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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Like many of you, I've been thrilled with my upgrade to the PbPro with Robot Power, along with the SSDC software. The combination creates a real club feel even when racing at home. However, I've been suffering from "Powerbase Overhang" as it sticks out from the layout...


...plus I couldn't get the pickup track where I really wanted it for best performance.

So here we go-- the last in our trilogy of track separation projects. Please look over BEGINNER PROJECT 1 & 2 first, if you haven't done much modeling or electronics. You can do this even with little or no experience-- but I'm not going to repeat some basics like soldering here in this topic. So check those out first please. This is not too hard!

OK. Here's the unit which is molded into one piece. We are going to make it into two pieces so you can put the power base anywhere you want, and the pickup track anywhere as well.


I'm going to grab a coffee, and I'll see you in the next post!

Stan
 

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Discussion Starter · #2 ·
Like any project where you know you'll be soldering, plug in the iron now so it will be hot when you're ready.

Flip over the unit, and remove the short and long screws holding the back plate onto the track and pb case.


Set the panel aside for a minute, and view the layout of electronics. Notice how similar this is going to be to our other projects. We have 2 sets of four data wires, and two power leads. As this is a beginner project, we're not going to touch the circuit boards in the case and unscrew anything there. We'll simply snip some wires out in the open and divide the back cover into two pieces.


More evidence of the careful work done by the PbPro technicians...

Quality watch makers of old would always leave an engraving documenting their work and maintenance.

Note how the wires are grouped.


Time to cut. Once the 10 wires are snipped, we'll turn our attention to the cover.


On to our next post...
Stan
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
In the last episode, our hero (you) risks life and limb and social humiliation to separate newly purchased electronics...


Grab the back cover piece, and move the electronics out of the way. This is the messy part.
I like to use a hobby saw rather than a knife, but either will work. Find the seam between where the track and case meet and make your cut.


The finished deal will look like this...


Take some sandpaper or a knife and smooth the edges for a professional look.
Also, make sure there is plenty of room for the wire bundles to exit the back of the case.


Notice that I made my cut to leave an edge at the back of the powerbase case. For my setup, the wires will exit the back of the case.

For the track half of the back, I want my wires to exit down through the table top, so I have to drill a hole in the track back (as well as in the layout table-- and don't try to drill too small a hole on your table... or you will have no wiggle room to move the track piece a bit when it is placed in the layout).

And DO NOT drill such a hole in your dining room table! You will never hear the end of it!

Smooth the edges of this hole carefully so your wiring will not be cut.


Well, now that we've completely torn everything apart, let's start putting our kit back together in the next post!

Stan
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
You made it this far! Put some racing on the tube, or some music in the background. This is the tedious part of reassembly.

Now you have to make some decisions based on your layout. I'm going to want my power base approximately 8 feet away from the pickup track. So I measured out 3 cables: two 4-conductor cables for data, and a pair of large gauge wires for power. Your needs may be quite different.

I'm also going to solder on a short section of 4" pigtails on the back of my power base. So I will have 8-foot wires coming from the track under the layout table to my power base, where I will use a standard screw terminal strip to join the 8 data wires. Wire nuts will do the trick for the two power leads.

So you can see we have a lot of preparations to do! Strip the ends of all the wires. I'm leaving the exposed wire a bit longer where I know it will be joining the terminal.


You should also prepare the shrink tubing bits you'll need.

As per the first two projects we did, tin the ends of the wires needing to be soldered, slip on the shrink tubing, and then solder the wires keeping careful track of the colors of your wires. I use a marker to indicate which wire goes with which group of wires at the power base, and I also mark one of the power leads on both ends so I don't mix up the polarity anywhere. For this project, I not only used small shrink on each of the wires, but then slipped on one large piece over all the small ones.

Be patient and careful. See you next post.
Stan
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Glad you're back!
Here's my power base with the pigtail leads at the back...


You can see the terminal strip I'll use to join the data wires.

Let's put the back on the pb case now. If you need to widen the exit slots for your bundles, do it now.


Before we button up the track piece, you may have to cut some channels for the wire bundles. I did, because all the wires are exiting via just one hole.


Again, no sharp edges where metal or plastic meets wiring!

You'll wish you had a third arm when putting the back on the track piece, as there are a lot of wires, and you don't want any of them to pinch.


If you've been careful in keeping track of the color coding of your bundles, then here at the terminal strip we just match up the bundles and colors.


While the soldering iron is still hot, I like to hook everything up on top of the layout near the front just to test our work. Once you have power, and data (by grabbing a car and dragging it across the sensor track), you can then install your new pieces into your layout!

You can sort of see here, that my base (the tiny blue light!) is on a shelf below the front of the layout. I carpeted the top of the shelf some time ago, and so two strips of the loop part of Velcro on the pb back cover holds nicely to the carpet. My pickup track is toward the back at the end of a straight where braking will occur. I took a piece of the stripped Scalextric raised curb insert, and cut it to the width of the track and slipped it in under the joint to slightly elevate and angle the track for better pickup. I also built a pod to hold my laptop near the center of the layout mounted behind the pit garages. This provides excellent viewing and access on my layout, and all the wires are stuffed out of sight behind the garages.


I know- I need to do something about the mess of junk in my garage! Enjoy!
Stan
 

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Greg Gaub
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Great tutorial again, Stan! I see you've taken some inspiration from Zipp, using your pit crew to help.

