SSD Chipping Le Mans Fleet Le Mans 24 Hour race, one of the greatest events on Motor sport along with such illustrious names as Formula 1, Indy 500, MotoGP, and WRC.
Digital now gives you a chance to race these great machines against each other, and to line them up on a set of Le Mans Start pieces is... well let's not get carried away now!
Luckily most of these cars can now be bought quite reasonably online second hand and must be some of the easiest cars to add the SSD chip to.
I will start with my favourite of the line-up - the Le Mans Jaguar, the other cars will not be shown in as much detail, mainly because they are all so similar once you get the tops off!
Let us start, as always, with the cover off:
As you can see there is a lot of space in the chassis to play with, these are spacious cars!
The first interesting thing about ALL of these cars is the 3mm hole about 1/2 way down the chassis 1 Which is the perfect size for the ir LED. I had to think and then test to see if the LED would work this far behind the guide blade but it appears to work flawlessly on a small test track with 4 cars directly behind one another. Well done Scalextric for being so forward thinking!!!
The next thing to notice is the existing chip on the car 2 - this is a lighting circuit which uses the power from the motor to power the headlights and store a small amount for brake lights. As the SSD chips have connectors for head and brake lights I thought these could be utilised instead (more on that later).
Finally the connections at the front 3 are for the headlights, not the pickups from the track, these are the red and white wires coming out from under the front of the chassis.
The pick-ups on this particular car are of a very old design and the red and white wires go directly to the braids:
The first task was to strip the car of all wires (the design of the chip made this an obvious start point):
Next was to look at the placement of the chip, as the hole is a little back from the front axle there is enough space to put it between the axle and the LED.
Hot Glue Gun to the rescue again - it really is an easy way to mount these chips! Hold the chip in position then put a big glob of glue on each corner, hold the chip until the glue has started to set and you will get a great way of mounting the chips and LED boards.
Cover on and front wheels removed to make sure the chip fits under the bodywork - at this angle there is no problems! (pickups are hanging out at this stage - it really was just to see if the chip fits)
For the initial testing I connected the braid wires directly to the pick up plates on the chip (covered in tape on the pic), connected the motor directly to the chip (then removed it and put it the correct way around - pic is of the correct way!) and ignored the lights for now.
After some successful tests (including lane changes and counting over the line), it was time to look at the lights.
These cars all came with lighting boards which allowed headlights and working brake lights, so I looked to emulate this with the digital chip. I had found out on SlotForum that the SSD chip has connections for head and brake lights (HL and BL) - so decided to make use of them (in the above pic you can see the 4 holes in the top left corner of the chip - these are the HL and BL connections.
The car with lights wired up:
The brown tape at the front is my way of isolating the wires on the 'grain of wheat' bulbs, the sheilding that came with the cars was far too old and had gone hard.
The Lights in action:
I was a little disappointed with the brightness of the front lights - the 5v circuit did not seem to light the bulbs fully.
As you can see the brake lights are fine, the LED's supplied on this car work well on the 5v put through them. The brakes came on differently to the original car, as SSD has a different brake function - either permanently on when the trigger is not pressed, only on with a button or both - the lights powered by the chip follow this. As I usually leave the setting to 'both' the brake lights are permanently on when the car is not moving. This looks better in my opinion.
After more discussion on SlotForum it was found that the headlight bulbs would, in fact work on the 12vAC direct from the track! So the chip was re-wired again to take the power from the track and put it to the chip and also to the headlight bulbs - the re-soldered ship looked like this:
The rear lights are connected like this:
The right hand wire (in the picture) connects to the corner of the chip (the +ve connector). The LED's will not work the other way around. This one has been extended slightly as it was not long enough to reach the chip at the front of the car.
The lights here are actually from one of the Porsches but it is identical for the Jaguars.
And the finished wired car like this (with tape over the connections):
The headlights are now as bright as before the conversion (more pics in a bit), and are permanently on. Just a quick note - only connect lights up like this if they are bulbs, this would be very bad for LED's in which case use the chip's 5v to power them.
The next car to get the SSD chip is one of the Porsche's - these are plentiful and come in many different colours, one of the most common is the red and yellow Shell Dunlop no.18 (shown here fully chipped).
Note that the chip is in much the same place as the Jaguar, also the hole was in the same place!
This car actually comes in 2 different configurations of chassis - one with the same guide blades as above, and one with a newer style, this one is the newer style:
With a separate guide blade and braids:
This actually brings a new challenge for connecting up the wires as the flat blades supplied on the SSD chip can be used to plug in to the 'spade' connectors used on the top of the chassis.
Here is a quick diagram of what I mean.
The black line is the chassis body, the grey are the built-in pickups, the purple is the connections to the SSD chip and the red is the existing 'spade' connector originally going to the motor. The connector is basically jammed on top of the pickup connection and SSD chip connectors.
The connectors that used to go to the motor have now been re-routed to the front headlights.
This pic is a close up of the connectors (sorry, a bit out of focus).
All the rest of the Porsches can be converted using this method or if the chassis is older the car can be converted in exactly the same way as the Jaguar.
The last car type to look at is the Sauber Mercedes
Here is is pre-chipping:
Again the hole is there, and there is plently of space for the SSD chip at the front.
One of the main differences is the lighting board at the back:
Only a closer look shows it is in fact exactly the same as the other cars just mounted on a board not wires!
The connectors at the front of the car are similar to the Porsche above, and so I have connected the headlights, SSD chip and pickups in almost the same way, only in this case it was easier for me to plug the SSD chip in to the top of the spade connectors:
Whichever way you go on this is up to personal preference and to a degree how tight the spade connectors are!
The finished Merc looks like this:
And the final line-up...
As you can see the lights are a lot brighter than before, and on all the time.
I have to say I am very happy with this lot, and they provide much more of a challenge to drive than the Scalextric Audi's and Porsches.
One word of warning though, don't leave the cars on track if you are not using them - the bulbs are not designed to stay on in this way and start to melt the chassis!!!
Enjoy the racing, I am happy to answer any questions either on SlotForum or mail me - firstname.lastname@example.org
Le Mans 24 Hour race, one of the greatest events on Motor sport along with such illustrious names as Formula 1, Indy 500, MotoGP, and WRC.