Micro Wizard's New "Quick Pack Track"

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gpraceman
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Micro Wizard's New "Quick Pack Track"

Post by gpraceman »

I had a chance to try out Micro Wizard's new "Quick Pack Track", which they changed to at the end of last season. This new track is basically their Freedom track with some design tweaks to make it easier to setup and tear down. They did incorporate many of the improvement suggestions that have been mentioned on this forum in their new track design, which is good to see.

1. Now, it only takes one tool to setup and tear down the track (a 5/32" Allen wrench).
+ The cross braces that connect to the track legs now attach with thumb screws. No more need for a Phillips screwdriver.
+ The start gate now has captive nuts installed in it, so just set it under the track, at the start line, and thread two Allen head screws in from above. No more need for a wrench to tighten nuts from below the track.

2. It's easier to connect the first two sections together. Before you had to hold the start section on its side, swing out the track legs to keep it that way, attach the large joiner plate and then hope you could attach the second section with all lanes in good alignment with the start section (on its edge as well). That could be a challenge as floors are not always nice and straight. Now, you can join these two sections with them flat to the floor. Set the start section with its back flat on the floor, slide the large joiner plate under the end and then set the uphill end of the second section in place over the joiner plate. Now you can easily secure the sections, lane by lane, and make sure the lanes line up center to center. That's a huge help.

3. The two items above certainly help speed setup and tear down, but there is one other thing that speeds things up. They have made the track sections just a tad shorter. This allows you to keep the section joiner plates attached to one end of sections two and on. So, there is less work to do. If you have a storage crate, a section with a 4" joiner plate attached to one end will fit in the crate. Before all joiner plates had to be removed before the sections would fit in the crate. You do still have to remove the big joiner plate that attaches the first two sections together, in order to store those sections in a crate.

4. Smoother start gate operation. The end of the start gate lever that holds the start gate in the up position now has a nylon rivet mounted in it. The head of this rivet allows the lever to smoothly swing under the start gate, taking less physical effort to start the heat. With less effort required, there is less vibration transferred to the cars during the start. Such vibration can actually affect run times of the cars, so keeping it to a minimum is desirable.

If you already have a Freedom track, you can retrofit your track to get much of benefit that the new design provides. I don't expect anyone would shorten their track sections, but you can get the benefits of Items 1, 2 and 4 above. You would need the following:

+ New front track legs
+ 2 new leg cross braces
+ 8 thumbscrews to replace the Phillips screws
+ New start gate

There is one other minor change needed to the start section for the retrofit. Remove the old front legs. The nearest 2" plate that keeps the start section together needs to move to where the old front legs were mounted. Then you can attach the new front legs where that plate use to be. The new legs swing back towards the rear track legs.

I don't see that Micro Wizard has a retrofit kit listed on their website yet, but I am sure that you can give them a call and inquire about the cost. It would be worth it, IMO. With my track retrofitted, setup and tear down is certainly faster and it can easily be a one person operation.

Initial Assembly Video


https://youtu.be/TDrPWzYweKw

Normal Setup and Tear Down Video


https://youtu.be/7QAUYWLrEV4
Randy Lisano
Romans 5:8

Awana Grand Prix and Pinewood Derby racing - Where a child, an adult and a small block of wood combine for a lot of fun and memories.
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FatSebastian
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Re: Micro Wizard's New "Quick Pack Track"

Post by FatSebastian »

Our organization found this review helpful when it acquired a MicroWizard Freedom Track with the newer "Quick Pack Track" features. We always preferred the Piantedosi-Oars-style track configuration, based on the traditional construction plans from the Cub Scout How-To Book, as it stows nicely.

Based on organizational experience, allow me to mention a few other potential advantages that might be had with this track.
  • The original Cub Scout / Piantedosi-Oars design hung weightlifting plates across a bar to force the curvature of the track and stabilize it. However, one can lay extra track shims across the leg braces and then put any ol' dead weight across those, such as filled water jugs or a stack of books... no need to invest in weightlifting plates especially.
  • We replaced the supplied thumb screws with 8/32 knurled knob-head screws/bolts; that made the leg-brace assembly / disassembly even faster!
Image
gpraceman wrote: Thu Oct 25, 2018 11:10 pmI don't expect anyone would shorten their track sections...
Even with the longer track section, I was thinking that one could always leave the joiner plates attached... but as you point out, it would require a crate longer than the conventional 8'.

And if I may say, although concern was once expressed over the thought of Stu's retirement from MicroWizard / DerbyWizard, our organization has continued to get excellent products and superb technical support (particularly through Stu's son Ian), just as in years past. I have owned / worked with / assembled many MicroWizard timers and track parts with different organizations over the past two decades and they always performed well, and the latest one (acquired within the last year) was no exception. And I have always appreciated that their timer products are largely compatible with other software and hardware, and not just their own tracks.
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Re: Micro Wizard's New "Quick Pack Track"

Post by gpraceman »

FatSebastian wrote: Thu Jan 26, 2023 6:41 pm Our organization found this review helpful when it acquired a MicroWizard Freedom Track with the newer "Quick Pack Track" features.
Glad that it was helpful. I've put this setup through its paces for many a race over the years and it was certainly labor saving and easier to manage. Sadly, I have retired from running local races, after 22 years of doing so. I am turning over that responsibility to a younger couple that will carry on the track ministry here for local Awana clubs.
FatSebastian wrote: Thu Jan 26, 2023 6:41 pmAnd if I may say, although concern was once expressed over the thought of Stu's retirement from MicroWizard / DerbyWizard, our organization has continued to get excellent products and superb technical support (particularly through Stu's son Ian), just as in years past.
Stu at one point did have the business up for sale. My wife and I even looked at buying his business and being a one stop shop for tracks, timers, and software. After a good look, however, it was not something that we would have been able to swing for logistical and financial reasons. I am glad that Ian has stepped up and taken more of an interest in running the business.
Randy Lisano
Romans 5:8

Awana Grand Prix and Pinewood Derby racing - Where a child, an adult and a small block of wood combine for a lot of fun and memories.
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