How It Works
The Best Lane Slot Track, what is it?
What does it mean : Best lane! The ideal trajectory, in English means in fact: the ideal or perfect racing line. Slot racers would probably say ‘in the groove’.
OK, what happens in a motor race? What do we see?
After a slightly chaotic start, the cars follow each other all on the ideal racing line, in other words, the line that is the fastest, but not necessarily the shortest.
Here are three examples of the ideal racing line . . .
Let’s continue our comparison with the real car racetrack. Now that the cars find themselves one behind the other, how do they overtake?
Well, in general, at the exit from a turn, if two cars are too close to each other, the second will pull out to position itself beside its rival by the following turn (I am not forgetting slipstreaming that makes this method special). Then, they stay side by side until one of them can take advantage of the other. At that moment, they return onto the ideal racing line. And so on until the finish.
That’s all very well, but how to reproduce it on slot track?
We’ll take Barcelona as an example! The last three turns.
The ideal trajectory/racing line (arguable) is in green. When the cars are far apart from each other, they will follow this line.
Now, for them to overtake, one adds two almost parallel slots (blue). At each intersection, a track switch (lane changer) is going to be placed which, in its default setting will direct the cars into the green slot.
Good, that’s not too bad, but how are the switches (lane changers) activated? As well as one can!
Thanks to electric current sensors (a diagram will be shown in the Electronics Section).
A current sensor detects all current usage between the right and left track rails. And that is ideal because an electric car motor uses a lot of it. We can connect this sensor to various things, a lamp, a relay, to the input of a microprocessor. But we are not boffins in electronics - we are going to simply connect it to the coil of an electromagnet, which will switch the lane-changer.
Now, where to put this sensor?
We want to switch a car that follows too closely at the exit of a turn? OK. But we also want to avoid collisions!
The yellow arrow indicates the direction of travel.
The diverting sensor is marked in light blue.
When a car passes over it, it activates the switching mechanism for the duration of its presence over the sensor section, which has the effect of directing the following car into the adjacent lane.
The red sensor activates the lane changer also, and in the same way, it is the anti-collision sensor. The car that finds itself in front of the lane changer (indicated) whilst another car passes over the red sensor will see itself directed towards the adjacent lane.
The advantages of this system are interesting:
- Everyone has the same lane, no one is disadvantaged.
- The lane changes are completely automatic, not manually triggered, all that is needed is to move closer to attempt a passing manoeuvre.
- The same electrical power for everyone.
- It doesn’t matter where the cars are re-slotted.
- Any car can be used; all that’s needed is to add a DAVIC chip for example.
- The racetracks are very realistic: overtaking by late braking, Pulling out to overtake by slipstreaming, etc.
-The number of cars is only limited by the control system (DAVIC = 15, SCX = 6, Jouef circuit Z = 2).
If all the cars are working, the track is special, not compatible with other makes.
The development has progressed in leaps and bounds for two years and I have just finished the fourth prototype (the one on the video). The first one was made of plywood, 2.50metres by 1.80 metres where I routed a 5-meter length and 8 lane switches in plastic. It worked for three hours. The second was already modular but I only managed to produce a 6-meter length track with 10 lane switches in aluminium. This only worked for two hours. The third is with an individual in Monaco. It represents the principality’s Formula 1 circuit before its transformation in the Seventies. 24 electrified track switches in aluminium, elevation changes, etc. I am forgetting, power DAVIC timing control for 6 cars. Finally the fourth, modular, 22 sections including 14 with lane switches, a good fifty possible combinations, the circuit is continuously twisty from one end to the other, like the real thing, the perfect racing line presenting itself in a very obvious manner. This last prototype was intended as a possible future plastic track to be sold as a set.
The fifth prototype is currently being built.