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1/24 ScaleAuto Viper Converted to run on Digital Carrera Track

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  • 1/24 ScaleAuto Viper Converted to run on Digital Carrera Track

    I posted this on the Carrera Digital Facebook page, but thought it might be interesting for someone over here too.

    D124 Dodge Viper, anybody? Haha. Now that I have your attention, I want to show you what I've been working on for the last few weeks. But first, I'm going to tell you why I did it; Before I got into slot cars, my friend and I raced RC cars for several years. It was fun, but we didn't have any local tracks, so we always had to drive to race, sometimes up to three hours one way, which ultimately ruined the fun for us. Fast forward a few years to three years from the present day, when I stumbled upon a screaming deal on a Carrera D124 set on Facebook market place. Having no idea what I was diving into, I purchased it and proceeded down the rabbit hole of track expansion and slot car purchases. Of course my friend joined in on the madness and we are now racing on a 100 foot track in his basement with compound curves, pitstop, smartrace system, external power supply...well you know exactly how it goes. BUT, there was something missing: the tuning ability of the RC car days. Unfortunately, with the Carrera cars, you can't do a lot of tuning. Sure, you can change the tires, oil the bushings, swap the guides, add weight, mess with the magnets (boo), but really, there isn't a lot more you can do to increase their performance or tune the car for a particular track layout (we change our layout several times a year). We wanted the ability to swap wheels, change guides, add bearings, adjust ride height, change gearing, swap motors, tune suspension, etc. With Carrera cars that just isn't an option. That got me thinking, so I started down the path of designing a chassis of my own and 3D printing it, but while I was researching chassis design I came across some great designs that are already on the market. I ended up purchasing a 1/24 ScaleAuto Dodge Viper that sports their GT3 chassis, which in my opinion is pure engineered eye candy. I'll go into detail of what I did in the pictures and captions, but long story short, I modified the chassis to accept a Carrera D132 chip and run on the Carrera track. We had a successful test run last night in which we put around 500 laps on the car. The car worked perfect. It never missed a beat with lane changes and lap counting. How fast is it? Well, it runs like a raped ape (no offense to any apes that have gone thru that). After you drive the GT3, the Carrera D124s seem boring, we literally both realized at the same time that we ruined Carrera D124 racing with this one car. The acceleration is insane, we haven't hit the top end yet, even with our monstrous straightaway and it zips thru the corners like nothing else I've driven with a plunger throttle. The lap times are approximately 10% faster then our fastest Carrera cars and I'm sure with a little more tuning and practice we can increase the gap. Cost wise...it wasn't cheap. After building the initial vehicle, I think I could reproduce it for a little over $200. Anyways, check out my build and let me know what you think of it.

    A 124 scale Dodge Viper on the the D124 Carrera, yes please!...
    Viper 1.jpg


    The ScaleAuto Viper as it arrived at my place. I purchased this from Alan at 132slotcars.com. He carries just about anything you'd need for ScaleAuto cars, their upgrades and options and also several other brands...
    Viper 2.jpg

    The GT3 chassis. A beautiful piece, if I do say so myself...
    Viper 3.jpg


    A shot of front end as it comes from the factory. Love that carbon fiber...
    Viper 4.jpg


    The back end. Check out those cool billet bearing holders and the gear changing possibilities.

    A note on the ScaleAuto Viper motor: it is 12 V. Carrera D124 track is 18V. My friend and I measured the voltages of a Carrera car at motor leads at full throttle using the different speed settings within the Carrera control unit. As I understand it the settings reduce the voltage in increments of 10% every time you go down a number. We found that 54% setting puts it right around 13-14 volts and keeps the car drivable. You could always bump it up if you really wanted to haul the mail. I tried it at 100% once. It was crazy on the straight away and hard to keep on the track in the tight curves. Very fun, but hard to drive. I'm not sure how much of that high voltage the motor can handle for long periods of time. If you were doing that, it would be a good idea to keep an eye on the motor temps.

