Magnet Marshal
Made in the USA by TECHTECHracing

Reviewed By Alan Smith

 

Model Car Racing is all a Question of Balance!!

An exciting new product from a New Company in the Industry.

Ever since Fly released their first Viperís here in the USA the problem of magnetic grip has been one of the most frustrating issues when people gather to race 1/32 Slot Cars. Although Fly certainly did not invent Magna Traction or magnetic grip, they applied it to a range of cars that inspired a lot of people to get involved with this great Hobby. This also created a serious problem, magnetic grip or balance created much faster, and easier to drive cars.

Why would that be a problem, well let's look at that. It also created huge differences in performance between cars depending on how much magnetic grip the car had, creating single brand and often single car Race Events as no one wanted to drive the less stuck down versions.

Certainly, in the growing Club Scene you found a lot of frustration as some cars clearly out performed other similar models, but how do you easily measure and adjust the balance of your grid of Magnetic downforce cars? I have seen people modify and adapt Electronic Scales to measure this invisible handling advantage, now finally a RTR Scale Custom Designed to measure how much downforce your car is creating.

Where Magnet Marshal is most valuable is in balancing cars with their traction magnets in the same position on the chassis. Cars with forward mounted magnets will not handle the same as cars with their magnet nearer the rear axle, even if adjusted to give the same downforce numbers.

 

 

With all that said letís look at Magnet Marshal, your downforce Tech Inspector allowing you to fine tune your cars handling.

Magnet Marshal comes in a fairly plain box with the name printed on the lid, however as I opened the box and started to unpack the Scale I could not help but be impressed by the Package Design. A lot of Companies that have been in Business a long time could learn from Tech Tech Racing when it comes to how they box their product. The Magnet Marshal comes with a simple Instruction Sheet explaining how to operate the Scale and explaining some of the uses for Magnet Marshal. Also, included in the box was an Owners Manual, which also explains operation of the Magnet Marshal and goes into detail on how to change the Battery when this is required, and what tools are needed to do this. Magnet Marshal comes already fitted with a Battery (CR2032 button battery) so all you need to do is unpack and you are ready to get testing.

OK lets see what Magnet Marshal can do, first place on a flat surface then you press the button in the bottom right corner of the box, this is the on/off button. Magnet Marshal will turn on and at first you see an 18.8.8.8 display on the screen. The scale will then set itself to 0 grams.

 

Now you are ready to weigh a car, by placing the car on its side parallel to the Metal Beam (Magnetractor Beam). This will give you the weight of the car. On the latest Scalextric NASCAR we are using in this test the scale reads 97 grams.

 

Now set the car on the platform with the guide in the slot cut out for it, make sure the car is as far forward in the slot as possible to give a reference point. Also it is important to keep the car square on the scale to again aid in consistent readings.

Now the scale reads 323 grams, this is the combined weight of the car and the magnetic pull on the Magnetractor Beam. This means the pull of the magnet on the new Scalextric NASCAR is 226 grams.

(323-97=226)

There is another way to achieve the same result without you doing the math, place the car on the scale, it reads 97 grams, now press the top button marked with an O this will zero the scale with the car on it.

Now place the car on the scale with the guide in the slot, again taking care the car is square on the scale. Now the scale will read only the magnetic pull (or downforce) as the carís weight has been zeroed out. With the Sharpie NASCAR, the scale read 226 grams the same figure as achieved using math to subtract the weight of the car.

Another way you can check a group of the same type cars i.e. NASCAR is to weigh your chosen ďSpecĒ weight car, I will use the DeWalt NASCAR as a reference, this weighs in at 307 grams, considerably less than the Sharpie NASCAR.

This would explain the difference in lap times between the two cars, and I thought Kurt was the better driver, all along it appears he had more downforce, caused by a stronger magnet.

The 19 gram difference is good for almost 3/10th of a second on the SCI Office test track, a situation in a Club race that often drives people away when they can not get close to the car with the stronger magnet.

