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Confined as I am in a one bedroom apartment, a great deal of thought went into building a layout that would fit into a tight area and offer consistently good racing.

This I was able to achieve, and in my mind the only missing piece of the puzzle was the arrival of Scalex Digital, this I felt would open up new possiblities for such a tight track.

I followed with great interest the various discussions throughout development and the painful wait for delivery (which Im sure most of you did), but one small detail escaped me until very late in the day - namely the need to run a half straight sendor track immediately before the lane-change piece.

My layout was heavily landscaped any any thought oof having to change it was a bit of nightmare.

Anyway, 2am Xmas morning and I had torn it up and created a workable layout and was able to run initial track tests.

First problem was not only a dirty track but also some bad connections, (any less than premium connections get amplified when the 2 lanes become one circuit), but this is really another story, by the next day I had a clean circuit to play around with.

It didnt take long to realise the new layout was not a fun drive, it had become way too tight by my having to include the 2 half straight sensors.

Fortunately I've been able to find a little downtime this Xmas and wanting to get this really happening I was able to perform a number of mods to my new setup.

Initally I converted 3 Scalex porsche 911s and based on the success of those, a FLY 908 ( photographed the process if anyone is interested).

Now to address the driving line and get some fluidity back into my layout. Those half straights had to go. Could it be done? Yes it could.

Some careful eXacto knifing, a little soldering, a little drilling and grinding, and presto!



 

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DT
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Well done. I knew that this would happen, seems you're the first


It just shows what the public at large want, need and are prepared to get. Scalextric, I hope that you're listening
 

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Hi mate, I'll post explicit details later, but in brief, these are the steps.

REMOVE the chip from sensor track.
Screws only, then gently left the chip from the centre in an outward direction to expose 2 solder joints. No mystery here, just be careful. Unsolder to remove.

Looking at your sensor and LC , you can see the mini-jack connector plug is fixed in a straight ahead position, as is the receiving plug.

We need to allow both of these plugs to rotate - just a little (if, of course we are renovating a curve), remove the screw and make very small cuts to the LC piece - be very careful - you need to cut out of the track connector receiving section - approx 1mm x 2mm.

Quite a bit of cutting to your NEW sensor piece is required;
Remove the center rib , leaving a small centering post for the round hole in the center of the chip (normally the screw shaft is found here).



Essentially we just need the chip to be flush with the bottom of the track , so we also need to cut a shallow from the bottom of the plastic below the rails, about the size and depth of the chip piece - leave a little for error and rotation, this I found the hardest part. While there, prepare the plated metal for solder so we can resolder the chip in place.



Most importantly we need the infra-red chip to appear in a new hole you will create in the bottom of the slot.

Finally we need to re-align and drill a new hole in the pickup rails to accommodate the rotated position of the infra-red chip.

Carefully connect the 2 pieces (LC & new sensor -- with the mini-jack connected) so that you can gently rotate the chip until the infra-red chips appear in the middle of the slots, mark this position on the rails from above with a black marker - measure the diameter of the hole in the provided sensor track and emulate this with a drill or preferably a dremel.

I was able to solder the chip leads, and tape the assembly into position to test it before glueing (which I've still not done ... ).

I noticed that a larger part of the chip is exposed to dust and dirt now (I exposed more of the chip than necessary) and a mask should probably be cut out to recreate the infra-red cut out of the Scalex track.



Anyway the result is great - the driving line is finally working as it should!

QUESTION:
I'll finish this post with a question -- Ive only been testing with one car -- should the inside lanes infra-red be visible (it cannot activate lane change from that lane ) also or is it in fact NOT used.

I believe a read on a forum somewhere that there was some collision protection - and if this is the case then I believe the inner lane should be also redrilled & exposed, otherwise I'm dreaming and it serves no useful purpose other than being aan aid to mass-production

Can anyone answer that for me?

PS, sorry for pic quality - my phone was all that was available that day.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Thanks Nuro!
Nice to be on the cutting edge, (anyone got band-aids - im bleeding).

In regards to Scalextric listening...

Wait till you see what Ive done with my Challenger, I have been trying to find time to post my mods to Challenger that make it unbeateable (for any but the best drivers)!, So that it finally lives up to its promise and "races any course to its ultimate"... I believe thats what it says on the box!

AND, it did occur to me that (with thought) the Sensor track could be a clip-on , but that'd mean going back to the drawing board.

