Scalextric Digital ushers in a new age for slot car racing!
In the dark ages
One of the coolest toys I had growing up was my Tyco Nite-Glow slot car racing set. My dad gave me this slot car set for Christmas 1978. I still have the race set and as you can see from the box it was played with a lot. The cool thing about this set was that the headlights on the slot cars would light up during operation and the guard rails and center line on the track would glow in the dark so you could race with the lights out, hence the name Nite-Glow.Back then the thought of changing lanes on the slot car set was unheard of, sure companies such as Tyco introduced TCR or Total Contol Racing which was a slot less racing system but the lane changing never quite worked as promised and the cars routinely stalled and jumped the track. Also cars seemed to favor one lane and it was a small feat to get them to change lanes. With Scalextric Digital, changing lanes is effortless plus you get many more features not available with analog slot car systems.
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Analog vs Digital
Analog slot cars systems have been around since they have been introduced in 1912 by Lionel. In the early Lionel sets independent speed control was an add on option. In modern analog slot cars, the hand controllers use a variable resistor to apply different values of voltages to the track rails which are embedded in the track, the slot car uses metal contacts to get power from the track which drives a direct current motor. The higher the voltage applied to the track the faster the car will go, up to the top voltage limit of the transformer. The transformer converts line power 115 Volts alternating current to low voltage direct current. Each hand controller provides varied voltages to one of the rails in a pair allowing each car to be independently operated. As you can see, options for controlling other than the speed of the car are very limited. Digital slot car systems provide a constant voltage on the track. A control module attached to the track provides the constant voltage and superimposes a digital signal on the voltage. Each car has a digital decoder built in that converts the signal to a voltage used to control the speed of the direct current motor and the speed of the car. The digital decoder can control other options like controlling head and tail lights. Each digital decoder has a different identification number built in so that the track control module can independently control each car. Lane changes are accomplished at special lane changing track pieces. The digital decoder extends a mast from the bottom of the car that triggers the lane change. In some digital slot car systems, the track contains the electronics and the lane switching hardware.
Who is Scalextric?
Scalextric is a toy brand for a range of slot car racing sets which first appeared in the late 1950s, as a creation of English firm Minimodels. The brand is currently owned and distributed by Hornby, an English model railroad brand. The first sets branded Scalex were mechanical powered race car systems that appeared in 1952. The first electric slot car systems branded Scalextric ("Scalex" plus "electric") appeared on 1957.
What is Scalextric Digital?
Scalextric Digital, introduced in 2004, is Scalextrics digital slot car system implementation. Scalextric Digital has the following capabilities:-Compatible with Scalextric Sport track, so your investment in analog track can be re-used with your Scalextric Digital System.-The ability to convert Scalextric Sport analog cars to Scalextric Digital by installing a digital decoder. In addition, you can install a digital decoder in other brands of 1/32 scale slot cars and run them on a Scalextric Digital system.-Uses narrow track so that you can fit a great layout in a small space.-Track is flexible and will not break easily in the hands of kids.-Offers straight and curved lane change sections.-You can choose between clockwise and counter-clockwise race direction.-You can race up to four digital cars.Expanded capabilities with addition of Advanced 6 Car Powerbase:-Options such as lap counters.-Can race up to six cars.-Offers two different modes of play “Basic” and “Pro”.-Offers a mode that will allow you to race analog only cars in a clockwise or counterclockwise direction.-Autonomous car feature available. In autonomous mode, one or more cars drive around the track at a constant speed, much like the “Jam Car” of the vintage TCR Racing sets.-The Skill Level option allows you to adjust the maximum power levels to individual cars so that 'novice vs expert' races can be run more fairly.-Increase car performance can be achieved with addition of second power transformer.
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