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1,157 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
It's Christmas time, when lots of new folks discover how much fun SSD racing is, so time for the 2nd Annual SSD 101 thread!

If you are new to SSD and just want to have fun with your set have at it - SSD works great out of the box and you don't need all the info here. If, however, you'd like to build a permanent layout and take your digital racing to the next level, read on.

Posts like this always raise as many questions as they answer. If you're new and have a question, please post it in a separate thread so more people will see it. If you're already an SSD racer, please feel free to add more info or correct my mistakes.

N.B. - this is not a sales pitch, it is intended to make sure new and potential SSD users know something about how SSD works so they can enjoy it more. If you have questions about the pros and cons of SSD or have a particular brand you like, this is not the place to post.

As promised Riko, with apologies to Spa67, Kaspin42, JohnH, and many others whose pics I have shamelessly co-opted.

SSD 101

The purpose of this thread is to give you all the info you need to enjoy SSD, including some pointers to stuff pinned in the Really Useful Technical Links. To make it easy, I'll break the thread into several posts that will cover the following:

Overview, What is SSD?
The Track
How SSD Works - the Powerbase (pb), Controllers, Digital Transformer and 3rd Party Power Supplies (PSUs)
The Lane Changers (CLCs and XLCs)
The Cars
The Chips
The RMS - Race Management Programs
The Mods
Future History - Where We've Been and Where We're Going

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1,157 Posts
Discussion Starter · #2 ·
Overview - What is SSD?

SSD - short for Scalextric Sport Digital - lets up to 6 drivers each race their own car on a 2 lane layout.

There are a lot of great SSD videos on youtube, but here's one I particularly like, in Spanish, for Superslot, as Scalextric is known in Spain where SCX has the rights to the Scalextric name - the lawyers worked that out!

Linky to video

SSD was first introduced in 2004. As Scaley designed it, the system allowed more people to race at once with lane changing and passing. This alone made SSD more like real racing and much more fun than even large, multi-lane layouts. With SSD you no longer need a very large space to have a layout that you and many friends can all race on at the same time. Plus, the ability to pick a line through a corner and the need to plan your passing strategy adds a touch of realism that you can't find in analog racing.

But that's not the end of it! SSD has been extended by the users here at SF to have many more features than Scaley initially envisioned. Right now we have two primary modifications - mods - that make SSD even more fun:

Powerbase Pro - this is new firmware code that replaces the program found in the stock c7030 pb and adds many new features. The new feature I like best is ghost cars - computer controlled cars that serve as traffic you have to get around while racing. Other like the ability for the pb to talk back and forth to a Race Management program - this gives us pitstops and fuel management, as well as timing and scoring. You can find out more about PB Pro at its website

Simple-H mod - this is an off-the-shelf board that replaces the power output section in the stock c7030 pb to greatly increase the power handling capability and fault tolerance of the pb. The Simple-H mod can supply up to 25 amps to the track, enough to race 6 cars with hot, 30K motors or up to 5 cars with many ghost cars. It also eliminates the need to wire the lane change track sections with their own power supply separate from the track rails. To get the benefit of the Simple-H mod you do need to have a 3rd party power supply.

Getting these mods is easy - you just mail your c7030 pb off to one of the users here at SF who do upgrades - and they cover the globe!

Right now, all Scaley sets and the new c7040 digital conversion kit come with a 4 car pb. You can see this pb in the picture of the contents of the conversion kit below. This pb works great to race up to 4 cars on a 2 lane track with a modest number of lane changers. It cannot be upgraded with PB Pro or Simple-H. Also, it lacks an aux port - a data port - so it cannot be used with external lap time displays or race management programs.

You don't have to be stuck with the 4 car pb. The c7030 pb, and the older c7011 digital conversion kit and c1140T Lane Change Challenge Set - both of which include the 6 car pb - are still available from many retailers as listed in this thread.

Supplies of the old 6 car pb are limited because Scaley is coming out with a new 6 car pb - c7042 - in 2009. This pb will add many of the features of PB Pro but not all. Also, because slot cars are marketed as toys and must comply with legal restrictions on power handling, the new pb will not be able to supply all the power that a c7030 pb upgraded with Simple-H can supply.

Undoubtedly, the users here at SF will eventually work out how to upgrade the new 6 car pb, but in the meantime you're not stuck, get a c7030 pb and you can have all the features today.

