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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Recently, during a visit to RichG he and I talked about the Powered Flipper. Our discussions sparked some ideas and Rich contributed three really important aspects on the solution explained here.
1 - The use of a dual coil latching relay.
2 - Employing the flipper signals to activate the relay.
3 - The electrical connection to the flipper.

You need one Dual Coil Latching Relay for each flipper - Maplin part number N38AW RELAY LINK (currently £3.73 each - in the UK) and some wire, I used 3 core flat servo extension wire, commonly used for RC servos.

Positioned under the Straight Lane Change section the relay is just about 2mm deeper than the track, so when complete the track won't sit perfectly flat on a surface. This is not an issue for most permanent installations as the table or base can be cut to accommodate the relay. It's not too bad on a flat surface and you won't even notice it on a carpet.

On a flat surface, if you can't live with the Lane changer being raised slightly, then you could arrange the wiring differently to get the relays outside of the track section.

There is a risk! - If the flipper is polarised one way and you then manually pushed it to contact the wrong rail there would be a short. In normal use this is unlikely to happen and would be no worse than a braid short.

The Dummies Guide

This is not difficult to do - you need to use a solder iron - I would rate it with a difficulty level 3/10


The instructions below are based on wiring the Left-Hand Flipper (viewed from the top of the track). In reality you would work on the Right-Hand flipper at the same time.
Cut one length of 3 core flat wire - 150mm
Cut another length 190mm and separate the white lead. Cut the remaining red and black leads to 90mm


Solder the leads of the 150mm flat wire to the relay pins as per the diagram - strip the black lead a little longer to span and link pins 1 and 2 on the relay, solder the white lead to pin 15 and the red lead to pin 16.
Solder the 90mm black lead to pin 6, the red lead to pin 8. Solder the 190mm white lead to pin 4.




Remove the Sensor cover (3 screws) cut 2 slots in the cover and 2 in the matching track piece to create an exit for the wire (see image). Solder the 3 leads to the trigger pads in the order below (also see image). Replace the cover and screws.


LEFT FLIPPER - The trigger wires already under the sensor board are coloured red, white and black. To keep the lead flat, I've soldered it to the sensor board pads in the order white, red and black.


Create notches in the track for the leads to sit in.


Solder the red and black leads from pins 6 and 8 to the rails as indicated in the diagram and image. Tin the Rail Tabs with solder first.


Remover the Flipper cover (5 screws) Note: Once the cover is removed try to avoid turning the track over because the flipper actuating arms and pins will fall out. They can be put back together but it's just a bit fiddly.

Create a notch in the track (see image below) to hold the flipper wire contact.


Carefully, strip the end of the lead by 30mm and coil it into a ball to create a good contactor for the flipper. Place it on top of the flipper and into the notch. Tape the lead to hold it in place. Replace the cover and screws. If you have a multi-meter it's a good idea to check the continuity between the flipper and the pin on the relay.


Fix relay to underside of track






The process for the right-hand flipper is the same but for neatness I've wired to the opposite side of the relay.

RIGHT FLIPPER - The trigger wires already under the sensor board are coloured black, yellow and blue. To keep the lead flat that I'm soldering to the sensor board pads they are in the order black, red and white


Testing so far has proved to be faultless; you can stop on any flipper and just drive away.

However, if you reduce the track voltage to less than 10.5v there is insufficient voltage to switch the relay coils and then when the flipper is triggered an overload is likely.

Enjoy


Keith…
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Martin,

Essentially, the track signal that actuates the coils to change lanes also drives the relay coil to switch the flipper voltage polarity.

It will have no effect on the magnet modification


However, if the magnet is too strong and stops the flipper moving from the rail when a lane change is requested that would be a problem, because the relay coil will still switch polarity and then a short will occur


Keith…
 

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Wow, Keith! Great job, and as always thanks to RichG.

Does Maplin ship to the US?

If not, I found a similar component at Mouser, it is the third one down on this page, an NEC 12v double latch relay pn 551-EA2-12TNJ.

The pin out pdf for the Maplin part is here - and you've shown it in your pictures - th pin out pdf for the NEC component is here.

Looking at the NEC pin out for the double latch which is shown in reset position it looks like the NEC pins would correspond to the Maplin part pins in this way:

Maplin 1 - NEC 1 set positive

Maplin 2 - NEC 10 reset positive

Maplin 4 - NEC 3 common

Maplin 6 - NEC 2 connection to common in reset position

Maplin 8 - NEC 4 connection to common in set position

Maplin 9 - NEC 7 connection to common in set position

Maplin 11 - NEC 9 connection to common in reset position

Maplin 13 - NEC 8 common

Maplin 15 - NEC 6 reset negative

Maplin 16 - NEC 5 set negative

Looking over the specs for the NEC part compared to the Maplin I don't notice anything that would prevent the NEC relay from being used, but maybe somebody knowledgeable could check that if we can't get the Maplin part here in the states.

Good job Keith!
Paul
Circuit TrustChrist
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Paul,

The NEC relay pn 551-EA2-12TNJ looks like it would do the job - the physical size is a little different and if you could bend the pins out side-ways it might even sit under the track a little better.

