|New Directions, 900 Echols Street SE, Vienna, VA 22180 | 703-319-0840 | Email|
How does The Judge work?
Answer: The front bumper of each car breaks a vertical beam of infrared light. The infrared light emitters, located below your track, and the corresponding sensors above, are precisely aligned to within a few thousandths of an inch, resulting in a perfectly fair decision. Nothing touches the cars. No human has eyes this good!
Answer: Our warranty is the best you will find. For four years from the date of shipment, we will repair any failure at no cost to you beyond shipping it back to us. There are certain obvious and reasonable exclusions. If your Judge should need service, the warranty will be extended one year beyond the original date of expiration. Warranty details are presented in our Terms of Sale, Item 13.
We pay for shipping back to you. After expiration, we will service your Judge at $22 per hour plus parts. We can offer this excellent warranty because The Judge is designed and built for keeps.
Moreover, you have a Guarantee of Satisfaction. If you are in any way disappointed by your purchase, simply return it within ten days for a 100% refund. Guarantee of Satisfaction details are presented in our Terms of Sale, Items 2 through 7. There are certain obvious and reasonable limitations. It is a matter of considerable pride at New Directions, that after over five thousand Judges sold, exactly one customer has ever taken us up on this offer.
Answer: No. You must drill a hole through each lane of your track on the finish line, but after that, a screwdriver is all you need to mount The Judge.
If you are buying a track from S&W Crafts, BestTrack, or Piantedosi, tell them you are buying The Judge, and they will drill the holes for you. You will be up and running in ten minutes.
Answer: If The Judge is mounted on the running surface of your track, as shown in the home page photo, the clearance is 3", which is plenty for the Pinewood car kits on the market. If your group allows taller cars, you may raise The Judge up on blocks to give several more inches of clearance without loss of performance. It is a good idea to prevent cars from striking The Judge by using a height gauge during check-in. Allow another 1/2" clearance for safety sake. Here is a Judge for the aluminum Piantedosi Freedom track which has been raised 1.5" by adding some blocks. If you are handy with tools, no problem at all. If you need some blocks, just ask.
Answer: Unless you specify otherwise, the overall width of The Judge as measured at the outside tips of the mounting feet is 4.875 inches plus the distance between the centerlines of your two outside lanes. As an example, look at the photo on the home page. This is a vintage Piantedosi track with 3.50" lane centerlines. The distance between the outside lane centerlines is 5 x 3.5" = 17.5". Add 4.875" and you have 22.375 inches. This is the exact width of the track deck (no coincidence), so The Judge's mounting feet are exactly at the deck edges. Typically, your track may be narrower or wider than this exact fit.
If your track deck is too narrow to mount The Judge on the running surface as in the photo, you must add "wings" to widen your deck at the finish line. You can design the wings to add additional clearance height if you wish. We include drawings for this modification with your order. We will also include suitable wings with your order, free for the asking.
If your track deck is wider, simply center The Judge over the finish line. The side panels of The Judge may be bent outward by hand pressure for minor adjustments. Inward bending, even for small amounts, is not recommended.
On special request, you may order your Judge width independent of the dimensions stated above. For example, if you have a track with an exceptionally wide deck, with the racing lanes grouped in the center, you might feel it would look better if The Judge spanned the entire track deck, not just the lanes. We can do this, but it involves cutting the main circuit card and doing some auxiliary construction within. The cost is $22. This option is not on the order form, so contact us to discuss.
Answer: First, make a little mark in the exact center of each of your lanes at the finish line. Use a ruler, because wood grain tends to fool the eye. Then hook your tape measure on the LEFT edge of the track deck. LEFT means LEFT as the driver of a car would define it. Lane 1 is his leftmost lane. Without moving the tape measure, read off the distance to each of your marks. As a final dimension, measure all the way to the right edge of the track deck. By taking all dimensions from a common point, you don't accumulate errors.
Now, convert all your dimensions to decimal notation, using the table below.
For example, 4 and 3/16 inch would be expressed as 4.187 inches.
Once you have all your measurements, you are ready to fill out the Order Form.
Answer: Sounds like you are a careful shopper. Good! Careful shoppers have done more for our growing business than any other kind. By now, you have probably found that there are six of us serving this market, with prices starting from a $79.95 kit (you supply the mechanical structure). Here are some things to consider:
*Price: Price is important, but value (what you get for the price) is more important. The Judge is priced among the lowest, but has features only found on units costing hundreds of dollars more.
*Immediate Display: Two competitors offer little boxes that someone must look at and announce to the audience what just happened. This is too much like having a human judge....just what you are trying to avoid. Nothing beats everyone in the room seeing what happened, just when it happened, with his or her own eyes. Your audience goes "Yabadabadoo!"
*Display brightness: Our lights are the brightest. They are Mil-spec, wide angle ultra brights, two over each lane, on the coming and the going side, so every seat is a good seat. The audience lights are much brighter than any seven segment display available, and can be interpreted across a large gymnasium. Compared to systems that use standard LEDs, The Judge absolutely blazes.
*Ease of Setup: The Judge is custom built exactly for your track dimensions. It is not modular. This means you do not have a bunch of small parts to assemble. The Judge is the most compact, and easiest to set up, take down, and store.
