As i look through the forum i have seen references to digital with regards to future developments from scalextric. What will be digital? I'm sure i'm not the only one out here that has no idea what this is or what is being hinted at.
I am a little surprised that this one got overlooked for a while!
But I am going to gently kick it into a little action and we will see what happens.
Scalextric have actually kept rather quiet about their plans for digital control, where Carrera and SCX have been solidly up front for about a year now and a French company called Davic has been using its own digital system on some large commercial tracks for about three years, possibly a little longer.
The essence of digital control is that the electrical power supply to the track is all at a fixed voltage and all lanes receive this same current supply at all times. Digital technology enables the superimposition of control signals within this supply current and digital decoders in each car can select the signals that are addressed to that car only. The fixed track current is converted, by a 'chip' in the *car to the variable DC that the standard motors need to operate. In this way, it is possible to control more than one car per lane, with each car still under totally separate control.
* One system uses a chip in the guide, rather than in the car.
To enable passing manoeuvres it is necessary to have at least two lanes, (naturally!) and switch tracks are incorporated between them so that drivers may change lanes in order to overtake other cars. Different systems have different limits on the maximum number of lanes and the maximum number of cars, but the principle is that you can have more cars than there are lanes, thus more closely emulating real life, in theory.
I will now take the liberty of plagiarizing something from another forum, but as the source was ME, then I don't think there are going to be too many objections! I asked permission of myself and I, Tropi, hereby freely grant it to myself.
This subject usually starts with me saying digital is all crap, followed by half a dozen people telling me I am TALKING crap and then I carefully point out that I love the idea in principle, but here are the reasons why it will bore the ass off most users (speed crazed morons) after an hour or two and will possibly bankrupt at least one major company and then, after a bit of sporadic wrangling about odd details, it goes quiet for a bit and then someone comes along and asks about it all over again! It's quite good fun really!!!
So there is your starter for ten - let's see what happens next.
SOME TIME LATER
I managed to unearth a factual report based on the Nurnberg Toy Fair way back at the beginning of this year. This being a European Board, this time I have no hesitation in quoting the source as MRE of Leghton Buzzard. It is very well written, most informative with regard to SCX and, as far as I can tell, here we are, the best part of a year later and the information still holds good, other than a little flexibility around the exact launch date.
SCX Digital Racing System !
This was the best kept secret, exciting news, and the most impressive demonstration at Nuremberg. SCX have been working for 3 years developing a very comprehensive system, with a fully working race system and some fantastic accessories. Sadly we were not allowed to take pictures, although everything seemed to be long past the prototype stage and even had finished packaging.
Digital racing allows more than one car to be controlled on the same lane, up to 6 cars at a time on a 2-lane track with the SCX system. The technology has been familiar to model railways for some years now, but the problems are different for slot racing. Major problems have been simple programming, lap counting, integration with other items, and cost. SCX have solved all these with the exception of integration, and therefore the new system has no compatability with anything else in the range, featuring new track, power & controllers, cars, and accessories.
Track first, SCX have tooled up a completely new track, larger than the older SCX - Scalextric dimensions but not quite as big as Ninco. There is a need for a larger track than Scalextric, but house dimensions have to be considered, and the new SCX Digital Track is midway between the two other sizes. The track does have a lined slot (similar to Ninco), sealed base, is stronger and more stable than the smaller tracks, much better electrical connections, and there will not be any adaptors to join it to anything else. Standard pieces were used on the demo layout, including the essential crossover sections. These are a normal sized straight section with a scissors crossing included, allowing cars to swap between lanes in each direction. The cars on demonstration could cross between lanes at full speed, and did so without any hesitation or lack of control. SCX discussed the introduction of Pit Stop sections, Pit Garages, and a variety of other novelty sections such as single lane sections and various rally items. The Pits will be eagerly awaited, if the number of customer requests are considered, and being able to pull in for a stop at the touch of a button will bring more realism than ever before.
Power to the track is different with a digital system. Although the cars are still nominally 12v, there is a higher voltage and frequency supplied to the track. This is converted via digital signals to the car, and therefore only cars with digital convertors ('Chips' in common terms) can be used. Conversely, the chip-fitted cars cannot be used on a normal track system. The controllers are of the electronic type instead of the normal resistor type, and have a programming button fitted to select the car you will drive. Once in use, the same button will control the lane-changing operation, pushing it on the approach to a crossover section will divert the car to the other lane. The crossover tracks are electrically passive, the switch blades being controlled by the special guides on the cars with lateral contacts as well as the normal pickup brushes.