This is where Magnet Marshal earns itís keep, first we place the DeWalt car on the scale and it reads 307 grams. Now, press the O button to zero the scale with the weight of the DeWalt car on the scale. Now remove the car, to check the scale and you should see a negative number equal to the downforce measured by Magnet Marshal in this case Ė307 grams. Now we place the Sharpie car on the scale it gives a reading of +16 grams meaning this car measures 323 grams. To confirm that it is the magnet causing the difference, we weighed the cars. 97 grams for both the DeWalt and the Sharpie, so the difference of 16 grams is in the magnets.

Now to adjust the balance on the Sharpie car to get both cars close to 307 Grams. To do this we will need to raise the magnet on the Sharpie car to reduce magnetic downforce.

First we will try turning the magnet over, as we had found out by testing with Magnet Marshal this can make between 7 to 10 grams difference to the Magnet downforce. Sure enough this brings the Sharpie car down to 317 grams still 10 grams stronger magnetic pull on the scale which is too much for a Spec type Race.

To modify the car further we need to raise the magnet a little higher in the chassis, this has the effect of reducing the downforce as the magnet moves away from the Beam. We will do this by placing a shim of paper or lexan sheet between the chassis and the magnet, first we will try the paper. With a piece of paper under the magnet the Sharpie car now reads 314 grams. Now we recheck the DeWalt car, and the scale reads 307 grams.

Here is where I noticed another feature with the Magnet Marshal, you can check for out of round tires and axles. As the wheel moves up in the chassis you get more Magnetic downforce and as it moves down the chassis is raised slightly creating less Magnetic downforce. How much? We will check on the DeWalt car, by revolving the wheel in ľ turns I find the scale readings change from 307 grams to 310 grams. Both cars suffered about 3 grams of variation due to tire run out. For best results true the tires before fine tuning the balance of your cars.

Another thing I noticed during testing is that the scale's reading will vary depending upon the ambient temperature. I had turned up the heat in my office and the scale now read 1 gram higher.

Now we set the scale to read 0 with the DeWalt car on the scale by pressing the button marked O with the car on the scale. Back to the Sharpie car this is reading +4, and by rotating the axle I find 0.

If I wanted to be really accurate I would now sand the tires on the Sharpie car to bring the reading down to an even 310 grams.

Another use I discovered for Magnet Marshal was to measure magnets loose from the car, here is where I found the variation on Scalextric NASCAR magnet depending on which way they are mounted in the chassis. This difference is about 7 to 10 grams.

All you need is 2 plastic shims to place parallel to the Magnetractor Beam, then sit the magnet on top crossing the Beam. This easily allows you to flip the magnet to find its strong side, also to check for stronger or weaker magnets. For dot or smaller bar magnets a third piece of plastic needs to be placed across the Beam and the dot or smaller bar magnet placed on top of the cross piece.

 

We also checked many similar cars and found big differences in Magnetic grip, over 100 grams between different Fly Porsche cars in our stable.

More images and many videos demonstrating the Magnet Marshal's functions and uses can be found in SCI's Magnet Marshal Gallery, here.

 

So to sum up; I feel that Magnet Marshal is a great tool to help equalize your cars for close racing, or the check cars to find out why you are down or up on performance.

Also great for testing loose magnets to balance the grid, or find the hot magnet to use in an unlimited race.

As designed, Magnet Marshal can handle standard 1/32 scale cars and cars with possibly one or two extra magnets before it bottoms out. We tested the scale with a TSRF 1/32 scale car with two magnets and read over 1000 grams!

By raising the car away from the Magnetractor Beam using flat plastic sheet placed on each side of the Beam you can reduce the magnetic pull so as not to overload the scale and still get consistent readings from car to car. This allows you to test strong magnet cars, to compare their magnetic downforce, once you go over about 750 grams I recommend this method to avoid bottoming the scale, or crashing the magnet and chassis into the Magnetractor Beam.

We also set up HO cars and read their weight and magnetic downforce , so this scale has the ability to test many different types of Slot Car. However, as sold we feel Magnet Marshal is best used to compare the current 1/32 scale cars to balance your grid.


Cheers,
Alan Smith

 

Footnote,

We were so impressed with Magnet Marshal we have secured a special Introductory offer to supply SCI Readers Worldwide with their very own Magnet Marshal. Please see the Link in the SCI Manufacturers Online Mall to purchase your Magnet Marshal.

Also, available direct from www.magnetmarshal.com

 

Happy Holidays,
Alan


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