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Digital Myths BUSTED!

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  • Originally posted by Flounder View Post
    I've heard the track has to be very clean to work properly. How difficult is digital track to maintain compared to an analog track?
    Cleaner is better for all slot car tracks, but it's especially important for digital. With the discovery of INOX MX3 and the effect it has on the rails, digital reliability has gone up considerably. Application is simple, and lasts a VERY long time. I rarely clean my track and it always works wonderfully. Only problem is dust on the track, but I clean that up with car tires.

    Originally posted by Flounder View Post
    Is it possible to use both analog and digital powerbase and just unplug the one you are not using?
    Usually when people ask this, they are asking if the track pieces can be left in, and just unplugged from power. That is a BAD IDEA! The DC power of analog can feed back into the digital base and damage the components. It's best to remove the power base from the track. Some people, like myself, have modified the base so that a plug or switch is between the base and the track, so although the track piece remains, it is electrically disconnected from the base. In some cases, the base is capable of both digital and analog control, such as the Scalextric Digital Advanced Power Base C7042.

    Originally posted by Flounder View Post
    Does the size of the layout have any effect on which one to choose? I have about 500 feet track but I'm going to set up. I'm assuming that no additional power supplies will be required. Is that correct?
    Layout size has no effect on the power to the base, but as Robert said, power jumpers, aka power taps, are a good idea, and serve the same purpose on an analog track as on a digital one. The more, the better, for consistent power and control around the track.
    Last edited by MrFlippant; 01-26-2014, 08:42 PM.

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    • Thanks, Rick. I'd love to see more of ANY kind of digital in wood tracks all over the world, but especially in the US.

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      • MrFlippant

        Great great article and very well written.

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        • If this is the 'last' page.......maybe I should type somethiing profound.........

          Failure had better be an option. Without the possibility of failure how will you know when you've succeeded?

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          • Thanks, Jam.

            I'll have succeeded if a single person who was interested in digital has read this thread and realized that they were misinformed about one or more things regarding digital slots. I can assume that's happened, if I want, but I'm happy to keep the conversation going for anyone who has any more questions, or more reasons for rejecting digital. Note that's not the same as sticking with analog. I'm not trying to convince anyone to switch. This thread is mainly for the people who are interested in digital, but avoiding it for some reason.

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            • Originally posted by MrFlippant View Post
              Jeff, without putting words into Billy's mouth, I can probably guess in three what is holding him back. The first guess would be compatibility. That's definitely a tough hurdle, and try as I might, my reasoning fails to impress a lot of people. The next would probably be the cars/controllers/control. There are some systems that just don't have the "feel" of analog slot racing. I'm not a big fan of those systems, though I can still enjoy racing on them. For really good feel, you want SSD, Carrera, oXigen, or Scorpius (IMHO!). Coupled with the cars, because some people just don't like Scalextric or Carrera cars, especially if they're coming from a competitive analog racing background where slot.it is De rigueur. Since most digital is still driven using the same brand car as the set itself, that's how it's most often used. Finally, it might have been the actual racing (and the drivers at the race). Slot racing of any kind takes a bit of skill. Adding in the need to avoid rear end crashes and other deslotting opportunities provided by digtial, the racing can be quite a crash fest with inexperienced drivers. DRAWW races used to be a crash a lap or more. Recently, we've gotten a lot better as a group, and most crashes are now the same as with analog... just bad driving by a single driver in a particular corner and the following cars running into that car, especially if it was a close race. ;-) If a person is coming from competitive analog racing environment, and gets dumped into a more casual digital race full of inexperienced digital racers, it will often be a crash fest, which competitive racers tend to dislike.

              Those are just guesses, though.
              Hopefully I can do this without being too long-winded or causing a "backlash", lol.

              So to a degree, you got part of it. For reference, I have run three SSD races with Scaleys and one Oxigen race with Group C cars. All races had a mix of new and seasoned digital racers with varying track layouts. What I found in the difference between digital and analog is it adds in more variables, which can be a really good thing.....and a bad thing. Good in the fact that there can be at times more strategy and timing involved. Sometimes it even takes a little longer to learn the track because there is a decided advantage to switching lanes in certain spots (I didn't mind that). The bad can be the crash fest that results from people trying to learn.