    While I'm speaking of speeding up, I better mention slowing down. The brakes work great on this car. At the 100% setting, they are too powerful. Just like the speed setting, it's easy to dial it down to suit your liking.
    Viper 5.jpg


    Bottom of the chassis from the factory...
    Viper 6.jpg


    Front suspension from the factory. The suspension is completely tunable with different springs lengths, rates, and standoff heights....
    Viper 7.jpg


    The first step of mods, was to get the the car to sit on the Carrera track properly without bottoming out and shorting the track, if the suspension was to be fully compressed. To achieve this I bought a pair of ScaleAuto's 7mm bearing holders (the one on the left). Part number SC-8147A. The bearing carriers from the factory are 9mm in the front (the one on the right).
    Viper 8.jpg


    Carriers installed...
    Viper 9.jpg


    Next, we run urethane tires on our track, so I bought a pair of Super tires SC-40434U to put the power down. All my other urethane tires have been Paul Gage. They work fine, but I must say I am impressed with the fit and finish on these SuperTires. These also came from 132slotcars.com.
    Viper 10.jpg


    After getting the tires installed and basic axle height set I was ready to fine tune the ride height. With the new tires the back of the car was right at .090" from the track to the chassis (stock was .072"). I used feeler gages to set the front at .085" suspension uncompressed, and .017" suspension fully compressed. This way the chassis sits level at rest and never bottoms out on the track causing a short.
    Viper 11.jpg


    I purchased these optional ScaleAuto shims from 132slotcars.com to dial in the front ride height. They are part number SC-8127E. They come in a pack of 8 and are .25mm thick. You can get them in different thicknesses depending on how finite of adjustments you want to make. I used two on each side to achieve my numbers.
    Viper 12.jpg


    Here's how it sat after ride height adjustments. Looking sweet!
    Viper 13.jpg


    Next up, I have to get the D132 board in the chassis. Here's the chassis sitting on the track, notice how the factory cutouts in the chassis align perfectly with the infrared LED in the track. A coincidence? I doubt it.

    As a side note, ScaleAuto does make a series of 124 cars called Home Series. They are designed to run on the Carrera track and will easily accept a Carrera chip. I considered going that way, but the added adjustability of this chassis is what swayed me towards it vs. the Home Series.
    Viper 14.jpg



    To mount the chip in the chassis I had to get it out of the way of the moving suspension parts and the floating body mounts (the carbon fiber goodies). I decided to make a standoff using the screw that goes thru the back attachment point (purple alum piece in picture) of the front suspension. For this I used a M2 x .40 x 16mm long flat head screw that I sourced from McMaster Carr. I placed two 3/32" plastic axle spacers over the screw to lift the board up above the suspension. I used plastic so the board won't short out. The spacers are NSR4853, but any 2mm thick spacers will work.

    Note: shown here is a 12mm screw, which is not long enough for 3 2mm spacers and a lock nut.

    Another option that I didn't explore, that would work good, would be to mount the board in the same fashion, but in the hole in the chassis directly behind the one I used. You would probably have to trim the carbon fiber piece to prevent rubbing, but it would eliminate the mods to the chassis (which are coming next)
    Viper 15.jpg


    Here's the board in place. I put another spacer on top to further isolate the circuitry from shorts. I tightened it all down with a M2 self locking nyloc nut. As mentioned, I've put several hundred laps on this setup and haven't had any issues with the board shifting, even with the one point of attachment.
    Viper 16.jpg


    With the board mounted in this location, I had to open up the chassis holes with my Dremel slightly to make sure it has a clear shot to the track sensor.
    Viper 17.jpg


    Here's the chassis with opened holes and the chip installed. You can see the LED in the right opening. My initial concern was that the LED might not pick up correctly with the metal around it or because of the increased height that it is above the track. As I mentioned, I've put 100's of laps on this and haven't had a single issue with lap counting or lane changes. While I was setting it up, I tested the sensor functionality at different heights. It will work quite a ways above the track, so the .050" extra my board is raised vs stock Carrera does not cause any issues.
    Viper 18.jpg


    After fitting the chip, I noticed at full suspension travel the carbon fiber suspension plate just barely contacts the switch on the board. I choose to shorten the switch slightly with my Dremel, but you could also raise the board a little more (which could require a longer screw).

    This is a good place to note: Carrera has a warranty on their boards, but they will not honor the warranty if you place the board in another manufacturers car. I think that's a common misconception.

    I bought this board individually, if I were to do this again, I'd buy a complete Carrera D132 car, take the board, wiring, and lights from the car, then sell the rest of the car for parts on eBay. It would've saved me a chunk of money in the project.
    Viper 19.jpg


    Now it's time to hook up the electronics. I purchased a plug and play wiring harness from Slot Car Space Solutions out of Canada. Nice little pieces. I soldered the motor leads to the motor. Note that I had to wire it in reverse to run properly on the Carrera track. I had it wired normally and it wouldn't work. I messed with all combinations of the polarity reversing switch on the board, but ultimately determined it will only work if the motor is wired backwards.
    Viper 20.jpg


    I removed the factory guide wires and soldered the Slot Car Space Solutions plug and play harness to the guides.
    Viper 21.jpg



    Here's what the chassis looks like with the board in the car. Note that I routed the guide wires over the axle later on.

