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It's only about 10 days since Adrian Norman of Scalextric posed the following:
QUOTE A track piece to change from lanes 1 & 2 over to lanes 3 & 4 has not been designed as yet.
How big a demand will there be?
Please let me know.
If you would like to see the whole post, now quite deeply buried in the digital debates, here's your shortcut to it
Adrian's Full Post

I don't think any of us squarely addressed the question and perhaps we should after Adrian's kind invitation. I decided that it thoroughly deserved its own Topic and we should do our best to stay ON topic for this, though I admit that might be quite difficult!
But we need to make Adran's task of sifting our chat for the odd gold nugget as simple as we can.

This is a quite complex and significant decision for Scalextric and needs a good deal of careful thought.

To estimate the demand for four lanes., we first need to estimate
WHO is going to demand four lanes for digital racing.
ie, which groups or types of racers have a need for four lanes.

Remember that Scalextric, as currently projected, will support just six cars on 1 or 2 lanes. I am not sure if we can assume that the use of four lanes will automatically permit addressing of twelve individual cars and perhaps Adrian can give us some guidance on that, as it is a vitally important factor.
If six cars remains the limit then the need for for four lanes diminishes considerably.

Lets reasonably assume that twelve cars could be supported unless informed to the contrary.

I see it this way

For home use, it seems quite unlikely that more than six cars will ever need to be accomodated. So home users are highly unilkely to need four lanes, although the option might be a nice luxury. But remember that one of the driving forces behind digital progress was to obviate the need for four lane home tracks! On that basis, I think the home demand would be tiny, but not quite non-existent.

For club use, surely the same argument would apply to a very large degree?
Two lanes are supposed to accomodate six cars and how many clubs already run MORE than six lanes. I willingly admit that I don't actually know the answer to this. But I would guess less than 20% of UK clubs - perfectly willing to be shot down by someone with real figures though! it is also complicated by the fact that many existing four lane tracks use both larger and smaller radius curves than the standard and that would leave the quandary over making lane changers to transfer both OUT and IN and back again. To cover this situation would mean Scalextric having to provide changers that could cover six lane tracks! They might well do that eventually, but it hasn't been mentioned to date and they haven't made a decision on four lanes yet.

More awkward still, some of these clubs may even be using the outer outer curves (Rad 4) and this complicates it even further!

Oh dear, my tiny mind is beginning to curl up at the edges!
I think the demand for four lanes will be there, but rather small and difficult to properly accomodate without going the whole hog and making lane changers for every radius that Scalextric produces.

Perhaps we ought to think up a snappy simple name for 'lane changer' too!

At this point I am throwing it open to you guys - let's hear it.
 

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DT
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Well I'm probably not going to get any digital stuff if it doesn't fit my 4-lane track. Even if I run only 4 or 6 cars on it, I think that it will be a blast. But just think of all the track to be replaced...
I would need at least 4 passing areas and across 4 lanes - that's a third of my track to be replaced...
 

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Its only needed for clubs who have plexy track who run 4 lanes or more.

Clubs that have routed track are normally not 1:32 racers or can use Davic if they are.

However, I have been thinking!

Why don't clubs simply keep the 4, 6 or 8 lane analogue track that they have, and create a second digital circuit to keep folk who are sitting around waiting for their turn entertained?


The digital circuit will not take up the same sort of space will it to accomodate 6 more racers.

So very easily clubs can now accomodate 12 racers at a time and could have 2 events going on at the same time in an evening on two different circuits. An analogue event and a digital event.

Many clubs do have enough space for this, although there are a few that do not. All you need is a 2 ft shelf running up one side of the room with a return at each end to create a very nice long digital circuit in a club. Remember lanes do not have to be the same length. Even Wrexham could do it in one corner of the room.

The club of the future will have three or four 2 lane digital circuits running at the same time allowing 18 or 24 racers to race at a time, and you simply rotate the circuits throughout the evening.

Same club space requirements but a different format.

So 4 lane switching is not required!

We just have to think differently as the old type of thinking may no longer be appropriate for those starting or thinking of starting new clubs.

I change my vote from "yes" to "no"!


Moped
 

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QUOTE Clubs that have routed track are normally not 1:32 racers

and you are on what planet mate?

I can name 3 clubs around the mid west that have wood tracks and use 1:32
Pendle, Preston and North Staffs!

You need to see the light!

Rob.
 

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Rob
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I would say 'yes please'.

