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I have decided to start a new topic so as not to get confused with the first Dummies Guide - A link to the original guide that proved to have an unreliable relay is HERE

Recently, during a visit to RichG he and I talked about the Powered Flipper. Our discussions sparked some ideas and Rich contributed three really important aspects on the detail explained here.

1 - The use of a dual coil latching relay.
2 - Employing the flipper signals to activate the relay.
3 - The electrical connection to the flipper.

My first attempt at using a relay proved to be unreliable because I used a 12V relay. We discovered that although the track may be at 13.5V the trigger voltage for the Lane Changer was only at a nominal 9V.

There are now 2 versions of the dual coil latching relay that can be used, a 9V relay or a 5V relay with a 42 Ohms resistor in the circuit.

The relay is essentially 2 switches that can be operated by a pulse of electricity. Latching means that once the relay has been pulsed and switched it will stay in that position until it is pulsed to switch in the other direction.

When a voltage is pulsed to pins 1 and 5, pin 2 and the common pin 3 are connected and also independently pin 9 and the common pin 8 are connected.
When a voltage is pulsed to pins 10 and 6, pin 4 and the common pin 3 are connected and also independently pin 7 and the common pin 8 are connected.


You need one Dual Coil Latching Relay for each flipper - some wire, I used 3 core flat servo extension wire and some servo mounting tape both commonly used for RC servos, some electrical insulation tape and tools to do the job!

OMRON G6HK-2100 5DC - LINK
This is a 5V relay that will need to be used with a 42 Ohms resistor in order to reduce the 9V trigger voltage to the relay.

G6HK-2-DC9 - Omron - LINK
TQ2-L2-9V - Panasonic - LINK
Both of these relays are 9V- I ordered 20 of the TQ2-L2-9V from Mouser in the USA and with shipping to the UK they worked out to just about £2.50 each (around $5.00) Ordered Monday from the USA delivered Wednesday in the UK!

All of the relays above are just 5mm tall (with the pins bent out sideways) and they sit under the track perfectly.

The animation below should help you understand the process - it updates every 5 seconds



The Dummies Guide - The Straight Lane Changer
This is not difficult to do - you need to use a solder iron - I would rate it with a difficulty level 3/10

The instructions below are based on wiring the Right-Hand Flipper (viewed from the top). In reality you would work on the Left-Hand flipper at the same time.

Cut one length of 3 core flat wire - 190mm. Separate the cores for a length of 50mm and cut the white core back by 30mm and the black core back by 35mm
Cut another length 190mm and separate the white lead. Cut the remaining red and black leads to 90mm


Solder a link wire across pins 5 and 6 and then solder the leads of the 190mm flat wire to the relay pins as per the diagram. Red lead to pin 1, white lead to pin 10 and black lead to pin 6


Solder the 90mm black lead to pin 7, the red lead to pin 9 use heat shrink material on both of these leads as insulation. Solder the 190mm white lead to pin 8.


Remove the Sensor cover (3 screws) cut a slot in the cover and the matching track piece to create an exit for the wire (see image). Solder the 3 leads to the trigger pads in the order below (also see image). Replace the cover and screws.


RIGHT FLIPPER - The trigger wires already under the sensor board are coloured black, yellow and blue. To keep the lead flat, I've soldered it to the sensor board pads in the order black, red and white.


Create notches in the track for the leads to sit in.


Solder the black and red leads from pins 7 and 9 to the rails as indicated in the diagram and image. Tin the Rail Tabs with solder first.


Remover the Flipper cover (5 screws) Note: Once the cover is removed try to avoid turning the track over because the flipper actuating arms and pins may fall out. They can be put back together but it's just a bit fiddly.

Create a notch in the track (see image below) to hold the flipper wire contact.


Carefully, strip the end of the white lead by 30mm and coil it into a ball to create a good contactor for the flipper. Place it on top of the flipper and into the notch. Tape the lead to hold it in place. Replace the cover and screws. If you have a multi-meter it's a good idea to check the continuity between the flipper and the pin on the relay.




Fix relay to underside of track with Servo Tape.


*** IMPORTANT ***
It is critical to insulate the end of the flipper with a small piece of electrical tape - if an un-insulated flipper hits the rail before the relay has switched then a direct short occurs between the relay contactors and they will fail. Make sure that the flipper still moves freely after you have applied the tape!


The process for the left-hand flipper is the same but for neatness I've wired to the opposite side of the relay.

LEFT FLIPPER - The trigger wires already under the sensor board are coloured red, white and black. To keep the lead flat, I've soldered it to the sensor board pads in the order white, red and black.

If you use a 5V relay then the trigger voltage must be reduced by fitting a 42 Ohms resistor in the black trigger lead as shown below. One will be required for each relay


I've tested the flippers with the 9V and 5V relays for over 500 switches and you can stop on any flipper and just drive away


Enjoy!

Keith.

Next job the Curved Lane Changer…
 

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Thanks for the kind comments guys


You know dead flippers were not really a problem for me because I had learned to drive without stopping on them.

