New Directions

900 Echols Street SE
Vienna, VA 22180    703-319-0840  email

High Performance, Affordable Accessories for
Pinewood Derby, Hot Wheels, BluTrack, Soapbox Derby, and other racing formats.

Serial Control Interface

Model SCI


One of the features of both DerbyMaster and GrandPrix Race Manager, is the ability to manipulate the voltage on certain unused pins of the serial communications port. This is useful to trigger certain actions in periphial equipment from the keyboard or mouse. In particular, pin 4 can be used to start a race, either by triggering the Light Tree, or driving our solenoid powered gates directly.

The SCI brings the voltage of pin 4 out through a cable, terminating in a stereo 3.5mm male connector. It has current limiting components and is designed to be plugged into any of our gate mechanisms.

A red LED on the SCI monitors pin 4, and a pair of green LEDs monitors the two way communication between your computer and finish line. These provide a good trouble shooting tool if there is a problem. It will help to answer the question: "Is it the finish line, the start gate, or is it my computer?"


SCI $39 With 6 foot cable

The SCI is supplied with a 6 foot cable because it is most often used at a computer postion located at the starting line. Other cable lengths available on special order.

Add $20 plus ten cents per foot for a special SCI cable length.


Cable Jack Hardware: Add $5

We don't normally install screw and threaded jack locking hardware on the SCI. Reason: There seems to be no standardization in the manufacturers of serial cables and USB-Serial interfaces. About half the time, the hardware gender of the SCI will not fit your existing cabling. If you want screws and/or jacks installed, we will do that if you tell us which you want. But locking hardware is not really needed especially for a short time set up, as the DB-9 connectors stay together quite well. Also, running 6 year olds rarely look down, and the uncoupling of a connector is a much better outcome than a broken cable, or a lap top crashing to the floor. This happens more often the night before during final checkout than at the big event where crowd control is in effect.