Auto-start gate for Freedom Track

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Vitamin K
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Auto-start gate for Freedom Track

Post by Vitamin K » Tue Oct 17, 2017 10:14 am

Our Pack has a 4-lane Microwizard Aluminum track. One thing that's always been a hassle is the start gate, as it tends to get wonky during races, and there are issues with it not contacting the timer switch properly when closed, that requires last minute bending of little metal switch levers. Ideally, I'd like to do some re-working of the start mechanism before we hit race season.

One thing that would really be nice would be to get an automatic gate so that the cars could be triggered remotely.

Has anybody had any experience with the auto start gate that Microwizard sells? I guess I have to ship them our old one in order to retrofit?

Also, has anybody had any experience with modifying the MW start gate for a solenoid on their own? I'd be interested in hearing about this as well.

Links to relevant previous posts are more than welcome!

Thanks much.



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Re: Auto-start gate for Freedom Track

Post by gpraceman » Tue Oct 17, 2017 11:59 am

I've had a couple of different solenoid gate setups on my Freedom track. The DIY one stopped working reliably after awhile. I didn't want to muck with the circuit, so I ended up switching to a commercial solution.

http://derbytalk.com/viewtopic.php?f=15 ... =15#p77292
http://derbytalk.com/viewtopic.php?f=15 ... =30#p79449

The Micro Wizard gate connects to the gate, just as my DIY one did. It is just 3 holes that need drilling to mount the actuator (2 for the actuator and 1 for the linkage to the trip lever). There are also commercial units available from New Directions and the ESS unit from Jewkes.

If you want to do a DIY solution, there's Indy's solution. You don't need the timer connection (PDT connection). I'd add in a jack for a remote switch, as I find it easier to trigger the gate from that than the local switch.


Randy Lisano
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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.

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Vitamin K
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Re: Auto-start gate for Freedom Track

Post by Vitamin K » Tue Oct 17, 2017 1:15 pm

gpraceman wrote:
Tue Oct 17, 2017 11:59 am
I've had a couple of different solenoid gate setups on my Freedom track. The DIY one stopped working reliably after awhile. I didn't want to muck with the circuit, so I ended up switching to a commercial solution.

http://derbytalk.com/viewtopic.php?f=15 ... =15#p77292
http://derbytalk.com/viewtopic.php?f=15 ... =30#p79449

The Micro Wizard gate connects to the gate, just as my DIY one did. It is just 3 holes that need drilling to mount the actuator (2 for the actuator and 1 for the linkage to the trip lever). There are also commercial units available from New Directions and the ESS unit from Jewkes.

If you want to do a DIY solution, there's Indy's solution. You don't need the timer connection (PDT connection). I'd add in a jack for a remote switch, as I find it easier to trigger the gate from that than the local switch.
Thanks for the info!

Looks like the New Directions actuator is the cheapest commercial option (though the Microwizard one comes with the light tree).

The Jewkes unit only specifies Best Track. Is it simple enough to adapt to a Freedom track? That said, it's also the most expensive option.

Normally, the DIY route would be my first inclination, but I'm way too short on time as it is these days... :(



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Re: Auto-start gate for Freedom Track

Post by gpraceman » Tue Oct 17, 2017 3:16 pm

Glenn indicated that he was going to come up with a mounting bracket for an ESS to a Freedom track, but I'm not sure if he ever did. My mounting was a bit difficult, since I chose to have the solenoid pull parallel to the track, instead of perpendicular. I had to modify the start switch bracket for the timer to add in a trip lever and then come up with a mounting plate for the solenoid. It is much easier mounting for a perpendicular pull.


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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