The system can measure the following parameters: Last lap time, last lap speed, best lap time, best lap time, reaction time, average lap time, and average lap speed all guaranteed to one thousandth of a second accuracy. Relative race position, laps completed, lag time, distance, league points, elapsed time, number of laps/amounts of time left to completion.
The system can store or print the following information at the end of a race or practice session: Best lap time, best lap speed, reaction time, average lap time, and average lap speed, relative race position at completion, laps completed and distance for each track.
Plus, overall best speed and time achieved comparing all tracks, elapsed time, actual time and date, race length (in laps or minutes), race type (race, free or timed practice), class, type of cars used, driver's names and lane names or colours.
Extensive offline sort and review features which include a Driver's League table whereby a user defined points system can be used to build a championship table. All the sort menus are very powerful and can be configured to view the data between certain dates, consider one or all driver's, one or all cars, one or all class's, one or more tracks, and different race types.
See the Gallery for screen shots of the various sort screens. All sort screen results can be immediately printed from within the application or exported to a csv file where they can be viewed in a spread sheet and easily converted again to an HTML document for web site publishing.
This feature allows the user to easily calculate the track length into a format used by the system to measure speed and distance.
The default 10-minute time-out period that detects car inactivity can be software programmable to a resolution of one minute.
In Timed Practice the session time is pre-set. This session is the basic qualifying mode of operation. The race information display gives a countdown in minutes. When the time left is down to one minute a sound can optionally be output as a near end warning.
On completion of the session a finish sound can optionally be output, and the driver that has achieved the best time will have "POLE" displayed, indicating that he/she is in the Pole position on the grid. All other drivers will have their race positions defined in terms of their best time.
During the session the external driver's position lead LED will always indicate which driver has currently obtained the best time.
This feature is used to prevent false triggering that often occurs when two cars are on the same track. The number should be set to a value just below the fastest possible lap time. This will ensure that if a trigger is detected within this time it will be ignored.
The customer configuration for running and viewing races can all be stored for easy setup at the next session.
All stored result records can be edited or deleted. Two levels of storage are provided, a master file plus a day to day temp file. Data can be easily transferred from the temp file and appended to the master file at the end of an evening’s racing. The records can be displayed in a detailed heat mode or in an overall results summary.
All race results and sorted data can be output to the windows default printer. The software will even print an achievement certificate from the many output sort screens provided. Also, because the system does not use the printer port, the results can be immediately printed at any time if using an old PC.
The manual is context sensitive. Therefore, this means that at any time (except when race is on), if the function key "F1" is pressed it will bring up help information directly relevant to the current screen you are working in. It also includes fast search facilities.
Although the facility to export all lap times has been available for a long time, a new display screen has been added to allow these results to be viewed from within the program immediately after a race or practice session. A screen shot of the table is shown below:
Also added recently is the Median Time. This provides the midpoint of all the sorted lap times in ascending order. Thus, it allows the driver to have a few bad laps yet still provide a good Median time. The Time Sort search engine also now allows a sort on this time, as well as Best, Average and Reaction times.
The program uses online help rather then a separate manual. The performance is very fast, it is possible to get 1/500th of second accuracy using only a 386 system, and 1/1000th of a second for anything better.
A Typical Screen View is shown below:
This option allows the race to complete as in Formula 1. Therefore, when the winner gets the chequered flag, the race completes when each of the remaining cars complete that lap. If some cars have timed out then it is decided on which car has traveled the greater distance.
This feature monitors the car's power during the red traffic light, and issues a penalty (displayed in red on the screen) if any driver starts to early. This penalty is in the form of an extra number of laps defined by the user.
This feature monitors the car's power during the red traffic light, and issues a penalty (displayed in red on the screen) if any driver starts to early. This penalty is in the form of user defined time delay which cuts the power to the track.
This method of detection is superior to most other systems that just use the crossing of the first sensor as a detection method. By monitoring the track power, detection is immediate preventing the cars from gaining even a small advantage by anticipating the start lights. This system also enables drivers to use a staggered start grid.
External green and red traffic lights can be fitted. The red traffic light can be programmed to give a fixed 5 second wait period or a 2 to 6 second random time.
External driver's lead position LED's can be fitted. These will instantly report which track has the lead car for a race or which car has the best time for timed practice. Normally the external Driver's leader board will have one LED lit indicating which driver is in the lead. However, during the last lap or minute this display can be optionally inverted. Therefore, the lead driver will be the only one without an LED lit. The respective track LED will also flash during a false start penalty or when the fuel level gets below a preset limit. The actual size of the display is 210mm * 300mm (A4 Paper).