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
The Track

Before we talk about how SSD works let's take a look at the Scaley track system. The first thing to know here is Scaley track comes in two flavors - Classic and Sport. Classic track had been around since at least the early 1960s. Sport track improves on Classic by having a smoother surface, a deeper slot, and rails that are flush with the road for better sliding and less magnetic downforce. The nice thing is Sport kept the same form factor as Classic - the size of the track pieces did not change - so you can connect Classic track to Sport with an adapter track that is a half straight long and looks like this:

Classic track will work with SSD, and some of the old classic pieces that are no longer available in the sport track range add lots of fun, like the triple Le Mans start sections shown here:

There's a review of Sport track here. If you want sport track you have to be careful, classic track sets like this are still for sale on the web, particularly on ebay.

There's a thread here that shows how Scaley track compares in size to other brands and shows what all the track pieces in the diagram below look like in real life.

Here's the sport track range, showing turn radii:

The tan things with red & white FIA stripes are borders. Scaley track is narrow - just 156 mm or 6.14 inches wide - but the borders let you make space on the outside of turns for cars to slide. Every size border includes a 1/32 scale version of the Armco barriers you find at real race tracks, and borders and barriers are available for straight track sections, too, so you can use them to keep cars on the track all around your layout.

Black borders are also available. These are nice because they are a little easier to slide on - the red and white FIA stripes on the tan borders come on a rounded piece of plastic that makes a small hump at the edge of the track. Black borders come stock in the American sets with the T2 or T3 track layouts.

The borders are 62mm wide - 2.44 inches - and add 2 inches of lane width for sliding.

You can tell what a track piece is by looking at the code letter on the underside of the track. Here's a chart in pdf format that lists each code letter and the corresponding track part number and description.

Something to notice about slot car track, especially when you are planning your layout, is every track system has a guage - a track width. Turns diameters are always a multiple of this width so that turns can be nested - an R1 turn will fit inside an R2, etc. I usually think of Scaley turn diameters in English units like this:

R1 = 18 inches
R2 = 30 inches
R3 = 42 inches
R4 = 54 inches

Borders all the way around a turn will add about 5 inches to the diameter. Thinking this way helps you estimate how much space you need for a layout.

Thanks to the left and right hand pit lane out and in pieces and the single lane straights and curves, it is possible to make an SSD layout with 3 or 4 lane sections, like this:

The single lane curves are the same diameter as the inner lane of an R3 turn, so they fit on the outside of two lane R2 track pieces.

It is also possible to use two pbs so that you have a layout that is 4 lanes all the way around. In this case you would remove the power wires to the track from the 2nd pb and use a Race Management program to keep track of laps and timing. See this thread in the technical links. It is also possible to use a pb to keep track of pit in - see this thread. If you want to do this on your layout don't hesitate to post a question.

Cleaning the track - SSD uses AC to power the rails. The AC causes more sparking than DC voltage between the car's pick up braids and the track rails. This causes a build up of carbon on the rails. To keep digital running smoothly, clean the rails periodically with paper towel and either rubbing alcohol or pentrating oil like WD-40 or Inox MX3. How frequently you need to clean the rails depends on how much you race. About once a week usually gets it, but if you've got 6 guys coming over every day, do 'em a favor and keep the track clean!

Here's a tip - you can clean rust spots of track rails almost miraculously with a #2 pencil - just rub the rust spot with the pencil lead.

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
How SSD Works

Switching to digital is easy:

1. Replace your analog powerbase (pb), controllers, and transformer(s) with the digital versions
2. Add at least one lane changer track piece (lc) to your layout, and
3. Get at least one digital car

Once you have the pb and controllers, you can add digital track pieces and cars over time, so you don't have to spend a bundle all at once.

Let's look at each of these components in turn.

The Powerbase - called a pb for short. This is the heart of the digital system. Like an analog pb, the digital pb provides power to the track and passes along control information to the cars. But that's where the similarity ends.

The pb consists of a 1/2 straight track section and a control box. There are two versions of pb, the c7030 six car, shown below:

and the four car, which is shipped in all sets as of late 2008.

Besides the obvious difference - one runs 6, the other 4 cars - the 6 car pb has lots of extra features. It counts laps and lap times, lets you select 6 different race modes modeled after different styles of 1:1 racing, and includes a data out port - called an aux port - so you can connect the pb to an external lap counter or a computer running any one of a number of third-party race management software. Only the c7030 6 car pb can be upgraded with PB Pro and Simple-H.