*Automatic Reset: Some people like to walk over and reset the equipment after every race (and we can supply that), but most find it gets old fast. The Judge is the only finish line that features automatic reset, letting you concentrate on the flow of events, rather than the distractions. Also, you can adjust the length of time that the audience display persists before resetting, another unique feature of The Judge.
*Timing Accuracy: Nobody comes close to our 10 microsecond resolution in E.T. And with Computer Option, we offer 100 microsecond resolution (four places after the decimal), so you will virtually never see a tie. These resolutions translate into distances less than the thickness of the cars' paint jobs.
*Service: We are On-Line to help you with any problems you might encounter. When you are a customer, you are family. See why our family is growing so fast!
Answer: That depends. Repairs are given the highest priority, even ahead of sales. But if you wait until 3 days before your derby in January (our busiest month) to find there is a problem, it could be dicey. Scouts are prepared!
When you get your Judge, open it immediately, check for damage and completeness of order. Assign responsibility for the finish line at least a month before your derby, and have that person set it up on the last section of track immediately. Have him get completely familiar with the operation, especially if you are running your derby with computer control. Have him test it under the ambient lighting conditions which will be present on derby day. Get back to us immediately on any problems. We can only help if you give us the time.
Don't assign battery installation or such tasks to the youngsters. They would love to help, but usually lack the necessary finesse. After the derby, dismount all components and store them together with instructions in the original shipping container. Keep them in a living space of your home, not a wet basement, or hot attic. The Judge is well made, but still a piece of electronic equipment. Treat it right, and it is an investment that will last indefinitely.
Answer: We rent out Judges for ten days for single uses, but we do not make custom Judges for rental. Your rental order will be filled with either standard dimension units, or existing "orphan" unit. Call us well in advance of your derby to confirm availability. You pay full price as if you are buying it, and when it is returned you will be issued a refund check so that your net rental is:
2 Lane $49
Derby Software is not rented. We sell it, but it is not returnable. Shipping and Handling is paid by renter.
Answer: Yes! At any given time, we have units on our "Orphan Shelf", which are production overruns of earlier models, trade-ins, or used for rental. These are bargain-priced, but the stock continually changes. If you are interested, email your needs (track dimensions) and see what we have at the moment. Warranties on older models may have to be custom-written based on our ability to service, since certain components may no longer be available.
What is a "bargain price"? Well, as an extreme example, there was a 6 Lane Judge with 3.5" on center, but the spacing between lanes 3 and 4 was about 5". It even had Computer Option. This was truly an "oddball" and needed someone willing to build a track under it. It found an owner February 20th, a chap up in Canada who bought it for $49.
Answer: Yes! Check out our remote controlled solenoid powered gate.
We also offer a simple, inexpensive, but fool-proof start gate, which is ideal for normal plywood tracks. Based on the photo below, you should have little trouble making one yourself from local sources. We use 1x2 clear pine and steel 1.5" hinges. The latch and strike plate are also steel. The crossbar is rubber band-loaded so that it wants to open. When you press the tail of the latch, the gate snaps open so fast you can't see it, assuring a perfectly fair start. We offer an appropriate spring as a permanent replacement for rubber bands at $5.
If you order from us, the start gate is fully assembled, and all you have to do is make slots in your track's lane centers. A screwdriver is all you need at that point. We need the center-to-center distances of the lanes, measured just like for the Judge. Pencil in your start gate information on the order form, and include the price: $24 plus $5 per lane. Example: 4 lane = $44. If the start gate is part of a larger order, add $0.50 per lane for additional postage. If you are ordering the start gate separately, add $11 for S&H.
Answer: Prices for the Judge are found in the Order Form within the scroll-down menus. For other products, they are included on the page describing the product. We encourage placing your order by phone so we can discuss your situation, and make sure everything is understood.
Answer: We offer several solutions for a single lane timer. This is the ideal tool for developing the ultimate in a fast car. It is sized to fit on a 1x6 (5 and 1/2") board track, but other sizing is available on request. It comes complete with start gate cable terminating in a magnetic switch. Indicate your track length when ordering.
Answer: It will, if you order Sunlight Max.
Answer: Yes. All Judges manufactured with the Q series boards (1999-2000 season) and later may be upgraded by sending it back for installation of the necessary components. Units manufactured between 1996 and 1999 will need to be evaluated on a case by case basis. We are running out of certain components for older Judges, and they will not be restocked.
To upgrade, send both parts of your Judge along with price of Computer Option in effect at the time, (currently, $99 plus $6 per lane) plus an additional $9 for S&H.
Answer: No. We have dropped this option from our product line for several reasons. For the immediate finishing order, nobody (except perhaps the car's owner) is interested if it wasn't among the top winners. Besides, nobody wants to be publicly identified as dead last. Displays which are large and bright enough to be read across a gymnasium are expensive and places the product beyond many budgets. The flashing light system is actually more readable if you happen to have forgotten your glasses. We have decided to display to the audience the Win, Place, Show cars only. Our system of lights is so simple that once explained, even the pre-school siblings have no problem understanding. More
This concerns audience display only. Under computer control, The Judge reports finishing order and times for all lanes.
If you really want a numeric display, my respected competitor, Microwizard offers this feature.
Contact: New Directions, 900 Echols Street SE, Vienna, VA 22180 | 703-319-0840 | Email