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Discussion Starter · #1 ·

Material:

System:
A transformer, not rectified. A Scalextric Sport works. Or break up any other and start out before the rectifier.
Four rectifier diodes, not a rectifier bridge.

Car to drive:
One rectifier diode.

Shadow car:
A rectifier bridge and a nine volt voltage regulator.

Ok, you can only drive two cars. But shadow cars start and stop as the driven cars do. So no pile up's if both drivers stop.

What else?
One AC "pole" (let's call it Red) is separated by one diode sending minus to the left rail. And a plus giving diode goes to the controller and then also to the left rail.
Another AC "pole" (let's call it Green) is separated by one diode sending minus to the right rail. And a plus giving diode goes to the other controller and then to the right rail.
And also:
Even numbered cars have a diode from the left side braid to the right side of the motor and a simple wire from the right braid to the left side of the motor.
Odd numbered cars have a diode from the right side braid to the right side of the motor and a simple wire from the left braid to the the left side of the motor.
Shadow cars have a rectifier bridge from the braids and then a 9V voltage regulator to the motor.

Ok, then you'll need to power the points from their own power source. And install MCR to control them.

Apart from these steps it's a €1 two car digital system. Enjoy!
 

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You might be pushing the term "digital" a bit far


This was done in the sixties or seventies. Scalextric later used the same system with two Datsun pick-up trucks running on the same track and with a lane swap modified to act as a lane changer. Digital wasn't even a word then!
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
I used it to have a shunt loco on my Märklin model railroad.


But it's just as "digital" as the other ones. It's actually more digital as there are infinite number of speed steps in the controller.


Anyhow, the bottom line is that most racers most probably don't need more than two driven cars at the same time. But might want to have many cars on the track even so.
And that this the TBSS (Two Bit Slot System) caters for, more than enough. You don't even have to invest in special lap counters. You just need to split and add so that each lane has a sensor for each Odd and Even car.
 

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Greg Gaub
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They call it "AC2Car" these days. I put it in the "digital" category because more than one car can share a lane, but it is quite limited/limiting. I certainly wouldn't switch to it. I call it the "poor man's digital" but I have all respect for those who use it. Probably the most famous is the White Lake Formula 1 Ring. Excellent, fully landscaped AC2Car track with multiple lanes/slots. I think it supports 4 cars (2 parallel slots in each lane).
 

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Bruce Yingling
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QUOTE (MrFlippant @ 2 Mar 2012, 18:45) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>They call it "AC2Car" these days. I put it in the "digital" category because more than one car can share a lane, but it is quite limited/limiting. I certainly wouldn't switch to it. I call it the "poor man's digital" but I have all respect for those who use it. Probably the most famous is the White Lake Formula 1 Ring. Excellent, fully landscaped AC2Car track with multiple lanes/slots. I think it supports 4 cars (2 parallel slots in each lane).

Some love it. The claim is often made that slower speeds and no brakes makes it more realistic. I've never really gotten how the 'lane changing' works. My guess is you have to throw a physical switch somewhere to get the car to take the parallel lane? But I really don't know. The White Lake Formula 1 Ring is a very impressive track. There are quite a few AC2Car tracks with detailed landscaping.
 

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Greg Gaub
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Oh yeah, Thib's track is also AC2Car. It's epic, though still all white.

Most of the time the cars come together at one point (into their respective shared slots), and then each driver can hit a switch to choose which lane their car goes into.
You can learn a lot more at AC2Car.org
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Gentlemen, I believe you miss the point. Several of them.

About digital and fairly off topic: There's nothing digital about digital slotcar systems. They are called digital because the use of lots of diodes bunched together very tightly. The AC2Car use fewer diodes and spread them out quite a bit. But still the same use of the semiconductor, to catch and implement orders from an oscillating signal.

About changing lanes: Today there's lane changers aplenty to use. And when coupled with the MuCaRO system you can use whatever solenoid driven make you want (some reservations for the time being for SSD). As noted above they will most likely need to be powered on their own power line, but that isn't so bad actually.

About cost: What actual additional benefit is it in paying 220€ or £180 or $300 for the system and then an additional extra £12, and up and up, for each and every car you want to use? And an installation that is proprietary, to say the least (with the possible exception of Ninco), and thus in actual terms limit your choice of cars and makes to use?

Shadow cars: By powering them from the "left over power" they also stop as the drivers stop. Which make track calls very simple, they just happen to all cars. Slightly more components in them than in driven cars.

About brakes: There are brakes. Might it be that people haven't found them yet? More about that as the project moves along.

About speed, part one: Slow speed? What slow speed? What did that one come from? There's no slow, as in slower, speed evident. Might be that people use to little voltage? As if running you slot cars from a USB source. If you use 5V then you would go slow. So if someone using AC2Car at 12V AC, then it would be 6V half-DC. But that's the user, not the system.

