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SCX Digital Slot Cars Track Sets

SCX is the only slot car manufacturer that has full-time tech support, by a guy named Bryan Young. Bryan has educational videos available here

Features and Product Summary

Overview

SCX was first to introduce digital slot car racing in 2002 (after 6 years of research and development), and continues to offer a great digital system in the market for a number of key reasons:

SCX has a very broad range of accessories for their Digital System platform (34 unique accessories and over 30 different cars [plus many analog cars can be digitalized])

SCX put a separate electrical circuit in the track to maintain optimal power for the cars even with very large track sizes (120+ feet, dozens of changeover tracks, all accessories connected, and 6 cars racing at the same time)

Characteristics of importance in Digital Slot Car racing include Analog track/car compatibility, lane changing, car functionality, number of cars racing concurrently, availability of race information, and costs associated with track expansion.

Note: On all Digital Slot Car Systems, 100% of the power is maintained on the track at all times. The car is programmed to an individual hand throttle in order to allow the hand throttle to instruct the car how much of the power to use and when to take action such as changing lanes. This implies digital communication over the electrical circuit and some degree of intelligence in the car. However, not all digital systems have the same degree of intelligence in their cars.

Compatibility

SCX Digital Track is not compatible with SCX analog track for a very good reason. SCX put a separate electrical circuit into the track (called the PowerLine), which carries electrical power and information to the various accessories (without taking power away from the cars). In order for other manufacturers to maintain compatibility with their analog track, they cannot add a separate electrical circuit thereby limiting their expandability and racing features.

The maximum amount of electricity a manufacturer can put on slot car track and remain within the safety guidelines of most countries is 18 volts. These 18 volts are consumed by each car in use, the accessories, and in the case of other manufacturers, their lane changing gates.

Other brands of digital track sets use electrically operated gates in their lane changing track - which consume power. Therefore, it is generally recommended that you place only 2-6 changeover tracks in your circuits to leave enough power for the cars

With SCX Digital, all the accessories are powered by the PowerLine, so no matter how many bridges, or other accessories you place on the circuit, they are not taking power away from the cars. Furthermore, SCX lane changing tracks are mechanical so they don't consume any power. In fact, you can place dozens of changeover tracks in the circuit and they wonīt take any power away from the cars.

The SCX Digital System will work fine with one transformer for racing 6 cars on a track up to about 30 feet. On the digital control unit next to where the transformer is plugged in, there is an LCD light which is green when there is plenty of power for the track to operate properly. However, the light will turn a reddish amber color if more power is needed. If this is the case, you can add a second or even third SCX transformer to the digital control unit allowing you to build a fully deployed circuit well past 100 feet in total length and having 6 or 8 lanes in various sections of the track.

Lane Changing Mechanism

As mentioned, the intelligence for controlling lane changes with SCX is shared between the hand throttle and the car (not in the track). When the lane change button on the hand controller is depressed, a digital signal is sent to the appropriate car indicating that it should lower a pin on the guide. This lowered pin catches a lower groove in the gate on a lane change track and forces it open so the car will change lanes. The gate will instantaneously close (ensuring cars behind it do not follow it through the open gate). The button on the hand throttle which activates lane changing is ergonomically placed for use with one hand (or two). SCX recommends using two hands in order to refine your skills to the maximum for both controlling lane changing and speed at the same time (more difficult with one hand).

SCX lane change tracks come in both a 350mm (14.17 inches) straight and 550mm (21.65 inches) standard curve. Both allow the car to change lanes from the inside lane to the outside lane or visa versa. With SCX Digital, you can place dozens of lane change tracks in the circuit and build-out huge circuits at lower incremental cost.

Number of Cars Racing Concurrently

SCX allows for 6 cars to be racing at the same time. When 6 cars are racing, the action is so dynamic that the energy level is tremendous. With the SCX Digital System, three of the competitors have their hand throttle connected to one Digital Control Unit, which is connected to the start track. These three players can spread out comfortably to enjoy the racing. A second Digital Control Unit (for racers 4-6) can be placed anywhere around the track that is convenient and comfortable as long as the 5 foot connection cable can reach between the two Digital Control Units. This could be on the opposite side of the circuit to allow players to recover cars that had crashed and place them back on the track more easily.