    A note on weight. Despite having a steel chassis, the car actually weighs the exact same as my Carrera D124 Corvette C7R. That's including the circuit board upgrades. The good part is that the chassis is heavier and the body is lighter. That means the weight is down low...good center of gravity.
    Viper 22.jpg


    The final step was to get that guide fitting the track properly. It was too deep, the front was really pointy, and it was mounted too high up in the chassis. To fix the pointiness, I simply trimmed it with my side cutters to create a chamfer on the front. To achieve the proper guide depth, I measured the Carrera cars and found their guides to be right around 7mm. The ScaleAuto guide is over 9mm. So I took the Dremel to that as well, and cut it down to 7mm. Once the guide was the proper shape and depth, I shimmed the guide down with a .043" thick washer. This got the guide as deep in the track as possible while still allowing the wheels to roll freely on the track and the suspension to travel freely all while providing the best brush/track contact possible.
    Viper 23.jpg


    Here's the final guide setup.

    My next upgrade will be to find one of the threaded Frankenslot guides for plastic tracks. The Frankenslot guides are wider than these and fit the slot in the track better. I suspect less deslotting will result. I think that may be the bee's knees for this car and track combo.
    Viper 24.jpg


    Not done yet, but tested: I also bought a light wiring harness from Slot Car Space Solutions. It allows for plug and play headlights and taillights into the car. They plug right into the Carrera board. I'll probably hot glue them to the inside of the body. Then we'll have full Carrera D124 functionality.

    An issue I had had will test driving was a bunch of screws jiggled loose. I tightened hem up and haven't had any repeat issues, but I plan to use nail polish as Loctite on them if more issues arise.
    Viper 25.jpg


    Last edited by Yama-Bro; 02-24-2021, 07:18 PM.

  • #2
    Excellent write up! and good looking car!! That chassis looks great. What diameter wheels are those?
    You might want to invest in some blue thread lock for all those screws. Every screw that doesn't have a locknut on it needs some blue. I'm sure Alan can set you up with some.

    Comment


    • #3
      Yeah, after more than 18 years on this forum I don't think I've seen anything better presented and documented. Awesome job there by Yama-Bro!

      Comment


      • #4
        Awesome! Good job.

        Comment


        • #5
          Very detailed and well written. I know you haven't had any issues but I would be concerned about the metal chassis with Carrera's raised rails. I know you're setting the ride height but....

          Comment


          • #6
            Originally posted by dinglebery View Post
            Excellent write up! and good looking car!! That chassis looks great. What diameter wheels are those?
            You might want to invest in some blue thread lock for all those screws. Every screw that doesn't have a locknut on it needs some blue. I'm sure Alan can set you up with some.
            Thank you! The wheels are the Scale Auto 4043 solid wheels, which are 13mm wide, with an inner rib dia of 23.5mm and a rim dia of 21.5. I was thinking of loctite but was worried it would hold too good. I heard that nail polish a good solution.




            Originally posted by Wet Coast Racer View Post
            Yeah, after more than 18 years on this forum I don't think I've seen anything better presented and documented. Awesome job there by Yama-Bro!
            Thank you sir! I enjoy writing how to's. It's pretty satisfying to inspire someone else or give another person ideas for their project. Years ago I did an in depth on a custom RC monster truck build and I'm also currently doing a build thread on my full size car. It's a work in progress. Here it is if you are interested... https://thefactoryfiveforum.com/show...dex-in-Post-1)



            Originally posted by GT2RACER View Post
            Awesome! Good job.
            Thanks!



            Originally posted by dw5555 View Post
            Very detailed and well written. I know you haven't had any issues but I would be concerned about the metal chassis with Carrera's raised rails. I know you're setting the ride height but....
            This was a concern of mine too. There doesn't seem to be any issues though. I'll post back if we run into troubles. My friend has ordered parts to build his own, so we are going to have two cars on the track getting double the laps in very soon. My back up plan is to put some electrical tape in trouble areas to prevent shorts, but I'm really not expecting it to happen. Worst case, if it does, is the control unit resets. Not any different than a guide coming off a Carrera and laying across the track and shorting it out. I've had that happen a few times.




