Sunday, 24 January 2016

Broken Scalextric Digital

It is without doubt that Scalextric Digital is a great innovation.  Controlling your Scalextric cars individually via a digital data stream is a great idea allowing multiple cars on one slot and having the ability to change lanes.  Simply fantastic.
However, Hornby (Scalextric), as is their style, have almost completely failed to deliver the dream.  So, what’s the problem, I hear you say.  Well, where to start? Let’s start with the track.  The powerbase has little or no short circuit protection, which means if the track rails are shorted out with a small piece of metal then the controller will fail, permanently.  Time to buy a new one.
Then, there’s the lane change pieces of track.  These use small electromagnets known as solenoids to move the points to allow the cars to change lane.  These are very poorly produced resulting in the points frequently sticking and stopping the cars from changing lanes.  If you are going to have active pieces of track then at least make sure it all works properly.  Does anybody test anything at Hornby?
Now we consider the cars, or actually, the digital chip that fits inside the cars.  The biggest mistake of all made by Hornby is this.  There were FOUR version of the chip.  What barking mad idiot thought that was the right thing to do and how did the Hornby board of directors allow that to happen.  Plain madness.  To make things worse the TWO saloon versions of the chip have proved very unreliable whereas the smaller single seater versions have proved quite good.
Scalextric Digital chip
Additionally, the output of the chip is not protected so, again, a short circuit within the car will cause the chip to fail, permanently.  Time to buy a new chip.
With all this going on is Scalextric Digital worth investing in?  We’re simply not sure.  All we know is, our customers who have Scalextric Digital really enjoy it even with all the associated risks and problems.  Your choice really.
Brought to you by Scalextric Car Restorations.

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