Like Nuro my home track is a four lane Sport circuit and I would want to be able to change across all lanes, if only because I could! To have two independant digital circuits running one inside the other does seem to defeat the object a bit, and I don't want to rip it all up and start again.
Another thought
- there has been some (hopeful) discussion about a 'digital pit lane', where cars pull into the pit lane for their scheduled stops. If this was to be done, a track piece would have to be created to allow cars into and out of the pit lane. Surely this would have a similar function to the four lane change over, so perhaps Scalextric could develop a track section to serve both purposes - two lanes into and out of pits and/or lanes 1 & 2 into lanes 3 & 4. Judging by the demand for pit lanes here and elsewhere they'd sell plenty!

Rob
 

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They are not in my part of the woods or down south where I go. They run the plexy bodied 1:24 cars with the foam tyres.

However, given that you say that there are 3 routed clubs in your area that run 1:32 slots, would they be interested in incorporating digital within their existing circuit with lane switching? If they are then its a "yes" to 4 lane switching on behalf of those clubs. But the fact is they could have Davic if they wanted to go that route.

Or would they keep what they have and add a second digital circuit for another 6 racers to help to enlarge the membership?

One of the worst aspects of club racing is hanging around for your turn. That in itself sets a limit for club membership as folk will drift if they are not dedicated enough to put up with the waiting time.


Moped
 

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Not interested in two or four lane...I want six lane please! 18 people racing sounds good to me!!
 

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Moped, thats wonderful mate. I think there are more cant be sure.

anywho I dont think Jim at preston, Sean at pendle and Rob at Staffs would want to be routing new lanes all over their great works!

Moped, patience is a virtue. oh and you know what you should do if your not racing? you interact with other individuals who may be marshalling, sharing tips and tricks. You dont have to race to learn!
As I thought I prooved well at pendle.. got my info said we should use this and fuinnily enough what i suggested ended up best, what planet bsn and 3.9 were on is beyond me!

Rob.
 

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Agree about socialising aspect. looking good for Wrexham and bringing a few bodies too. The real `Iceman` and some youngsters so that Int will have someone to play with!!
 

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I'm looking forward to showing you how to drive our M3.. obviously you will be on the outside.. and everyone who was at the enduro will be watching you


the only thing that slows me down is a car that dont work.. or a car I dont like!

Rob.

p.s should have my new controller by then...
 

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I'd only be interested in digital for 2 lanes.

However, the idea of digitally integrated pit stops, ie. the ability to program different pit scenarios and pit stop lengths being related to your car type, the speed you've been driving and random crew screw up options if desired would be something I'd be very interested in (but I may be in the minority)


Bigredralph
 

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Alan Tadd
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It seems to me that the question of changeover sections on curves of different sizes could be eliminated if Hornby produced a straight changeover track.
You could then have 2/4/6/8 lanes, all using the same track section.

I can't really see anyone requiring more than two lanes unless it was for an endurance race. Then this system has great potential with Teams coming from around the Country, (and farther afield!), to race in a major competition.

I can't see very much potential for more than 2 Lanes for Home racing, but I am very interested in how this whole thing develops.

Regards

Alan
 

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As home user, I'll be interested in digital only if Scalex produces change over for 4 lanes or more. I actually have a 35 meters/4 lanes scalex sport track.
Even if we don't have often more than 4 drivers, this will permits real strategy in race (choosing the best lane for each part of the track).
Furthermore, no need to "egalize" tracks in difficulty and distance anymore, or to swap lanes after each race.
Other advantages for me :
- As we run with "Crash and Burn" rules, it will permit (if there is a suffisent number of changeovers) to avoid wercked cars on the track
- I can imagine a track with some parts in two lane only, thus saving space
Big disavantage :
- I've invested heavily in controllers (having 4 PM ones). These part will become obsolete. It's a second condition for maybe switching to digital : the new controllers need to be very good, allowing same control of the cars than PM.

Paul
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Provision for swapping across four lanes is more complex than might seem at first thought.

I haven't seen anyone actually address the problem of changing from one 2-lane track piece to the other 2-lane track piece alongside it (making four lanes). What happens in the outside lane of each track piece? One solution would be a new 1-lane track piece. Obviously this would be a lot simpler if the changes took place on the straight, the alternative being the need to provide at least two different radii of curves in 1-lane format.

There is little doubt that lane changers on the straight would more easily enable lane swaps across 4 lanes (and up to 8 lanes!) and, at the same time, eliminate the need for lane changers and new 1-lane track pieces for every radius curve that Scalextric makes. But this goes against the decision already taken to provide standard radius curved lane changers! Complex isn't it?
 