The LED's can also be configured to construct a Formula 1 style Traffic Light Start. Below is a track bridge containing two sets of lights. On the top are five LED's that make up the Formula 1 traffic lights. Facing front are four separately coloured LED's, one above each lane providing the driver's leader display.
The pictures below show an alternative arrangement with traffic lights also facing forward. They also show underneath lights for when HO cars are used and the normal slotted optical sensors will not work.
A new unique feature has been included that adds two blue Penalty LED's either side of the normal five red F1 Lights. These blue LED's wil light if anyone jumps the lights at the start, triggered by the false start detection circuit. Also, these LED's will be lit if a STOP-GO penalty has been enforced by the race controller.
Another new feature to the Slotmaster is the ability to add strip lights to the side of the track. These lights come in a standard 5m lengths and any number can be added together, with the only limit being the size of the power supply required.
Each 5m strip light consists of 150 multi coloured LED's that can glow red, green and blue. These LED's are controlled from the software, showing red at the start, green during the race and blue for a false start or stop /go penalty.
These strip lights can also be used as colour coded leader lights for up to six lanes. The colour will indicate the lead driver. The six colors possible are red, green, blue, yellow (green & red) pink (red & blue) and white (all on).
This facility allows active power control during a race or timed practice. This is one of the few systems that allow power control on each individual lane.
For a race of n laps, when each car completes its set number of laps, the power for that respective track will be turned off. For a timed race or practice session, when the running time has expired, the power for all tracks will be turned off and the session terminates.
The windows software also contains additional options such as stop/go penalties during the race that can force a car back to the pits for a timed stop. The ability to start a race with the power on or off. Direct lane power control between races and heats.
Organize your race sessions into heats and finals with this user-friendly sequence control software.
It is very flexible, whereas most systems allow for only one scheme to rotate the drivers between heats, the Slotmaster contains six different automatic sequence algorithms to rotate the drivers and marshalls at the end of each heat. It also contains a manual sequence editor so that the user can choose precisely which drivers are entered into each heat.
An elimination sort is also provided. This is used to generate a sequence of heats that consist of groups. At the end of each group a number of the best drivers will move up into the next group and the drivers left behind will be eliminated.
Heats can be paused or rerun and the operator can decide at the end of a sequence if results storage is required. Between heats an auto timer can be enabled to fix this time to a preset value. In this way, a whole sequence of heats can be run automatically with no operator intervention.
The Windows Software allows the system to run Handicap races. The handicap is in the form of a delayed start or extra laps depending on the hardware available.
Two types of handicap are available, Track and Driver. These can be applied independently or both at the same time. The track handicap system is used to compensate for differences in lane lengths and difficulty, thereby allowing for a non-rotation sequence to be used if desired.
The driver's handicap is used to compensate between different driver skills to produce a more balanced race. The system also can be used to calculate the handicap values automatically from existing stored results files.
The Windows Software allows the system to export league tables and sorted time results into the Microsoft Excel Package. This allows the operator to show the results as fancy 3D graphs and pie charts. Optionally every lap time for every lap can be stored. This file can then be exported into Excel to produce a 3D graph comparing lap times for each driver across the whole race.
Many features have been added to support this class of slot car racing. The system will support timed races with partial lap counts. When the power is turned off at the end of a fixed time race, the system will estimate where the car actually stops based on pervious lap times. Of course, if necessary this figure can be manually adjusted.
Powerful sort facilities have also been included to allow the operator to score previously stored races. For instance, it is possible to select the best x scores or reject the worst y scores from any chosen sequence of races.
Slot Master now supports the full Nascar points system. Points can be awarded for overall race position, lead laps completed and maximum number of lead laps in any one race.
This feature caters for a race where no Marshalls are present. When a car crashes or drops x laps behind the lead driver, the race for this car is terminated.
This feature allows the race controller to issue a penalty to any driver during the race. It is implemented by pressing a keyboard key and removes the power to one particular lane.
The penalty can be applied and removed manually or applied manually and removed after a programmed time such as 5 seconds for example. Additionally, the penalty can be implemented at the track sensor. When the penalty is requested a "Pending" message is output to the screen and the actual power removal begins when the car crosses the start track sensor.
The facility allows the user to simulate fuel usage during a race from the settings of the hand controller. The more power sent to the car, the more fuel is used.