Both the 6 car and 4 car digital pbs power the track the same way - the design of SSD has not been changed since it was introduced. If you think about it, if cars can change lanes, then BOTH lanes must be powered at all times. The pb provides this power in the form of square wave AC. In the pb half straight section, the rails of each lane are connected together electrically, right to right, left to left. This means your layout is really just one big lane all the way around.

Information about how fast a car should go and whether to change lanes is modulated onto the AC power signal using pulse width modulation. A string of bytes is sent out for each car about every 20ms, whether or not a car ID - 1 through 6 or 1 through 4 - is actually on the track. If an ID has not been enabled, zero throttle and no lane change are sent.

If you put your ear next to the pb - sometimes even if you don't! - you can hear the buzzing of this data frequency, just like a 60 cycle hum from fluorescent lights.

The 6 car pb also allows you to select the braking mode for each car. Cars can use either dynamic braking - link - hich works the same as in the analog world - or brake by pushing a special button on the controller which works like an emergency brake on real cars, or use both types of braking.

The 6 car pb offers several different race modes: Qualifying, Grand Prix, Nascar, Endurance, Rally, Pursuit, and Arcade.

If you'd like to know more about the pb, take a look at the links under Powerbase in the Useful Technical Links

Overloads - Since the lanes are always powered up in digital, both pbs must have circuitry to shut down power in the event of a short on the track. When this happens, the LCD screen on the 6 car pb will dispaly "OVERLOAD". Resetting is easy, just push a button the pb. Before you reset, be sure to check the track for stray wire from car braids, screws that might have fallen out of a car, etc.

Timing and Scoring - the pb is connected to a half straight track section that contains 2 optical sensors. The first of these - the first one the car will pass over travelling from right to left - senses the car ID from the pulses of the IR LED on the bottom of the car. The second sensor senses the guide blade. If you install the pb the opposite way round in your layout, the car will hit the guide blade sensor first, and laps will be scored to the car that previously passed the IR sensor. It is the guide blade sensor that requires the use of black guides.

The Controllers

In analog racing the controller, the car, and a single lane of the track are connected together in a series circuit. You control the speed of the car by pressing the controller, which changes its resistance in the circuit and allows more or less voltage to be dropped across the car's motor.

In digital the controller is not in a circuit with the car and the track, it is only in circuit with the pb. You still vary the speed by changing the resistance of the controller, but it works just the opposite of analog. An SSD controller has a 0-5K ohm variable resistor inside. The more you depress the trigger to go faster, the HIGHER the resistance of the controller.

The pb reads the resistance of the controller and digitizes the throttle information in 64 steps, 0 to 3F in hexadecimal. Of course, there is a little tolerance in making the resistors used in the controllers. Sometimes you can get a controller where the resistance value does not go all the way to 5,000 ohms. In this case, your car will not achieve maximum speed. The PB Pro mod can overcome this problem by sensing the range of the controller's resistance values and calibrating the speed value the pb calculates so you do get max speed. This feature will also be available on the new c7042 6 car pb Scaley will introduce next year.

How would you know if your controller is 3F? - the easy way is to measure the resistance of the controller with a meter. If it read 5K ohms or greater at max throttle you're good to go.

Besides the throttle trigger, an SSD controller has two extra buttons, one for button braking and one for lane changing. These buttons switch in resistance values in the controller-pb circuit, an 8.2K ohm for lane change and an 18K ohm for button braking.

The control circuitry in the pb digitizes the resistance it sees at the controller and figures out what information to send to the car. The throttle information is contained in the first six bits of the data byte sent to the car. Bit 7 is for lane changing and bit 8 for button braking.

The Digital Transformer & 3rd Party Power Supplies (PSUs)

In Scaley analog, the wall wart puts out AC that is rectified in the pb into DC and DC voltage is used to power the rails. In SSD, the wall wart puts out DC that the pb turns into square wave AC to send down the rails.

The 6 car pb and the 4 car pb each have their own transformer, and about the only thing you need to know is use the wall wart designed for your pb.

The c7030 6 car pb has two power inputs, and it is advantageous to use both of them, either with two appropriate wall warts or with two inputs from a 3rd party power supply. The 6 car pb looks to see if it is getting power from both inputs and will output more power if it is.

Part numbers for making up leads for the 6 car pb are on this page.

There are recommendations for 3rd party power supplies in the technical links.

