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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Not sure this is in the correct forum, didn't there used to be a sub forum for SSDC?

I've had my Scalextric digital layout with C7042 APB (firmware suitably updated) for probably 12 months or more but still cannot get a reliable variable throttle pace car set up in SSDC, & being Billy Nomates this was the one of the reasons I went down this route. Am I expecting too much to get a car to run within 1.5-> 2 seconds of "driven" car. The main problem is I run 4+ laps at what I consider to be a conservative pace but when I test the pace car it allways (90%) of the time is faster than I have set up, resulting in deslots. I've tried all sorts of permutations

-The S/F straight is 4.5 straights long with APB bang in the middle & 90⁰ R2 corner at the end

-I run with 100% power (I have tried at 80%)

-I don't complicate things with any lane changes

-I use the standard linear throttle profile

-I tend to start with a "cold" car & uncleaned tyres, cleaning them after setting up my pace car. All my cars have the magnets supplied as standard.

-I use a PC (could be 10yrs old) running Windows XP Pro, I admit it can take perhaps 30 secs to "normalise" the data.

Does anyone have any suggestions as to what I could try next before giving up & making do with constant throttle?

Has anyone succeeded in setting up pace cars suitable to race against.

Thanks for any help?
 

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Prof I T
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They are c"*# don't waste your time with them, rcs64 is supposed to be better but never tried them personally, any rms that has access to only one calibration point for pace cars is going to struggle.

You really need additional sensors dotted around the track, unfortunately they are not quite ready yet.
 

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Circuit Owner
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You can use constant pace - just fit your pace car with an extra set of magnets (either stack one on top of the existing one or use a second magnet position if it exists).

This way your pace car can be slower in the straights than you but faster in the corners - a good challenge.

I gave up with SSD pace cars and built my own throttles using a 5.1k potentiometer so I can adjust the speed using a knob on a box. I also added toggle switches to toggle the lane change signal on or off and a momentary push button for the brakes. If you are handy you can build one - if not you can PM me about the DigiPace (there's a thread on SlotForum somewhere).
 

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Hi, Try sticking a piece of 1/2" wide electrical insulating tape about 4" long on one rail on the straight immediately before the offending corner bend. It solved all my problems of de-slotting pace cars at the end of my long straights. I only have R2 and R3 bends in my layout, no R1. My pace cars are now hard to beat.
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My two Penneth !
Being a fellow Billy no mates, I got to grips with RCS64 pace cars the other night and was having great races against two of the slippery buggers.
RCS64 all the way for me.
Cheers
Simon
 

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Aah now there is a question ? Lol. I'm afraid I can't be sure but set them up without controllers and experimented by setting different lap times.
The full version is free for a month, so nothing to lose.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
I've just about given up on the SSDC variable pace cars, but tried RCS64 again (needed to get an internet connection in the garage!) & I might be having a bit more luck, still not perfect but worth persevering with a bit longer. I have banked one of the bends & put some insulation tape just before a bend to slow the car a little. It's a shame I couldn't get SSDC to work reliably as I think it has a "friendlier" user interface. So I now have 2 databases to keep up to date!
 

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Tuning pace cars in RCS64 was, for me, a huge pile of "billy no mates" fun for some weeks. It becomes an entire new game, lil tweaks here and there seeing how far you can push it. More of the engineer in the pit, than driver on the track.

My main pace car has magnets added at the outer parts of the car more than the centre, further forward too. Adding the magnets to the centre made it slower over all. Adding them to the edge increases it's downforce when the car has slid out a bit, at the point the normal magnet would of failed, which increases the chance of a deslot.
 

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Hi Graham, Ade is correct. None of the existing variable speed pace car systems can consistently work until we fit sensors strategically placed around the track and implement programming to read the sensors. Existing systems can work up to a point but really require a dedicated track layout with dedicated cars. The problem is one of "time and motion" Your cars simply travel too far in a millisecond for the existing programs to give consistent results. I have bucket fulls of Arduino kit arriving daily to build sensors for spacing around my tracks, but have put enough time and effort into the subject to say IMO a truly foolproof system will never be a reality at any sort of sensible cost. I have on and off spent about 50 years of trying. Bryan B.
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Prof I T
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Hi
Different system but pace cars are variable recorded and thanks to lane brains dotted around the track has rock solid playback.