SCX plans to release its wireless hand throttles around November 2008, allowing players to freely move around the circuit!

Functionality of SCX Digital cars

SCX cars are constantly aware of the state of the race and instructions being sent to them. For example:

Cars that are full of fuel will only use 92% of their potential speed because they know that they weigh more. As you burn off the first 1/8th of a tank, the cars can go faster.

Cars on an individual basis can be programmed to junior or expert mode. In junior mode, the car will use a maximum of 65% of its potential power so beginners and younger players are not constantly flying off the track.

Players can program the cars that are running low on fuel to begin stuttering as they go around the track. If you donīt make it to the Pit Lane in time to refuel, you will run out of gas and be out of the race.

If a car enters the Pit Lane too fast, it will receive a penalty just like in a real race. The penalty is an audio beep and requirement to go around the track again before refuelling (if your car makes it).

Players can program the braking intensity of their cars which allows you to adapt the performance of a car to the driverīs racing style.

The magnet in the car is adjustable allowing racers to customize their car to their racing style.

Except for F-1 and NASCAR cars, all SCX cars come with lights. These lights can be turned on or off for each race. Racing in the dark with lights on can be a fun alternative.

The fuel tank size can be programmed for each race to alter the required strategy for making pit stops since smaller fuel tanks require more pit stops during the race.

Cars can be programmed to start a race with less than 100% of their potential fuel requiring early pit stops.

Because SCX cars have memory and intelligence, they can adapt to new features that SCX will release in future years.

Availability of Racing Information and Maximum Realism

Real race car drivers all have a great deal of skill that is built up from experience and practice. However, the drivers who win combine their racing skill with use of constant information about the race (information about their car and their competitors). With the SCX Digital System, racers can realistically monitor the race situation for all drivers because of the ability for racers to spread out more comfortably around the Digital Control Units, and because of the large graphical displays of race information. With the SCX Digital System for example, the Fuel Gauges for the cars are displayed on a 12 inch tall display that shows in 1/8th of a tank increments how much fuel is left in each driverīs tank. Furthermore, when the fuel level gets down to ž tank, the display changes from green to amber indicating a warning that they better pull into the pit lane to refuel their car.

Cars in the pit lane can refuel in 1/8th of a tank increments so if you donīt need a full tank to complete the race, put in only the necessary amount of fuel and get back on the circuit.

The Lap Counter is also 12 inches tall and displays in very large figures the number of laps associated with the race (based on the car that is in first place) as well as the position of each car in the race. The SCX Lap Counter can be placed anywhere on the circuit to maximize visibility. See the user manual for a summary of all features and programming instructions.

The Chronometer is also a large graphical device that displays fastest lap, average lap, and amount of time behind the race leader among other relevant statistics. The SCX Chronometer can be placed anywhere on the circuit to maximize visibility.

All of the SCX displays are very informative and can communicate useful information quickly to competitors so they can make decisions and adjust their strategy throughout the race.

SCX also offers a bridge accessory which comes with 4 pieces of 360mm (14.17 inches) straight track and a solid support structure that includes lights. This bridge provides a great feature to a larger set, and because SCX powers the lights in the bridge with the second electrical circuit (the PowerLine), there are no cables running across the floor/table.

Costs associated with Expanding or Maintaining your Digital System

SCX sells 4 different Digital Sets and a wide array of accessories and cars that can be added. All SCX Digital sets come with 3 cars, 3 hand throttles, and 3 lane change tracks. SCX offers an F-1 set with Pit Box, GT style set with Pit Box, NASCAR set without the Pit Box, and a Basic Set also without the Pit Box.