And speaking of clip-ons...
And having done 4 conversions now, howabout a digital in-car chip that can be clipped in & out,.. that way you wont have to buy a chip for every one of your 50 cars! eg; whack a small piece of velcro with holder , clips for leads etc. etc.
 

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Beppe Giannini
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A very elegant solution, Drummer !
- much nicer than my crude "slap under" installation (but then I could afford a larger sensor hole at track level)

Is the LED signal picked up regularly even if the car's sliding - or do you run with magnets ?

AFAIK, the sensor on the other lane is not used - they must have left it there so there would be a single PCB for the various LC configurations - the need / advantages of an anti-collision interlock hasn't dawned on Scaley's minds yet !

Beppe
 

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René 'Vialli' Christensen
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Very fine work with the chip in a corner. In the picture there are to corner tracks before the LC. Is it not possible to put the sensor in the last straight track or is there a timelimit for the car to get to LC?
Or are you afraid that a car ahead would get moved to the other lane (that will teach him to move out of the way!) before your own car reached the LC?

I like the idea of a clip-on chip for cars. Good be too expensive with more than 80 cars! Some lightkits have little connectors (?) - should be able to use them for the chip too.
 

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Great work! I can understand why scalextric did not make the sensor curved, as stated above, if the car is swinging out as it reaches the sensor, the led will not line up so well, thus reducing reliability (certainly in mass produced and distributed situations)

I hope you are not finding such reliability issues.
 

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Soren Winkler Rasmussen
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Hi Astro
QUOTE (astro @ 28 Dec 2004, 14:58)Great work! I can understand why scalextric did not make the sensor curved, as stated above, if the car is swinging out as it reaches the sensor, the led will not line up so well, thus reducing reliability (certainly in mass produced and distributed situations)

I hope you are not finding such reliability issues.I don't know if I would consider that situation as a reliability issue.


If you enter a corner too fast, and the rear tires slide out, you'll risk missing a lane change that you wanted to make, but IMO that's ok for the system to behave that way.

In real life, if you enter a corner a bit too fast, you're not going to be able to drive the racing line you wanted in the first place. I think it's quite realistic that you suffer some kind of mild "punishment" if you are not braking early enough for a corner.


It adds to the overall realism IMO.
 

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QUOTE Initally I converted 3 Scalex porsche 911s and based on the success of those, a FLY 908 ( photographed the process if anyone is interested).

YES. I intend to chip my porsche 911 and maybe also some fly classic sidewinders, therefore any pics of your conversion would be great !!

Thanks and greetings from Switzerland
Zubi
 

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René 'Vialli' Christensen
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QUOTE (SWoRd @ 28 Dec 2004, 15:50)Hi Astro
QUOTE (astro @ 28 Dec 2004, 14:58)Great work! I can understand why scalextric did not make the sensor curved, as stated above, if the car is swinging out as it reaches the sensor, the led will not line up so well, thus reducing reliability (certainly in mass produced and distributed situations)

I hope you are not finding such reliability issues.I don't know if I would consider that situation as a reliability issue.


If you enter a corner too fast, and the rear tires slide out, you'll risk missing a lane change that you wanted to make, but IMO that's ok for the system to behave that way.

In real life, if you enter a corner a bit too fast, you're not going to be able to drive the racing line you wanted in the first place. I think it's quite realistic that you suffer some kind of mild "punishment" if you are not braking early enough for a corner.


It adds to the overall realism IMO.

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>

Søren, you are quite right about this.
If you go to fast into the cornet, you will miss the LC.
Must people drive without magnets and tend to go sideways - rally style - through a corner, but this with stop now. Who have ever seen a LMP go sideways through a corner in real life?
 

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Soren - in a great many ways, very true! However, If scalextric had made such a sensor part, I hope this would NOT have been the customer services reply to customer complaints on the issue!!!!
 

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Morning Guys, just thought Id let all you know, we tested the track last night with 4 drivers.
No one mentioned missing a lane change- we raced 3 Porsche 911s and the Fly 908.
The racing was simply awesome.

My curved sensor however sits after a R1 inner so you are not going full-speed but rather accelerating into an expanding radius corner.

The only prob we experienced was having enough power! But I believe - based on experiences of others around here that, SSD power supply should be a separate thread!

It is true we only need to expose one infra-red chip in the renovation, (that of the lane changing lane). - it seems it is merely a mass -production leftover.