 

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Hi Graham, Don't loose heart. The Scalextric APB is at present the finest pace car or for that matter the best Digital control system in the mass-produced market. The Pace car feature and APB screen were the sole reason I bought my Scalextric APB systems years ago. Try this little game test. Using your APB and its screen set up a pace car NO lane change as endurance 10 minuets having first tuned and trimmed your chosen car to perfection in every way possible. Now run your car to its maximum speed until de-slotting on a given corner. Now add a piece of insulating tape 4" on one rail just prior to that corner. Rerun the car and keep repeating the previous procedure increasing the speed and adding more 2" to 4" strips of tape with spaces of 1"or so of clear track between the taped sections. And adding tape to further corner entries as they progressively develop as de-slotting bends. When you have reached speeds which are by now ridiculous and the car is not de-slotting at any bend, Set your APB to race ENDURANCE for 10 laps using that car in its Test lane. Now make a note of the lap speed for each lap recorded during that 10-minuet endurance race. What you will see is slight variation in the lap times but a degree of accuracy unobtainable with any pace car software in the world market today. I am the original pit lane mechanic with knowledge only born of the HSE. "Hard School of experience" I have retested this exercise hundreds of times over thousands of laps and proved that any software program that is only capable of recurrently recording one millisecond over the entire length of a given track is too slow. What we are doing here is mixing nuts and bolts with electronics and computer programming, which is something which modern history has proven, has been avoided and has slowed down or defeated advancement in development. Quote Sinclaire " If toolmakers and mechanical engineers were in the 50s and 60s trained in BASIC electronics, the world would be 50 years ahead today". Give it a go . Much more if you want to hear it. Bryan B.
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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
I thought I had patience!!

After all that effort & my wife away for the next week I'll have no excuses not to give it more effort, the only trouble is it's a bit cold in my man cave/garage/*** house!!
 

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Hi Graham,

I agree that true reliable variable speed pace cars will require multiple sensors laid around the track, this will allow for re-calibration points so the pace car knows where it is on the track more often than just at the S/F line. I am looking forward to these becoming available (hopefully with Locator Pro and SSDC should become a great option for pace cars).

However in the meantime I have used the RCS64 software to get pace cars to what I would say is 80-90% reliable, not perfect but good enough to run multiple 30 lap races on our 35m track with R1 hairpin and be very competitive (I.e. I am not guaranteed a win, especially when I add different throttle curves into the mix for me to use to simulate different co-driver abilities etc.).

The link below details the process I followed using the RCS64 Sectors to control speed and braking etc. to negotiate our track, its not perfect but good enough to enjoy some really competitive "Neville Nomates" racing, but it does take time to read the manual and experiment with the pace car recording and sector placements etc.

http://www.slotforum.com/forums/index.php?showtopic=139033&p=1579329

Good luck & I hope you can get this to work for you as I have, it certainly adds a new dimension to racing."home alone".
 

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My Digital Pace cars.

Hi Graham, Phil (Billy Cart) is now on board your thread. He is the man. If you read his linked posting you will be on the road to a fair level of success using both constant and variable speed pace cars with RCS 64. Download the manual but print it also its 96 pages but well worth the paper and ink. The stuff I wrote in my last post is from my pace car (robots) concept notes in my diaries of 1960s when I was using analogue robots (pacers). The insulating tape method was trial #1 , it progressed to trial #2 " Short sections of isolated track before bends with reverse polarity to the rails for braking. I then discovered primitive electronics and fitted discharge capacitors to my cars and removed all power from the short isolated track at the bend entries That was trial #3. ( dynamic braking). My track was 5 lane hardboard and wood. All done before 1970. Play with variable speed RCS64 pacers but understand its limitations. Tail outs and rear wheel spins are a no no, so hence another ugly problem rears its head. Slot cars have solid rear axels so left and right rear wheels have to go around bends with one or other wheel rear wheel spinning (skidding). Your carefully created variable pace graph settings just went out the window once again. I still say persevere with the variable speed concept learn it properly but I would run pacer races in constant speed personally. I can drive along with 5 pacers in constant speed on my track and it is a real fun experience. All my slot car system designs of the past 50 years have been Pace car dedicated for my "HOME ALONE" slot racing toy sets. I believe, that had manufacturers followed my lead in the late 60s early 70s using my analogue home Alone concepts then slot cars would have retained a far wider following through the years. So now with Digital lane changing you can have heaps of fun dodging in and out around and through the traffic on your very own "HOME ALONE" race track. But call it Scalextric if you want to. Bryan B.
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With RCS64 I find it really hard to beat my pace car set up once done.

@Lone racer... You're probably right about that home alone thing. I remember as a child setting up my Scalextric many times when not with friends but not getting much from it.
 

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Hi Mitch, My first sight of a slot track 1957 The Perrys club. My first thought was "this is no more than a Hornby train set with car bodies fitted" I can do better than this. I want a car I can steer. It all started from there and has been my overriding hobby obsession since then. Bryan B.
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