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I visited a vintage toy fair today mainly for Hornby-Dublo stuff (The original legendary Binns Road product rather than Margate's finest) and low and behold who should be there but Scalemodels.

Spotted on his stand with a big sign "new in today"....

...Scalextric "CHALLENGER"!


The black Mercedes has more tampo work that I recall seeing from the prototype pictures and the Challenger control module seems to come in 3 parts that you have to assemble so that it all fits into a nice RMS sized box.

You won't be getting my test report though as this is something that is reserved for the Xmas tree, as is another little chuffing product from Margate.

So, who is going to be the first SlotForum member to give us his or her unique insight into the workings of CHALLENGER?



Moped
 

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dunno, wouldnt mind reading it tho.. hear it's infra red and therefore it wont work under bridges?

c'mon people.. I want to know!

Rob.
 

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QUOTE hear it's infra red and therefore it wont work under bridges?

it had better do, my track goes round furniture and all sorts :S I'll have to take it back (once i have one) and buy a fixed resistor to run a pace car otherwise

--------------------
Click here to check out the Challenger Review.
 

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Allan Wakefield
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Damn!
that is an important point no one has raised before Inte'...

IS it Infra red and therefore reliant on 'line of sight' ??

Adrian, maybe you could clarify this for us? It seems to be an overlooked but important (if a tad late
) issue for many people.
 

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I thought Hornby said that the tower is only there to sense when the car is at the start/finish line and completed a lap. Remember also that 1 tower can control 8 cars.

Hornby have suggested that they may offer Challenger cars on their own without the tower so that folk can race more than one Challenger car at a time to make 4 lane racing or greater more fun when you are lacking enough folk to race in every lane of your track.

Given that Hornby have tested the car on circuits in excess of 150 ft long to simulate club type circuits it seems unlikely that line of sight is an issue for the entire circuit. We will find out for sure soon enough I suspect!

Its time to bring out that article that Adrian Norman did for that magazine. Has anybody got it to remind ourselves what was said?


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Jim Moyes
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Good point!

The track at Toyfair was flat and the car would have been in "line of sight" of the control tower at all times. I seem to remember that the car only needed the tower while it was learning the course, but I could be wrong.

As it seemed to be working so well back in January and here we are 11 months later, the cynical git in me thinks perhaps there was a computer controlled power source, with the track layout planned in, under the table. Or perhaps an SCX Trainer


Mr.M
 

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found a source.. give us a bit o' time


Rob.

p.s now, I just remembered, infra red bounces off walls... so it might work!

oh crap times up more money in the library meter!
 

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Much though Challenger interests me, there is no way I am going to be an early adopter. Too expensive to be making a mistake on my own money!
 

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OOOO!! Me local scalex shop phoned me up on the off chance I might want a challenger system they just got in! Did I?

Back from shop now, car looks gr8, though windows are blacked out. Doesn't come with a track piece, it clips on and has adaptors so you can use it with sport, classic, ninco carrera or scx track. Definitely looks like a digital system applying full voltage to the track all the time, as the lights on the car keep flashing even when the car is stopped. Ok, I'll get it out the box now, let you know more later!

Oh - pleased to say its the silver car (my prefered colour for it) - and am hoping I have a couple of AA batteries in!
 

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Right - got it working. Love it so far!

U get: a car jammed packed with stuff, don't think about movin the gubbins to another car unless the other car is at least as big as the mercedes, and you are prepared to do lots of work to swap it over. Its not just a slot car with a chip in it.

:4 adaptors, 1 for each of various track systems - you put these in the socket instead of your hand controller. I suspect these are a fixed resistor or just a shorting circuit to provide a constant voltage to the track. Could be wrong, there might be a chip inside too, but the current is never cut completely 'cos the lights on the car keep falshing when the car is still.

:1 tower thingy that takes 2 aa batteries, has start lights, and buttons for learn, slow and fast, and clips (to keep it in place, no electrical connection) to the side of the track. Can be put on either lane and moved easily. I suspect it would be fine controlling either lane, or middle lanes of a multi-track set up. It should be placed 30-35cm after the start lane.

: a magnet clip thing that clips to the underneath of the track just before the start line. This tells the car where the start line is, apparently.

Right: Line of sight. Nothing in the instructions about this. My track is fairly handicapped due to space - it weaves in and out of furniture, has a bridge, is on carpet except where it raises to go over cbles and all sorts :S. This system definitely works when there is no line of sight. I can't say whether it works at its best under these conditions, but it definitely works.