If you are in the states, this is a good psu Linky to Pyramid PSU. Be sure to get a PSU that has the right connectors for the mains in your country.

Unfortunately, using a 3rd party PSU will not greatly increase the amount of power to your track, because the power output capability of both the 6 car and 4 car pbs is set by their internal power components. It will give a slight benefit, because the output of the wall warts is not regulated, so the voltage tends to drop off as more amps are supplied.

To overcome this limitation, you can have the c7030 6 car pb upgraded with the Simple-H mod. If you do have the Simple-H mod done, you will need to buy a 3rd party PSU that can supply more amps than the Scaley wall warts in order to use the full power handling capacity - up to 25 amps - of the Simple-H board.

If you upgrade the 6 car pb with the Simple-H, our upgraders will set things up inside the pb so you only need one set of wires going to the pb from your PSU.

In using a 3rd party power supply, it is best to keep the output voltage set below 16 volts, especially if you are powering your LCs from the track rails (the way the LCs come stock). The components in the LCs are rated at 16 volts. Using a higher voltage may cause damage.

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Lane Changers (LCs)

Hey, this is what digital is all about!

Scaley makes three types of lcs:

1. Out to in and In to out curved lcs (CLCs) built into Radius 2 90 degree turn track sections,

2. Straight lane changers built into straight track sections that are 1 and 1/2 the length of standard straights. These sections allow either car to change lanes so they are known as XLCs.

3. Left hand and right hand pit outs. The out tracks actually do the lane changing, but they have corresponding in tracks that let cars merge back in

The only limit on your layout design with these pieces is your imagination. You can make single lane rally stages or 3 or 4 lane layouts. The only restriction is the layout must go back to two lanes at the pb track section, because this track contains the sensors that count laps and lap times, unless you modify a second pb to make 4 lanes past the start finish and use an RMS program for lap counting.

So how does a car change lanes? The LCs make a car change lanes using a flipper embedded in the slot. The flipper is activated by solenoids, which are controlled by infrared optical sensors. For the CLCs, the sensors are contained in a half straight sensor track that must be positioned directly before the CLC in the layout. XLCs have the sensor track built in, which is why they are extra long.

The infrared sensors that control the flippers can be tripped by a car when it passes over. On the bottom of a car set up for SSD there's a small infrared LED. When you push the lane change button on your controller the LED flashes, causing the flipper in the lc section to move and redirect the car.

You can see lots of pictures of the LCs in the technical link posts that talk about LCs.

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
The Cars

While you can buy cars from Scaley that come ready to run on SSD, it is relatively easy to modify ANY analog slot car to run on SSD. Here's the process:

1. Drill a 3mm hole on the centerline of the chasis, close to the guide
2. Mount a digital "chip" - actually a small PC board - into the car
3. Glue the infrared LED wired to the chip into the hole you drilled in the chassis, and
4. Connect the leads from the chip to the pickup braids and the motor.

Here's a great post with pictures from our chipping database that illustrates the process. In this case Savage installed the LED behind the motor of a front- motored Shelby Cobra.

The toughest step in this process is deciding where to mount the chip inside your car. After that, if you can work a hot glue gun and a soldering iron you're set.

The reason for mounting the LED close to the guide is to make sure the optical sensor that controls the LC gets triggered BEFORE the guide on the car gets to the flipper. In practice this isn't a problem, you can mount the LED pretty much any where on the car as long as it's centerlined. Sometimes we even glue the LED on the guide itself

Speaking of the guide - it needs to be black for maximum IR opacity. The sensors that count and time laps in the pb sensor track section have trouble seeing white, gray, or blue guides. Scaley includes extra black guides with every chip, which solves the problem when chipping Scaley cars. For other cars, or Ninco guides seem to make good replacements.

The Ferrite Man
- every chip includes a small assembly of electrical components that looks like a stick figure man. The components are a ferrite choke - a coil of ferrous material surrounding two wires that go to either the guide or motor - and a capacitor, so we call this the ferrite man. The components are there to prevent radio frequency interference. They normally get installed on the leads to the motor. Scaley cars usually include a ferrite man at the motor, so on Scaley chips the ferrite man is attached to the yellow and green leads that go to the pickups. When chipping a non-Scaley car, we usually put the ferrite man on the motor end.