The problem was when friends or youngsters had a go and then the dead flippers became flipping magnets. I seemed to spend a lot of time shouting - "Don't stop on the flippers"


Following a Track-Call even if they didn't stop on the flipper they would stop just in front of one and when the race started again they would drive slowly on to the flipper - Arghhhh!


Then Minardi posted about the "no braking zone" where his car was not receiving braking instructions into a turn because the position of the dead flipper was exactly where he wanted to brake.

Something had to be done and the timing of my visit with RichG was perfect to generate some ideas. Rich deserves much of the credit for this modification
and the support and advice by other forum members is outstanding


There are other solutions to help improve this issue using copper tape, matrix board, braids and magnets. These will be less expensive to do and may be worth a try. The powered flippers are just another option - to modify both left and right lane changers cost me a total of around £5 - £6 ($10 - $12)


It struck me that some of the images of the wiring would look daunting to some and particularly so to novices. It really is not difficult to do this modification and I wanted to present a "Dummies Guide" with the novice in mind. If you need to learn how to solder this VIDEO is great!

I hope at least some of you try it and I look forward to your feedback.

Keith…
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
lang1,

I assume that you have wired your separate power supplies directly to the sensor board in the straight lane changer.

My sensor board power is supplied from the track and I have tested the modification between 10V to 13.5V as long as your power supplies are in this range it will work as per the guide.

Your separate power supply will power the sensor board and that in-turn will pulse the relay - You would still connect the rails to the relay to get the track voltage to the flippers.

What is the voltage of your power supply to the lane changer?

Keith...
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
Wraith said,
QUOTE Looks good, I had a 12.5m straight with 5 straight crossovers and you could hear the cars loose power on them, a rather large project as I have 20 bits of digital track, any idea of the rough cost per section in the UK, I guess I should be able to source the components from Mapins or somewhere alike?
I could only find the 12V versions at Maplin (which is no good) - The 9V relays were cheaper (including shipping) when I ordered 20 of them directly from mouser.com in the USA - Of course back last year the exchange rate was more in my favour.

Please let us know if you find a local supplier in the UK. I would expect cost to be about £5-£6 per track piece.

Keith...
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
*UPDATE*

My original post explained the importance of insulating the flippers with tape.

The flippers must be insulated from the rail but I have removed the insulation tape from the flipper part - I now use 3/16th wide adhesive tape (used for car pin-stipping) and apply it to the inside of the main rails each side of the flipper.

On one side the tape starts just after the little guide-rail bump-out and on the other side it's on the curve so the blade guide never hits the tape edges


Keith...
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
Colin,

Yes, that's the correct part, but price £3.04 and shipping £15.95 - ouch!

Mouser are about £2.20 each and shipping probably wouldn't be much different to the UK. Shipping took 2 days!

Mouser Relay Link

Ignor the image on the Mouser page the actual relay shape is (2 Form C) there's a PDF near the top of the Mouser page detailling the different package shapes that the relay is available in.

Keith..
 

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Savage,

The flipper pin is a pretty large mass and I think getting it hot enough to solder would melt the plastic that it sits in (I'm not sure if it is even capable of taking solder). The 'servo' wire I used has lots of thin copper strands and the ball of wire makes great contact - I have not had any issues in nearly one year of use.

Funky Diver,

Yes, I have also modified curved lane changers - But struggling with time to do a new tutorial.

I picked up the signals from the sensor track half-straight by using another jack plug that I trimmed to sit next to the existing jack plug. I'll try to take some photos over the weekend!

Keith...
 

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OK! - I don't have time to do a dummies guide, but I did promise to post some images

The modification provides the correct voltage to both the entry and exit flippers.

The sensor ½ track has 2 outputs on it - get a new jack plug, remove the cover, and file a flat on the plug - protect the wires with a heat shrink tube. Slice-off a thin section of the original plug so as both plugs will sit together (see images 1 and 2)


The wire from the original plug is cut and soldered to each end of a matrix board 3 x 7 holes (image 2) this makes it much easier to solder the additional trigger wires for the relays.


Wiring of the 9V relays (see image 3) you can also see my solution to getting voltage to the flippers - The wire is held in place by a small white plastic disc and a dress-makers pin! - Not pretty but it works reliably!


Full shot (image 4)


Close-up shot (image 5) - The white wire just runs under the cover to hold it in place, it isn't connected to anything under the cover.


Another general shot (image 6)


Any car crossing either sensor will trigger the correct voltage on the flippers - However, it is very possible for a close racing car to pass one trigger and then the second car to request a lane change and trigger the voltage on the exit flipper - this will result in a short between the rail and flipper - To eliminate this issue I have removed 2 short sections of the rails (about 13mm - 0.5 inch) It might look like a large gap but by the time the braid leaves the rail it's just a few mm before it touches the flipper! The removal of the rail section is critical otherwise close racing cars are going to create a short circuit - trust me! (Image 7)


General Shots (images 8 and 9)




Providing power to both the XLC's and CLC's on my track has made it significantly easier for novices to race - As I've said before the flippers are like magnets to a novice - If they don't stop on one they stop just before one and then slowly drive on to it - Now it's just no issue.