About speed, part two: By separating signal and power, as the big (read expensive) systems do, all the voltage in the rails will be used. But twenty-two hours isn't enough time to sort out all nooks and crannies...

Lap counter, an ordinary, as in SCISL (single car in single lane), can be used. And it will leave shadow cars out of the counting (which otherwise easily garble the results). You will need to separate sensors thou. And in this case, this case mind you, I would advocate the use of dead strips. Actually not. It's to be live strips.

Controller, it's your usual and ordinary SCISL rheostat controller. I haven't spent more than some seventy-two hours on this yet, so haven't looked into transistor and diode controllers yet.

Car components: Each car will have one to three 1A diodes in them. And this will in no way hamper their use in "analogue" mode. Yes, they will miss out on part of a volt. But all of them has that so no actual influence. Cost would be a quid for... Actually it might be better to say that 100 1A rectifier diodes cost about 9€...

Car size and components: The diodes used in the cars are small enough that this can be implemented also in HO, even in the T-Jet. And both Faller and Tyco has points. They need to be converted sure, but the ground work exist.

But then what I react most to is this racking down on this. And implicitly on me.
I know it's an old system, I used it back in the 70's to have a independent DC shunt loco on my AC Märklin model rail-road.

But now I have used it for something that is usable for many around here. A very (very much indeed) cheap and easy to install system that is as "digital" as any other "digital" system.
Yes, it only caters for two racers at a time. But that's not any other limitation than just that. Some allow 16 cars, some could allow about a hundred, some allow 4. And all at a cost and all with exactly that limitation. Numbers and cost per car possibly on the track.
This MCR-2b system caters for two driven cars, at the moment, and any amount of "also ran" cars. System cost as much as a car and that is about a quarter quid each. And no other additional equipment than what you already have is necessary. Except, of course, the points.

Lighten up fellows. See the bright points.

And seriously, we all know you are well versed in electronics. But trying to shine by pointing out how much you know, as if no one else knows anything... That is not cool.

But the tip about AC2Car.org and also that track, that was much welcome information. Thank you.
 

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Bruce Yingling
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It looks like you responded to some of my comments in your last post. Unfortunately, all of my comments were re: AC2Car. Apologies for hijacking your thread.

Although now I have to ask: If there is 'nothing digital about digital slotcar systems', what's that micro-processor doing in my powerbase? What's that firmware doing in each car chip?
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
I've had a look at the AC2Car system. It actually differs from the MCR-2b in a number of ways.
Main ones is that MCR-2b offer both brakes and shadow cars. And easy applied lap counting.

Weeeellll, what's digital, really?
It's signal processing in binary form. And yes, there are A/D and D/A etc etc in those PB's, CU's BB's and so on and so forth.
Binary as in "this is a signal and that is a signal void".
But that part is quite off topic. We all know that the only real reason they are called digital is to make it sound more aligned with this present information and internet era...
They are no more "digital" than your hard disk or your collection of CD's.
I'd be more than happy to enter a discussion about all this, but shall we leave this thread to how to make a simple, cheap and as good as any "digital" slot car system?


The only real difference from the big digital slot car systems would be that MCR-2b integrates the A/D and D/A conversions, or actually doesn't need to do much about them at all.
Yeah, yeah, it only offers two driven cars at a time. And that limit was in relation to what difference in cost....?
 

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Greg Gaub
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As I said, I consider AC2Car digital, and by extension, MCR-2b is as well.
As you've said, it has many advantages, primarily cost and complexity.
The ghost cars... well... you can do that on any track, analog or otherwise. I'm not sure how yours is different than two cars being controlled by one controller on any other system. I look forward to your elaboration.

I'm not disrespecting your work here, Erik. I think it's great. For two people at a time, it's perfect! I'm fortunate enough to have more than one other person to race with on a regular basis. Call me spoiled. ;-) As such, this system would not be suitable. It has other disadvantages, but it's not necessary to get into them here.

However, you'll want ti make it VERY clear, as soon as possible, exactly how your system is different from the old one, e.g. AC2Car. If you have brakes, that's a pretty big difference. People will want to know how. Also, as you said, combined with the MuCaRo system, it will make AC2Car much more appealing to many people. Until people understand the differences, though, they'll draw the comparison to AC2Car.
 

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So some of us aren't cool


So you also need to buy a propriety lane changer and remove the electronics and manually wire a switch for each flipper. The switches must also be duplicated for each driver station. This must be added into the cost equation. Don't forget the heading says "digital system for 1 EUR" or did you mean each car? Then add in lane changers, lap counting systems, RMS, seiches, wiring etc. Big difference.

And with all analogue systems having 2 lanes as standard I can't see any advantage. Running 2 lanes adjacent each other is more work or track, another expense.

Also I don't think you should mince words. The title got me excited until I read it. Digital is clearly different and this is purely and solely analogue, albeit AC. Also you will be competing with all the goodies offered by digital in regards to race management systems. How will this "system" count laps? How will you offer brakes over AC2 if that can't offer brakes?