Troubleshooting

Most perceived problems are associated with poor understanding of how to configure the components or excessive wear and tear. The following comments are related to situations you may encounter. SCX offers a 24 month warranty on all their products

1. If a car changes lanes without sending a request to do so, it is time to change the guide on the car. SCX manufactures red guides with a high tolerance in their lane changing behavior and these should be used for optimal performance. Black SCX digital guides were manufactured prior to May 2006 and usually work fine, but have a lower tolerance for track guide depth variations.

2. Placing a lane changing track just after a curve is perfectly viable, but it sometimes introduces additional skill requirements for the drivers. For example if a car takes a curve at high speed, centrifugal force suggests the car guide will be pressing hard against the outside edge of the slot as the car comes around the corner. If that car is then instructed to change lanes, it will do so easily from the inside out; but, from the outside to the inside lane will dramatically increase the stress on the car and its guide (thereby requiring that the driver take this into consideration and possibly slowing down). Furthermore, changing lanes from the inside to the outside lane just after a curve, can cause the car to fishtail due to the rapid changes in its forward trajectory. This can lead to reduced car control (just like in real racing). Therefore, it is often recommended that there be at least a half straight after a curve before a lane changeover track is deployed.

3. When SCX Digital Banked Curves are used in a circuit, it is recommended that lane changeover tracks are not deployed right before or right after the banked curve sections simply because they may not lay flat, and the twisted contour of the track could lead to less precision in gate functioning. Such a configuration will normally work, but you should take this into consideration when designing a track.

4. If you place a car on the track and it takes off at top speed and crashes, this is because the car is an analog car (not digital). SCX Digital Cars all have a small white X in the lower driverīs side front windshield.

5. All SCX Analog cars (except F1 and some LeMans style cars) produced after 2005 are Digital System compatible. The SCX Car Digitalization Kit has been available for several years and costs around $20. Furthermore, it can be installed in about 3 minutes without wire cutters or a need to solder connections.

There are other trouble shooting tips in the User Manuals for the SCX Digital System, and you are encouraged to consult them. You may of course also consult SCXīs website for constantly updated information, or SCXīs technical support department - if necessary.



Here is a link to our SCX Digital products page!

The following review of SCX Digital is courtesy of Alan Smith and the team at Slot Car Illustrated

written January 31, 2006

The new SCX Pit Box Digital System is an exciting new 1/32 scale home slot car racing set that offers many unique new features.

SCX has been producing 1/32 scale slot cars in Spain for many years. For decades, most 1/32 scale slot cars were compatible with any brand of racing set. SCX has made a BOLD statement by coming out with a completely new system. One that not only offers many new and unique features, but also breaks completely away from the traditional slot cars of the previous millennium.

The advent of digital slot car racing has been the hottest new trend, introducing a new technology. While each of the major manufacturers of 1/32 scale slot cars has offered their own approach, SCX has taken their version to the next level. A step so bold is not only showing an aggressive commitment, but potentially a huge risk on their part as well.

For those of us who are current enthusiasts of the hobby, this may certainly be seen as a major drawback. It means that all of our existing 1/32 scale slot cars will NOT be compatible with this new system. Even those of us who have analog race sets will note that it is incompatible with the new digital systems. The frustrating part for the current enthusiasts may be that when they see how much fun this new system actually is, and how cool all the new features and functions are, that it will prove even more frustrating to consider switching over. Clearly, it seems that this new digital race system was NOT designed for us.

This set WAS designed, however, to offer an exciting new range of features to entice many NEW enthusiasts into the hobby. While the advent of digital slot car racing has introduced lane changing and allows more than 2 cars to race on a 2-lane track, the SCX Digital System also includes several other new features that bring it to yet another level.

New features include fuel management, where your car actually runs out of gas and requires a pit stop to refuel - just as in real car racing! It also allows you to personalize your car by programming in the level of fuel and braking, and pit stop strategy. The digital control panel also offers choices in the race configuration.

These features add an element of versatility and interactivity, to appeal to a new generation that has grown up playing video and computer games.

