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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Good afternoon all

Has anyone ever implemenetd a Buck Boost converter into their control panel for varying the individual lane voltages instead of a Variable Power Supply?

I was looking at some from the Drok website DROK

Sounded like an interesting idea to add to a control panel along with the 3 pin hookup for advanced controllers.

Thoughts?
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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
True statement but this for me and family use. Seems like a simple add-on for being able to adjust voltages per lane quickly and easy for any skill level. And also thinking about adding ability to JUMP out the controller to allow a ghost car at x voltage. Each Regulator is rated 4A which should be sufficient for 1:32nd and maybe NOT for 1:24th. It would also have a visual on current draw. The only question I would have is how Regulated is it in regards to max power but in general probably not an issue if it adjusts easily. That way regardless of the Power Source used the ability to control is at the individual lane level. Might also work for allowing racing between premium and non-premium branded cars.
 

ParrotGod
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Good idea. My track is for both digital and analog although I have at the moment all the lanes wired to the same power supply.
But the power supply is under the track table and it is a pain every time reaching out to change the voltage.
Instead, something like this positioned up at track level (or where the controller plug is) is much more convenient.
 

David H
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Has anyone ever implemenetd a Buck Boost converter into their control panel for varying the individual lane voltages instead of a Variable Power Supply?
I haven't, but for a long time I've wanted a neat way to reduce the max voltage available to individual lanes, so this looks ideal.

I use a single 30amp regulated adjustable power supply, but the inability to limit max power to individual lanes is a problem when I have very young children who want to race with adults, yet the adults still want the full 12 volts.
 

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I got a heads up on these little block converters from Chappy 66, Paul. I have them on each lane of my 4 lane track. They are under the control panel, not visable or easy to get to. The guys don't have access to them. Our way to keep competition close is to have a minimum lap time. That is 4 seconds and anybody is welcome to run any car on the orange lane to see how fast it is and that it's not faster than 4 secs. I used one of my cars that runs consistent 4 sec laps on orange lane to adjust the voltage on each lane until it would consistently run 4 secs on every lane. I end up with about 1/4-1/2 volt more on the inner and outer lane. It makes racing close. We can run 2 minute segments and end up with 3 out of 4 cars within 20 foot of each other after 8 minutes. They work great to equalize un-equal lanes. Took a few hours to get everything adjusted right but it has sure changed racing.
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Greg Gaub
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As long as they aren't also boosters, and can only limit the power, not make it higher voltage, then the main PSU can be set to whatever voltage is appropriate. Racers who feel the need to slow things down can do that. Counterintuitively, this can often result in faster lap times by making the car easier to drive.
 

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A less sophisticated alternative might be those ultra cheap PWM speed controllers off a certain auction site, or direct out of China. Admittedly setting a specific voltage isn't so easy, but it would work if you're OK with setting max speed by "feel".
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
As long as they aren't also boosters, and can only limit the power, not make it higher voltage, then the main PSU can be set to whatever voltage is appropriate. Racers who feel the need to slow things down can do that. Counterintuitively, this can often result in faster lap times by making the car easier to drive.
Hard to say but spec is like 60w to 80w probably 5A. For $15usd it may work well for 32 scale.
 

Rich Dumas
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It probably would not be a good idea to have accessible voltage adjustors on a track that is often used for formal racing. We have had problems during races using lane rotations when the driver's stations had reversing switches or variable brakes. I can see several legitimate reasons for having individual voltage adjustments for each lane, but it might be best to locate them so they will be out of reach during a race. Do not assume that cranking up the voltage will result in lower lap times. Some people strive to equalize lap times with individual voltage controls, but that does not always work so well. For club style racing lane rotations are normally used.
My own track is powered by two 20 amp variable supplies, each one running two lanes. My HO club runs most classes at 18.5 volts, but two classes are run at 12 volts. Normally during practice, I just change the settings for all four lanes, depending on the class. I could set 18.5 volts on two lanes and 12 volts on the other two during a practice session, but I have never done that. One pitfall has cropped up during events that used both voltages. On several occasions someone had forgotten to change the voltage and everyone got a surprise when the green flag dropped.
In any case 5 amp adjustors would be fine. Another option is to put diodes in the circuit. Each diode will drop 0.7 volts, you can put as many in series as you need. I made a "choke box" with six 3 amp diodes connected to a rotary switch for a -.7 to -4.2 volt drop.
 

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The block converters I referenced above work fine. They can be mounted anywhere, but under your controller hookup panel is ideal. They simply mount inline, so there is no way they can increase the voltage higher than your power supply. With patient adjustment, you can make lap times equal on any lane of any track. We run lap after lap with cars being within a foot or two of each other. When we rotate lanes, the highest lap count can be from any lane, there is no fastest lane anymore. This is a cheap, effective way to change voltage and if needed, they can be mounted out in the open on main panel where the drivers don't have direct access. You do want 4-5 amp models.
 

Rich Dumas
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Accessible voltage controls can pose a problem if you are using lane rotations. People have been known to turn them down when the rotate out so the next guy will be wondering why his car is so slow. I have also encountered problems with tracks that have reversing switches or brake controls built into the driver's stations.
 
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