that a sturdy rubber band is sufficient to keep the device from flying off. The kits are sold with these rubber bands and students must use them while on the rides. The kits are actually fairly expensive!

Vert Accel   Horiz Accel


Some devices that students might carry onto rides have a fair amount of weight and an equally large cost. Losing one would be very unfortunate. Enclosing the device in a fanny pack is a useful way to carry it and also to ensure that it returns with the rider at the end of the ride. Individual sensors might be strapped onto legs or arms, or carried in pockets. But the heavier data loggers should be securely fastened to the rider. Be sure to note how the safety harness is applied and move the fanny pack to a position so it can still be accessed during the ride to turn data collection on or off.
Fanny Pack


Taking a clue from surfers, a fine way to tether a measuring instrument might be to use a strong elastic cord with secure bindings that fasten to the wrist at one end and the instrument at the other. Then if the forces during the ride separate the rider from his/her instrument, it will not become a projectile. Be sure to test your tethering system to be sure it meets the 4-5 g experiences on the rides.



Write the webmaster for recommendations. Include descriptions of what equipment you wish to use.


When Cedar Fair purchased California's Great America, we had already been collecting electronic data for almost 20 years. The park allows us to continue collecting electronic data, but prohibits the use of DataVests and similar. Electronic data collection is not permitted at most of their other parks, though. Although the vests are the safest way to carry and use electronic data collection equipment, we have developed a way around this prohibition that is very satisfactory. The devices we have available for students to use at PSM Days are tethered as noted above.