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  #1  
Old 09-18-2012, 09:30 PM
slotcardan slotcardan is offline
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Default simulating a gear shift for Drag racing.

a few weeks ago i got into drag racing Ho scale. I went out and bought a AW drag strip track and it quickly got out of control. This was something i had not done before and i became involved in it.

So SouthLyonBen and i had been talking over PM and i got inspired to try something different.

I took a set of Tyco Pro 4 speed controllers.


And i hooked them up to the drag strip track and just tried them out. Well i thought it was interesting. I read on Riggins slot car site in Tyco history that the original design of the 4 speed shifter was in fact for drag racing. the description of the original design Involved Diodes.

They basically setup the track so different sections had different voltage polarity, So you had to shift through the different sections of track to avoid the car loosing power and slowing down.
a design like that is involved and it requires modification to the car chassis and while i have tons of TCR parts and could cobble together something you couldn't use a normal slot car on the track, the set would be customized just for 2 cars on that drag track. you would not be able to take the car from the race track to the drag track....

I felt there had to be a way to have the 4 speed effect, but it needed to be more complex because there was nothing to stop you from starting in 4th gear from the starting line.

This meant i needed to design a resistor logic board.

now this project is still on going but lets see what you think.


ok so step one, lets show the concept. i needed to create a universal connector for the AW track to tie the wires into, that was easy.


So problem 1: the tyco 4 speed is a 90 ohm controller designed to work on 18 volts
the AW drag strip uses 40 ohm controllers and works off 13.5 volts.

If you try to use the 90 ohm controller with the magnatraction cars they will not move until you are in 4th gear.

problem 2: so i need to redesign the shifters, they will need to feed 4 wires plus common ground for each player.

problem 3: the track needs to be broken into 4 sections that are discontinuous to each other, But continuous to the car.

problem 4: the design must not ruin any of the special track pieces like the dead track sections and the start and finish line

problem 5: the design must be reversible and easy to setup.
-------


lets gear started:

gut the controllers, but DO NOT modify them so i can change them back at any time


build the 4 port controller switch. the finger board retains the common ground as originally designed.


start the wiring.




hack into 3 15" normal track sections with power signal wires.
try 1:

learn from the design and issues. Issues with magnatration cars, changed ohm range, from 40 to 15 broken into sections.
redesign board



larger scale test


success works, still has issues.
Found out now if you hold the car in gear 1 it acts like a novice automatic transmission with a sloppy shift.
gear 2 the automatic is faster,,, gear 3 faster gear 4 perfect shifting from the logic of the resistor board.

cheating is stopped if you start in any gear but 1 the car moves slowly just like a real car starting in a gear that is too high.

as the car passes each section the next gear unlocks into a lower ohm setting.

So you can hold a car in a gear and race or you can shift gears and have the potential to go faster if your shift is perfect.

Learned from this that the automatic shifting is still too perfect and the board needed a penalty for not shifting gears

So i started modifying the board again and got a working version 4 of the board, but now i thought the penalty was too much for magnet cars at 13.5 volts so i would change the resistor penalty again and then run the non mag cars at say 9 volts instead. The cars are lightening quick so its hard to gauge the effect. but it does work.....

as i have time i'll work on it some more, but i figured i'd see what you guys think.

I shot more video showing it working but i want to make a video when i gets more refined.

now you can also customize the shift points as you wish. you could use 9" track,6" track and make the gear lock outs as short or as long as you wish. you can even handicap one lane over another and have different shift points for players. The only pieces changed were 3 normal 15" AW track pieces, the entire setup unplugs in maybe 1 minute and sets up in the same amount of time. the return track becomes setup to only allow 1st gear which is actaully pretty realistic.

anyhoo comments suggestions.
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  #2  
Old 09-19-2012, 06:12 AM
ncdslots ncdslots is offline
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Very very clever!

As I watched your video and understood the concept, two thoughts came to mind. Why someone hasn't done it before as of yet with modern sets since the drag set is fairly popular, and two, imagining racing with a whole new level of realism with another variable in whether or not you can win.

You are adding more interaction/realism to the drag set. Instead of just how fast you squeeze the trigger when the tree turns green, or how tuned your car is, it now has timing of your shift, that can affect your total time down the strip. You can "get to first gear" good, and your car is faster than "Johnny" but if he can shift more consistently, he can beat you.

Awesome work! Very much so.

Last edited by ncdslots; 09-19-2012 at 06:15 AM.
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  #3  
Old 09-19-2012, 07:38 AM
slotcardan slotcardan is offline
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I looked at the idea from this standpoint, instead of a single reaction time race, it is now 4 reaction time races in one, each gear shift could be thought of as a reaction time race.