The driver is also able to make pit stops and take on fuel. When the fuel runs out the car is stopped and that driver's race is over. If the driver stops the car directly after the sensor then a pit stop will be implemented and the car will be refuelled. The pit stop can be aborted any time simply be re applying the power to the car.
The Lead Position lights are used to indicate a low fuel warning. When a car reaches one of the pre-set fuel warning levels the associated lead position light will start to flash as quick visual indication to the driver that he should now consider a pit stop.
Using the fuel management hardware allows the system to record and store all the captured throttle voltage readings for one lap. This data is stored in a format suitable for direct transfer into Microsoft Excel or equivalent. The data will consist of the time stamp in seconds plus the voltage read for each driver.
In this way drivers can compare their throttle settings using graphs to understand how and where the best drivers achieve the most speed.
The hardware used for the fuel management can also be used to provide performance graphs to compare one car or driver against another.
These graphs can either be displayed immediately within the program or exported to an Excel spread sheet, where they can be manipulated further. This feature can be used in a similar way to F1 to see which sections of track are responsible for gains or losses against other drivers.
The system supports an external emergency stop button(s) that can be placed on or adjacent to the track. Pressing this button during a race will cause the system to immediately pause and cut the power to all tracks. It can also be used to restart the race.
This package consists of three independent programs designed to run on separate PC's networked together. It is designed to provide a Time Sell facility for slot car racing.
The three programs consist of the Time Sell Setup, the Track Monitor and the Examine Results.
The Time Sell Setup is designed to be operated by the Race Track operator. This program assigns driver names to time slots on any lane on up to 6 different tracks. When this assignment has been completed, the information can be sent to the Trackside PC
The Monitor program, on receiving this data, will activate the track at the start of the next enabled time slot. The selected lanes will be enabled for the timeslot period and the lap times will be displayed on the screen. At the end of the period (minus 10 seconds), all lanes will be disabled.
The timing information will be stored to a file and the program will reload the data base in case new information has been sent form the time sell setup program. Then after a ten second wait period, the program will activate on the next time slot and so the cycle will repeat until the last slot.
The Examine Program will reside on yet another PC not associated with any one track. This PC is for used by the drivers after they have completed their time slot period. Here they can access all of the data collected during their time slot period. The information is sorted into a readable format that can be viewed and printed.
The following article appeared in the April 1998 Newsletter of the National Scalextric Collectors Club. It was written by Adrain Norman of the Viking Club.
During the last twelve months our club has been using a computer-controlled race management system. For all you club organisers still using a manual system, you might consider using a computerised system if you find your club nights are becoming too busy for your race organiser, or that racers are querying the results (as if they would!).
When I looked into buying a system for our club I wanted two benefits; no manual recording of results and scores and, secondly, driver confidence in lap recording integrity.
After trials with various systems, visiting other clubs and talking to people we settled on a product called 'Slot Master' produced by Dave Lelievre.
Slot Master has been evolving since it was first advertised in this newsletter several years ago. Originally a track side box of electronics offering full race control it is now also available as a PC based Windows 3.x or Windows95 application with 'online' race control and 'offline' editing.
Our club started with the basic Slot Master PC system. Our initial system came with infra-red sensors, cabling, external traffic light display, PC interface card and software. We had to insert the sensors in to the slots on our mdf track (they can also be supplied already fitted to plexy track if required) and then fit the special interface card into a 286 PC.
We are in the process of adding 'false start detection' and will later look at incorporating the individual lane power control module. Windows 3.x or Win/95 are not necessary for the basic system as the software will run direct from DOS.
During the year we have upgraded to each new release of the software as new enhancements have become available. In fact, we are now at a point where we run the latest version on a laptop with a port simulator docking station (to house the special interface card) running Windows 3.11.
The latest on-line software is easy to use. It incorporates all the facilities you would expect to find.
Driver names, car/team names can be added for free practice, timed practice and standard race. If you prefer, you can use the 'sequence control' whereby you add all the driver names to a pool and the software automatically sorts out who is going to race in each heat and what lane they will race in.
Additionally, the 'sequence' allows three different modes of sequencing. All points scoring is automatic. You can choose what points will be awarded for all of the finishing places including fastest lap bonus.
During the race the screen displays fastest and last lap times and speeds, race position, number of laps covered, elapsed time etc. There is also a 'no. of laps completed' manual over-ride for each lane should a car de-slot and miss the sensor.
