I think its fair to say, Digital slot racing is a hit and the uptake seems to be growing, at least that's the impression I get reading the new tracks and members posts on SlotForum.
In the case of Scalextric Sport Digital, we are lucky to have many user modifications that take the hobby to a new level. The controller is one component that seems to have been largely overlooked until recently.
A while ago we had the Re-Pete SSD Parma controllers, and more recently the Slot.it controllers. For me the cost of the Slot.its, and the the need to have them powered (yet more leads to get in a tangle !) has prevented me from trying one.
I do have the Re-Pete Parmas, and for controllability they are head and shoulders above the standard Scalextric item, but I had the 2 button version and they have proven to be troublesome from time to time. I suspect a lot of the reason is the wiring in such a tight space, the one button versions seem to be more reliable, and in fact since I removed my brake button mine have been so too.
But I missed having that button, so I have waited on this controller to give me the full functionality back (the single button Pendle Slot Racing / TruSpeed has been available for a while now). A little while back I asked Pendle Slot Racing if the 2 button version was available yet, I was told it was being worked on and they would let me know when it was ready.
True to their word, Sean messaged me to say they had a pre production sample in, and would I like to give them some feedback on it, “Yes please” was the answer !
The entire assembly is mounted on a custom made PCB, and supplied in an MB Slot controller housing.
The only internal wire is from the PCB to the wiper arm.
Both buttons sit at the top rear of the controller mounted directly to the main
PCB, Braking being the top red button and lane changing on the lower black
button the same as the standard Scalextric controller configuration.
This also contributes to a nice light weight, Something you may appreciate after a few hours racing !
The controller wiper arm slides along 20 contacts with varied resistance (as opposed to the standard controller having a variable resistor), in practice these “steps” deliver a smooth throttle response no different in feel to a variable resistor. The arm movement is smooth and has the spring return feels about right to me. There is an alternative spring mounting point, in the review sample this would have given the spring less of a return pull, but as I liked the way it was I didn’t try it.
The wiper contact PCB is replaceable and fixed with just 2 screws. This is perfect for allowing for replacement if you should wear it out, and also it benefits us in having the ability to interchange throttle maps to suit your preference. I understand however, that this will not be offered until sometime after the controller is released.
The Controller I had came with 1.4 metres of cable, and a right angle moulded jack plug, another nice touch. The cable is cable tied tight to the bottom of the PCB.
So, Overall first impressions are very good, the unit is very tidy and well thought out.
I run PB Pro and SSDC with my track, which allows custom mapping of the throttle curve, but for the purposes of the review, I turned off throttle mapping at the PB Pro, so I could get a feel of how the controller is set up by default.
I was sent 3 throttle maps, simply labelled 1,2 and 3. For
me number 1 suited magnet racing with standard motors, 3 was perfect for more
powerful motors running non–magnet, and 2 struck the compromise between the 2
rather well, I suspect this will be the default supplied map.
The Pendle Slot Racing / TruSpeed SSD controller is well designed and thought out, simple to use and serviceable. It also offers a big step up in controllability and reliability over the standard Scalextric throttles. If you are serious about your digital driving, this has to be one of those essential upgrades. Sure, it doesn’t have the bells and whistles of some, but I don’t think it needs them, and also means it will less cost than the more complicated controllers. At the time of writing this review, it is expected to retail at £74.95 inc VAT, and additional or replacement wiper arm PCB's are expected to cost around £15 when they become available.
This is a must have upgrade for any serious digital racer, and with the back up and support from TruSpeed and Pendle Slot Racing, you can't go wrong :)
Many Thanks to Pendle Slot Racing and TruSpeed for sending a sample out for me to review.
|Lo-Fi Version||Time is now: 26th May 2013 - 06:26|