Other benefits are car headlamps don't flash like they do on an unpowered flipper and the cars always receive data signals which is particularly critical in braking zones!

I'd be interested to hear any suggestions, improvements or feedback


Enjoy!

Keith...
 

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RichardTB,

2 negative rails or 2 positive rails provide no voltage to the car - there's only voltage to the car when one rail is negative and the other is positive. The issue is when a car braid spans a gap between a positive flipper and negative rail section (or the other way round), because this results in a short and the PB is likely to go into overload protect - and worse the 9V relay sees a direct short without any protection and the little relays contactors vaporise


Keith...
 

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Discussion Starter · #38 ·
Richard TB,

The original relays I used were 12V but there was insufficient trigger voltage to reliably switch the relay coils. A 4 car PB may have enough volts to get a reliable trigger - you could try it!

At 13.5V the track trigger voltage is 9V and at 15V I would expect the trigger voltage to be around 10V which should be no issue for the Panasomic TQ2-L2-9V relay.

Keith...
 

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Discussion Starter · #40 ·
Further to my earlier post...

Here is a diagram for the connections on a Powered Flipper CLC:

Keith...
 

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Discussion Starter · #41 ·
Any car going straight through on either the flipper of fixed flipper lane only needs to trigger one relay. When a Lane Change is requested both relays are triggered.

The animation below should help to show what happens (updates every 4 seconds)
 

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IMPORTANT: Don't miss this step on the CLC Powered-Flipper

As with the straight Lane-Change flipper - It is critical to insulate the flipper from touching the rail - if an un-insulated flipper hits the rail before the relay has switched then a direct short occurs between the relay contactors and they will fail. Make sure that the flipper still moves freely after you have applied the tape!

The original dummies guide used electrical insulation tape around the end of the flipper...


However, I found that in the summer months, the electrical insulation tape became soft and lost some of its adhesion. A much better solution was to use 3/16ths car pin striping tape (I figured the adhesive was designed to stick on a car body throughout a huge temperature range) and instead of applying it to the end of the flipper, I positioned it directly on the rails either side of the flipper (Both Rails Must Be Insulated From The Flipper) - The position is such that the cars guide blade doesn't hit the edge of the tape.

This has proved to be very reliable and better than the option above...
 

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Discussion Starter · #46 ·
QUOTE Awesome K3ith, really awesome. Minor mod and we could get the anti-collision that Injectorman started off on before it grew to a complete new system....
Riko,

Thanks for your comments.

Interesting - "Anti-Collision" I had not considered this - I think you mean, if a car 'in lane A' requests a lane-change then the relay would be employed to disable the sensor 'in lane B' and provide "Anti-Collision" This mod would probably also need to include a timer device so as the sensor was disabled for a brief period only. Am I on the right track? (no pun intended)

Keith…
 

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Discussion Starter · #47 ·
QUOTE I was thinking again, and yes it still hurts, about the connection between the flipper pin and the flipper power lead. If you have some copper adhesive tape could you solder the wire to the tape then cut the tape to length and stick it to the flipper pin? You would have cut away some of the plastic from around the flipper pin to account for pin movement.
That's a good idea and your suggestion might work - However, the flipper must be able to move, very freely, from side to side. Anything attached to the flipper pin that creates too much friction or restricts complete movement must be avoided, because it might stop the end of the flipper from swinging completely to the rail and will result in a high risk of a Blade Guide hitting the end of the flipper - which is not good


Keith...
 

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Discussion Starter · #53 ·
Gorp,

I like your simple approach


However, I found when I told a newbie to "never stop on a flipper" the magnetic powers of the flipper increased - It was more effective to tell a newbie that the objective was to stop on a flipper
 

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Discussion Starter · #55 ·
Riko,

Thanks for that - You gave me a good reason to play with my 'Electronics learning lab'


The circuit works perfectly and the 1M Potentiometer gives a Relay switching range from less than 1 second to 10 seconds.

Still thinking about "Anti-Collision" and not sure if it's worth the effort - but it's definately doable


Keith...
 

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Discussion Starter · #59 ·
sealevel,

No, it doesn't apply to the entry flipper.

In the image below, lane1 controls the flipper. The flipper is set to change lanes - the entry flipper is negative and the exit positive - the rail just behind the entry flipper (in the direction of car travel) is negative so no short can occur - When Lane1 switches to straight through, the entry flipper is positive and the rail just behind the flipper is also positive, so again no short can occur.

However, Lane2 can only go straight through and will always switch the exit to negative but it's quite a long way from sensor2 to the exit - there's a risk that a car in Lane2 crosses sensor2 and the exit is switched to negative, but before the car reaches the negative exit a car in Lane1 crosses sensor1 requesting a Lane Change, the exit is switched to positive and this creates a condition where a braid can span the gap between the negative rail in Lane2 to the positive exit. A similar condition can also occur from the positve rail of Lane1 - The rail removal section eliminates this potential issue.
 
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