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Scalextric Sport Digital

17271 Views 140 Replies 41 Participants Last post by  Tropi
Scalextric to Unveil Sport Digital System at London Toy Fair 2004

We thought that it might arrive sometime soon...

- Six cars to race on a single Scalextric lane
- New digital hand throttles
- Sport Digital power control unit
- Button-braking function
- 9 different modes of racing to choose from
- Compatible with existing Scalextric Sport track

The Sport Digital Race Ready Set
- Set containing: Track, Digital Control unit, 2 Digital cars & 2 enhanced digital hand throttles and one lane change track piece.

Sport Digital Pro (for existing layouts)
- Contains: Command Unit, Connector Track, 2 hand throttles, Software CD ROM, Power unit, 2 Changeover tracks.

Click here for the Scalextric Press Release

You heard it first on SlotForum! We will have all the info on this system as it becomes available.
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QUOTE But why the brake button? Then we will have three separate controls : throttle, brake and lane changing ( today only one ).
Are we shifting towards some sort of R/C type race? Or we will need a piano player's hand?

Good points, Sprint! Some of the same questions I have!

Can most people react fast enough to the demands of digital in a competitive environment?

I don't know. Challenger is one thing. Full digital racing is another. I'm game to try it, but I already know several people that would likely never survive in the digital arena even though they are tough competitors in standard slot racing. The future of digital will depend on our adaptibility - our talent in coping with the increase in inputs and our successful reactions to them. Can we do it?

I don't think we'll know until we try.....
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Congrats Nuro for picking this up so fast. I must admit it all sounds quite exciting to me, especially with backwards compatability. Good news I think, though my wife and wallet may disagree!
A thought or two on the buttons for brakes and lane changing - it sounds almost like video game racing, something a lot of the younger guys will be familiar with and possibly Hornby's intention.
Having a separate brake button that would presumably override the throttle could be a really interesting feature - stay on the power as long as you dare then slam the anchors on at the last second, sounds good to me.
The only other question I can think of is cost of the chips and do you get a few with the pro system?

OK, I started another topic as a branch to this subject on digital decoders (size, cost etc).
At the risk of being accused of self-promotion, here's an extract from my latest column;

QUOTE This undoubted innovation leaves me a little cold. True, I have not seen nor tried any of the systems, but aside from an idle sense of wondering what it would be like to drive six cars on two lanes I have never had, nor can I realistically perceive, the need for such a system.

QUOTE I count myself as fortunate to have a track permanently up in the garage, but I almost invariably am on it alone. At the clubs I race at we have four lanes and no real need, or space frankly, to have any more drivers and proportionately fewer marshals so I don't see it being a feature there either.

Do many of us have four or more mates regularly queuing up the play with more to marshal?

As for calls for a separate section, I recall Moped predicting RMS was going to revolutionise slot cars. Still waiting for that one to come true and I have got it installed at home.

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I hope the controllers are beefier than the 65ohm(?) throttles supplied in sets now.

45ohm would be nice, so the car actually moves when the throttle is pressed (lightly).

Resolve the PSU (lack of power) issues.

Seperate buttons for brakes? hmm, not so sure about that one - presumably Scalextric's solution to minimise lane changing shunts?

Echo Scott's comments regarding 6 peeps round simultaneously...

Despite the above, it is tremendous news to hear Scalextric enter the Digital arena. I particulary like how they have considered; backwards car & (possible) various track compatibility, purchasing addon kits is a great and unexpected move, and above all else they listen!

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RMS has revolutionised slot car racing but I will discuss that elsewhere later.

When I say that we will be racing 24 cars it is because clubs normally have a minimum of 4 lanes. Now if they run digital in 2 X 2 lanes then that will be 24 cars maximum in total. 12 on the 2 closest lanes and 12 on the 2 furthest lanes.

The issue is who is going to track marshall?

However I suspect that clubs will grow rapidly if folk are not hanging around waiting for their turn and they get almost constant race action. That is a very big plus point for clubs.

The other point is the issue that Scott mentioned of getting 3 or more racers together. I have been thinking about that myself.

My view is that this makes slot car racing more of a matey/family event than it currently is and it will encourage more bonding sessions between family members and friends than we may have at the moment. Now in todays society that has to be a very good thing and Scalextric have just introduced just the product to help generate matiness among friends and family.

I think dad will be even more inclined to get of the couch and race his son/sons and their mates/his mates than they may do at the moment. Because the fun factor for dad and his mates has just multiplied many times.

And isn't what this is about at the end of the day?

Just think about how significant this all is for a moment.

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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

For me, this would probably mean purchase of the Digital System. If not, I will pass on it for now. This is that important for folks who have 4-lane tracks and lots of people coming over for race nights.

