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Yesterday, while traipsing miserably around my local supermarket, my glazed eyes lit up slightly when I spied a counter filled with 1/32 scale cars!

So I abandoned food shopping and discovered a choice of Mini, Nissan Skyline, Viper and Audi TT.
Not bad looking little models for £9.99.
Electrically powered by two AA batteries (3 volts).
But a closer check revealed that these cars were remote controlled by an infra-red transmitter.
No speed control, but forwards and reverse, left, and right steering, working lights and a working horn! They even had opening doors - but not powered windows!

Just £9.99, remember, all-in.
THEN I discovered that this price also includes a fully functional digital wrist-watch with all the car controls built in to it.
Simply incredible pricing.

Then the little brain started working overtime.
If all of that can be sold at less than ten quid, is infra-red control a practical alternative to the current slew of digital slot cars? Hell, the whole caboodle was selling for the price of a single decoder chip or the price of a single throttle!

Is there a reason why infra red isn't used?
Eliminate ALL track wiring other than a nice hefty 12 volts feed?
I know some infra red devices are incredibly directional but I also have a TV that will work no matter where I point the transmitter, so I see no problem there.
Any good answers to this?
Is it too good to be true and, if so, what is the snag?
 

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Just to clarify a point, which I failed to make in the least clear, initially!

I wasn't suggesting free ranging remote or radio control, but simply to send control signals to 'normal' slot cars, still running in and powered by the standard slot and rails, using the infra-red purely for speed control (and flashing the stupid, useless lights and beeping the horn!).

I don't think range is really much of a problem, Beppe.
Maximum range would only need to be about 10 to 15 metres, at the very most, and half of us can't even differentiate between 1/32 scale cars that far away!
I feel sure the range could be achieved.

I don't think numbers of channels is a problem either.
I already have four domestic remote controls that do not interfere with each other and I believe that it is very easy to reprogram the 'Universal remote controllers' that are readily available as replacements for this purpose.

These cars are definitely not Scalextric standard but really not that bad either.
What was amazing me was the digital watch with all controls thrown in along with each car, at the price.

To an electronic moron like me, infra-red just seems so much simpler than mixing control and power on the same transmission 'lines' with all its problems.
I LOVE simple!


PS. Absolutely NOT knocking you electronic geniuses, not one bit of it. I love what you are doing too and am lurking and learning all the time. I'm just looking at alternatives for fun and possibly further elucidation.
 

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Sorry, that just isn't a problem with many infra-red setups.
I can point my remote literally anywhere and it works pefectly.
You wouldn't believe the places I have pointed my remote!
It bounces off walls, ceilings, absolutely anything
I can stick a book in front of it and it still works.
Next!
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
LOL!

This is a kind of multiple points topic.
But I chose to pop it in the digital board because the now long-established, simple and cheap infra-red control system seems like a viable alternative to squirting ungodly PWM info down the same pipeline as the power supply.
 

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Discussion Starter · #22 ·
You don't?

What could be simpler than
1. A nice standard 12-14 volts DC in all rails, all the time, at ANY amperage you like, all available to power the cars and the LCs (if required).
2 A wireless, dirt-cheap, well-established infra red system to signal which item does what with that 12-14 volts.

Virtually no wires required and zero worries about overloaded electronic components since power and control signals are unable to interfere with each other.

There may be a reason why it's not feasible, but I have yet to see it!
 

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Nay, nay and thrice nay!
No, no no!


1. All power supplied DIRECTLY from the track - no extra wires or plugs, none.
The track rails ARE the wires.

2. Omni-directional Infra-red transmitter does not need to be carefully postioned anywhere in particular - it bounces around beautifully.

3. Although nothing to do with the Infra-red principle and unlikely to become a de-facto standard, the SCX system, in principle, has a lot going for it, not least its potentially MUCH cheaper passive Lane Changers, of which one really needs quite a few for flexible racing.

A bit off topic, but not much, I just discovered that the dainty little remote control for my VIDEO CAMERA is programmable to operate the TV AND the VHS VCR too - all three separately!
It's VERY flexible.
 
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