How well does the HW V-Drop Finish Gate work?

lboltz299 Tuesday, 8/3/2010

Hey forum,

I am a new poster to Redline and am thrilled to be on board!

I have a question for those who use the Hot Wheels V-drop Finish gate. Describe how well it works and how it seems to hold up to wear and tear. I am establishing a racing league. We will probably race several times per year featuring different HW series and both stock and custom events, so, I will need the unit to hold up. I am considering purchasing two V-Drop kits in order to have a back-up on hand.

Thanks guys and gals!
Larry Boltz
Formula 1:64 Racing


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JDC442 8/3/10

I believe the developer of this forum and also the Fantasy League race creator has been using the V-Drop finish gate for all of his races. I'm sure he'll let you know all about it when he gets the chance.
Welcome to RDR forum!

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redlinederby 8/3/10
Site manager

First off, welcome to Redline Derby! My name is Brian and I'm glad you found us and thanks for posting. I think you'll find everyone here is really passionate about the fun of diecast racing. I would also suggest stopping by the blog if you haven't already. I post more "formal" articles there about racing, building, etc. It's all over at and you can also sign-up for the Fantasy Racing league. Hope you check it out...


As far as the V-Drop line is what I use for all the official Redline Derby races and it has held up pretty well. I've had it well over a year at this point and it's survived countless races. Heck, this past spring I was running nearly 60 individual races every Sunday. It's held up well.

The only downside to the V-Drop finish line is that it's not a pass-thru gate. So your track *ends* at the finish line whereas for some (older) finish lines you can continue the track past the finish line, making for a nice way to collect your cars or whatever. That would be my only complaint. I've considered deconstructing the finish line so I could use it as a pass-thru gate but decided against it. Since it is the only finish line I have, I didn't want to risk it.

For the $20 V-Drop playset, you can't really complain. You get a good finish line and something like 12-feet of track. I started with the V-Drop and went from there buying more track and parts to build the drag track I have today.

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Jobe 8/3/10

Too bad you can't pick them up for $20 anymore! The only one I've found for sale is on ebay for $35. If anyone has one they would like to sell let me know!

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lboltz299 8/3/10

To Brian and all others who responded,

Brilliant! Thank you for your reply. Very much appreciated! In lieu of the positive response, I will most certainly give the V-Drop finish gate a try. I purchased a Newbold DT2000 several years ago for a cub scout pinewood derby. It never worked out of the box. It is still under warranty, however, they still want to charge me $35 per hour labor because I damaged the pins. It was a very frustrating experience as the instructions were very ambiguous and unclear. I Had to go to a blog to get a schematic of the pin configuration. (after the fact) So, I am leary of the electronic approach and wanted to get a simple mechanical unit. The V-Drop sounds like a reasonable way to go.

I am working on using two three-way or four-way switches at the end of a track in enable the winning car to turn on it's own light and shunt the current away from the other switch to the other lane. I am confident this can be done if the circuit was wired correctly, as it would be a "cheap" way to construct a finish line. I have drawn and traced many circuit and switch combinations thus far but can't seem to create the shunting affect from occurring in both lanes after each car passes. I was trained as an electrician, however, this circuit is alluding me. Any elecrical wizards out there? This might work if the circuit was routed correctly, and the correct selection of switch types were utilized.

Meanwhile, I will be ordering my V-Drop unit.

Happy racing!!

Larry B.

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redlinederby 8/3/10
Site manager

Woah woah Larry, you're telling me you understand electronics? Hehe...awesome. I'll definitely be picking your brain in the near future then. I've tried the electronic route a few times off-and-on with little luck, I just don't have the electronic know-how to make it to the end.

I got myself a microcontroller a month or so back so I could easily play with creating my own finish line, something simple, light goes on and prohibits other one from lighting. A friend made me an IR-based sensor that didn't work so well in the light, so I ditched it, but it was all circuits. The microcontroller lets me program the logic, which I can do, while only needing to learn enough electronics to hook wires up in the right order. I know it's overkill for something so simple, but it should be fun.