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Alan Tadd
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Agree totally with what you've said Tropi, but I jusy can't see Scalex making more than one radius curve available, which will limit layouts to two lanes. The only way round it would be to produce a straight section cross over, which could be positioned either before or just after a bend which would get over the problem of "full throttle" lane changes. After all Scalextric have been known to change their mind in the past!.

This still doesn't solve the problem of getting from Lane 4 to Lane 1. I can't see a solution to this one at present.

Very interesting topic, I'm glad you revived it!.


Regards

Alan
 

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Beppe Giannini
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IMHO :

- 2 lane, 6 car tracks will serve the vast majority of requirements - minimum length about 20 m, maximum dictated by number of marshalls ( 6 again, my guess)

- as mentioned, a pit lane is essential - the terminal piece can also be used for reslotting stations after corners (highly recommended)

- the volume of racing allowed by digital is much higher than with a conventional track (no more stints)

- I see no reason why this shouldn't be adequate up to National (speed) events

- spectators (and race umpires !?) have a chance of understanding who's where

- that only leaves out long distance races - a) there's always Davic with 15 cars on 6 lanes, and
let's wait until we see how it actually works !!

- reminder : LCs on straight are out because with trackside actuators you either have to slow down or the actuator cannot keep up or both

Beppe
 

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Jim Moyes
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As far as I see it, with my limited brain capacity, adding a lane 2 to lane 3 changeover, for want of a better way of putting it, is not going to increase the amount of cars you can run on the track as a whole. As I understand the concept, no matter how many parallel slots there are, the track is basically one lane and can only handle the digital instructions for 6 cars. So making an 8 lane digital track actually means less use of available space as only 6 people will be able to run on it!

The only way, therefore, to get more than 6 racers on track would be to have another, totally seperate track inside (or outside) the original, not accessible to the 6 cars from the "other" circuit. This would then cause problems of the "inner" circuit possibly being the fastest route available, yet not available to the cars on the outer circuit.

If Hornby(or the other digital manufacturers) did decide to make this L2-L3 changeover possible, I think the best way to produce it would be in a four lane wide format, i.e. IIXII. Similar to the way that the TCR sets did. That then probably means problems making it on a bend rather than a straight.

Still, only 11 days till I should get to see more at Toyfair, so we should all know soon!

Mr.M
 

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QUOTE As I understand the concept, no matter how many parallel slots there are, the track is basically one lane and can only handle the digital instructions for 6 cars.
I mentioned at the start that this needs clarification. If it is so, then you are absolutely right and the need for 4 lanes would be minimal, maybe non-existent. But I don't know of a good reason why that very low number of six should be fixed and I suspect that it isn't. I THINK that six is the estimated max number of cars that just two lanes would be expected to hadle and that part of it, I would agree with. But I certainly could be wrong! We'll have to wait for Scalextric to confirm or otherwise and, if Adrian pops in, he might be able to settle it before the toy fair - I hope so.

I don't believe there is the slightest possibility that anyone would ever consider running two separate 2 lane circuits one inside the other!

I am not sure I agree with Beppe on straight LCs (That's what I am going to call them from now on - thanks Beppe!) not operating fast enough for reliability on the straight. Modern mag cars barely slow down for curves and would, I think, have to slow down by the same amount as on a curve to succesfully negotiate an LC on the straight without deslotting.

I very much like the idea of a 4-lane track section incorporating LC 2/3 - excellent!
I've often thought that an orthodox 4-lane straight in one piece would be a usefu; track addition anyway and this fits in with that thinking.

That's my lot for today - totally knackered after too much driving both 1:1 and 1:32!
 

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I suppose the bottom line is the total you can serve on the inside (racing line) 2 lanes. Because evryone wants to get on the inside I imagine it`s like athletics in a way. How many lanes are really worthwhile as in being constantly used? Perhaps it`s better to go four lanes max and work on upping the number of cars that can race at any one time. If that figure could be open ended say up to 30 cars on 4 lanes then my dreams would come true. In an average race seession (4 a week) at phoenix 30 is the average turn out so it would mean a qualifying flying lap and then everyone involved in say a 75 lap race? Sounds good to me!!
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
30 cars: 4 lanes - HIGHLY unlikely - Pipe dream!
Even if technically feasible, the physical traffic would be horrendous and the increased deslotting would be multiplied enormously - nightmare not dream!
 
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