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Prospects for Digital

5785 Views 44 Replies 12 Participants Last post by  Xlot
Took advantage of a business trip to Paris to meet...not the usual nice girls in Pigalle but David (as in DA-VIC) Laurent - wanted to ask him how he saw the future, what with SCX Digital, Carrera Pro-X etc.

Turns out he's a very nice person, but your typical inventor - he's not fazed by the new arrivals and keeps sold(i)ering on at night, turning out a system every 2 months (about 1,000 Euros to convert a 6 laner to 15 cars) - his backlog is presently until next October
Meanwhile (from his words and other info) DS is evidently going nowhere in industrializing it

So, in the coming year one can expect a handful of tracks using it for long distance races, but not for the "big" events (Alcorcon, Igualada, Verbano) - a pity...

Going now to commercial systems for 2 lanes :
- some people here swear on Scalextric introducing their fully compatible system - as we'll see below, this is certainly possible - let's wait and see
- Carrera Pro-X - judging from the latest pictures in slotcenter... I think not, it's limited to 4 cars, the track is compatible but cars aren't, they keep that absurd 5 cm long guide for lap counting

That leaves the much reviled (for total incompatibility) SCX system :
- for one thing, it's already on sale in Spain - 305 Euros for the starter circuit with 3 cars/controllers, electronic lap counter - let's say 400 Euros for a barely adequate track
- it'll be intersting to see how it's received by the "toy" market - egoistically, I wish it well
- this because in fact, it's very easy to convert the electronics package to work with any track and car - and likewise, building a lane change section from standard track parts

Ergo, with either Scalextric or modified SCX next year it'll be certainly possible to convert a 2 lane track to 6 cars/pit lane, at a cost of about 350 Euros

No more stints on the various lanes, races will be very much more exciting, the (interchangeable) decoder chip at about 20 Euros, the hand controller becomes a joystick and will not be that important any more (SCX : 25 Euros), I have a feeling motors will be limited say to 23k for non-magnetic

So, everything's rosy ? Not quite - the brick wall of collisions is still there :
- there will be more offs due to more direct racing, but I suppose one could live with it
- collisions on lane change are very easy to prevent with electric interlocks
- but front-to-rear collisions are unavoidable

David confirmed that, apart from long distance races, they are now trying shorter events - but you need experienced gentlemen drivers, and a (muscular) race director.
Honestly (as Michael says when he's eaten the canary) I don't know how big an obstacle this is

Comments ?

BTW (you knew this was coming) : this is precisely the reason I'm developing my special track, where offs and collisions are a thing of the past
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Although I would like to keep the conversational ball rolling, I am not sure I can add anything useful at this stage, because I really don't know enough. I need to see these systems in action, preferably hands on, before voicing more opinion than I already have in the last year or so!

I know it will gather a storm of professed disagreement, but I LIKE the idea of eliminating deslots. I think that would ADD enormously to the pleasure, whereas increased deslotting would be a massive negative.
Remember that deslotted cars can be replaced in any lane and additional deslotting caused by back end shunts will be a short term thing as drivers adapt to the new style of racing. Only 2 lanes required for multiple racing will mean longer 2 lane circuits rather than shorter 4 or 6 lane circuits within a given space and so shunting may not be too much of a problem.

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So, it's shunts in English - in French, it's telescopages, which is even nicer

Two comments:
- cars cannot really be reslotted anywhere, because of the danger of high speed collisions with oncoming cars - you need either additional reslotting lanes, or reslotting stations (like single lane Le Mans starts, good idea not mine), or a specific lane switch/track layout that channels cars most of the time on a single lane, leaving the other for overtaking and reslotting (my Xwitch arrangement)
- IMHO track length cannot be increased indefinitely (you run out of corner marshalls), ans 6 cars IS about the practical limit on 2 lanes

Tropi, please excuse my comment on the other thread : it was crass of me to expect 24/7 attendance

QUOTE I have a feeling motors will be limited say to 23k for non-magnetic
What is the principle behind this possible limitation?
Is it really related purely to motor rpm or simply an estimate based on the calculated velocity of the car and/or it's increased chances of momentarily losing braid contact at high speed? Maybe something else altogether?
no, it's related to current draw and a 23k motor is universally understood today as semi-mild - remember that the total amperage for all the cars has to be supplied (and modulated) by the control unit - I really don't know the specifics, but 10 A look like an healthy limit

Also, the same amps have to flow in theory through a single couple of rails - this is why I say that the track needs to be permanent and well jumpered

But since you mentioned, one of my favorite grievances is today's characterization of motors by no load speed : this causes no end of polemics at races in Italy, but nobody seems to understand that it's an indicative figure that should not be used to determine whether a motor is legal or not
I just wonder why the old method of measuring current draw (accelerating or at the end of the straight) was dropped

I thought of reviving this thread to sum up the new experience gathered at the London Toy Fair

So :

- digital, compatible racing of 6 cars on a 2 lane track is a reality

- offs and shunts are a problem

- LCs are better in a curve, and of the single type

- it works better with non magnetic cars

Hmm.. nice to see that all the previous assumptions are being confirmed !