I also found a Data Sheet for the SHINMEI RSBL-12-S HERE the address on the Sheet is in Neptune NJ USA - I guess you could get the same part from them too.

I have 5 x Straight LC's - 2 x Curved LC's and a Pit entry on my track. I have modified 2 of the Straight lane changers and have been testing the performance and reliability of the modification - they have both worked flawlessly.

However, tonight I had a friend over and we experienced a few overloads and it always happened randomly on either of the flippers of both the modified Lane Changers. I tried increasing the overload setting in the PB from 50ms to 100ms and 250ms - I also tried changing my track voltage at 11v, 11.5v, 12v and 12.5v - I thought that maybe the coils in the relay had failed and the flipper was polarised in one direction only - and then it started working flawlessly again - we finished with 4 x 20 laps races with 2 cars and no overload. So I'm not sure what was going on.

Having seen this happen tonight - I would use some caution and if you intend to do the modification do one lane changer only for the time being.

Unfortunately, I can't get to do any track testing tomorrow!

Keith...
 

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Hi Keith,

Thanks for link, yes it does look like we could get the part from that company, just order by phone.

Are you going to do a CLC? Would you need to connect to both the entry and exit flippers?

This is such an elegant solution to the flipper problem, I have to say good job again. Hope all goes well in your testing.

Paul
Circuit TrustChrist
 

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Paul,

Yes, on the CLC I intend to add a link wire between the Lane Change Flipper and the Fixed Exit non-Flipper.

Additionally, for the Pit Lane I intend to do the mod for pit entry but NOT link to pit exit non-Flipper. I will probably, just add track voltage on that piece for straight through operation. If you were to link to the non-Flipper then on entering the pit the exit non-Flipper would be polarised for pit exit but not polarised correctly for straight through on the main track. Adding fixed (straight through) voltage to the non-Flipper would mean that the main track always has voltage and the only possible dead spot on the entire circuit would be at the pit exit.

Keith
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Minardi,

Thanks - It was your post on the '-no braking zone-' that prompted me to do something!

Looking at the images in the dummies guide it might look a bit daunting and complicated, but it is really not.

If you can use a soldering iron and sharp knife 3/10 is good - it's easy, even soldering to the sensor board is easy because of the available pads. You remove 8 screws total and 2 covers, there's no need to remove any boards or disconnect anything else! EASY


Keith.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
With respect to the overloads that happened last night I think I understand how they occurred.

Car triggers the sensors for straight through - actuator 1 switches and relay coil 1 switches - All is good.


Car triggers the sensors to change lane - actuator 2 switches and relay coil 2 switches - Still good.


Car triggers the sensor for straight through again - actuator 1 switches but coil 1 doesn't switch the relay - Typically, the flipper doesn't quite touch the rail so no short occurs - But life is not good.


Any car that then crosses the flipper will result in the braid causing a short and an overload protection to the PB.


This is so close to being a perfect solution and at the moment why the relay coils did not fire every time and then worked flawlessly for more than 80 laps last night is a mystery.

The sensor triggers the flipper actuator and the actuator may not be powered directly by the track voltage - there are capacitors on the sensor board. I'm at the limit of my electronic ability here. Maybe the power is border-line to fire both the actuator and relay coil at the same time, every time.

I have assumed that the trigger voltage is 12v and that the actuator coils are also 12v.

I'm sure this is going to work but I need the input of an electronics wizard, any thoughts?

Keith.
 

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Keith or Rick

Correct me if I'm wrong but with a routed system as I am building I have a live flipper with out the work that you have done here.

As I have mentioned on my post, I am using SSD components and mounting them into MDF. I have finished my first LC and the Flipper is live in both directions leaving only about a 2mm gap from the back of the flipper to the start of the copper tape that is laid on the track. I lined the insde of the slot on both sides of the flipper with copper tape to make sure the flipper has a good contact area but otherwise it is the same as the plastic track, why do you need the switch and power supply to the flipper?
 

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Paul NZ.

You are correct the flipper is conductive and if it touches the rail it picks up the voltage of the rail and all is well. However, in practise on the plastic track the flipper usually bounces off the rail by a fraction of a mm and then no voltage is present on the flipper.

Keith
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
Rick,

Thanks for your indepth reply "5V"


I think you are probably right.

I tested a relay tonight and the contactors switched reliably down to 8V and below 7.4V no switching at all. So if the trigger voltage is below 8V from the sensor board then the contactor relay switching will be unreliable.

The SHINMEI RSBL-12S is also available in:-
RSBL-5S : 5V RANGE 3.5V TO 9.8V
RSBL-6S : 6V RANGE 4.2V TO 11.8V
RSBL-9S : 9V RANGE 6.3V TO 17.7V
RSBL-12S : 12V RANGE 8.4V TO 23.6V

The job now will be finding some of the above to test.

Can anyone else confirm the trigger voltage of the sensor board?

Keith.
 

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Hi keith

I have just had a quick measure and with a PSU set to 13.5 Volts then there is between 8 & 10 Volts on the flipper coil. So right on the point where it will be a bit unreliable. So unfortunately looks like a lower voltage relay is going to be needed particularily for lower track voltages.

Rich
 
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