Here's the ferrite man:

Can I run my digital cars on analog track, or analog cars on digital track? - Your digital cars WILL work on analog track, you just won't have dynamic braking. Analog cars will NOT work on digital track, but if you just wat to run a single analog car on your digital track you just need to swap out the digital pb for an analog one. Set the lcs to allow the car to run straight on, you may want to tape the flipper in the open position with some scotch tape. It is easy to convert your track back to analog - just replace the lcs with normal track sections and replace the digital pb with an analog one.

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1,157 Posts
Discussion Starter · #7 ·
The Chips

The chip you put in a car to allow it to run on SSD performs two functions:

1. It decodes the digital data for throttle setting, lane changing, and button braking.
2. It rectifies the square wave AC from the rails into DC voltage to power the motor.

Attached to the chip is an infrared LED. The chip controls this LED to signal to the sensors in the track to operate the lane change flippers. The chip uses the throttle setting and button braking information to control the electrical power sent to the motor.

Scaley makes 3 flavors of chips:

1. F1 chips - named for Formula 1 cars, these are smaller and easier to fit in small cars. They don't have solder pads for hooking up head and tail lights.

2. Saloon chips - slightly larger chips designed for cars with more room on the inside. Up until recently, saloon chips had solder pads that could be used to power head and tail lights. Recent batches have ommitted the pads, no idea if they're gone for good or what. On the bright side, you can always wire the lights directly to the guide, or use the new light kit designed to work with SSD chips made by - sorry didn't get a picture of the chip.

3. The Easy-Fit Digital Plug - In 2007, Scaley brought out a digital plug chip designed to work with "digital plug ready" cars - most cars that will come from Scaley in future are promised to be DPR. These chips seem to need a "ferrite man" at both the motor end and pickup end.

Scaley's chips work great with stock motors, but, of course, slotters are always trying to use higher revving, hotter motors. RichG had a go at replacing the diodes on the chips with higher quality ons that can handle more power and also adding a mosfet output stage - see this thread.

Another solution that seems to work all the time is just using two chips in parallel. Also, the chip can handle more power than the Scaley chips.

For more info on chipping cars - with lots of pics - have a look at our pinned Chipping Database

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1,157 Posts
Discussion Starter · #8 ·
RMS Software

Race Management Software - RMS - at its most basic displays timing and scoring data from the c7030 6 car pb. As this pb comes stock it does output this data through its aux port. RichG has made a cable that can connect the aux port to a PC so you can use RMS software.

With PB Pro v.1.7, however, the pb can both talk to and receive data from an RMS program. It is this capability that has allowed us to implement fancy features like pit stops and fuel management.

Now here's where I don't want to hurt anybody's feelings. I don't use an RMS yet so I don't know all the features or all the programs that are available. I hope the guys who write the RMS will post more info in this thread - especially if I failed to mention your program.

There are 3 RMS programs that I'm aware of:

SSD Console - written by Andrew Wallace. The SSDC thread is here. SSDC also has a homepage here.

Here's a screenshot, beautiful, isn't it?

PCLapcounter - There's a webpage that discusses PCLapCounter working with PB Pro here.

Slot-GP - written by Rubenio. Slot-GPs homepage is here. There is a thread here.

We have stuff pinned about a program called SCALE but I don't know anything about it. Also, Motorsportnut for a while had a Mac based RMS program, but the link is no longer working since Apple changed .Mac around.

For timing and scoring I use one of RichG's fantastic lap displays. Here's mine, with a magnifier sheet over it because of the configuration of my layout. Other people have made much more scenic housings as you can see here.

Rich makes these in batches, to get one send him a PM.


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1,157 Posts
Discussion Starter · #9 ·
The Mods

Okay, now we come to something really cool,
modifications that users have come up with to make SSD even better.

Since 2004 there have been a number of mods but many of these have been made unnecessary by PB Pro and the Simple H mod so I will cover them first:

Simple-H - this mod replaces the power out components of the stock c7030 6 car pb with an off the shelf board. The board allows the pb to supply up to 25 amps of power to the track. This is enough power to race 6 cars with high current draw motors or up to 5 cars with many computer-controlled ghost cars. You do have to have a beefy 3rd party PSU to get the benefit of the Simple-H, of course, the pb can only pass through the power that it is supplied.

The Simple-H board is made by Robot Power, you can see it on this page.

You can install the Simple-H board in the pb yourself - there's a photo tutorial BluMiniMe put together here - but the easy way is to have it installed for you by one of our SlotForum tech guys.. They can upgrade any version of the c7030 pb - even a blown one!