So far I have simple light sensors that detect change in light, which seems to work pretty well. I programmed it to determine the optimal change in light based on the current light levels between rounds, kind of "learning" if you will. I have it all laid out on breadboards now and that's pretty much where I've stopped. I just don't know how to take what is a mess of wires spread out on my table and get it into a nice little project box so it's easy to rig up.

Anyhoo...glad you're here and believe me, I think we've all been searching for an all-mechanical finish line that we can build ourselves for a while. Anything you learn in that same quest and share would benefit everyone. And again, welcome to Redline Derby!

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lboltz299 8/4/10

Response to last post,

Yes indeed I understand electrical circuits, but only residential and commercial AC wiring. However, I do repair computers, but not at the breadboard level. I will simply swap out a new motherboard for a new one or hard drive, and I know how to build, diagnose, and restore computers. However, not more than 2 miles from me is a really nice gal that "does" do bench work. Just the other day she dumped a load of old computer equipment into my lap and she told me to let her know if I need any board work done to let her know. I have done board work, but my knowledge there is limited. Yet behold, it is not always who one knows.

I would be happy to champion your cause if needed.

I also think it is possible to make a more robust mechanical finish line. I do feel confident that I could do this. I will certainly post any Eureka moments with the forum and gladly share those ideas when they come. I'm still working on the light switch thing. Oh yes, I have an idea for securing blu track. I think an eighth inch offset canvass clip would do that just dandy. The web site sells them per 100 for about $12 after adding shipping and a handling fee.

For the orange HW track, the one inch washer suggested here on Redline on the back of the track seems like a great idea.

It is probably possible to take a carriage bolt and grind the hexagon shoulder down just under the head on a grinder, and then flatten out the carriage head a tad. It shouldn't take too long to engineer a thin flat head bolt. In fact, I made some thin flat head bolts for an automotive project that would work beautiful on HW orange track. The bolt can be tightened with a flat washer and wing nut on the bottom track side. You can buy flat head bolts, but they're costly. I have more elbow grease than money, so off to the grinder I go.

Sorry for the book.

Happy racing!


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David 8/4/10

What I'm planning on doing is using a couple of relays. Each relay is tied to the other so the first one to trip, keeps the circuit closed on the other one so when the second car trips, it has no affect on its win light.

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redlinederby 8/4/10
Site manager

I'd love to be able to go to Home Depot and buy a few springs, clips and some wood and build a mechanical finish line. I did dissect the V-Drop finish line to see how they do it, and there's not a lot of parts. It's really just cleverly molded plastic and two springs. But duplicating the plastic mold in wood and bits looked to be more trouble at the time. Maybe I'll revisit that and see if a weekend can't yield something.

One thing I'm kind of excited about the microcontroller is connecting it to a computer. I'm a computer programmer at times (and I've built a few computers as well) so I think it would be cool to be able to have an interface that would collect the finish line data and send it back to a computer for logging or whatever. Certainly overkill for the somewhat limited racing I do, but hey, the fun is in the challenge, right?

Thanks for the thoughts, Larry. It sounds like we're all working towards a similar goal, so one of us is bond to hit that eureka moment eventually!

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lboltz299 8/4/10

Great idea David,

I think two relays would probably do the trick. Post your results with a simple schematic and pics if you can. I am very anxious to hear. Any new developments and I'll do the same.

Meanwhile, well said Brian. Perhaps one day we'll be posting all kinds of ideas about finish lines. Agreed, you can't go wrong for the price of about $21 for a V-Drop. If it is working for you, that's all that matters. BTW, the flat head screws I suggested to hold orange track down is called elevator bolts. They seem like they might be a viable alternative if you can find the right size. Otherwise, the heads might need to be size adjusted.


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