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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I'm looking at setting up a scalextric 'stall' at our local schools fun day to help raise some money to send some kids on a 'life experience' trip to Zambia. Given that my scalextric has never really ventured out of my loft before and I'm fairly new to digital I suspect I'm going to be on a steep learning curve over the course of the day. So I figured I'd set out what I'm planning to do here and see if anyone is able to contribute any wisdom / experience to my plans.

First off, I've asked for 3 table tennis tables plus power and I'm planning to build the following circuit:



I have five controllers / digital cars (2 DPR, 3 with digital in-built)

I'm trying to enlist some help and so far have one volunteer!

I was planning to charge £1 per person for a 15 minute session, if it goes well and I have enough people who want a go I'd try and get people to sign-up to 15min slots on some kind of schedule. I'm not sure whether the 15min sessions should just be just pull the throttle and go or whether I should have qualifying and races or whether I should just leave it flexible and see what people want to do (I was leaning towards the latter).

I'm also not sure whether to run all 5 cars or just 4 and keep a spare in case of a problem!

I'm going to try and leave a couple of hours for set up. I find WD40 is not only good for cleaning but also helps in terms of getting rid of power drops. I'm also wondering whether there's any other tricks for hastily fixing power breaks on the day?

Another area where I could do with advice concerns race rules. There's a good thread somewhere on this forum where people are advocating 'no contact'. I think I'll try and enforce this with some kind of warning / sin bin system.

I don't have enough barriers and I'm a bit concerned about cars coming off the table tennis tables. I might try and fabricate some kind of barrier to prevent this.

Any advice / thoughts would be very welcome!
 

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Hi and welcome,

You are brave! And trust me it will be a steeeeeep learning curve.

Where in the world are you?

When is the event?

The track looks great but you're going to need several people to man/marshall it!

I usually have a minimum of one spare car for every car I race!

You won't raise much money at £1 for 15 mins and people will get bored of standing around waiting. I recently charged £2 for 12 laps although that did include entry to a draw and a prize for fastest lap of the day.

You will need barriers!!!!!

What kind of timing/race system are you using?

What powerbase are you using?

Look on my Facebook page for pictures of a recent event I did.

Good luck!
 

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I would get rid of the forced analog crossovers and for sure the junction. The track looks tempting and interesting, but I think It is too hard for rookies. They will have more fun on a fast track. And It is better for your cars. You really need some Super Resistant DPR's for an event like this. I think I'd prefer to tables next to each other, for a better view what is happening, for drivers and marshall(s). Just some thoughts, have fun !
 

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I've been thinking about doing this type of thing as well! So, my opinion is:

15 minutes is too long for this type of event. Keep the sessions short, people will wait for the next chance to have a go, and it'll keep the interest high for the racers.

I'd say either:
* sets of 3 minute practice sessions - maybe log lap times, prize for the fastest at the end of the day
* similar length races, no qualifying (probably just an added hassle). Perhaps random the grids so the kids don't know that a certain car will be at the front.

Definitely keep a spare car!

And as Andy said, turn the power down!
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
I'm using the C7042 (I haven't got it hooked up to a computer or anything). I hadn't thought about turning down the power so that's a good thought.

The fun day is in Coventry (nr M6 J2), 25th June.

I think I'll have to try and construct some more barriers.

re: queueing, I figured I'd try and get around that with the schedule thing. I.e. I sell someone a ticket for the session at 12.15 or whatever.

I hoped to raise about £60 which isn't much but I know it would be appreciated. Perhaps I could charge £2 or bring it down to 10 minutes or something.

The spare car thing is worrying me! Do they really fail that much? It's a different environment but the cars crash a fair bit when my kids are driving (aged 5 & 6) and seem to hold up pretty well.
 

