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Russell Sheldon
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I know they are not slot cars, but has anyone seen the new range of Konami 1/43rd scale radio-controlled F1 cars? They are absolutely incredible! Really beautiful models.

"DigiQFormula" uses an infrared (IR)-based wireless control system and the technology has resultied in a precision system that gives complete control of the car. Retail price is $68.00.

The range includes the 2003 Renault R23, McLaren-Mercedes MP4-17D, Jordan-Ford EJ13, Williams-BMW F25, Toyota TF103 and the Ferrari F2003-GA.





Kind regards

Russell
 

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What a FASCINATING site - thanks Russell!

Although not strictly slots, this topic has immense relevance, but you need to visit the Konami site - link kindly provided by Russell before you can appreciate just how appropriate it is. It is well worth a really methodical and thorough look round, as it contains much that is relevant to our 1/32 cars in general and most particularly so with regard to digital control.

The Q & A section is particularly insightful - and I reproduce just a few examples below.

QUOTE Can I turn the front wheels?
Steering is accomplished by altering the spin of the back wheels, and the front wheels only move in an auxiliary fashion. Therefore, it is not possible to steer the front wheels when the car is not moving.

All the accessories are white! Why?
All our accessories are shipped as "white finished products." Please consult your user's manual or parts packaging and color your accessories just as you like for that perfect, customized look.

The Front Wing accessory I bought is a little different from the original. Why?
Such parts are designed as replacements for broken parts, so they are a built stronger than the originals. You may therefore notice some differences in design.

FERRARI F2002 There's no Marlboro markings! Why?
DigiQFormulas are toys designed for children as young as ten. Think of them as French or English GP cars, on which ads for tobacco products are forbidden.

Can I change the batteries in my car?
No. Unfortunately, DigiQFormula batteries are not designed to be replaced at this time. When the batteries in your car finally die, we recommend turning your car into a display item.
That last one is a SERIOUS DOWNER! But methinks it wouldn't be too hard to turn them into slot cars instead of statics!

The steering principle, touched on at the start, is well worth deeper consideration as it seems to utilize a system of ACTIVE speed control on the rear wheels - considerably more sophisticated than the much unloved differential employed by VMG!

Konami thoughtfully provide the complete operations manual in the form of two downloadable pdf files of around two and a half MB apiece
 

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From looking into these cars they stear through different speed at the rear wheels and act totally different than regular RC cars. This is their main failing. They are very hard to drivie smoothly.
 

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Tip for those who don't know - the pdf files can be saved on your PC for viewing later, without having to download again if you forgot something! This also more easily enables full screen viewing than on the Konami site.

Dennis, as far as I can tell, there is a form of front wheel steering AS WELL, and Konami intimate that their method of independent rear wheel speed control makes it easier to steer rather than more difficult. Have you hands-on experience of their system? I haven't but, if it works, I can see it being VERY useful in a digital slot car environment.
 

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My initial vision was of these cars racing around a 1/43 scenic layout. Mmmm!

But, having read the "small print" I tend to agree with Dennis.

You can get smallish cars (about 1/64) that steer this way and they are rather "different" to drive. Other micro rc's like the Tomy's have a simple left/right steering worked by an electromagnet.

Having said that, I do see the irony in bemoaning this given that my favourite little cars steer via a slot in the road
 

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the batteries claim to be high quality rechargeables that last for 200 recharges, so its not great, but not as bad as if they were non-rechargeable. There are a lot of expensive electrical products that work on this 'through away when the rechargeables are dead' principle - eg expensive rechargeable shavers, so their policy is understandable.

From the blurb, the cars have an inbuilt chip that (i think) monitors the rpm of each motor, and the degree of configurability (acceleration, braking, steering etc) implies they have a lot more control over the engines than previous systems like this, so Dennis's comments that they are hard to drive smoothly may be a bit hasty.

However, at the price, and the lack of a room with a big vinyl floor to race them on, I will hold off buying at this time!
 

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Beppe Giannini
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Russell,
are they on sale in Dubai ? I might have to buy one just to tear it apart

Interesting bit about passive steering on the front wheels - must involve quite a bit of caster in the geometry
That's something I've been mulling over so that some day we'll have actual UNDERsteer on slot cars [on my Xlot track, oversteer is already much nicer than the usual "pendulum" effect thanks to the rearward guide position] , but I've forbidden myself to devote any time for the moment

Beppe
 

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I thought Beppe would be the one to acknowledge at least the possibilities of this steering method!