              Now yes, the learning curve can be steep with analog as well. The difference is the variables. Not only does the new racer have to learn the lanes, he/she has to learn lane changes as well. As I watched, I noticed great racing from a handful of racers across the three groups.....when they were in the same heat. Adding a newer racer (or more than one) to the mix was complete chaos. Lane changes at the wrong time or right in front of the leaders were the norm and I watched it become increasingly frustrating on different levels for each competitor. On the plus side, marshaling was easier than analog!

              In my opinion, having the same group of racers creates outstanding results in action. It really is something to see when a racer makes a bold decision at a lane change and it works!

              In analog, a new driver can concentrate on just staying in the lane and learning it without fear of being in someones way. By no means is that easy, it is hard to go fast....at any speed. When I race my 1:1 car, I can see what's ahead and make a decision much further down the track. In slot and RC your peripheral view ahead is very limited and the more variables you throw in, it compounds the difficulty for the new person very quickly. I feel like the lane changes are somewhat "artificial" and because, unlike RC, it limits my ability to avoid a potential crash when another driver does something unexpected....and I'm not talking about de-slotting.

              So I like analog because it is easy? Nope, the contrary. The difficulty comes from driving my best and timing my pass. How do I "time" a pass? There's a certain level of risk when passing a car on the outside. They can knock you off, come off in front of you or de-slot and take you with them. There's nothing like racing side by side, lap after lap knowing that any wrong move could be disasterous (we don't race with magnets or foam tires or silicones). To me, that's like when I make a pass on the outside in my 1:1 car or make a dive bomb late braking maneuver and try to clear them by the next turn so they won't get me back. With digital, it's just a different timing and racing style that can lead to the same results.

              I really like the functions of using the pits and fuel and beyond. Very excellent ideas in my opinion. It absolutely creates better depth.

              So what am I waiting for? Find the right group and go digital?......Well, hold on a second. No, it's not for the cost of changing cars over or not having a universal "language" between all systems. Though, having an actual physical store front, I can tell you that it makes it a little harder to sell because of those aspects. It's purely the same reasons I don't care for racing with magnets or silicones or tracks that have squeeze lanes or using foam tires. It doesn't feel right.

              What do I mean by that? Well, let me preface this with the fact that I'm 34. I grew up racing RC cars, quarter midgets, eight lane slot cars, back to RC and 1:1 race cars. We as a family always had HO cars. When 1/32 Scaley cars came into our view, it was awesome. I was somewhere around 15 or so. While I had fun with those and the few Fly cars we could end up affording, it always felt like toys. When I discovered home wood tracks that could have realistic environments that fit these 1/32 cars, that's when I became addicted. It felt more natural to me to squeeze the throttle through the corners, keep the wheel spin under control, not let it slide as much as possible and to time my pass.

              When digital came on to the scene I was in my 20's. It was intriguing and back then I tried the Carrera and Scaley versions. At the time, it felt more like a toy and to be fair I wasn't really "racing" yet, so I had no aspirations to see it go any further.

              What about now and BLST and MAGracing? Look, it all has it's pros and if you enjoy them that way, then I encourage you to keep doing it and find all the people you can to enjoy it with you. THAT is what this hobby is about. In my store, my mission statement literally was to create and provide a "community" for individuals in the 1/32 scene whether you're racing or just making laps. This place is a place where you can come and share experiences with others that are just as addicted. So in your neck of the woods, if digital is where it's at...I hope it continues to grow. Like wise for all the other styles of slot enjoyment there are. The only thing I hope we stay away from is getting too close to RC. While I love RC, I want there to be a reason I pick one over the other.

              Whew,
              -Billy

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              • Best post yet

                Billy,well put. Good disrciption of why you like anolog over digital. Our group had one huge Carrera digital track in it, but after about 2 months the novelty wore off and we stopped racing on it. Now it is all sitting in boxes in the owners basement and we are getting ready to rout him a track.I will say it was fun for awhile, but it felt more like we were playing more than racing. IMO

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                • Originally posted by Racerdoug View Post
                  I will say it was fun for awhile, but it felt more like we were playing more than racing. IMO
                  I've heard of slot racing referred to as a 'game', and it never felt like a game to me until I tried digital. It was like playing an awesome game with friends, and the challenge wasn't to win, the challenge was to just drive and pass the other guy (even when we were running a race). It was very strategic -- what your opponents did heavily influenced what you did, so you were trying to do it to them first. Remarkably fun.