The false start detection feature monitors the car's power during the red traffic light, and issues a penalty (displayed in red on the screen) if any driver starts to early. This penalty can be in the form of user defined time delay which cuts the power to the track or alternatively it will force the driver to complete extra penalty laps.
There are too many functions to mention here but this covers the important ones.
As a separate program the 'Slot Master off-line' application is an excellent help to make the evenings racing run smoothly.
This windows application is well designed and very user friendly. The program is designed to be used for the administration of your clubs’ members results and grading positions. It looks at the 'on-line' race results file and gives you all the facts and figures that the 'on-line' software gives but, additionally, it also allows you to set up league tables for use in the 'on-line' sequence mode.
More than that, you can specify a 'master' race results file. This can be used to retain the results for, say, the 'Touring Car championship' (all groups) and after the next round of this championship (possibly at the clubs next weekly meeting) the 'weekly' results file can be appended to the 'master' file. This will give you a running total of the championship as the meetings proceed through the year.
The following article was submitted for the May 1999 Slot Racing. However, the reference to my system was removed by Scalextric. It was written by Roger of the Bournemouth Model Railway Centre. This is the original text that was submitted.
In the sixties, a young, sylph-like Derek Purkis who had always had a great love of all things automotive, embraced the booming world of slot car racing. Almost three decades later, as the genial, knowledgeable and rather more rotund proprietor of the Bournemouth Model Railway Centre, he decided that the time was right to embark on his long-held dream of building his own raceway.
With the help of Chris Frost, Secretary of the British Slot Car Racing Association, who drew up the track plan and later installed the electrics, suitable premises having been found work was commenced in 1992.
The track was to be constructed of MDF board with routed slots and pick up to be provided by copper braid rather than copper tape as had become the norm in the States. It remained to find a builder.
The complex curves of the track seemed to require the expertise of someone like a boat builder and who should appear at just that time but a one-time boat builder and expert joiner, Terry White. This character (and character he certainly was) made a superb job of construction and the Raceway opened in 1993.
Initially, race control was only semi-automatic but after looking carefully at most of the available options both in this country and abroad, the "Slot Master" system, programmed and designed by Dave Lelievre, a local computer wizard, was chosen as being best able to fulfil our requirements.
To date the software and hardware have performed extremely well and we would recommend this system to others most strongly. Now home to the Bournemouth Slot Car Club, the track is used every Tuesday evening from 7pm onwards for Scalextric type cars which are unmodified with the exception of added weight inside the chassis and some deepening of the guide blade.
There are three championships - one for GT cars, one for F1 cars and one for saloons. On the second and fourth Thursday each month Parma Home Set cars and 1/24th cars are raced alternately again on a championship basis. With the Junior section meeting on Saturdays from 11am to 1pm, the club has quite a full programme. Prizes are presented each year at the Christmas party.
The club also hosts BSC rounds and is available for corporate events and birthday parties - for further details contact Derek on 01202 309872. Also, on the premises is a fully stocked slot racing shop maintained by Slot Racing Supplies.
The products of all the major manufacturers both in this country and abroad are readily available and again Derek's expertise in the field is much in demand. If you are visiting this area at any time why not bring some cars with you and try out the track? Alternatively, cars are also available for hire.
The following article appeared in the February2000 Newsletter of the National Scalextric Collectors Club. It was written by Adrain Norman of the Viking Club.
At Viking Slot Car Club, we have been using the SlotMaster computerised race control system for three years now and have seen many enhancements to the system. The latest is worth reporting on because it opens up a new way of staging races and replicates full size race strategies.
The new feature is fuel management. This means that you can now run a Grand Prix, and endurance or NASCAR race and simulate the strategies of fuel consumption. drive smoothly and get most out of a tank of fuel but perhaps sacrificing wild acceleration and knife-edge lap times.
Perhaps you may decide to go for it at full throttle and hope that a quick splash and dash near the end of the race will get you across the line first!
The Slot Master fuel management package has been introduced for the internal PC version of the system. It has been incorporated into a user-friendly windows environment that is packed with enhanced features.
The system measures the hand throttle voltage for each car, since there is a relationship between the power used by the car's motor and the voltage applied. It also has the advantage of allowing existing customers to easily upgrade to the new system simply by swapping the internal ISA module, without changing any system wiring.
The new module uses the false start detect wires to measure the hand throttle voltage. At the beginning of a race a simulated amount of fuel is given to each car. When the race starts, the system samples the hand throttle voltage at a regular sample rate and deducts a small amount of fuel in proportion to the voltage applied. The more power sent to the car, the more fuel is used.