What i did to make the track discontinuous was i just bend back the rail connection on one rail per lane. but the sections overlap due to the rail design. so from the track standpoint there are 4 sections separate from each other. but the car's contact shoe is wide and touches both rail overlaps at the same time so the car sees the track as continuous therefore there is no dead spots where the car loses power other then the shift point.
the faster you shift and the smoother you shift the smaller the dead spot and the faster the car goes.

The magnet cars are more challenging then the non mag cars, with the non mag cars they glide off power, mag cars the second the power is removed they slow down, so you have to shift faster. the problem is trying to balance the play get enough penalty to stop cheating. I'm still messing with that.

if this was wired into a table setup i would have more freedom to mess around, i'm sort of stuck for space packing it all into a project box.

it is very easy to make this modular and swap out different resistor packs which simulate gear ratios

you could have different resistor values for each player as well. almost like bring your car and bring your gearbox to the track. really the possibilities are endless.

I'm using 10Watt resistors, but you could get away with smaller resistors since the race is so short the resistors would not heat up that fast.

I really wish the concept was done by manufacturers.

now the resistor logic could be replaced by mechanical logic on the shifter. you could force the player to row through the gears with cams and locks so you had to start in 1st and you could not jam into 4th you would need to row through all 4 gears in sequence. that would be a cheaper solution but less customizable. In real life you could start in any gear you wanted to so the resistor way is more realistic but more prone to cheating.

A digital system could be designed as well.

i settled for the simplest way though maybe not so simple.


Drag racing is So fluid on its own, a car will not perform the same way 2 times in a row even if your reaction time is perfect the cars change so much over 1 run its amazing. Testing has not been easy due to this.
i'm also testing different cars, mag and no mag, 4 gear verse 3 gear, just to see how the cars react to the ohms in the board.

Now republic tool made a shifting drag track


interesting design, the gear shifter might be mechanically locked to allow only sequential shifting. the problem is it uses special track and special cars, the track uses 3 power rails plus 1 ground. so there is no way to try this set out with normal HO scale cars unless you cut up the controller base and wired it to a track like i did. Too rare and too expensive that way. The republic system was a 4 speed with reverse, reverse is a problem because you would need a second guide pin on the cars the only stock chassis that does that is tyco US-1 or afx Big ryder, so it is a pointless option for a opening the door for more cars to use the system. plus you have a return loop or just go get the car at the finish line.
in my original design i had a switch that would make 4th a reverse gear, i ditched it as i built the first board.

I could buy Arcade shifters for 60$ that are locked sequential shifts, then build a box for them, but i wasn't sure of the specs and figured i had some of this stuff already as far as the tyco controllers.

oh well i've never seen something like this before maybe it will spark AW to make something in the future.


oh i should point out,,,, another reason i used the tyco pro 4 shifter controller was the finger board design, you can feather how much power the cars get by how much pressure you put on the shifting handle. So it may seem like you are locked into just using 4 resistor values but the reality is you are locked into 4 resistor limits without a floor because you can vary the pressure of the electrical connection. thus you can feather the throttle and control wheel spin off the line.

Last edited by slotcardan; 09-19-2012 at 07:46 AM.
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  #4  
Old 09-19-2012, 06:47 PM
ourwayband ourwayband is offline
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Very Nice design Dan!!!
Shifting thru the gears on a drag strip really adds to the fun!
I've been messing with this idea for some time over on Harry's site,though not as nice as your set up.
On my set up I used 1/32 track ,1/43 cars and divided the track into sections .
Made some shifters with micro switches.It pales to your design but still a lot of fun.

Rusty
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  #5  
Old 09-19-2012, 07:09 PM
slotcardan slotcardan is offline
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i love exchanging ideas i think your version is REALLY cool and simple, How cool is it to see the same concept from different angles

thanks for the PM
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  #6  
Old 09-20-2012, 02:28 AM
yankeyspeed yankeyspeed is offline
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That is really cool. How hardy are the Tyco shifters? I can see it now some overzealous driver breaks the thing going for 3rd gear.
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  #7  
Old 09-20-2012, 04:37 AM
indybob007 indybob007 is offline
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That is pretty cool ' Good thinking.

May I ask is the AW dragset pretty good to start with. Does the timing tree and finish lights work well. And what track type is use in that set. I know it comes with 13ft but 20.5 is needed for a real quater mile. And are the AW drag cars pretty fast. Thanks Indybob
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  #8  
Old 09-20-2012, 05:06 AM
slotcardan slotcardan is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by yankeyspeed View Post
That is really cool. How hardy are the Tyco shifters? I can see it now some overzealous driver breaks the thing going for 3rd gear.

