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Geo Jr. Speedway

79219 Views 500 Replies 43 Participants Last post by  Ade
Hello Everyone,

You may know me from my briefcase track with 1/87 scale cars I was working on some time ago. Well, I'm still working on it and hope to maybe finish it off sometime soon. But in the meantime, I have been looking up at the incredibly high ceiling we have in our garage and thinking about a track that I could lower down. I have done some extensive research on the site, and having a winch system to lower it down looks pretty doable, but before I even start to amass the items to build it, I have a couple questions I'm hoping you kind folks can help me with.

Let me tell you first what I have decided.

I want the track to be digital, and I am thinking routed with embedded Scaley or Carrera lane changers (unless there is some way to put the changer hardware into routed pieces. I did some digging on the forum and this doesn't seem to easy).

I think think I can squeeze out a 6' x 14' track area if I have a connection in the middle. Only 6' x 12' without the connection.

As this thing will be hanging from my ceiling, weight is an issue, so right now I am contemplating using 1/4"MDF laminated with 1/2" pink insulation foam, which I plan to test out soon with some I have sitting around my garage. The track will probably lower down on to some folding tables and will somehow be fastened down to them to keep the track steady.

On to the questions...

I have seen on the forum where someone made a track entirely out of insulation foam (Expanded Polystyrene) as a kind of temporary track, but has anyone tried laminating MDF to pink foam as a light weight alternative? It seems like I would be stuck without elevation with this idea, which I am not excited about. Any good ideas how to have elevations with with this?

I really love the look of the 1/24 scale cars, so I would like to run those in addition to 1/32. Can I do this using standard Scaley lane changers? Is 6' x 14' even big enough to run 1/24 scale cars well or am I just dreaming? Please remember I want to run digital.

So many people seem to go with Scalextric, but is Carrera a good option here? How easy is it to chip cars from other manufacturers with Carrera chips? I definitely like the Scaley controllers better, as controlling the cars with my thumbs seems awkward at best. I will be stuck with cheap controllers at first as I am trying to keep costs at spouse approved levels.

Regarding the winch and mounting it to my ceiling, most of the systems I have seen have been electric winches. Anybody have some ideas for a poor man's manual version? I have some hoists for bikes already in my garage, maybe adapting some of those? The only problem I could see is that it would be difficult to keep the boards level while lowering, especially since I would need two hoists in a row for each side of the track. They also are only good for 50lbs per hoist. Here is a pic...

Many thanks in advance for your help.

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Yeah, PB-Pro C7030 units aren't worth a tenth of the APB any more. I have two, and I only use one when the analog club comes around, as it's the only one that works with the RMS they use. The other is an overpriced Car ID tool for off-track car programming.
Narrower tape just means less contact area for the braids. In the end, it's just a matter of making sure your braids are arranged to get the best possible contact with the tape. This is no different than any other track, really. I see no reason not to use the tape you have.
Ok, since you asked...
- The XLC at the top, in the twisties, will be missed like crazy. It would be better to not be there, or change your twisties
- Squeezes in digital? No. Stuff like that is for analog tracks where you have to force car interaction. Digital has that to spare, so don't add more with squeezes and forced crossovers and stuff.
- make the pit lane as long as possible, with the exit AFTER the lane changer.
- don't forget this is a routed track. Even if you use stock pieces for the sensors and flippers, there's no requirement that the exits for the lane changers be so abrupt and into a straight before a turn like it's plastic track. Let them lead into the turn more smoothly. Seriously. Design new slots from the back of the flippers going forward.
- where are your drivers? If the twisties are against a wall, then you need to rotate the whole thing and put the pits against the wall, 'cus cars will be coming off in the twisties all the time. If access and drivers will be all around, then that doesn't matter.