If one of the tech guys installs it, you don't need to order the board from Robot Power - they will have it. To get the mod, just send the upgrader a pm to make arrangements then post your pb off by mail or courier.

The Simple-H also greatly improves the fault tolerance of the pb by making it much less likely that an overload - usually caused by a short on the rails - will damage the power out section of the pb. It is just about bullet proof.

The original thread for the Simple-H development is in the technical links here. This is an absolutely fabulous, must have upgrade!

Powerbase Pro - this mod replaces the firmware in the c7030 6 car pb. It adds many, many new features including:

• Pace cars
• Throttle calibration, enabling each throttle response to be fine tuned
• Throttle maps
• Track Call, allowing a race to be paused by pressing the brake button on any throttle
• Programmable power limiting (50%, 75%, 88% and 100% speed settings)
• Easy car ID using the brake button on the corresponding throttle
• Automatic car registration, no need to enable or disable throttles
• Grand Prix, Endurance and Pursuit race modes with results display
• Supports existing race management software programs that use the AUX port
• Allows PCs running PB Pro compatible software to control the powerbase
• Advanced (full feature set) and basic (easy and quick to setup) user modes
• Bootloader installed on to the powerbase allowing future upgrades

Whew! Another must have!

The PB Pro website is here. The thread for its development is here.

Powerbase Pro development is ongoing. The current version as of 12/13/08 is 1.7, but by Christmas of 2008 v. 1.8 is due, which will add the capability to switch between running your layout in analog or digital mode.

Here's a great video showing how PB Pro works from Bill's fantastic Targa layout: Linky to fun video.

Separately Powering the LCs - back before the Simple-H mod when we could not supply much power to the track, Drummer developed a mod that supplies power to the LC track sections separately. Normally the LCs draw their power from the rails, and they draw 2 amps for 1/4 second. This level of current draw meant that if a couple of LCs were activated simultaneously they could cause the pb to overload. The mod solves the problem by desoldering the LC power wires from the rails and connecting them to a separate power supply, like the Scaley wall wart that comes with the pb. Any 12 volt DC source will do as long as it can supply enough current for the number of LCs in the layout. The thread is here, and there is a link to a photo tutorial in the first post in the thread.

If you only have the 4 car pb, you might want to do this mod, especially if you have several LCs in your layout.

The Master/Slave mod - this was our original method for increasing power to the track before the Simple-H mod. It is now obsolete, but I wanted to mention it here because if Scaley is slow in coming out with the new 6 car pb and stocks of the c7030 become totally depleted some users may want to do the M/S mod using two 4 car pbs. The thread for the mod is here. If you want to attempt this mod with two 4 car pbs, be sure to post a question in the forum and get Riko to guide you - the guts of the 4 car pb have changed over time so it is important to know wht you are looking at.

And Finally...

The last few things are not mods, really, but stuff you would do even on an analog layout to improve performance.

Install powertaps - powertaps are simply wires that carry power from the output of the pb to various track sections. They provide a parallel path to the track rails for current from the pb. Each track joint is actually a little resistor, so in a long track with lots of joints you can lose power as you get farther away from the pb. This is super simple. Halfway down the first page of this page you'll find some words and pictures about the two different ways of installing powertaps.

The best method is to take connect the power wires from the pb to a barrier strip and then distribute power around to various track sections - this is called a star configuration. If you don't want to open up the pb to do this, you can take power from the track section adjacent to the pb to the barrier strip - that's how I did my powertaps.

Copper tape your rails - this is kind of a super power tap. You lay down copper tape like that used on routed tracks over the rails on your Sport track. This bypasses all the track joints and turns each rail into one continuous wire. Obviously, you only want to lay tape on a permanent layout, once you're completely satisfied with your layout design. If you pull the tape up, you'll have adhesive on the rails that will have to be cleaned off. Zipp did a nice thread on this here.

Wow, do I have to do ALL these mods?!!!
- In a word, no. Scaley digital works right out of the box, or I'd have a routed track now! Many racers do nothing more than they would for an analog track - buy an after-market PSU and install some power taps.

The longer your track, the more LCs you have, and the more you race cars with hot motors and/or magnets the more likely you will want to do things like copper tape your track. But before you do, take the steps you would take with an analog track like cleaning and crimping the rails at the track joints, like this:

The Good News!

You don't have to know any of this to enjoy SSD. Just open your set, put up the layout, and get racing!