Having the choice to go to the inside or the outside of a curve would be great.
Hi guys, I've seen quite a few postings about the compatability of Scalex digital with other manufacturers' track, but what about other manufacturers' cars? Will the Scalextric chip be able to fit say, Fly or Ninco cars?
In the Scalextric press release they say the system is backwards compatible with cars from the last two years. What changed in their chassis/car design two years ago?
Also, Adrian says 'In theory, any slot car can be adapted to be used as a 'digital' car - even 1960s cars!' depending on available space.
At the end of the day I'm just glad that their system is compatible with their 'Sport' track, I'd just bought 3 of their 'Sport' sets when I read about the possibility of them producing a digital system. Seeing as the other manufacturers' digital systems didn't seem to be backwards compatible, I was a bit gutted to say the least! Full marks Scalextric, you're leading the pack!
Regards, Koffeebreak
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QUOTE (Koffeebreak @ 6 Jan 2004, 02:54 AM)I've seen quite a few postings about the compatability of Scalex digital with other manufacturers' track, but what about other manufacturers' cars? Will the Scalextric chip be able to fit say, Fly or Ninco cars?
I don't see why not. There isn't anything proprietary in a Scalextric car. I would add the decoders to my other cars just as fast as I add them to my Scalextric cars. That would be the first requirement of a digital system for me. Compatibility across my existing collection.
I am psyched about the new Scalextric system, it sounds like the best thought out of the three out, now I see why they waited to see how the other would do theirs. I love the fact that it is backwards compatible and that I will not have to change track systems to use it. Way to go guys!
QUOTE I hope the controllers are beefier than the 65ohm(?) throttles supplied in sets now

Jamie - digital dont have conventional controllers. Full voltage is applied to the rails and recieved by the cars all the time, the controller sends a signal to the chip in the car that regulates the voltage to the motor
Well, well, well - the night brought these thoughts (in no particular order) :

- a pit lane becomes essential

- with many cars, motor current surges even out - so you don't really need that much for the transformer - one thing to check (from trains) is that stalled rotor current doesn't fry the chip

- Scaley lane spacing at 77.5 mm (actually, I suppose it's 3"x25.4=76.2 mm , but I'm not quibbling) - IT'S TOO CLOSE > clubs will keep it just for the specialized pieces and reuse their Ninco (in abundant supply !!) for the rest of the track - Ninco just set a record with their 2 km track, so continuity is OK - Carrera might be even better, but there are no transitions

- lane change geometry : one LC is enough, hence functionally it must be lXl (not l/l + l\l a la Carrera) - with trackside actuators, it cannot be on a straight, I wonder where it'll be ?
mmm... close, but no cigar : still room for improvement

- an unintended consequence is that MAGNETS WILL BE BANNED : magnetic cars are simply too fast to control (reminder : buy shares of company making tire trueing jigs)

- SCX Digital is DOA, Carrera Pro-X seems a losing proposition - apart quite possibly from the purely toy market

- for Davic, no change : DS was going nowhere before and will certainly stop now - so there will be a dozen hand assembled systems for those big European clubs who want to run long distance races with 15 cars - sad, but not the first (nor the last) time an excellent idea is doomed by lack of resources and marketing acumen

- Davic's patent : DCC is open art (admittedly for trains, whether transferring it to cars is patentable is debateable) but it just boils down to brute strength - and Hornby's got a lot


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I know that this may have been asked before but does converting my existing track to Digital, will i still be able to run my none digital cars on the track.

I know that they are saying that all the cars could converted to digital but as i have over 150 cars this would be expensive to convert them all.


Why is the hornby lane spacing too close? even the big-boys of the hobby, the VMG can-ams and the fly trucks fit side-by-side on it without touching- I don' understand why a digital system requires a wider spacing.

Why does a track-operated lane change have to be on a corner? The way you're looking at doing it makes sense, but Davic switches on the straight. |Of course, hornby are using curve crossovers now, so it would ties it wih existing parts, but adrian said that the corssovers would "act as a chicane", which implies to me it being on the straight....
Call me a dinosaur but I wont be buying digital,as some one said earlier magnet cars will be too fast to cope with drving and changing lanes,this argument also applys to non magnet racing It can be bad enough avoiding slower cars but to have them on the same lane! Sorry guys ! This doesnt mean to say Im totaly anti digital I do think it has its place, It is a nice gimmick (like challenger)I just dont think it has a place in the club room ,For one thing the digital controler is different and you will no longer be able to use your favourite handle ,,how will the digital decoder stand up to use in a modified car, how much current will it pass or are we going to be limmited to stock scaley motors,which isnt a problem if you race at home on a short track but would be a big problem on some of the larger layouts
For me digitital is a big no so I will now say no more and crawl back into my cave with the other neanderthals.
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Why would maganet cars be to fast, I believe that the SCX digital system cars have maganets, so why would the scalextric digital system be any different?