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Greg Gaub
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All great advice so far that I agree with wholeheartedly. Along with everything people have already said (some repeated because they're important) here are my recommendations from experience:

1) Cars WITH magnets and sticky tires if possible.
2) 50% power on the C7042 (great! you have one!) You don't need the computer hook up for this.
3) Remove ALL potential crash zones other than lane changers. They'll be plenty by themselves. That means no crossings, squeezes, or R1 turns unless...
4) PARABOLIC CORNERS!!! That means each turn should start with an R4 or R3 prior to an R2. NEVER go right into an R1 turn from a straight. Precede it with at least one R2, preferably an R3 before that.
5) Put your lane changers within arms reach of the person who will be doing the marshaling work. Trust me, kids don't care if the lane changers are all in one area of the track. They won't even be paying much attention
6) put a small wall or catch net/fence of some kind next to where the lane changers are, because that will be where cars are most likely to find their way to the floor.
7) If possible, use super resistant cars, but if all the above is followed, crashed will be greatly minimized, only happening at the lane changers when they crash into each other.

Cars aren't unreliable, but in this environment, they receive the most punishment. By following the above suggestions, damage will be greatly minimized, though. It's always good to have a spare on hand. Since you have 5 cars, I suggest running only 4 at a time, and keep the 5th as a spare.

As for pricing, while my event was free, I think 1 pound for 15 minutes is WAY too little for WAY too much. You could charge that for a 2 minute race.. 5 minutes tops. Or a certain number of laps. As suggested, some kind of prize to try to win, or certificate is appreciated. I made simple prints that said "YOU WON!" with a big trophy on it, which I gave to the kids who got 1st place.

Several people on this forum have done charity/school/business/whatever tracks and have a lot of great advice to offer. Hopefully they will chime in and share, or at least link to any threads they started about their event. Here's a link to my second event where I put in place some of the ideas from my first event. I'm going back again on the 20th for the end of year bash and will probably make a few minor changes. The first post only contains the video I did, later posts share more information, and a link to the thread about my first event.
http://www.slotforum.com/forums/index.php?showtopic=55080
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Ok - thanks everyone, that's a fantastic response.

I've ammended the track to try and reduce crash points. I didn't quite get rid of all my R1s but I've got rid of most of them (as well as the crossovers and the junction). I love the idea of parabolic curves but don't have any R3s or R4s (hmm - father's day coming up!) I've also tried to put the barriers that I do have in places that might prevent the cars coming off the tables. Greg's netting looked awesome but I'm not sure I'll have time to manufacture anything half so good in time. I might be able to make something a bit more crude.

Running at reduced power is a brilliant tip.

I'm also going to follow the advice to shorten the time for a 'go'. Not 100% on what this should be but maybe a 5 minute timed race, or alternatively a 2min practice + 3min race (or something like that).

I'll run with 4 cars. Hopefully one spare will be enough (gulp!) I've moved the powerbase to the other side of the track to help with visibility. I'll have a marshall opposite. I've also kept the lane changing on the inside as by the sounds of it, these are the most likely crash points.

Fingers crossed.

New track below ...

 

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QUOTE (eljms @ 8 Jun 2011, 18:35) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>I love the idea of parabolic curves but don't have any R3s or R4s

Running at reduced power is a brilliant tip.

I'm also going to follow the advice to shorten the time for a 'go'. Not 100% on what this should be but maybe a 5 minute timed race, or alternatively a 2min practice + 3min race (or something like that).

I'll run with 4 cars. Hopefully one spare will be enough (gulp!)

I'll have a marshall opposite. I've also kept the lane changing on the inside as by the sounds of it, these are the most likely crash points.

Fingers crossed.

Point 1 - Is a must
Point 2 - Its not you driving it so it doesn't matter what you like
Point 3 - 1 run to start line then x no of laps race
Point 4 - Cars - buy some from toys R us as spares but dont open then if you don't need them take them back for refund but if your cars fail thats the end of the fund raising
Point 5 - they will crash anywhere

And Good Luck

remember keep it SIMPLE
 

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I take it the kids are 6 - 11?
If so I would do a 10 lap race with a couple of laps practise for £1 or £1.50 a go. I always find that the kids have had enough by then, don't worry about tickets and times. Just run a queue and you will find that gives you a few extra marshals. As you are running digital it's even better as it doesn't matter what lane the car goes back on.
4 cars is a must (1 spare).

Most important!
Take food and drink and a colostomy bag, coz you ain't gonna get away from that table once it all kicks off.