Darainbow: (Can you show some pictures of the 908 conversion? Did you need to lose any of the interior? )

One pic shows some of the cuts to the interior, you also have to remove the 2 stepped ridges at the very front of the interior (no pic), you can leave the drivers feet intact however.

With all my conversions I needed a way to mount the IR chip. With the Scalex Porsche 911s I used a collar around the first magnet holder. You could easily make renovations to that holder itself and not use a collar as I have.

BUT with the Fly 908 there was no such oppoortunity so a hole needed to be drilled and a device for mounting (my collar) the IR needs to be installed. These pics show the collar and the final chip placement. Hope this helps







Porsche 911 interior
Areas to be cut marked in black,







BELOW: The finished item, interior has been cut, collar holding the IR has been glued in place -- but looking at it now, it is important to position the IR as close as possible to the rear of the guide, but we've had no problem wih the car triggering the LC from the curved sensor track, even going sideways, this is true of the Fly 908 also, but as can be seen from the pic above, the IR position in the Fly car is very close to rear of the guide flag.



 

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Darainbow;

I started out immediately with 2 power supplies (based on experience running analog Sports).

On testing a larger layout with 2 cars (2 x power packs) the previous night we were experiencing 'power sharing' as I call it. Im sure you know what I mean (increased power is available when a car is removed or is braking etc).

My layout is actually quite small, so less problems noticeable immediately, but last night with 3 cars - it seems fine for a while, maybe 10 15 minutes ( as good as 12 volts can be!), but then it seems the control unit may heat up and start to begin having troubles coping with the load, the 'power sharing' occurs, not unlike Challenger if you have one.

When we added a fourth car (Fly 908), things became noticeabley sluggish, you are all basically driving with the trigger fully depressed for all but a quick release through hairpins. In instances of multiple cars triggering lane-changes simultaneously - power seemed to be reduced to about half!
Not happy with that at all.

We then replaced the 908 with an out of the box SSD Audi and this seemed to have less problems dealing with the lack of power*.

*Which is maybe why the sets come with light bodied-lightless-magnet cars?

THE CARS USED:
The Porsche 911s are running the standard , out of the box, button magnet, and I chose to keep the headlights as a part of the upgrade. SO, it is fair to say the cars may have less problem when running without headlights and perhaps the headlights of the 911s are not really what Id call 'digi-compatible', ie there may be more efficient or suitable globes/ leds available.

FLY 908 was out of the box running standard magnet, no lights.

The guys and I are certainly fans of non (or low intensity) magnet racing and we intend to experiment with some magnet-less cars fairly quickly.

So in terms of load, I am certainly surprised that when running 2,3 or 4 cars on 2 power supplies that we experienced any problems at all.

Surprised and disappointed as you can only run 2 power packs, how the hell you'd run 6 cars without power sharing I dont know, perhaps its only possible with the supplied cars.... ( Id certainly hope not!)
 

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Addendum:

As I write Ive just received a call from the my good buddy Geoff who has not only confirmed that using a 3rd party variable voltage transformer running an efficient <30amps @ 12 volts seems to cure these problems, but also that he has bitten the bullet and turned voltage to 13 volts (!, I wouldnt have), and I believe he's itching to turn it up some more.

Another of our colleagues has done same @ 12volt and reported no longer experiencing the "Overload Error" that he & others reported having trouble with.

AND..

Geoff has just gone to 14 volts and in his words 'without smoke'.

How long this'll will last maybe the next response...
 

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If you can provide pictures and a detailed write up how the power supply was connected, I will update my comparison. Better yet, have your friend provide a write up.

I'll be honest that I question your veracity. I cannot see how adding more power to the system will stop it from shorting. Additional power will not bend the laws of physics. Sounds too good to be true, but I will suspend disbelief and wait for your reply.

(The problem is not that it is shorting per se, but what it DOES when it shorts, which is loose race results.)
 

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Beppe Giannini
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Hi Drummer,

interesting feedback...

Purely as brainstorming : if you had a spare control unit (which would be the case if you had bought two sets), you might conceivably hook it up separately and use it as programming track - and then try feeding the LC sensors/solenoids with it ! It would seem that these do draw a significant current

Of course, this suggestion is offered in the interest of Science, and I shall not be held responsible for loss of life/limb/silicon parts whatsoever !!


Beppe

[Edit]
On second thoughts (??), I don't believe the LC sensor circuitry needs precious coded DCC feed at all !! Most likely, the first thing it does is convert it to plain 12 V DC anyway - but wait until this is confirmed by a real expert ..
 
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