The amount of fuel left is displayed on the screen and is updated on each lap. When the car runs out of fuel the car's power is turned off and that driver's race is terminated. Each driver is also able to make pit stops and take on fuel. If the driver stops the car directly after the track lap sensor, then a pit stop will be implemented and the car will be refuelled.
The driver can watch the tank level rise as the fuel is pumped in. The pit stop can be aborted any time simply by re applying the power to the car. Two warning levels have been introduced, a blue level (yellow was not very visible) and a red level. These levels are a programmable option within the software and are indicated by appropriate colour changes of the fuel level numbers.
The external leader board LED's can also be programmed to flash on and off when these warning levels have been reached, if the driver cannot see the computer screen. At the end of a race it is also possible for each driver to see the amount of fuel he has used besides the amount of fuel left in the tank.
Many options exist for setting up the fuel management parameters. These consist of the following:
One bonus feature that has been implemented is the ability to record and store all the captured throttle voltage readings for one lap. This data is stored in a format suitable for direct transfer into Microsoft Excel or equivalent.
The data will consist of the time stamp in seconds plus the voltage read for each driver. In this way drivers can compare their throttle settings using graphs to understand how and where the best drivers achieve the most speed.
The data can be very useful for comparing your throttle usage against an opponent or if you are comparing different set ups you may be making to your car. When you use the graph, you'll recognise the moment when the car is at 13 volts full throttle and the driver suddenly released the throttle and the voltage dropped to zero volts.
This would usually represent the braking zone before a corner. You can then determine whether the driver is braking too early or late.
Additionally, you can determine whether your tyres are not gripping when the voltage is higher than other lanes at a given point, but your graph line is losing time against other lanes. Therefore, you can experiment with changing tyres, slowing down or just accepting that you are beaten.
So, whether you need to discover why, when and how you are being left behind or how you can stay ahead on the track, this performance graph is a real help.
The following article was submitted to the Australian Scalextric Racing and Collectors Club (ASRCC) magazine (ClubLines) by Glenn Ingham.
I have a four lane 27 metre Scalextric track which is mostly fast with two long straights but also includes a nasty little hill that will test the skill of even the most seasoned racers. The track includes a cross-over bridge that ensures all four lanes are almost identical in length. A good Fly car can lap in approx 8 - 9 seconds.
Scalextric pit lanes are controlled using Picco Point Motors which are ideal for switching the pit lane entry using a momentary switch type button. Each lane is powered by a separate MRRC 2.2 amp transformer which ensures that no lane is affected by power drain from other lanes.
Handcontrollers can be plugged into the track at four different points around the circuit. The lap timing device is Slot Master software which is developed in England. The software requires a separate PCB I/O card. As the software has many functions, it also requires a minimum Pentium 166 to make the best use of its capability.
Among its many features, the software is able to record all races and practice sessions and stores them in a file that can be queried for results, lap times etc. The main read out on the screen displays Class, Car, Position, Last, Best and Average Lap Times and Lap Speeds, Number of Pit Stops, Remaining Fuel, Lag Time and Elapsed Time.
It has a number of different race formats and will automatically schedule all races. Rally style race finish similar to the popular AFX timers is also included.
One of its best features is the ability to provide fuel management for endurance racing. The system includes two infra-red sensors for each lane. One sensor sits in the pit lane and the other sits in the main track opposite the pit lane. When fuel management is turned on, the system records the voltage in each lane every 10th of a second.
These measurements are used to calculate fuel usage each lap. The more the throttle is pressed, the higher the fuel usage. Refuelling occurs in the pit lane after the car runs over the sensor and comes to a stop.
There are many parameters to control the size of the fuel tank, the rate of consumption, the rate at which the car is refuelled and when warning lights will be given for low fuel. The system also includes parameters so that more fuel can be used when the tank is full and for erratic driving.
The voltage records can also be downloaded into Excel and graphed to compare different driving styles. As the system maintains a full history of all races and practice sessions, it can also calculate handicaps.
We recently ran our first endurance race using the fuel management system and it was a great success. We had four teams with two drivers each. Each team drove each lane four 30 minutes and parameters were set so that each team found refuelling was required every 6 - 8 minutes.
Anyone visiting Canberra is welcome to drop in and can call me on (02) 62316192. As I mentioned I race with the Southside contingent of the ACT Scalextric Club. We run races every four weeks on a Friday night.