Hee Hee they are not hardy the plastic rod could be broken if you really hammer on the lever you often see a broken set on ebay where the rod has snapped off, that is another argument towards using a acad style shifter which is designed to be beat up and keep going. You could also fabricate something stronger with steel and micro switches. Only issue with that design is the trade control for strength you would not have a feathering Control over the throttle.

Truth is if you use the tyco controllers you get used to them, I really enjoy them for normal racing where your constantly shifting going around the track. In that case the shifter obviously has less throttle control then a normal thumb or trigger control but it makes the racing much more challenging.

It is possible to repair broken controllers with a new shaft or sleeve the broken shaft with abs plastic rod.

They are still pretty cheap even today so I figured I would do it for the nostalgia.
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  #9  
Old 09-20-2012, 05:19 AM
slotcardan slotcardan is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by indybob007 View Post
That is pretty cool ' Good thinking.

May I ask is the AW dragset pretty good to start with. Does the timing tree and finish lights work well. And what track type is use in that set. I know it comes with 13ft but 20.5 is needed for a real quater mile. And are the AW drag cars pretty fast. Thanks Indybob


I think the set is a nice starter set I mean they give you everything to start playing around at the novice level. The timing tree has 2 modes professional and sportsmen, which changes the count down for the yellow lights.

The winner tree works on light sensors so you cannot have a night drag race because the winner light will error out. My complaint with the system as a whole is it doesn't tell you numbers. Of course a system with actual numbers would be expensive and it's up to the end user to decide if they need to upgrade to a professional timer system, with computer scoring.

The track provided is way too short, it really needs more sections for length of the track and the shutdown area needs to me much much larger if you start using non magnet cars.

I had a 20 foot track and I needed a shutdown area of at least 10 feet in some cases, I ended up ditching the return loop due to space limitations and using a soft cloth to catch the cars at the end because the shutdown area was laughably short. Thankfully all afx and tomy track fit and aw sells more track as well.
For the return loop they give you 12" radius track because the original cars have a front guide pin on the nose of the body and they use the normal 4 gear guide pin so you need a larger radius turn so the car does not get stuck.

The cars provided are 2006 aw design magnatraction cars with extra magnets in front of the rear tires. The cars are very very slow out of the box. Both the top fuel and the funny car chassis from AW are very slow. A tyco pro or hp2 or hp7 is a rocket compared to the stock cars. However if you look at it from a sportsman perspective you can see the cars easily and enjoy looking at them. You can of course make the cars go faster with modification and parts swap. The original afx dragster non magnatraction is faster but slower then tyco cars, I have made special hp7 dragsters out of 2 tyco cars that are ballistic missles since I removed the traction magnets.

That said they provide you with a 13.5 volt transformer so you can also speed up the cars using a normal 20-24 volt power supply, the timing system and winning system is not directly tied to the track , they both run on AA batteries so you could run any voltage you want down to the track.


Practice your announcer voice.





Another helpful modification I made was a single switch controlling both lanes so I could launch cars at exactly the same time for testing.

Last edited by slotcardan; 09-20-2012 at 05:27 AM.
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  #10  
Old 09-20-2012, 11:14 AM
ourwayband ourwayband is offline
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LOL,man that is a cool video!!
The announcer needs to kinda liven' it up a little though!

Rusty
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  #11  
Old 09-21-2012, 05:11 AM
indybob007 indybob007 is offline
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Thanks Dan for the info. Might have to buy the drag set for xmas. Thanks Indybob
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  #12  
Old 09-21-2012, 05:56 AM
slotcardan slotcardan is offline
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The aw set comes with thumb controllers a good trick for a hole shot is pre load your controller with your thumb during staging, and stomp on it when the last yellow light pops on by the time you hammer down for the green your already a head of player and out of the first 15" of track.

You have to practice how much to preload you want that controller just before the point of contact which means you may need to push the plunger down 1-2 mm


Worked on the drag circuit a little more ordered some more parts maybe next week I'll have everything to try out on it.
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  #13  
Old 09-24-2012, 05:35 PM
slotcardan slotcardan is offline
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almost done

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  #14  
Old 09-24-2012, 10:10 PM
slotcardan slotcardan is offline
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Wiring done, testing so far good, dressed it up a little.




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  #15  
Old 09-24-2012, 11:04 PM
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nvmyre nvmyre is offline
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I love it, very ingenious. First question, could you add a button to the controller to act as a clutch for launches? So you hold down the button, put it in first gear then let go of the button to launch. Second question, does the AW system give you a redlight if you launch too early?
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