Well, here's a new one :

- Thomas will be happy to know that the path to standardized, open source systems (a la NMRA) is being opened. The LC triggering concept Scalex are using cannot be patented, this means that any track manufacturer can now make its own LC on the same principle . The proprietary part is (for now) limited to base station, decoder chips and lap timer. I do wish that Carrera - who, in my mind, make the best track for digital - could be told this
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from my very limited experience at the toy fair, I would say a shunt doesnt at all mean an off, although obviously it can do. Also, its very easy to do safe lane changes - except on SCX where u had to hold the button down firmly for a while to make it change, and sometimes ended up changing somewhere else than expected. Maybe the controller I had was exhibition damaged tho.

Disciplined drivers wouldn't neccesarly have more offs, and if you think someone nearby is dangerous, they can be avoided. Maybe strict crash and burn rules are needed to train people to behave.
I think that from my little go at the Toy Fair I firmly believe there will be more `offs` caused by another driver hitting your car. on SCX they are bloody hard offs too! It is a marshals nightmare to have four or more cars all over the shop. The girlies on the SCX stand were mind biffed more than once and they`d had plenty of practise. Which one goes on first and where? Oh my what chaos. I really believe that digital wil be great for the home racer and I agree that in this respect it is logical to have longer circuits. Can`t see this working on a club circuit with different motors in cars and lots more `offs` caused by other racers (think of the potential arguments) UNLESS a completely new attitude to racing is adopted? What I mean is to take on board that digital dare I say is more realistic? Over to you guys
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Good feedback from Jonny S.
Confirming what was always pretty obviously going to be a bit of a problem!

When making comparisons between systems, it is REALLY important to compare like with like. I haven't yet seen a pic of 4/6 cars racing on Scalextric's setup. Did it happen? Did everyone experience 4/6 cars on 2 lanes using all three systems?
(I only recently learned that Carrera's Pro-X only supports 4 cars rather than 6 - that's a bummer!)

Is there any good reason why crashes of any sort might be more or less frequent on one system than another? I'd guess that the lXl section would creat a higher incidence than the others.
Well, I suppose the heart of the matter is :

does the additional fun justify developing a new code of conduct so that this does not degenerate and formal races (think national championships) can be held ?

Personally, I believe the answer is YES

About collisions on LCs, it's a non-issue : just read my comment on one of the other concurrent threads (I know, it's not easy to keep up these days
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Hey, I can keep up (I think)

QUOTE About collisions on LCs
But IS it actually a non-issue as opposed to it only being a possibility?
Although this is very clearly a highly desirable feature, do we know for a fact that it has been implemented?
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Et tu, Trope ?

Of course I haven't implemented the anti-collision protection yet (without a digital package, it's a bit difficult to have collisions on the Xlot track while only one car is running)

But the thing is so elementary that it can only work - matter of fact, you may remember that this feature has also a fundamental role in making passing easier - when coupled with the Xwitch geometry, which is one full step ahead of the Scalex LC (but it's patented ha !)

To be honest, I believe a similar protection has been developed for Davic

I didn`t like the SCX cross over. It`s the same as the old Scalex cross in that it brings you in too sharply to an oblique crash angle. I thought the Scalex digital curved change over was better. The most we raced were four cars at once and there was a lot less carnage on Scalex. Does 6 car racing on two lanes really work? Truth is you`d have to have a lot more experience to best judge. It is certainly different, no question. Required cpncentration and a more tactical approach to racing is a must. I found my SCX experience hectic and very `basic- boys -gamesy- crash -a -lot -and laugh`. Not really me if I`m honest. I was gagging to get at the leader,(never me!) and being held up by other cars dramas and shunts left me feeling robbed. The Scalex experience was better but we only used half the cars. I would much prefer four lanes with at least the opportunity to find some clear track space and get me foot down! I tell you one undoubted fact. The Scalex F1 `s will not live in this new environment with their fragile front nose cones and exsposed front axles.

The basis for using davic as an example doesn`t work for me as I`m not going to spend that kind of money on that system. It follows therefore that unless there is a lot that transfers across,we are mostly concentrating on the digital sets supplied by the usual suspects?
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trust me - don't worry about collisions on LCs or not having clear space ahead, this will be solved : I repeat the only issues are offs and shunts - if you think that's something one can live with (and I trust your judgement) it's done
I understand your point and do believe you because if nothing else we were playing on a very small circuit. When I run race control at Phoenix I have to watch all the races and the racing is always strung out after a few laps and where it`s very close perhaps only two cars are usualy involved. I do honestly think the SCX LC is not very good, too close and too severe too soon. If you were filtered in over a longer stretch it has to be better.
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Having sampled the goods at the London Toy Fair I think it is safe to say that digital will complement analogue racing rather than take over from analogue racing.

There is room for both systems given the developments that we have seen.

It is simply great that all racing situations from the "home alone" person to the "gang of six" (or even more!) will be covered by the products that are either here now or will appear over the next 12 months or so.

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that`s bang on. In a nut shell you have got it right. How can we moan when slot racing just gets better and better and we have more and more choice. It`s great it really is
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QUOTE How can we moan when slot racing just gets better and better...


My moan: I want those SCX liveries in analogue guise and I want them now.

And, oh yeah, what makes digital "better"?

I got a cold, I got a right to moan.
Pack your nose with Vick and go for a three mile run, get home,hot bath = no more cold
bit like car tuning to get you going faster really but be careful where you put the WD40
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