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Digital conversion

1391 Views 9 Replies 4 Participants Last post by  MrFlippant
OK, here's my tale of woe. Got hooked on digital running at a friend's track. The original plan was to budget for and convert my analog setup over to digital in about a year's time. He moved away, leaving a digital junkie with nowhere to get a fix
. Shortly thereafter, a deal came along that I couldn't pass up, moving the plan ahead by about 12 months but throwing the financing completely out of whack. I acquired the following digital equipment:
• C7030 V1.2 power base,
• 2 straight lane changers,
• 5 curve lane changers,
• 4 lane power base,
• 5 controllers.

I will obtain a C7030 to PC serial cable and get one of the available race management software packages (open to suggestions), but that will absolutely end the cash outlay; i.e. NO Simple H, NO PBPro, etc. However desirable these options may be, this project's budget is DEEP in the red and will receive no further funding at this time.
The analog layout is 65 feet long, mounted on an L table made from two sheets of 4x8 plywood. Good flow running either direction. Regulated 10/12V power supply wired through custom driver stations to the track with 3 jumper points.

So here's the plan:
• Swap the C7030 and two straight lane changers into the existing layout (curve LCs don't appear to be very popular and there are very few places they'd fit in this layout anyway).
• Wire up the lane changers with their own separate 12 V power source.
• Keep the analog wiring and driver stations intact so the track can be run in either mode (power disconnected to whichever is not in use).
• Make up adapter plugs to run the existing analog Lane 1/Lane 2 regulated supplies to P1/P2 on the C7030. The power comes from a pair (one for each lane) of industrial quality regulated supplies (as in +$500, bomb proof, rock steady) that will deliver 10 or 12 volts (switch selectable) @ 4 amps each, 8 amps total. I acquired a dozen of these when the company I work for updated their data collection system electronics - not super high amp output but lots for the cars I run, they are very reliable, stable, and the price was right (free

Would like to be able to run up to 6 cars, limited to stock Scalex motors (or even lower power 3 watt motors - close racing much more important than fast racing). I'm hoping that with the lane changers on a separate external power supply, the C7030 V1.2 will prove to be reliable and be able to provide a reasonably consistent racing. I'm aware of the stock mosfet's rather dismal voltage output drop as amp draw increases, but hoping that sticking to low power motors will keep the fluctuations within an acceptable range. Does the Digital Power Base need to be isolated from the track when the rails are getting analog power (via relay, switch or similar)? Any other pitfalls I'm not aware of?

Comments and critiques appreciated.

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Welcome to SlotForum, Scott!
While I agree that the APB would be the easiest way to go, I'm not sure what he could sell to make up the cost of the APB.
Since the budget is shot already, I wonder if when you write "4 lane power base" you don't mean a 4 CAR powerbase? If so, then you can do the Master/Slave mod and get more power to the rails.
The biggest problem with the old v1.2 bases is the tendency to blow if there's any kind of short. You'll have to be religious with your screw tightening, braid straightening, and avoidance of anything metal near the track.
Stock Scaley motors will be best, but even 3 or 4 of those will see serious power interaction issues while racing.
That base IS worth keeping, though, if only for future use as a pit lane in/out detector.
If you're clever with a saw, you can take those curved lane changers and make some of those excellent Racing Line CLCs that some people have done. They turn a boring old R2 wiggle into an excellent way to maintain speed.
Oh, and as Ade said, don't run analog with the 6 car base still in the track, even unpowered. It would be better to install some kind of switch so that the analog power is completely isolated from the digital base, and vice versa, for running in either mode.
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The APB has plenty of power, and with the High/Variable Power mod detailed here on SlotForum, it's even better. It's on par with Simple-H, for sure. The APB power output is practically Simple-H like to begin with. It's only hobbled from the factory due to toy safety regs.
I will admit that I'm not fond of how it handles analog mode, though. The pulsing of some types of motors isn't something I'd want to explain to a proxy coordinator or entrants. Isolating the power for the two mods and using "real" analog equipment for that mode would definitely be better, especially since you have it all already.
Since you have the 4car base, definitely do the 6/4/MS mod. The 4 car becomes a slave to the 6 car, ramping up the total amps to a much better level. Definitely a cheaper solution than an APB or PB-Pro/Simple-H upgrade. The only drag is that the v1.2 6 car base can't be upgraded to PB-Pro code without also getting the Simple-H upgrade. Though maybe a special request can be made, I'd say it's probably not worth doing anyway. The money would be better spent on the APB, saving the original base for other uses.

Are there any photos of your track online anywhere? I'd love to see some.
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I like the track! I think it will make a great digital track, too.
I look forward to seeing the transformation.
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Dang. I didn't know that.

Out of curiosity, why?
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