Rick
 

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Don't worry Injectorman:

QUOTE (injectorman @ 3 Mar 2012, 20:20) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>So some of us aren't cool


We all know you are Red Hot
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
The system, the control unit, cost you four diodes. Each car cost you two diodes. That is the system.

The transformer, controllers and lap counter you most likely already have. And they are extras on each and every system. (Even if sometimes included in basic sets, especially a transformer and controllers... *oops*)

After that you use whatever points you get your hands on. Preferably Carrera ProX, for a bunch of reasons mainly price and direct compatibility with MuCaRO.
If you go with SSD, then a slight modification of the ProX circuit would fill your needs, at a cost of maybe a quid. No, I haven't checked the exact cost, but considering the components it's thereabout.

Competing with all the goodies in the digital systems? I'm not sure I follow you here, Rick. The lights will not go on and of, no.
Everything else, like race management, is just as it is in all other cases. Included or additions.
And considering I already have two computer programs written to cater for lap counting and graphical display of races I'd say I'm quite a bit gone already.
Not that I will develop any computer programs for this. I don't see a need. An "analogue" lap counter will do just fine.
And as for adjustable brakes, adjustable throttle curve etc etc... If your controller has it, then you have it too.

Much appreciated mr Flippant.


And about two people... I'd guess most people actually don't even have one to race with. And if so, then either some buddies or father and son/s. Small enough groups that any extra people will be better used for marshalling...


And that about shadow cars and such comes down to that any shadow (ghost, pace, chase) car on the track will when there's a crash quickly pile into it and start frying motors and other such things.
As power comes as one half from one driven car and another half from the other they will stop if both driven cars have stopped.

Yes, there will be schematics, Petr.
I want to be sure that I actually got brakes and lap count triggers as predicted and planned first.
I had a hunch on how to do brakes, and a very quick test seemed to confirm it. But there was some peculiarities I got to check before I'm absolutely sure on their functionality.
The same goes for lap counters. Even if I can use some of the research for MuCaRO to solve it immediately. With two reflex couplers and some white stickers.

I'd like to make some things clear.
A) I wasn't aware that the AC2Car system was around. Basically a pleasant surprise actually.
There's a very simple difference. But apparently it might be big enough to separate and distinguish them as two different systems.
C) This wasn't really meant to happen. I was looking into the A/D and D/A mysteries and it got the grey ones jogging.
D) As I see this system it would allow the home racer to use alternating lanes. Without the overhead cost of a full-blown system and additional costs for cars to use. Points would be needed thou. But that's about the only egg to crack for this omelette...

I hope I didn't miss anything vital above now?

And I'm very happy indeed to see such interest in my electronical meanderings.
 

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For brakes you short the rails with a diode, one direction brakes one car but doesn't affect the other, the opposite way brakes the other car. Both brakes the pace car.

QUOTE (Erik M @ 3 Mar 2012, 12:24) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>This MCR-2b system caters for two driven cars, at the moment,

I'm intrigued with the concept that you think you might be able in the future to control more than two cars... But then in this digital world anything is possible


I think you can do ID by the live "dead" track: one car will give a positive pulse, the other will give a negative pulse...

And thanks for making me smile with all the analogue/digital arguement. Really funny
 

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Greg Gaub
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For shadow cars, I'm not talking about automated cars as in Carrera or SSD. I'm talking about cars that are being controlled with the controller in your hand, just like you're describing. People have been doing this since slot cars existed... putting more than one car in a slot, and watching them both go around as if nose-to-tail racing. If one crashes, then the driver usually releases the trigger. The shadow car will then stop as well. This is also the same for digital systems when a user programs two cars to the same controller to control them both at the same time. Again, how is what you are talking about different? Maybe it's a language barrier, but I'm not seeing a difference. After re-reading your post, maybe you're saying that a "shadow" car is set up with diodes for both controllers, and therefore will keep driving even when one person has stopped, but if both people stop then they shadow car(s) will also stop?

Don't get hung up on this, Erik. I wouldn't even be talking about it except that you seemed to be pointing it out as some kind of advantage of your idea. If it's not what I'm thinking, then you need to explain it differently.

Like I said, if you can differentiate your system from AC2Car in some way (working brakes is a pretty good start!), then you'll have something. So far, though, I see no meaningful difference. That doesn't mean it's a bad idea, just that you've invented something that already exists. It happens.
 

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Hi Erik,
Lets say I have a basic 2 lane analogue track with lapcounter like Scalextric Sport. I see your post and pay my 1.00EUR, I receive my 4 diodes.

OK. How do I change lanes? Will my lapcounter still work? How does it differentiate if 2 cars can go in one lane. Are not the lane changers, wire, switches etc necessary to complete the "system"? If they are needed it makes sense this is a hidden extra? If not 2 cars on one lane will not work as you can never pass.
Do you see my point on your 'digital' (analogue) system?

Rick
 
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