I'm glad you did this one, 'cus I'm going to be doing the same thing to mine soon. The main difference for me is that I don't want to use a terminal strip because I expect to be moving the track piece from time to time. Instead, I'll be using an old network cable, which has 8 wires. a short end will come out of the track piece, and a long end will come out of the PB, with a coupler to connect the two.
I'll take pics and post them to here when I do that, but it probably won't happen for a few weeks.
Thanks for the great photo tutorial.
 

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Stan,
Outstanding tutorial, especially for us electronically challenged folks. I remember reading one of your earlier
beginner project tutorials and will have to find them again as I am just now beginning to get my track together.
Appreciate this type of detailed information, it really helps us newbies.
 

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Just thought I'd add a comment about connectors -

When I did a 6/4 Master slave Mod on my power bases I used S-VHS female socket connectors from Maplin for the control signals . S-VHS has four pins which are just the ticket. The connectors have a surface mount surround with some self tapping screws which fit nicely on the side of the power base. You can then use a standard S-VHS lead to connect them up.
 

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QUOTE (requiem_mortis @ 21 Sep 2009, 07:54) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>Just thought I'd add a comment about connectors -

When I did a 6/4 Master slave Mod on my power bases I used S-VHS female socket connectors from Maplin for the control signals . S-VHS has four pins which are just the ticket. The connectors have a surface mount surround with some self tapping screws which fit nicely on the side of the power base. You can then use a standard S-VHS lead to connect them up.

Would it be possible to see a picture of your connectors? It might make things easier to understand.

In a related item, I have read that some clubs use XLR connectors for their driver stations instead of the standard phono jacks
that come with the Scalextric powerbases. What do others use for their driver station connections? Presumably the separation of the PB from the track is conducive to wiring separate driver stations.

Comments?
Cheers!
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
I've cut into my controller wires to extend their length. They are not shielded so any 'ol two line connector would work. The Pb is set up so that 1-3-5 are on one side, and 2-4-6 on the other. Rather odd arrangement if you ask me. The tiny plugs so close together beg for a better outboard arrangement.

The XLRs are great because they have a near bullet-proof metal mechanical purchase between the male end and female socket. Great for the connections that get plugged and unplugged a lot.
 

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Ok Here are the pics - sorry for the delay had to work out how to upload them and needed to create a photobucket account....





Photo quality isn't brilliant as they were taken using my phone. But at least they show the basic idea.

The sockets can be found here http://www.maplin.co.uk/Module.aspx?ModuleNo=1111

Described as 4-Pin Mini-DIN Chasis mount Sockets I believe

Hope they help
 

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Thanks for the pics!
They do the trick for me.

Cheers!
 

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QUOTE (MrFlippant @ 20 Sep 2009, 09:55) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>Instead, I'll be using an old network cable, which has 8 wires. a short end will come out of the track piece, and a long end will come out of the PB, with a coupler to connect the two.
I'll take pics and post them to here when I do that, but it probably won't happen for a few weeks.
Thanks for the great photo tutorial.

Mr. F.
Did you ever take and post the pics mentioned above?

I want to do this with my PBPro+SH when it arrives. I have received additional detailed instructions (that is additional to Stan's excellent instructions above) from Stevef1964 on Vecbtb's layout Permanent Scalextric Classic 8'x4' and hope to have it to look like JeremyR's connection Peak to Peak Raceway . Between Stan's "super surgery" above, and Steve's RJ45 conectors, it should look quite magnificent.

Did your's look like Steve's?

Cheers!
 

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Greg Gaub
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Nope, I haven't done mine yet, either. I also like the looks of Jeremy's version, so I might very well copy his as well. When I do it, I'll take pics, but I have no timeline for getting that done. When I do, I'll definitely post about it.
 

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QUOTE (MrFlippant @ 4 Dec 2009, 21:57) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>Nope, I haven't done mine yet, either. I also like the looks of Jeremy's version, so I might very well copy his as well. When I do it, I'll take pics, but I have no timeline for getting that done. When I do, I'll definitely post about it.
Fair enough, Mr. F.

It is asking too much of you given the excellent video you provided yesterday!

According to my schedule for building tables, I will get mine done before Christmas.... 2010!

Cheers!
 

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I will note that there's plenty of room internally for an RJ45 connector. Even if you're doing Simple-H with a fan. (It's the fan itself that gave me the most trouble fit-wise.)

I did mine at the same time as the Simple-H, which took an evening overall. Doing just the track separation shouldn't take more than a couple of hours if you take your time.

Cheers,
Jeremy
 

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Thanks, JeremyR.

I bought a RJ45 Snap-in Cat 5e jack so it will "pop" into my 6 car PB Pro+SH when it arrives. Good to know there is lots of room inside. I plan to just buy a Cat 5 straight extension and add another RJ45 jack to the wires on the track.

I see you used binding posts for the power connections. I saw some binding post/banana plug combo jacks at The Source (RS in Canada) I thought I might use. What guage wire do you suggest for the power?

Cheers!
 

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I believe I used 12 gauge wiring, but it might have been 14. 12 might be slight overkill, but the cost difference isn't that great when you're only buying a few feet. Use the largest gauge that your binding posts/banana jacks will accept


Cheers,
Jeremy
 

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Thanks, Jeremy.

12 gauge is household grade wiring I think. Got a large roll of that!

Cheers
 
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