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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Its not perfect, but its about as good as the Scaley "Challenger." I am no slot car guru or electrical wizard, so please be patient. The track is Carrera, approximately 65 feet and twisty, 5 x 14 feet approximately. The cars, including the "ghost" or, in this case, "Pacer" car, are scratch built (Typically Tamiya, MoMo, Sakatsu, Plafit Fox, 8/38 gearing). Here's what I did:

carefully followed the instruction from the SCI article re: converting the Pacer unit. Here's the link (I hope
) Thanks, Rick. That is just a great article. However, I run scratch built 1/24 scale cars, and having had prior experience with a Pacer unit, I knew that voltage fluctuations would be quite detrimental to the actual usability and performance of the system, so I added taps to three other straight sections of track (on which there is more later) so that a total of four sections would have power.

To add the taps, (and please be more deliberate and careful than I was if you are actually reading this to inform yourself, I will be re-doing this temporary job this weekend) I removed and de-soldered brass contact tabs from the rails of a piece of carrera chicane track which I discarded during a recent power upgrade for the non-"Ghost" lane. The tabs fit inside of the rails of Carrera track and are bent so that they act like springs and are basically forced to contact the rails. Power wires are soldered to the ends of the tabs. I de-soldered the 1000 Gauge wire that was originally attached by Carrera and actually managed to solder 16 Gauge solid copper wire from Home Depot (probably the principal reason for the major re-do as this track is on the floor 'til completely resolved).

Solid copper conductors are good
(I actually learned this the first time when dealing with high-end home audio), but rather more inflexible than I'd imagined. I soldered all four of the wires which go to the same rail that the sensor is in (to all four separate powered straights, including the straight with the Pacer's sensor in it and computer attached), in this case, the left or driver's side rail, to the GREEN wire of the Pacer unit. I soldered the other rail, the rail which contacts the red lead from my motor, to the YELLOW wire from the Pacer unit to the opposed rail. End result?

First let me say that this track is in fair to good condition in regard to actual connections, none of those wonderful Carrera track clips are in place. It is 14' x 5' on a a floor that is so unlevel you can actually see the multiple changes in elevation. There is one 30 degree baked turn and only four short straights (five straight track lengths). The system works great! Using a Tamiya 911 GT3 with a Motor Modern chassis, two Professor Motor magnets (1 big, 1 small) and a Plafit "Fox" motor, I programed a "Pacer." I tested it and let it run; after a few hiccups and hopeless despair after a few attempts with different cars and settings, I tried programming a very deliberate slow to medium lap. I let her rip and all was well. After a few laps, I turned up the voltage (The Pacer unit actually has some sort of voltage control) and it started wagging its tail, but it hung on to the track. Ran 50 laps no problems. This post turned out to be so long because as it was running in the background on yet another test run to expose flaws, I could hear the silicone tires scrabbling for purchase on the Carrera surface in the tight corners and then the sound of a motor revving, but as I walked into the next room to set it right, it managed to gain purchase a came ripping down one the short straights before braking hard for the next corner -- the beauty of 1/24 scale model racing is that you could actually see all of this happen in real time, with no one but the "Ghost" driving. It just looked, sounded and felt (these things aren't light) like a real race car in a real race. You could feel the tires screaming for grip in the corners and the rubber in the fender wells bears further evidence. Because it has xenon headlights, brakelights that work like actual brakelights and a light kit to simulate exhaust flames, watching the Ghost car is almost eery. When the system is complete and on a table, I will build a 1/24 Ferrari 360 or Castrol Supra to run as the actual Ghost while I run the 911 GT3RS. What did "Racer X"'s livery like again...

I noticed that the Pacer car would often accelerate wildly into turns, so I was very careful about modulating the throttle before and after turns. I also noted that it was prone to accelerate on or immediately following the power-tapped sections of track. I will rearrange the powered sections tomorrow so that they do not immediately precede sharp turns (as they do now
) and am quite confident that this will also improve the ease of programming after reading of similar problems with similar systems (Carrera "ghost cars," Scalextric "Challenger") and also recognizing that a voltage peak in such a location might be particularly detrimental. I will make a video when I can if anyone else is interested.

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