I don't think there's anything wrong with having a slot with no bottom. If anything, it prevents the guide from riding the bottom of the slot, which is bad. Graham Lane did open slots on the rally portion of his SSD track, and it appears to work well, and looks fantastic.
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As long as the blades are sharp and you go really slow, then take the rails out and clean up the burrs from both the metal and plastic, it should be fine. While you're at it, do some metal and plastic work to widen the slot at each end so that cars transitioning from wood to plastic won't slam into the end of the plastic track's rails. A taper on the entry back to wood wouldn't hurt, either.

As for resale value, is that really a consideration? Are you not planning to paint the track, then? Your nice routed track will look kind of silly with black plastic where the lane changers are. Plus, you're lengthening the amount of space needed for the lane changer, by adding bits on at each end.

If you can route the slots to match up with a full piece of plastic in the wood, then you can certainly route them to match up with only part of the plastic track in the wood, plus you gain so much more flexibility with the slot after the flipper, and how much room you need for the run up to the lane changer after the prior turn. I'm not going to claim it's easy. I haven't done either. But I don't see how it would be harder to do it this way than not. Measure twice/thrice, cut/route once.
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It doesn't need to be a complete loop. just put them in a line and run the cars from one end to the other.
Also, there are some problems that are easily fixed, so be sure and post about them before bothering with returns.
He could probably squeeze an in-to-out CLC at the beginning of the last turn before the pit entrance.
Yes. The electronic board is a full track (2 lanes) width. But, it would be quite easy to embed only the curved portion in your track, and place the sensor board under the wood with the sensor peeking up through a hole in the slot. The board is connected to the CLC piece with a simple jack/plug connector. The only thing you'd need to do is desolder the power wires for the sensor board from the rails under the track, and then provide power to those wires, either tapping off the tape/braid of your track, or with a separate power supply. The sensor board has a rectifier bridge, so polarity doesn't even matter.
If you'd like to fit all your cars with SureChange guides and the appropriate chips with the LED on leads, then that'll be fine.
If not, then some more reworking would be in order. The original one was fine, except for how long in advance a pit entrance would need to be planned. Here is how I think Marcel was suggesting the earlier plan be arranged:

I also think this works better than the latest iteration, if only because the location of a lane changer IN a turn REQUIRES that all your cars are modified with a SureChange guide as previously mentioned. But also, the lane changer locations are spread about more evenly, and in what I believe to be effective locations.

Actually, now that I look at it, the XLC parallel with the pit should be one full straight sooner, or removed. I put the APB in last, and wasn't paying attention to where that lane changer was.
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Why would you lay cords across the track? Assuming you don't bother to part the base from the track to make the track more realistic looking, there's no reason not to put a hole on the inside of the track to route the various cables through (see RacingSnake's Interlonza). If I were to go through the trouble of routing a track, I'd put the sensors up under the wood, not embed the whole track as in the photo. I only put it there for a suggestion on location. Take a look at Wookie's BLST track thread... he had originally had the track designed to embed the plastic track for the base, but decided to fill it with wood and put the sensors under the wood. The end result will be a much better looking track.
It's just splicing wires. Given what you've shown you can do, and the fact that even *I* was able to do it, I think that splitting the base from the track is really the best suggestion I can make.
If you separate the base from the track, you can swap the base and XLC around, putting the XLC right after the base, which avoids the issue of having one right before the base (waggling car missing the sensors).
It's really hard to tell from the photo... is the lane changer embedded into the table surface, then? Great place to start. Once you get all the lane changers embedded, you just need to connect up the slots with some nice, smooth, routed slots.
Just be sure not to get too creative with the gently curving slots prior to a lane changer.
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I don't think that turn will be too tight, not for a typical 1/8" slot.
You can ask a moderator to change your thread title to a more appropriate name, such as the name of your track, if you have an idea for one.
Unless you pay extra for properly conductive adhesive tape, it would be a good idea to provide power to the rails of the lane changers. That will ensure that they always have the power needed to work properly, even if tape breaks elsewhere. If you do get the conductive adhesive tape, which is about $10 rather than the regular tape at less than $5 a roll, you can just tape right across the lane changers and the power base track, and the tape will carry the power needed from the base to the tape and all the lane changers. You'll probably want at least one roll with which to patch the occasional break in tape.