Hopefully, this will get you fired up if you are new to SSD or just thinking about it. If you'd like more info about anything here, just post a question or send me a pm.

Merry Christmas and Happy Slotting!
Circuit TrustChrist

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1,157 Posts
Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Thanks Nigel, I always appreciate your encouragement and great attitude, I think we all do. Often I've wanted to mention that and thank you. You must be a great guy to race with!

Consider yourself invited to College Station, we do have a guest room, and a new layout going up!

Circuit TrustChrist

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1,700 Posts
Here, Here Minardi this post summarises everything it took me countless hours to search & read to get the most out of SSD (a must pinned thread).

New SSD users wil benefit heaps from this, a definite MUST READ, 1. to understand, 2 to save heaps of time.

Absolutely well done Paul, a flawless account to benefit everyone.



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1,157 Posts
Discussion Starter · #16 ·
Thanks, Phil!

Modifications I Should Have Mentioned:

Here are two links that should be added in the Modifications section:

First, on lane changers:

The flipper that redirects the car from one lane to another in both CLCs and XLCs actually forms part of the rails - it is made of metal and is supposed to get current from contacting either one rail or the other. RichG termed this "ambitious technology" and, in fact, sometimes the flipper does not make good contact with the rail.

We struggled with this for a while, coming up with many solutions, the most popular being putting a small magnet on the inside of the rails to attract the flipper and make sure it made good contact. You can read about the problem in general and the many attempted solutions in this thread in the Technical Links, SSD Flippers Need to Liven Up.

And then...

Finally, K13ITH came up with a good and final solution - using relays to make sure the flippers are always powered. There is a photo tutorial to implement this mod in the thread Powered Flipper - the Straight Lane Change. The tutorial is for XLCs, however this should also work for CLCs - correct me if I'm wrong.

Second, on Pit Lane Sensing

Riko has done some excellent threads on Pit Lane Sensing, and I think only one of these has been captured in the Technical Links so far.

Dummies Guide to Sensing a Sinle Pit Lane - this thread is about how to tell an RMS program that a particular car has entered the pit lane, using a 6 car PB for sensing.

Pit Lane Sensor - this thread shows how to provide both a pit in and pit out message to an RMS. This thread is not in the Tech Links but it is the thread referenced in the SSD Console manual.

Be sure to post any questions you might have about pit lane sensing on the SSD board so Riko can guide you. I think this is kind of the last thing we SSD racers get around to, so it is the most mysterious.

Circuit TrustChrist

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Well here is something that needs to be corrected...

In the How SSD Works section - about the powerbase - I say:

QUOTE (pault86 @ 14 Dec 2008, 00:50) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>Timing and Scoring - the pb is connected to a half straight track section that contains 2 optical sensors. The first of these - the first one the car will pass over travelling from right to left - senses the car ID from the pulses of the IR LED on the bottom of the car. The second sensor senses the guide blade. If you install the pb the opposite way round in your layout, the car will hit the guide blade sensor first, and laps will be scored to the car that previously passed the IR sensor. It is the guide blade sensor that requires the use of black guides.

I should have said if you install the pb the opposite way round in your layout and still try to race anti- clockwise, the pb will score laps to the last car to pass the start finish before your car. The point here is that cars will run in either direction on an SSD layout, but you need to make sure that cars pass the ID sensor in the pb half straight before they pass the guide sensor for laps to be scored correctly. This is true for both the 4 car and 6 car pb.

This obviously needs a diagram. Think of it this way: With the control box on the south side of the pb half straight track section, cars need to pass over the pb from east to west for laps to be scored properly.

In practice when designing a layout it is usually pretty easy to pick a spot for the pb so that you can run the layout in the direction you prefer.

Circuit TrustChrist

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
Probably ought to mention in this post that Slot Car Centre has some excellent support posts for SSD on their homepage. Especially useful for newbies is their troubleshooting guide.

Probably need to emphasize again that SSD works great out of the box, and incredibly well to support even club level racing on very large and complex tracks with the PB Pro and Simple-H mods.

Circuit TrustChrist

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Just a quick thanks for this forum and this thread in particular from a new returnee to the fold -- Digital Super GT delivered by Santa for my boy just yesterday, although I have a big pile of classic track to be added too. Sadly, it looks like we'll have to wait until some mysterious number of blue moons until the new 6 car PB turns up...

Thanks again from a new user searching for exactly this forum

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