Put the remote control aspect of the Konamis to one side for a moment.
With a bit of ingenuity, this principle could perhaps be utilized in a digital SLOT system to avoid having either a special track operated lane changer OR a controlled guide in the car. The track sections could be completely passive and the car persuaded to change lanes by judicious use of the rear wheel speed control only. Naturally this would require more driver skill (oh dear, how sad, never mind!) but could significantly reduce the potential for electro/mechanical failure in existing systems.
It might well be cheaper to manufacture too.
 

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I find it utterly appalling that the batteries are not replaceable!
This is absolutely irresponsible madness. I literally find it hard to accept that this really is the case, in spite of it being up in print.
However, I can certainly see the possibilities for subsequent conversion to slots and the potential to utilise the independent speed control of the driven wheels in a digital slot environment! I hope Beppe-Xlot does get his hands on one and can make some sense of it.

I just love all this technology, completely contrary to my unmoved suspicions that it will probably not be a commercial success!

Also separately, those are super looking little cars, but I have some doubts as to Formula 1 being the ideal choice to model.
 

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Brian Ferguson
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QUOTE I find it utterly appalling that the batteries are not replaceable!
This is absolutely irresponsible madness.

I totally agree! If the 200 recharges claim is true, my son would have one of these killed in one to two months, max! He won't be getting one!

I wouldn't pay that for a 1/43 non-proportional RC car anyway!
I went through the Tamiya Tamtech era and even though it died a fairly quick death, no one has yet to produce a better small-scale RC car, and at least IT had fully-proportional and proper controls!

QUOTE I have some doubts as to Formula 1 being the ideal choice to model.

Why, Tropi? If the goal is world-wide acceptance, F1 may well be the best platform. Here, it is either NASCAR or CART/F1. In the UK or Europe, what, Sports Cars, Rally cars, or F1? F1 may be the lower draw in many cases but at least it is world-wide. Highest common denominator, perhaps?
 

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Part of me totally agrees with you, Fergy! The F1s are gorgeous.
But I was thinking in a more utilitarian, practical way about ground clearance and resistance to crashing into furniture inside the home.

Damn, but I still can't get over that battery business! Grrrrr!

Best stick to the slot adaptation angle before I start foaming at the mouth!
 

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Brian Ferguson
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QUOTE Best stick to the slot adaptation angle before I start foaming at the mouth!

My intent anyway! No RC stuff will change MY focus!
 
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Interesting review, thank you Dennis but I like my RC 1/10 scale and very fast powered by Something like a 9x6 motor in the one I like the most.

RR
 

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Beppe Giannini
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Three (apparently unrelated) notes :

- you'll have noticed that Konami had no trouble in bringing out a full line-up of this year's F1s - and presumably in paying the license fees

- I was reading in slotadictos that SCX Digital sets (at 299 Euros) are flying off the shelves and are nearly sold out - but this in department stores, not in specialized shops. This means it's first time users who "know" only digital whatever is good enough for their one-off little emperors

- and I saw in SCI that the three best selling slot cars of all time sold more than ONE MILLION pieces each

OK, anybody know what I'm hinting ?

Beppe
 

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Russell Sheldon
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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
Hi Beppe

Unfortunately, I don't think that the DigiQFormula cars are available in Dubai, although you may wish to check out Hobby Center when you are here, it is a huge shop specialising in radio-controlled cars, planes, bikes, etc. They are located close to the Emirates Airlines office in downtown Dubai, within walking distance of Deira City Centre Shopping Mall.

See you on Friday!

Kind regards

Russell
 

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Senior Slot Car Mechanic
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Not much here that's new,I have been using what you guys call"passive steering"on my slot cars since about 1963 or 64.And in fact one of my Marconi entries for this year has it.

As far as the none replaceable rechargeable batteries,my Makita rechargeable electric drill has been going for over ten years now(it has Tapped over 12,000 wheels),and shows little sign of giving up the ghost yet.The batteries are not replaceable in it.
 

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Makita - the famous Elton John song!
Al, I don't believe your battery would fit in a 1/43 scale car!
As Fergy said, a keen kid could have the 200 guaranteed recharges done in around 6 weeks.
That would be terrible even if the battery WAS replaceable.
When it isn't, this is totally unacceptable.

But I'm a lot more interested in the other aspects brought up here.
I'm not sure from what angle Beppe's nimble mind is approaching this after his latest cryptic clues! Surely Beppe, you are not hinting that digital is going to produce million sellers?
The legendary licence fees are just hyped up bulls hit?
Come on!
 
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