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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
my track layout is of a fair size length, i would say probably about 20-22 metres round the loft.
I'm looking for something to do the lap timings...

Also, I have never actually powered it up yet, as i am still waiting on some last bits of
track from Ebay..(!) Will the standard PSU tracksection be man enough, or will I have to
bump up the power slightly to compensate for the extra track/resistance...?

Does anyone have any ideas?

Cheers, any input welcome...

Aaron
 

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Beefing up the power won't make much difference, if the contact between track sections is bad. Just make sure all the contacts are good and see how it goes. If you notice the cars slowing down when they are furthest away from the terminal straight then add a few power taps in to even the delivery round the circuit.

Personally I'd get it running and see if there are problems, before looking at uprating anything.

My layout's about 19m and I don't have any power taps at the moment. Works fine. Only power upgrade I have is an old 19V laptop power supply instead of the stock unit, but that's more to give a cleaner regulated power supply than anything else.
 

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Rich Dumas
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If you plan on holding races on your track you might want to think about a more sophisticated systen than one that simply counts laps and displays lap times. Three sensing systems are used with HO cars, those are dead strips, magnetic reed switches and IR sensors, each of those has its own advantages and disadvantages. Look here under Electronics, then Lap Timer for more info: http://www.hoslotcarracing.com/
For tracks that hold races the Trackmate system is very popular in the US. Trackmate uses a dedicated interface module, it is expensive, but you just plug everything in and it works. Trackmate software is quite good, there are also a number of free software systems that have even more features than Trackmate and many of those can be used by themselves or with the Trackmate hardware. Ultimate Racer 3 is one such software package.
 

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Ultimate Racer is good. There's a dedicated section on the 'other' slot car forum including wiring guides for the hardware. If you're not afraid to do a little soldering then I wouldn't pay good money for a timing system.
 

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If you come to an EAHORC national, be sure to have a chat with Andyslots, he has built lots of timers and has good insight to the pros and cons of the various systems.

Check out www.eahorc.com to learn more of the national scene. You will see the timing screens/lines/bridges in many of the videos.

I think you are in Reading, right? Not too bad if you want to try a meeting or two...
 

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I really can't reccomend the trackmate product enough, used by the national series and at our club every week. It's plug and play, rock solid and we like it so much one of our members just bought one for the track in his shed.

That said nothing wrong with ultimate racer and if you are an IT guy who likes a dabble may well be up your street, one guy at our club has built a nice interface using a butchered pc gamepad (look for a thread called 'a different pc lap timer for£4' or something like that)

Both software are free to download and have demo modes using the keyboard to simulate lap counters so have a play and see what you think.

As for the power supply question it really does depend on intended use. The length of the track is no issue as has been said but if running 2 or more cars when one car falls off having all those mA to yourself means more often than not the other one comes off as well. This can be negated by using one standard psu for each lane, you may need a second power connection track piece depending on manufacturer.

The ultimate solution is a dedicated PSU ideally regulated with 1A per lane. Lots of people use laptop psu's just make sure it's an 18v one or ideally a proper bench psu. Maplin currently have their poular 20v 5a psu on sale at about £60, it's adjustable and thats useful for lots of reasons I won't bore you with, i love mine.
 

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Andy Player
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I started with LapTimer2000 with photodiodes plugged direct into the parallel port on an old laptop. Find it at Greg Braun's HO Slot Car racing site. Laptimer2000 is also what we use at our club in Worthing. Simple, robust and works out cheap. The soldering is very straightforward and diagrams are on Greg's site. We're looking at upgrading to Trackmate now, which is an additional expense of around £70. The lightbridge and sensors are compatible.

I would recommend the same power supply as Marc did. But a cheap 18V DC laptop supply with at least 1Amp per lane would might be a good first buy if you'd rather spend the £60 on cars, scenery etc. There was another thread here looking at power supplies in more detail.

So, you could get fully-functional PC lap timing and DC power for about £25 and then when you absolutely have to have the fancy stuff, you can think about forking out more. Or - if you can - just get the top stuff now


Finally, you need to get that power around the track. Our club tracks are 20 metres or more and we run four taps. These taps deliver power from the drivers' stations to equidistant points around the track. More common is a set-up where the power goes in the track at one point and then 'passive' jumpers move power around the track compensating for current lost at poor track connections. There is more on Greg Braun's site. Taps needs soldering, but it's straightforward. Just remember to place the track on a damp sponge or towel to avoid melting the track surface.

Have fun
 
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