Good luck and have fun. Oh, and put 'new cars' on the fathers day list.
 

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Horlicks Hero
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QUOTE (AAWSCC @ 8 Jun 2011, 21:54) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>Take food and drink and a colostomy bag, coz you ain't gonna get away from that table once it all kicks off.
Amen to that.

When I do this I charge €1/driver for 2mins and nobody complains. Doing it on a number of laps basis means even the slowest driver will be entitled to run the number of laps they've paid for. If you do it based on time, everyone finishes at the same time. And those that fall off the least will get to do the most laps.

I run a 4lane analogue circuit, so your 4car digital would run about the same number of drivers as me. We tend to get through about 150-160 drivers in a 3.5-4hr period. It doesn't run non-stop, but pretty close to it. And keep in mind that changeovers take time, too. Oh, and don't give them practice laps; if they suck, they can pay a few more times and get better through experience. You're running a fundraiser, so everybody pays to play.

If you want to see how chaotic it is at full power, check out my video from a couple of years ago.


I have just received a variable PSU so this year I can turn the juice down, and maybe turn the craziness down with it.

If you want a cheap prize that's also an incentive to win (i.e. crash the least), you can always offer 'Winner Stays On'. This way, the winner of each race gets a free run in the next race. Of course, this might hurt the fundraising effort since you only get 75% pay in, but it's worth considering if you find yourself struggling to draw people in to play.

As far as spares, yes, run with 4 so that you have a spare car *and* controller. Also, have plenty of spare braids as these can deteriorate quite quickly due to the 'help' you're likely to receive from unofficial trackside marshals. They do love to slide the cars to and fro as they put them back into the slot.

Stuart.
 

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Greg Gaub
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The new layout will be much better for the drivers and marshal. Since you don't have any R3 or R4 to ease into those turns after the longest straights, those will probably be deslot points as well. Before you let the kids loose on it, make sure you can go around at full throttle (50% power though). Wherever you come off is where the kids will come off. If you can't set the table up before people start to arrive, set it up at home to test it. If you can update your APB to the latest code (if you haven't already), then depending on the cars, you might even need to go to 33%, though with magnet cars, 50% seems to be best. Also, be sure to crimp the rails on all your pieces after any testing, prior to the event. That way you won't need to run power taps/jumpers.
The food and drink is a great idea! My first event, I was going nuts for a drink and was rescued by one of the nicest kids there. The second time, I brought a personal cooler with drinks and snacks. Even for a 2 hour event, they were much needed.

Of the race times suggested, based on your earliest idea, I think a 2 minute practice followed by a 3 minute race is a good middle ground. That's plenty long for them to feel like it's a good value, but not so long they get bored in the middle of the race, or waiting for their turn. You might be best not to SAY how long the events are, though, so that you can shorten them when the line gets long (1 min practice, 2 min race), or lengthen them when there's no one waiting. For my events, I simply ran 2 minute races over and over. As soon as the race was over, the race to the controllers was run by the next group of kids, followed by another 2 minute car race.
 

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Heck, learning curve steep, think vertical.

At least INSIST that the next batch of punters MUST marshall the 'previous' race. As for £60 ?, for the effort involved - just hand over £60 and save yourself/your sanity/your cars....

Have a raffle Draw / Prize (even if it is aimed at parents, i.e we'll do a kids party/corporate event/charity bash/garage new car model launch night -whatever)

And a fastest lap of the day under/over tens with a small cash prize, say a fiver. (oh and a big whiteboard with current results updated on it) Hand out a preprinted set of RULES/instructions to every participant, with MOTOR RACING IS DANGEROUS at the headline.

I run a single lane rally stage under an eazi-up shelter, powered-up off a car-dealer type battery pack, all at 12v (no 240v electrical risks - CYA), the sides of the shelter double up as catch fencing, you do NOT WANT little johnnies mum&dad blaming YOU for their offspring eating a flying car at head height.

Think of what can go wrong, double it and carry two/double of everything. Handsets/timers/cars/helpers/dismantlers..........

