Topic: Upgrades at Rapid Raceway!

We have been working hard to upgrade the lap counting/timing system at Rapid Raceway. The old computer used to run the SRT system has finally just given up the ghost. Today we completed the installation of the Race Coordinator system on a new computer but ran into difficulties with the system maintaining "track on" status during race mode. We had instances of the track power randomly shutting off before the timed heat race was over. This problem has also occurred at Al Christensen's Rippin' Ridin' Raceway. But, good news, we are working towards a solution and have some promising ideas! We will keep y'all posted on our progress!

Re: Upgrades at Rapid Raceway!

Very Interesting !!!

Re: Upgrades at Rapid Raceway!

Yes Al it is! We lovingly refer to it as "The Al Disease" now! Good news is we may come up with a fix for your system also!!!

Re: Upgrades at Rapid Raceway!

At this point, test results look promising.  We've got Al making a similar test.

"Big Smooth"

Re: Upgrades at Rapid Raceway!

well what was it ???????  ghost in the machine, bad voodoo curse. red wire crossed with the other red wire??????

The secondnidator

Re: Upgrades at Rapid Raceway!

OK, here's what we think we know at this point. It seems the higher powered 1/24 cars wreak havoc with the Race Coordinator as we have it set up. We used Monte's interface board and a separate power supply for it, between the computer's parallel port connection and the track power relay which seemed to help. We think with 1/32 and HO cars this cofiguration would work fine, but with the Super 16D motors and greater there were still issu3es with the track power shutting off before the timed race was over. Our fix was to use the Race Coordinator program in conjunction with Trackmate hardware. Once the Trackmate hardware was installed, including the Trackmate interface board, Race Coordinator worked fine. Rapid Raceway is up, running, and race ready!

Monte dropped off the other components we tried at Al's today for him to test. We'll see how they work on Al's track.

Re: Upgrades at Rapid Raceway!

It goes like this...

The problem with most ALL PC's is that the parallel port used to drive the track interface is a lousy partner for supplying enough voltage to run a relay.  They weren't exactly designed with that purpose in mind but operating bi-directional printers - which they are very good at.  It's all about voltage levels.

So what most solutions offer is a separate board that has circuitry on it that will satisfactorily drive a relay.  This is what TrakMate does.

And this is where our Digital Racing Solutions Simple Start Board comes into play.

A useful element - it allows for a parallel port to drive relays by using low voltage detection and amplification in the simplest terms.  However it's not really set up for higher current applications.

As an example, we use it here and at Rico's track where the cars are mostly 1:32.  I have never seen these issues here or at Rico's of the power dropout.

On tracks where higher current motors are being used - Al's track - we are seeing the same issues.  And we saw the same thing at Howie's.

And now that we understand it here's the easy fix...

1.  Operate the SSB with an external power supply rather than connecting to the track power system.  This helps more than you would imagine since voltage on a typical track application is varying as power is applied and can play havoc with relays.

2.  One start board per lane if needed.  Boards are rated at 15A.  Not many cars will pull more than 15A each but a group of them will.

And there you have it.

I dropped off an external power supply and some resistors for Al's track yesterday afternoon.  If the problem still persists, we'll move Al's track to a board per lane and the issue should be gone.

Advances in technology, ah the excitement.

"Big Smooth"

Re: Upgrades at Rapid Raceway!

Great news! Nice work gentlemen.

Race cars are neither beautiful nor ugly. They become beautiful when they win.

Re: Upgrades at Rapid Raceway!

Way to go Monte!!! So glad we have you in our slot car group!

Re: Upgrades at Rapid Raceway!

That's great news. Al and I were running some cars on Thursday and it tripped on us several times. I swear, they were ALL legal motors.

Re: Upgrades at Rapid Raceway!

The race tonight at Howie's Rapid Raceway was run without any problems! Lap counting, timing, and power delivery were all perfect!

12 (edited by Mitch58 March 19, 2017 5:59 am)

Re: Upgrades at Rapid Raceway!

I had planned on going there after work, but I can't believe I've caught another cold. I guess that's part of these larger construction  projects, I interact with about 80 different people on a daily basis.

Re: Upgrades at Rapid Raceway!

It was a fun race! The new NASCAR Class is great! The racing is very close and competitive!

Re: Upgrades at Rapid Raceway!

Last nights race here was just great!! No problems at all, the race program did very well and I am VERY pleased. I am still not quite up to speed on the running of it, but it is not a hard program to learn and I like it a lot over the SRT program.

Bill spent part of 3 days here getting this thing up and running and Monte was the go to guy with his knowledge! I thank both gentlemen VERY MUCH!!

Re: Upgrades at Rapid Raceway!

Here's some photos from the race.

The grid for the NASCAR race.

Racers L to R: Bob, Ted, Bill, Blake

Xfinity Series car - Pattos body

Starting grid for the Can Am race

Re: Upgrades at Rapid Raceway!

Here are the results from the March 18th race:


Can Am

Drivers are listed in order of finish. Drivers average lap times break any ties. The numbers in parenthesis indicate the drivers seed or how they were listed in the race line up before randomizing the order.