            I've gotta add, posting pictures on this forum is a joy compared to others I've used in the past. It's a intuitive system. Thanks to whomever it is that keeps it up and running.
            Last edited by Yama-Bro; 02-25-2021, 06:04 PM.

            Comment


            • #7
              Starting from the end and working back.

              Thank you for the compliments on the Forum, Russ ( the Tech Guy ) and I have worked hard to get SCI back to a standard we are happy with. Glad it works for you.

              On the build excellent job, glad the parts all came together for you. Personally i would not ramp the leading edge of the guide so much. But if it is working for you then great.

              Glad it all came together, would be interesting to see how this compares to the SC-8500 chassis build. As you state weight down low really helps, maybe more so on a Digital Track than analog.

              Regarding shorting out on the track, a quick cover up job with packing tape will prevent any issues and hold in any loosened screws.

              Again thank you for posting on my Forum and for your support of www.132slotcar.us

              Sincerely

              Alan
              Last edited by Scaleracing; 02-25-2021, 06:53 PM.
              Alan Smith
              SCI Owner.
              www.scaleracing.com
              www.slotcarillustrated.com
              www.facebook.com/scaleracingcenter
              www.132slotcar.us

              1-253-255-1807

              Comment


              • #8
                “I was thinking of loctite but was worried it would hold too good.”
                Use Loctite Blue 242 (not red). It’ll break loose with standard tools.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Originally posted by Scaleracing View Post
                  Starting from the end and working back.

                  Thank you for the compliments on the Forum, Russ ( the Tech Guy ) and I have worked hard to get SCI back to a standard we are happy with. Glad it works for you.

                  On the build excellent job, glad the parts all came together for you. Personally i would not ramp the leading edge of the guide so much. But if it is working for you then great.

                  Glad it all came together, would be interesting to see how this compares to the SC-8500 chassis build. As you state weight down low really helps, maybe more so on a Digital Track than analog.

                  Regarding shorting out on the track, a quick cover up job with packing tape will prevent any issues and hold in any loosened screws.

                  Again thank you for posting on my Forum and for your support of www.132slotcar.us

                  Sincerely

                  Alan

                  Thank you and you are welcome.

                  I think I will swap out the guide for one that it more squared off vs the sharp chamfer I did. I'd like to find a threaded Frankenslot, but it doesn't appear they make them? Any other suggestions? I need something that will fit in the Carrera track just right. The Frankenslots are a little wider to fit the groove tighter, which seems to help on the Carrera cars that I've put them on.

                  I would love to compare to the ScaleAuto SC-8500 chassis. It would be really interesting to see if all this adjustability makes a difference.

                  We put another several hundred laps on the car last weekend. Again, no issues with shorting. I actually tried to make it by placing the car on the track at strange angles, but it won't touch as long as your wheels are on the car, your ride heights are set and nothing is out of the ordinary with the track.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by Wicker Bill View Post
                    “I was thinking of loctite but was worried it would hold too good.”
                    Use Loctite Blue 242 (not red). It’ll break loose with standard tools.
                    Sounds good. I will probably try it as I have more blue Loctite sitting around than I do nail polish. HAHA.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Totally agree about the write up. I have the car but I purchased the Home series version (plastic chassis). Need to get off my lazy butt and chip the car. Thanks again for posting here, I don’t use Facebook.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        The Home Series chassis is easily chipped. And a lot of tuning capabilities also.
                        You can spring mount the rear end, change the rear to ball bearing axle support. Fit a deeper guide and adjust front ride height.

                        We sell a lot of the SC-8500 chassis, https://www.132slotcar.us/product_in...ducts_id=39415
                        Great also for kit bashing to create your own Slot Cars from Model Kits.
                        The link is to the Ready To Roll chassis complete with aluminium rear wheels.

                        There is also a bare chassis kit, and a tuning kit all available in stock.

                        I also agree great to have a review here.

                        Anyone is welcome to post reviews.
                        Last edited by Scaleracing; 03-03-2021, 07:17 AM.
                        Alan Smith
                        SCI Owner.
                        www.scaleracing.com
                        www.slotcarillustrated.com
                        www.facebook.com/scaleracingcenter
                        www.132slotcar.us

                        1-253-255-1807

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Alan, is it just the rear wheels that are metal? The picture shows metal fronts too?

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