Perhaps Adrian can confirm this for us.

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the two biggest hurdles for digital on a conventional slot track are not the electronics or the LC mechanism, but :
- the exponential increase in collisions
- a LC/track layout that ACTUALLY makes it possible to overtake

With 76 mm lane spacing, you're left with just 13 mm clearance between say LMP cars - that is if they're nicely aligned for a picture on a straight, not racing into a corner - in other words, you cannot overtake on the outside,if you do it on the inside the other guy's off. That may be acceptable when you have the luxury of waiting for the first propitious corner, as in multi-lane racing - but definitely not with digital where other cars will be popping up constantly in front and behind you

Now, the LC must make you lose the minimum amount of time (keep in mind that you're already well trailing, to avoid a shunt) and at the same time the trackside actuator must have a cycle time sufficiently low so that other cars close by are not affected. The Davic LC meets the first requirement, but definitely not the second - it's not (only) a question of solenoid type, cars are simply too fast on a straight
The obvious solution is to put the LC where cars are slowest, i.e. ........

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It would seem that the use of a high quality Parma or PM controller will be deemed completely invalid with this new system. Hand controllers are not really the strong point of any manufacturer.
Just to answer the 2 year compatibility thing with recent Scalextric cars Adrian did say earlier that for the last 2 years Scalextric cars have been designed with enough space to accomodate the coding chip required for digital.

That also suggests to me that this developement has taken at least 2 years and maybe longer.

In terms of club racing GRAH1 must be a member of a club with a smallish membership. Clubs who don't embrace the digital concept going forward may well start to loose membership to clubs that do. (
something to think about!)

For clubs who have 4 lane racing or more and who have 9 or more members who turn up regularly digital will be a godsend as it will permit far more racing action rather than sitting about action. And it will permit a lot more practice aswell as everybody can practice at the same time!

As such I would say that Scalextric should seriously consider an ability within their lane changeover design to permit switching from lane 2 to lane 3 of a 4 lane circuit.

It will be a major selling point to get this system into clubs, and will permit club membership to expand massively. (club memberes say
to Moped!)

There is a natural point with every club where recruitment stops because members realise that there would be little racing action if membership expanded. This will no longer be the case.

Scalextric can go very heavy on promotion of "Club Membership" and joining a local club on the basis of this. Scalextric could include a list of "Digital Clubs" on a leaflet within the sets so BIG PROMOTION for digital clubs.

But the key is to permit digital racing with more than 2 lanes, which does require the switchover mentioned before.

As a marketing tool for slot car racing "think club" as they do a lot for slot car and Scalextric marketing. And I also suspect that a lot of new clubs will also form as folk will want to get together more often on the back of lots of guaranteed race action!

To conclude - LANE CHANGING FOR 4 LANES OR MORE IS ESSENTIAL for club racing. But I would agree not for home racing.

But of course what none of us know is how complex this may be for Scalextric to accomodate as there may be more to it than just a section of track!

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QUOTE In terms of club racing GRAH1 must be a member of a club with a smallish membership. Clubs who don't embrace the digital concept going forward may well start to loose membership to clubs that do. ( something to think about!)

you couldnt be more WRONG Moped, Grah1 attends pendle, you know that club that mr pendleslot himself runs? yes that one. also it is copper tape - it's the way forward!!

rms revolutionising the hobby? how, to who? at wrexham we spent out money on dave lelievre's slot master software, it is millions of times better than rms.

Mope, sorry to break it but your living in a dream world, I have 200+ cars NO WAY am I going to buying chips for all of them! scalextric can put whatever price they like on these chips, most likely to be about £5 a peice! not cheap.

controllers your right, I wont give up a parma for one the scalex controllers anyday, they are POOR!

If you want to change lanes.. it's called RC! other factor, flat out and you need to change lanes! 45 degree corner flat out, dont work matey!

who would marshal? quite right! everyone will be on the track, it is a way to get rid of marshalling and all. also, imagine 24 people huddled round the controlleing area! it'd be chaos! not to mention the fact, which effing car is mine? CRASH!

ah ah, wrexham aint gonna get it. we spent a lot on upgrading our track controllers etc and if we do install it, we will have basically wasted £500's worth of equipment.

it's cost, thats all - COST!
what are YOU prepared to pay? you can buy RC cars that are raceable for £200 with all the gubbins, upgrading your track if you use parma controllers 80 quid gone, whatever digital costs and the cost of chipping all the cars, to do what? change lanes! whooopdidoo!

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