First impressions, without even opening up the box, is that this is one very impressive job of box design, packaging, and the entire presentation. Not only does the box look good - with it's exciting graphics and enticing catch phrases, but it also does an excellent job of showing you exactly what you are getting. All the features are described, components displayed, and the racing circuit is shown how it really looks - not an artist's interpretation or exaggeration.

When compared to the typical introductory slot car race set, at just under $400 US the SCX Pit Box Digital System may seem pricey by comparison... at least at first glance. But when you actually take into account all of the components included in the set, it is really not expensive at all. This is a COMPLETE racing system, with 3 cars and 3 controllers, and includes borders & barriers, 3 lane change sections, as well as the Pit Box console and fuel management display. EVERYTHING YOU NEED is included in the box.

While everything you need to race up to 3 cars at once is included in the basic Pit Box Digital System, SCX also offers a line of accessories and additional track to further expand and enhance the racing experience. Accessories include: an expansion Power Line Digital Central Unit, a Lap Counter, and a Digital Chronometer, plus additional extension modules, all expandable to allow up to 6 cars to race at once.

Another key point - is that all of the components and accessories, fuel monitor, lap counter, and chronometer... LOOK like they BELONG on a real race track. While others may have a high-tech look, these actually look very realistic and add to the realistic look and feel of the entire racing experience.

The entire presentation is excellent, with everything you need either on or in the box, making this a very attractive package. The digital lane changing, fuel management & braking adjustments, race programming, and many other features make the SCX Pit Box Digital System an extremely fun racing set. Excellent for new racers, as the additional elements add a new dimension of fun to model car racing!

Overall impressions of the system - we are very impressed! While it may not convert most existing slot car enthusiasts, we could not help but have fun while trying out the system! Even "veteran" slot car racers would have to admit that the lane changing, fuel management, and fuel and brake adjustment, all add realism and added challenge to the racing.

This exciting new digital racing system from SCX, with so many great features, should introduce and entice many newcomers to enjoy this latest incarnation of our hobby!

Here is more Product information:

SCX Digital technology features a chip in each of the three cars included in the track set. This chip allows you to give instructions to your car so that you can overtake the other cars by changing lanes. It allows you to link each car to a controller for up to 6 cars at once. The chip personalizes your car to suit your driving style by setting the braking power and the fuel load. You have constant information to the control unit so you can see the state of the race at any time. For example, the control unit will display the times, car positions and fuel consumption. The cars are equipped with a microchip which receives instructions from the driver by pressing the button on the back of the controller, or activate the braking system by releasing the accelerator trigger of the controller.

One major feature about SCX Digital is their track. Unlike all the other brands, SCX Digital system has to have only digital track. Carrera, Ninco, Scalextric, with all three of them, you can use analog track as needed and then use the digital passing lanes to handle your digital functions. But SCX has gone a different route. Their digital track has two electrical circuits vs. one that the other brands have. These circuits allow you to add up to 3 transformers, which is 3x the power! The reason SCX did this was to give the track more power. This enables you to race up to 6 cars faster than can be done on other digital tracks. The digital track can be expanded up to 120 feet and give you enough power to race the cars at optimum performance with your accessories.

Technical Features of the SCX Digital Cars: - a.r.s. guide (Automatic Return System) which helps the car return to the correct alignment on the track if it slides out. - Detailed Chassis - Tilting Chassis - High-intensity headlamps (xenon effect) - Guide with suspension - Removable and adjustable magnet - Brakes

To expand The Digital System from 3 cars to up to 6 cars you will need to do the following: - You will need to purchase a new Control Unit to connect to the main Control Unit. You will program the additional cars and controllers to this new Control Unit. - You will need a Lap Counter, Pit Box or Chronometer Expansion Module to add to the basic set in order to control races with up to 6 cars. - The power indicator light tells you when you need to connect an additional transformer (up to a maximum of 3), depending on the number of cars and accessories connected to your track set.

Please click on the SCX link below to access their website directly

Digital Slot Cars

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