Best of British - the day will fly by.

scalexkid
 

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I recentlly ran an event at a school fete. I had a very simple 4 corner track on a 3 x 2 metre base(Track virtually ran round perimeter of base) with 4 car power base. Three sets of cars were used, Crash resistant Nissans, Porsche 997s and Asssie V8's with a spare for each set. Each hour I changed sets - but only had one breakdown which couldn't be repaired on the spot. We charged $2.00 for 5 minutes.

We had to arrange barriers around the table to keep kids at arms length and to allow us access to all parts of the track. The kids were encouraged to wait in line, which ran down one side of the table, so they could still see. With marshaling, setting kids up and explaining the controller and button functions, collecting money and various other bits and pieces it kept two of us very busy. In 5 hours we raised $300 and were identified as the best event at the fete.

Next time I will be using a 6 car PB to allow voltage control, but will still only run 4 cars. Will probably still run multiple sets as this created interest and brought people back for another go. Will keep the track simple and have brochures available advertising hire for parties etc(this was suggested by parents asking if I could do something for their child's birthday).
 

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Hi, You are going on a very steep learning curve I took over an event in harlow shopping centre last year and we ran our scalextric over 4 days, On the 1st day we started with a 2min practice followed by a 10 lap race after 2 hours we found the format we was using was to long so we had to change to a 1min practice and 6 lap race (queue waiting to long to have a go) we had 125 kids have a go on the first day alone.

We learned a lot from this so the track was changed slightly from the first day and nobody noticed we also had 10 spare cars and 2 spares of everything else so if something got broken we had enough spares to keep going plus you will need plenty of spare braids.

Over the 4 days we had approx 700 kids with there mums/dads that had a go, you will need plenty of drink and food with you to keep you going plus get some help with marshalling as you cannot be in 2 places at the same time this also means that you can get a loo break if needed.

So if you use a short race format you will get more kids on your track and you will take more money for the school, Also get super resistant cars as these are harder for the kids to break.

Steve
 

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Alfie Noakes
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Hi, I can't offer any advice based on experience, as I'm in a similar position to you, thinking about it and working out what to do next.
I recently posted this thread:

party track

about an analogue track I set up for my son's birthday party. There's some really good feedback in other members comments too.
I set up the track and left guests to play on it, and it proved very popular and great fun for all.

I don't want to repeat what others have said, but one thing I would repeat is 'Keep It Simple!'
A track that we /you think is amazing I don't reckon will make much difference to the average punter.
Do a track that is easy to marshall, avoids crashes, and is a bit bigger than the kids could do at home.
The fact it's digital will provide the wow factor, as probably most won't have seen/used digital before.

The 'quickest lap' board I did was a real hit, especially with the youngsters.
Small prizes for the top 3 laps of the day would be a great way of getting the kids to keep coming back to check if they're still in the lead, or having another go to get a better lap time. Maybe offer a 'half price Scalextric party' for the winner.

I had a couple of old Mini Clubmans for the dads too, which they appreciated. Giving people a choice of car worked well too.
My hunch is that you'll easily beat £60, maybe even double it. Perhaps you could buy a couple of used digital cars (Minis/Boxsters/TTs?) off of ebay and think of it as an investment to generate more income?

Please let us know how it went, including photos, and some tips from your experience would be really useful to all of us thinking of doing this too.
Cheers,
Richard
 

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Hi
havent done an avent myself but what I do at home when friends are round which arent use to playing get abit well lose control shall I say .
I use the yellow flag button set to plause race as soon as some one comes off or there a pile up
if you have the 5th controller and only run 4 cars as said you can press the brake button
and it will stop the kids climbing over table under table to put there car back on .
You then have control of race and they calm down because there not left out of race .
You and possible one marshal can put cars back on track quicker than six kids and safer prob.
Hope your will be back to tell us what happen after spell in hospital .
good luck ade
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
I think I'm going to try and get some power taps.

Greg - you mentioned crimping the rails. I currently just flip track on to it's back and then push down with a flat head screw driver. Is there a better way of doing this (I think I found this advice on either the scalextric website or some reseller)?

Also - returning to the Father's day theme - I don't think it's digital but is anyone involved with this?:

http://www.visitheartofengland.com/news/article/?id=308
 
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