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                  • I believe the more effort you put in, with all the proper equipment, the more it won't feel like a toy. If you have racers who are there for a little more than just fun(competing)it is also easier. Once you can push past the digital learning curve(technical aspects)and get to know your tracks well the "racing" can be intense. It can be a race full of carnage, very little carnage, or a intense full lapper with no mistakes by one or all(latter is rare)I feel the it is so much more than how many laps can I do in x amount of time, which has it's own challenge, but doesn't let you have a strategy that can change as the race progresses. When I refer to equipment I mean a decent size track with a adequate pit lane and some form of Race Management Software with monitor that can be seen by all. These items don't just fall out of the box and land in place. You have to make it happen if you want it. The effort is part of the hobby in either of it's forms, but I feel well worth it. Good thread going here. There is one who would normally chime in to grind the thread starters gears and I have not seen a post yet. They may just be overwhelmed by information and turnout.
                    LONG LIVE DIGITAL RACING
                    Dan

                    http://cmdsrc.weebly.com/

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                    • (hint--they are all toys)

                      Sometimes I think we lose sight of that fact with rules/money/timing/etc.

                      The real question is...which toy do you wish to play with!

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                      • Good stuff, Billy. I wonder, though, if the main reason digital felt like a toy was not because of the nature of digtal racing, but that the tracks you raced on were plastic, and that you've come to associate wood tracks with how slots "should" be, and plastic with toys. I don't agree with that, and that might not be what you meant, but I WILL concede that wood tracks are REALLY nice. I'd love to have a digital wood track some day. Neither club I race with uses magnets (much) or foam tires or silicone, so we have the same kind of 1/32 racing you like. EMSA does it in analog, with a couple wood tracks, and DRAWW does it in digital with all plastic tracks. Hopefully, someday I'll have the time and skill (and balls) to build my track up in wood for the ultimate digital slotting experience. Until then, plastic works pretty well.

                        I also admit that there's a slightly steeper learning curve with digital racing. It has everything analog has, along with the tense side-by-side action for multiple laps that analog does... but it adds the need to NOT rear end another car, or change lanes into them, both of which can be difficult when you don't know for sure where the guy in front of you is going to brake, or if he's going to carry the same speed through the turn as you. Pioneer Mustangs are great for teaching people to back off, 'cus it's almost always the following car that loses out in a rear-ender.

                        But like you said, once the racers have gotten over that learning curve, the racing is fantastic. I've used the word sublime to describe it before, and I'll stick with that. 6 cars racing a 2 lane track, lap after lap just behind each other, giving and taking, passing through the lap counter in racing order, changing lanes to gain the lead position... it's joyous. DRAWW racing was pretty crash-tastic for a while. As the group gained more experience, the crashes have reduced considerably, and the vast majority of crashes are now single car deslots, just like you get with any analog race. For us, though, it was a lot of fun both getting here, and being here.

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                        • Really the only difference in digital is not to rear end any one and timing your lane changes. Everything else is identical to analogue racing. Sure it takes a few sessions to get used to it, but it aint rocket science

                          Unfortunately peoples first experience on digital will probably be a toy system out of the box, and thats where the problem lies. With a timber track, with quality controllers and power every analogue racer Ive seen race on such a track was blown out. Most rated it 10/10 and even a few said 11/10 and all came back for seconds. Our digital meets get up to 20 in a night.

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                          • Hey! Wasn't that the last page? I mean....I even thought up something profound....ah man!! Just wasted it!

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                            • I know nothing about digital. Or, now I'm a little more informed.
                              One question. It is possible in a 6 digital lane change from lane one to 6?

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                              • Yes.
                                I won't get into how silly it would be to run 6 cars on 6 lanes digitally, but yes.
                                6 lanes would be ideal for a Scorpius or oXigen track with 12-20 cars, though.

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