Also, before you bondo in the lane changers and finish up the routing and taping, be sure to hook them all in a line to your power base, and make sure they are all working reliably. The last thing you want is to bondo in a lane changer and find that it's not working well. :\
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I've been wondering how people that embed the track match up the slots with varying widths. I'd love to see a photo progression of that process, if anyone makes one. That's probably the biggest concern I have with going routed.
The board will only fit in the piece one way. Either it fits, or it doesn't. Then, just solder the wires to the rails. The polarity doesn't matter because it has a rectifier bridge on the board. The pin/bar in the solenoid is supposed to be able to come out, so just put it back in, and it should work fine. The trickiest bit, actually, is getting those little hooks on the solenoid pins to line up with the black plastic thing that moves the flipper. Once those are all in place again, get that back cover on before they come out again.

Oh, and you should NOT need to do anything with the solenoid wiring. You literally need only move the parts over to the new entrance (old exit) piece and fit them in. The only wiring to worry about is the power wires that soldered to the rails. Get it all back together and test the functionality connected right to the power base with a single car running across. If the flipper works the wrong way (flips when you meant to go straight, straight when you meant to change), then just open it back up and physically swap the actual solenoids to the other side of the track from where they were. Make sure none of the little wires are being pinched, and reassemble.
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Yes, your pit entrance is likely to be missed by fast driving, and sliding, cars. It's bad enough that they'll miss it when they want to go in, but what's worse is if a car wants to go straight, but is following another car that goes into the pits, if he's sliding and misses the sensor, the pit entrance won't switch back to straight, and that car will end up in the pit lane! :\ So yes... unless you move the pit lane or change the curvature of the final turn, you'll want to put an extra sensor or two parallel to the main one, for those cases.

Also, putting the base in the middle of the straight is fine for digital, once you get the firmware updated, but if you plan to run analog cars, it might be problematic. Analog relies on the guides being detected, and if a car has a lot of grip, it might be wheelying slightly as it crosses the base track, and the guide will not be detected properly. This reason alone is why we recommend the lap counter be at the end of a straight whenever possible, and why it was there in my track diagram.

Now will also be a good time to consider if you want pit lane sensors, such as SmartSensor, or Pit-Pro. Not essential, but nice to have.
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Scalextric flippers do not return to straight. That's why it's important to have a little run up to the sensor, so that cars wanting to go straight can tell the flipper to set to straight. With SSD, it's the car that tells the flipper if it want to go straight, or change lanes. The flipper waits for the signal before it moves. It does NOT reset after a car passes.

As for the tape, well... in your above photo, the rails should conduct the power well enough. The tape really isn't necessary, there. However, to be sure the tape is conductive, separate the pieces completely. Then, run tape from the end of one rail on one piece (the power base) to the same rail on the lane changer... repeat for the other rail. If you place a car on the lane changer piece, it should move, if the tape has conductive adhesive. If it doesn't, then the tape is regular tape. You can still use it, but you'll need to score the tape, HARD, into the rail on all of the lane changers. This will usually "squish" the adhesive out of the way so that the copper makes contact with the rail through it. The result will be an electrical connection. Problem is, this may need to be done regularly if the adhesive doesn't allow that contact to be maintained. You'll only know after you try. :\
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Might have a reply elsewhere, but it's probably just the pin on the other side has come out.
No, the APB display is entirely replaced by the computer. The base works in a completely different way, so trying to connect them at the same time, say with a splitter, would be a BAD IDEA™.
It is handy to keep around, though, as some setting still need to be configured via the display, such as analog direction, and minimum lap time (to make sure it's not too high).
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