Setting up my Test Track

Discussions on buying, building or rehabbing a race track. Topics like plans, materials, tools, construction, finishing, commercially available tracks, and so on.
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Loder66
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Setting up my Test Track

Post by Loder66 » Wed Feb 25, 2015 7:09 pm

Hello everyone, I am not new to this incredible forum but I am new to posting.
My question that I need help on is this. After the hobby shop that had a track set up year round and that I would use for testing recently shut down. After trying to buy the track from him and being unsuccessful at finding any used ones, I convinced my wife that it was easier to just buy a new 2 lane BestTrack. I was excited when I discovered that I also had enough room to get the 42'.

So I spent extra time setting up the track and using all the secrets that I read about here and a video on youtube to make sure the joints were smooth and matched up as best as I could get them.
It seems that the cars run slower times on my track then other tracks. I base that on a built a car to run in the "Outlaw" division at a local pack race in which I did a workshop for one of the dens. They ran on a 4 lane 42' BestTrack and the car ran a 2.93. On my track the best I can get it to run is a 3.102. Is it because my track is set up on a second story balcony that is carpeted or am I just missing something. I attached a picture of my track set up. Any help or advice would be greatly appreciated. If it matters a have the Microwizard timer. Also if anyone is in the Plano, TX area let me know as I am always ready for someone to come race on the track.
https://www.flickr.com/photos/63735915@N00/16619922976/


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Re: Setting up my Test Track

Post by ngyoung » Wed Feb 25, 2015 7:19 pm

A lot depends on the slope angle, start gate and timer. For multiple adult leagues they have been maintaining a 27.1* slope angle. I guess one of the early big leagues were using that angle and everyone wanted to match their test tracks to it. Then after that league broke up others that started kept going with the same angle. If you are trying to match times with a specific track I would start with that. You will always have some deviation and after comparing times to both you will be able to use the deviation to get a good estimate on performance at the race.



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Loder66
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Re: Setting up my Test Track

Post by Loder66 » Wed Feb 25, 2015 7:40 pm

Thanks for shedding some light on it. How would I change the angle of the slope? I looked at the directions and it shows the slope to be 26 deg. I would like to be able to compare my times with others to compare my builds. Also it does help my ego when the car runs under 3 seconds. :bigups:


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FatSebastian
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Re: Setting up my Test Track

Post by FatSebastian » Wed Feb 25, 2015 9:26 pm

Loder66 wrote:If it matters a have the Microwizard timer.[/url]
Do you have a laser gate? That can affect the timing noticeably.



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Re: Setting up my Test Track

Post by Speedster » Thu Feb 26, 2015 6:54 am

I wouldn't worry about the numbers. You already have your answer. The more you race the more records you will have. I have a 2 lane wood test track with a Micro Wizard timer. I know what number I have to reach on my track to be competitive on a 35' Best track (29' 11") and a 40' Freedom track.



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Re: Setting up my Test Track

Post by Loder66 » Thu Feb 26, 2015 3:38 pm

I did not get the laser gate when I ordered the timer. My wife may get the idea that I am getting too obsessed with Pinewood Derby cars.

Do you think it matters that this is set up on carpet?

I will try to figure out the angle and I am sure that will help a little. Otherwise I will do what Speedster has said and just keep a lot of records.


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Re: Setting up my Test Track

Post by bracketracer » Thu Feb 26, 2015 6:01 pm

Loder66 wrote: How would I change the angle of the slope?
If you have levelers on your track you can adjust the angle easily with those, if you don't, then you can adjust the angle by sliding the leg hinges slightly higher or lower on the hill.


And there is no such thing as being "too obsessed with pinewood Derby cars."



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Re: Setting up my Test Track

Post by Stan Pope » Thu Feb 26, 2015 6:42 pm

bracketracer wrote: ... And there is no such thing as being "too obsessed with pinewood Derby cars."
:bigups:


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Re: Setting up my Test Track

Post by ngyoung » Thu Feb 26, 2015 8:08 pm

Adjust the support legs up or down the track to achieve different angles.



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Re: Setting up my Test Track

Post by birddog » Fri Feb 27, 2015 4:19 pm

0.2 seconds difference is massive. If your slope is anywhere close, you shouldn't see this much difference.

I'd be suspicious of your timer. Hopefully, you are not using a laser gate style timer.

birddog



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Re: Setting up my Test Track

Post by gpraceman » Fri Feb 27, 2015 5:57 pm

birddog wrote:I'd be suspicious of your timer. Hopefully, you are not using a laser gate style timer.
If he is, it would be the laser start sensor, not the timer that is the issue.


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Loder66
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Re: Setting up my Test Track

Post by Loder66 » Fri Feb 27, 2015 8:00 pm

I am using the switch that came with it that mounts under on the gate. No laser. I am going to play with the slope angle tonight.


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Re: Setting up my Test Track

Post by Stan Pope » Fri Feb 27, 2015 8:14 pm

gpraceman wrote:
birddog wrote:I'd be suspicious of your timer. Hopefully, you are not using a laser gate style timer.
If he is, it would be the laser start sensor, not the timer that is the issue.
Am I correct that a laser start gate produces faster times? (I think it should, since the cars may already be moving when the timer is started.) If so, then it could be that the track at the pack race used a laser timer.

Would the time reduction by the laser gate depend on how far ahead of the gate the laser is set?
Do the pins trigger the laser gate? Or does the first car to pass trigger it?
How much time difference would be caused by various orientations of the microswith on a default Freedom track start gate? I notice on mine that the microswitch can easily be set to various angles, causing it to trigger at various degrees of gate opening.


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Re: Setting up my Test Track

Post by BallBoy » Sat Feb 28, 2015 7:59 am

The finish line of a BestTrack has several holes for timers. It could be that you are not using the same holes as other BestTracks. I don't think that would account for 0.17 seconds, but it could be a contributing factor.
I suggest using a stopwatch or stopwatch app to do an independent assessment of the time. Manually starting and stopping a stopwatch won't give you necessarily accurate results, but should give you an idea of whether the times you are getting from the timer are reasonable.
You could also take a video of a race then use the frame rate to determine about what the times are. If you use a camera that runs at 30 frames per second (29.97 actual) then a 2.93 second race will take 88 frames, while a 3.10 second race will take 93. Commonly used smartphones take video at 30 fps, with some allowing 60 fps with the right settings.
I'm not suggesting that video is a good way to get accurate times, just that it could be used to validate your timer.



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Re: Setting up my Test Track

Post by Loder66 » Sat Feb 28, 2015 11:20 am

I really appreciate all the help and suggestions. This is what I love about this site is that everyone is here to help and brainstorm to figure out a problem.

I am using the middle of the three holes that came predrilled for the finish line. I messed around with adjusting the angle of the start and that picked up almost a tenth. I am going to re-position the timer switch tonight and make some more minor adjustments and I think that I will be close enough to satisfy my OCD.


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