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Discussion Starter #1
last night i set up a lap timer/counter i had purchased on ebay awhile ago.

http://cgi.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&category=4781&item=5929445370&rd=1

i was able to get it to work for HO scale, but it only worked on one lane at a time, and low profile cars (lexan bodies or bare chassis) would not trigger the sensor. a bit of double sided tape pointing up raised the profile of cars/chassis enough to trigger the sensor. previously i have just been using a stop watch and lap counter to calculate lap times. it was very cool to see each lap's time displayed immediately.

i learned my JLTO and Tjets were slow, and my magnet cars were fast. imagine that! i was a bit surprised that my trusty tomy turbo chassis (with hard bodies), while slower than more race oriented magnet cars (patriots, g plus, etc) were only about 15% slower than other magnet cars, and only 20% slower than my fastest lexan bodied modified tyco 440x2. i have some more radiacal magnet cars, but this track (4x8 routed track) wasnt really long enough for their legs to show.

i ran about 18 JLXTs, after using silicone sealer to secure the front tires. i was disappointed. only 4 ran well, and those were still about 25% slower than the tomy turbos. still, those 4 were fun, and i put the same body styles on them (nomads of varuous colors) to use for IROC style racing. several XTs simply did not run at all, and the others that did run did so poorly.

i also ran about 24 JLTOs. some ran well for about 2/3 of a lap, and then seemed to bind/chug for a bit, then ran well for a bit. have some tinkering to do. about 1/3 of the JLTOs ran well enough out of the box to be fun, with lap times about 40% slower than tomy turbos (all lap times where with cars with silicone rear tires, mostly weird jacks).

the lap counter needs to be reset ever 100 laps. i was surprised to realize i ran about 400 laps total. fun night.

i expect i will need a different timer for the routed track. the carrera lap timer might work well for the 1/43 layout i plan to build

mike
 

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Interesting!
How does the lap counter "read" the cars?
If you raised the track up (instead of making the cars taller) would it make the cars read?
Just curious...
Scott
 

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Mike-I have seen these on various sites and was curious about them. The auction says it can count 999 laps. Probably an adjustment you haven't found yet. An option to raising the track would be cutting off the legs to lower the sensors. I wouldnt try that until I was sure there are no electronics in the way.
 

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I had one.

I picked up one of those online about a year ago or maybe a little longer. I had heard (after my purchase) that there were some bugs in some of them. Mine must have been one of them. Just could never get it to work right. At first it "seemed" ok, but then it would miss laps and sometimes advance laps when cars hadn't even been close to it. The place where I bought it did not want to take it back, due to special ordering for me. Needless to say, it was the last order for those people. I eventually took it apart, having not to much to lose, being bored, and wanting to see the "guts". I stripped the sensors out of it, lengthened the wires to the display, battery pack, etc. Then I mounted the sensors under an overpass, as well as under the track where a small hole was drilled. Same story though, it only worked sporadically. I'm no electrician, so I gave up. It's basically just an over and under infared beam that the cars break by passing through. Great concept for a low price, but mine must have been a lemon. Beware though, it does not adjust to any size track as some websites say it can. I found precise positioning was crucial to it even working at all. It does not squeeze down to fit HO. It is more geared toward wider track and bigger cars. If you buy one make sure the seller will allow you to return it. :(
 

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Discussion Starter #5 (Edited)
i was using this on a routed track, a 4x8 sheet of MDF with the lanes routed directly on the MDF, so the track surface is the table top, and there is no way to raise the track. that trick might work with plastic track.

the directions that come with the unit are very poor, and actually say after 99 laps you need to turn the unit off and then back on again to reset it. i wonder if i have an early model, and other models increased the lap length and fixed other bugs.

i did notice some odd things last night, like cars triggering the unit when they were at a certain section of the track, about 1/2 of a lap away from the counter. i am afraid i might have one of those "defective" units mentioned.


still, it just confirms that some sort of electronic timing really adds a level of enjoyment. i intend to get a more sophisticated timer. basically i will buy the photocell set up greg bruan sells, and use his free software hooked up to an old 386 laptop.

it looks to me as if the sensors are pointed sideways. i haven’t thought about it enough to understand how the sensor differentiates between the lanes, as it seems like each car would break the beam?



im still having fun with it, even though it’s quirky. it was a less expensive and simpler to install solution as compared to drilling holes in the track, mounting photocells in the track, and installing software, so i guess it’s not really surprising it did not work as well. cheap and easy often doesn’t perform as well as expensive and complicated.
 
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