Because the cars are not compatable with the normal slot racing we are used to, SCX are introducing a range of 6 cars initially. We used the new Opel Astra V8 cars on the demonstration, these will also be produced in the main range. Other Digital cars include the Audi TT and SEAT Leon, so probably 2 versions of each car to start with. It didn't look possible to include all the digital fittings into F1 cars, but of course railway components have got smaller in recent years and we may be able to have a larger range in the future.
Lap counting was a problem not encountered by railways, and SCX have developed a very good solution in the form of a Counting Tower. Imagine the Lap Score Tower at Indianapolis, vertical display with the laps completed by the lead car displayed at the top, below are the numbers of the cars in their position in the race. SCX have produced a similar item, with a large green digital display showing the number of laps completed and red displays below of all the following cars numbers showing their race position. The neatest touch is the ability to add extra sections into the display to cater for extra cars in the race, making the tower taller with more cars racing. Excellent solution, and very effective in operation and appearance.
Because none of the new system can be compatable with any other SCX (or other makes) products, there is a strong new branding with new packaging. It will be marketed as a complete new Racing System, complete with its own range of accessories including track sections and borders, cars, and the accent on realistic racing. A new SCX Digital catalogue will be available in April, so we expect more information then. We'll have the first pictures available for you to look at.
OK, now you know all about it, you are probably asking when and how much ? The SCX Digital Racing System will be available in Spain only in September 2003, and the rest of Europe in January 2004. SCX hope to limit the price to around 40% more than the normal range, and we expect the cars to be around £34.99 in the UK but can make no promises at this time.
Exciting stuff, congratulations to SCX, I can't wait to try those pitstops or cut off the opposition at the corners !! END QUOTE
This sounds great and is a big step forward. I would like to see these in action. My concern from what i read is that, how many of us can afford to run 2 systems.
If the sets / cars are not compatible with one another. how many of us have the room to run 2 circuits?
It certainly sounds like it would be great fro clubs but for home systems i am not sure.
I do know that it would add a new dimension to slot racing. Some years age as a teen i was given the scalextric Track busters set for Christmas, I'm sure many of you remember but with that set you could run both trucks independantly on the same track. That was great fun and if anyone knows were i can get ahold of these trucks (with the flippers) and or circuit i would love to know.
I like the idea but have invested too much in my current set-up and don't have the room to run a second track. I'd await for Scalextric to make an announcement as they are said to be investing lots of lolly in to R&D this year and next and they will be making a big announcement around Christmas time. If it is digital then they have had time to digest other manafacturers attempts and our comments so hopefully their product will fulfil most of our requirments.
SCX have been villified by the Spanish discussion forums - (any Spanish here like to comment (how about Carlos Fandango
)) because their digital attempt is not backwards compatable.
Wait and see but if a manafacturer can produce a system that is backwards compatable (e.g sell chips that can be fitted to older cars) then I for one will be installing the concept at my home.
Also this is a major topic on other forums so if this thread does not take off check them out. The most interesting point I've seen is about the cross-overs - don't make them on a straight but in a corner when the angle is more favourable.
QUOTE My concern from what i read is that, how many of us can afford to run 2 systems.
Nail hit squarely on the head there my friend.
And think about how F1 used to be, still is kinda. It was all cars in a queue looking for a venue to have their accident in when one or more was fool enough to dare an overtake.
Or take a look at some tupperware zipping around in a circle, Nascar, as they call it. Ain't that just great? Look, 20 cars, nose to tail. Fantastico
So, we will have four cars on two lanes? All looking for the two or three places you can overtake on. Slow guy up front, holding everything up. It becomes a game of chess,
"Is he going to switch lanes? If he is, and I do to, I'm still in front! He'll have to wait until the next changeover."
And don't tell me about the other wonders of the digital age, the pitstops, the blow outs the fuel consumption and the tyre (nice to see that spelt properly) wear. I don't want that complication.
I want to drive.
Faster, faster, faster.
Round and round and round until my little trigger finger hurts. It's a simple thing slot car racing. It's motor racing cut down to the core, the fun bit, the basic racing round and round against your opponent.
I don't want no machine telling me I've run out of petrol and so spoil my fun.
And I sure as hell don't want to have to buy new chips for my 200 odd cars.
You digitize if you want. Me, I'm awkward squad old skool.
A forum community dedicated to slot car owners and enthusiasts. Come join the discussion about collections, racing, displays, models, track layouts, styles, reviews, accessories, classifieds, and more!