In use:
Set it all up and plonk the car on the track - the orange safety lights flash (apparently they flash double time to report errors of some sort. The car ambles up to the start line.

Putting the car on isn't completely straight forwards - the guide is sprung to be as if the car is turning hard right. Has to be like this cos the system learns ur track by sensing what angle the guide is at, and theres all sorts of mechanics and sensors inside for this.I think there are also sensors to tell how fast the front wheels are going.

Press the learn button on the tower

The car does 2 slow laps to 'learn' where the curves and straights are.

Its ready - takes no time to set up.

After getting your normal car on the start line and ready, press Slow for a test race (by default it will race for 25 laps, but you can set it to do 50 if you prefer)

the tower thing has a heap of lights and they are used as start lights. they light 1, 2, 3, 4 go!

and it starts, slowing down for the curves, and speeding up for my only decent straight (and that aint much of one). After the last lap, it does a slow extra (victory or loss) lap of honour.

thats all for now

hope this is useful

cheers

Dave
 

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Dave,

Thank you for taking the time out & sharing, Great stuff.

I assume you have a had a race? or were you just watching?

Curiousity got the better of me, just intrigued to hear what the cars actual pace is like.

I really applaud Scalextric for taking the chance and bringing something new to slotcar racing, even if it isn't perfect - I still think it is great idea at a competitive price considering the bits involved.

Good to see an adapter supplied too, hearing that news alone has made me really consider purchasing one.


Looking forward to the next instalment.
 

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hi guys

Havent got one yet but santa's hopefully dropping one in my stocking for christmas.

I have spoken to adrian at scalextric and the challanger unit dosent need line sight.

This was my first question as my layout is in the loft and the roof beams are all overthe place.

hope this helps

scalextricracer
 

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Dinner break, I am not sure if you should generalise from the pace or performance of my set, since as I said my track is a very difficult one due to an adverse environment. It is mainly standard curves with a few straights linkin them (scaley sport), and on carpet rather than a solid base. And lots of obsticles if line of sight is an issue (still not sure).

On slow - the car deslotted on the second curve.

So - extra magnet added. This will obviously tax the motor more, so if your track is more stable than mine, you wont need to do this. There is no obvious provisions for adding extra magnets, it comes with the bar one in front of the sidewinder motor. But there is space under the rear axle for another, albeit off centred.

Track length: 9.57 meters
Reference times: fasted lap with a scaley mustang, button magnet added at front, 2.9 seconds. More typical times of other cars eg fly classics, but with extra magnets is in the 3.6 second time.

on slow (with this extra magnet) - 4.7
on fast (as above) - 4.2...

it sometimes just stops


but i am glad i've got it - weeks of fun tinkerin to make it work propperly, just like a normal slot car then!
 

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Rather than adding a second magnet is it possible to put a pair of trued tyres that have been trued on the back of another car onto the back of Challenger?

It could be that the tyres simply need truing to offer the rear axle more grip.

And then there is always that old WD40 trick on the back tyres!

And also it does take around 5-10 laps to warm tyres up before they really start to stick.

It would appear that we are already working on Challenger set ups.

So you can race a pair of Challengers that have been set up by two different owners. This product could well help folk with their tuning techniques as you will very quickly be able to gauge which mods offer the best improvment in performance with the consistent Challenger helping you out!


Fascinating!


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Thanks very much for the feedback, Astro

Please keep us up to date as you experiment with it, for better or for worse.

I'm afraid that I am another who isn't going to be an early adopter, but if reports are good over a reasonably long period, I may well take the plunge.

My experience with infra-red transmitters is that some will not work without line of sight and others will work perfectly, even with really big obstructions - I guess it depends on the width-of-spread of the emission.
 

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Hope i'm not boring ppl with too much waffle, but anyway...

Scalex forgot an important feature: There is no stop button. You probably don't have ppl round to marshal for u if u are usin the challenger, so if your car de-slots, the challenger just keeps racing into/through it or whatever. Course you can pull the power lead out, or self marshall like lightning, or never de-slot, but a stop button would have been nice.

Trueing the tires is very easy. The car crawls to the start line whenever you put it on the track, but if you lift the rear up, the wheels spin faster (so i am pretty sure it senses the speed of the front wheels), which is perfect for true-ing.
 
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