is not often that a merchant will advise you that his product is worthless
and to NOT buy it.
But this is a special situation that cries out for honesty.
We at New Directions
are in competition with BestTrack on three products, namely, finish lines,
remote start gates, and light trees.
When you compare
specifications you will find our products are generally more innovative,
flexible, and have a wider range of connectivity and function. At a much
This has inspired
BestTrack to take steps that are considered somewhat sketchy, certainly
in a market which caters to organizations where honesty, fair play and role
model for youth are central themes.
We both promote
remote start devices that pull the start gate lever by a solenoid. Their's
is the ESS, ($199) and our's is the GLB
To get you to pass
up the GLB and purchase the ESS, BestTrack makes a clever, weird, but surprisingly
effective claim. They tell you that if you accidently plug our GLB power
supply into the Champ, the Champ will burn out and your warranty will be
Owner Manual, as well as multiple BestTrack web site pages, contain
warnings of burnout if you accidently plug the GLB power supply into the
scary. Better avoid any chance of mixing up the power supplies and get
Yes! And if you hadn't figured
it out for yourself, the salesperson on the phone at BestTrack will
make sure you get that message.
But will the Champ really
burn out? Absolutely not!
The Champ is like all other equipment
sold in the consumer market. It will accept any voltage up to 35 volts.
It has to, in order to be compliant with IEEE and
IEC Standards, and to survive in the real world. If plugging in the
wrong adaptor meant burnout, the landfills would be overflowing with equipment,
and you would be hearing about it. It is just common sense.
We obtained a Champ, took it
apart, traced the circuits, drew up the schematics, identified and looked
up all components that are connected to the input power. Everything looked
solid. The Champ is well-designed.
We plugged it into our lab power
supply and brought it up immediately to 24 volts. Then, we gradually took
it up to 35 volts while measuring component temperatures with IR thermography.
No problem. We held it at 35 volts for 48 hours. The Champ did just fine.
It is IEEE-compliant.
Hi. I'm John Shreffler, Owner of New Directions. I am retired from a 46
year career in circuit design for military, industrial and consumer equipment.
The Champ works fine on anything from 12 to 35 volts. But I understand the
hesitation you may feel, and offer the service described below.
We will remove the 2.1mm connector
from our GLB power supply cable, and replace it with a 2.5mm connector.
We will also install a mating
2.5mm socket on the GLB.
The Champ and the GLB will then
be physically incompatible with each other.
It will be impossible to power
the Champ with the GLB supply, and vice versa.
Peace of Mind:
Why is BestTrack so intent on
getting you to buy the ESS? So intent, in fact, that they would falsely
claim their own finish line is so poorly designed it cannot meet the most
basic equipment standards, and will go up in smoke the first time you make
a common mistake? That is the funny part. It is because they are about to
introduce a Light Tree called the DragMaster
that ...... that ............wait for it ....... only works with the ESS!
They specifically designed the Dragmaster for exclusivity to prevent you
from buying a New Directions Light Tree. Welcome to the whacky world of
BestTrack's attempt at Exclusivity
Engineering in this case did not work out so well. Because we have just
introduced the LT4-ESS that works perfectly
with the ESS. Plus, for those who already have the ESS, we offer inexpensive
modifications that make the ESS work with our wildly
popular LT3 Light Tree.
So, you DO have choices after
all. And your choices include getting the much less expensive GLB, since
it in fact poses no threat to the Champ. And if you have the slightest
doubt about that, ask us to change the connectors so it is impossible to
make a mistake.
We at New Directions do not believe
in Exclusivity Engineering. We feel the Pinewood market is best served by
interoperability across all product lines. That way, organizations have
the maximum number of choices for their derby needs. We serve our customers,
we don't manipulate them.
Products for BestTrack
and IEC Design Standards for Low Voltage (defined as zero to 35 Volts)
consumer equipment with detachable power supplies of the type used in the
Pinewood market are simple and include:
1. No vendor may
market power supplies that generate more than 35 volts, and
2. All vendors
must accept voltages of 35 volts applied to their own equipment.
If every manufacturer
observes these simple rules, nobody's equipment will be harmed by accidently
being powered incorrectly. These are common sense rules that manufacturers
universally follow. All equipment currently on the Pinewood market is IEEE
compliant in this important respect.