"Fun" race starting method?

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SoloTSi97
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"Fun" race starting method?

Post by SoloTSi97 » Thu Jan 12, 2012 9:12 pm

For the first time, this year our pack will have an electronic start gate on our track. A few years ago, before we purchased our Freedom track, we hired a guy to come run our race for us. He brought his track, timer, etc., and the electronic start gate was actuated by a modified Staples Easy button. The boys thought it was great, getting to actually push a button to start the race.

Now that we have an electronic gate of our own, I've been trying to come up with some fun/creative way for the boys to be involved in starting the race. The starting gate can be actuated by any momentary switch, but I'm looking for something that the boys will think is cool. Even better, something that fits the derby theme even?

Some of the thoughts that crossed my mind were turning a key ... a steering wheel with a horn button ... momentary switches on the four chairs near the finish (one per lane) where the boys who are racing go to sit before the race starts (the race would start when all were in their seats) ... haven't come up with anything that I really like yet.

If I don't come up with anything particularly good, I'll just find a switch and we'll go with it. Having seen a thread/video with a the Randy Underwood light tree built, which looks awesome, I may try to couple the chair switches with the pre-stage lights on a light tree next year! But, that's going to take more time than I have now for this year's race.

Looking for any suggestions from those who may do something similar!

-Bob



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FatSebastian
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Re: "Fun" race starting method?

Post by FatSebastian » Thu Jan 12, 2012 10:04 pm

SoloTSi97 wrote:I'm looking for something that the boys will think is cool!
If the boys enjoyed it, you could always go back to the Staples Easy Button.

Image

They are less than $6 from Staples ("that was easy!").

Regarding a more theme-oriented switch, you might have a switch activated by dropping a flag.



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Re: "Fun" race starting method?

Post by gpraceman » Thu Jan 12, 2012 10:28 pm

How about like one of those dynamite blast boxes? The boys would have fun pushing the plunger down. Not race related, but fun nonetheless.


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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.

SoloTSi97
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Re: "Fun" race starting method?

Post by SoloTSi97 » Fri Jan 13, 2012 7:37 am

Thanks for the suggestions. I have a Staples easy button, which is the backup plan. :-)

I like the plunger idea, and another non-themed idea someone else came up with was a big slot machine style pull handle.

-Bob



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Re: "Fun" race starting method?

Post by dna1990 » Fri Jan 13, 2012 6:54 pm

We do wire ours direct to the starting gate, so each racer when they are racing in lane 1 - gets to press the actual start button. We have wired in series a second button that the computer operator has to hold down to activate the circuit to avoid any premature launches.

It is just a large arcade style button with some led's around it. But I LOVE the plunger idea.

We since added a third button right on the track itself to launch the gate regardles of the other two buttons (override). Used while testing, setting up, etc. Rather than have to find another person to hold the main switches. So consider this if go this route.


I help or visit alot of other packs, and one pet peeve I have - is the over-the-top countdown. Oh it is fun and cool, gets the crowd engaged no doubt. For the first ten heats. After that, the next 90 heats are agony when the CM starts the countdown at 10 again each time.



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Re: "Fun" race starting method?

Post by SoloTSi97 » Fri Jan 13, 2012 6:58 pm

Thanks for the tips. Yeah , we don't do a countdown or anything ... just looking to do the same as you, kid in lane 1 gets to start the race. Even a button with LEDs may be cool ...



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Re: "Fun" race starting method?

Post by gpraceman » Fri Jan 13, 2012 7:21 pm

dna1990 wrote:I help or visit alot of other packs, and one pet peeve I have - is the over-the-top countdown. Oh it is fun and cool, gets the crowd engaged no doubt. For the first ten heats. After that, the next 90 heats are agony when the CM starts the countdown at 10 again each time.
I just get the kids to do a 3-2-1-Go countdown with me.


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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Re: "Fun" race starting method?

Post by MOFAST » Mon Jan 30, 2012 1:03 pm

You can have them do the Pinewood Derby cheer in the Sparkler book and do a count down. Just for the start of each rank. I agree if done everytime it could get old very fast.



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Re: "Fun" race starting method?

Post by SoloTSi97 » Sat Nov 24, 2012 12:37 pm

I just realized I never followed up with what I came up with ... so I figured I'd share.

Image

I put everything inside an ABS project box, complete with an illuminated button, and painted it. Another pack leader designed and cut the graphics (they match graphics the same leader designed & cut for our aluminum track). I think it turned out great!

It's wired in series with a foot switch that the starter uses, so both switches must be closed in order for the starting gate to be triggered. The starter gets ready and steps on the foot switch, then the boy whose car is in Lane 1 presses the button to start. We did a quick 3-2-1 for each round.

The boys really seemed to like it, and I like having them involved in the race as much as possible. This year, I'm planning to build a light tree. So, off to find those threads and schematics!

-Bob



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Re: "Fun" race starting method?

Post by Rukkian » Mon Nov 26, 2012 4:07 pm

That is awesome looking, and a great way to get the kids more involved. I am sure they have a blast doing that, and having the 2 piece start (foot pedal, button) is an awesome idea. Our pack will never get there, as there is too much of "that is how we always do it", but I would love to do something like this as well.



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Re: "Fun" race starting method?

Post by gpraceman » Mon Nov 26, 2012 4:27 pm

SoloTSi97,

Very cool!


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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