Track Building and BuyingReview: Max Traxxx 'electronic' finish gate

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Quick review

  • Well built and works with Hot Wheels orange track
  • Very affordable, under $20 delivered
  • Automatic reset with batteries included
  • Paddles have some lag but nothing serious

Max Traxxx Electronic Finish Gate

After seeing the Max Traxxx Electronic Finish Gate in the Possum Hollar race track photos, I had to check it out. It looked like a stand-alone finish line that met all the requirements I wanted: mechanical, affordable and compatible with Hot Wheels track. Could this be the one?

As we've all probably experienced, the "off brand" non-Mattel accessories rarely work well with Hot Wheels toys without some alterations.

Well I'm happy to say that the Max Traxxx 2-lane finish line is everything you could want in a mechanical finish line. It meets all my criteria to the point where I'm probably going to buy a couple more. I was very surprised at the quality and compatibility.

The only real "feature" of this finish line is the LED indicators atop each of the two lanes. The LEDs are triggered by your usual flappy paddles. There's an on/off switch on the back of the finish line to help save the batteries. However, the 3 watch batteries are included, and while that type of battery might be harder to replace, they should last much longer than normal AAA batteries. Another nice feature is the LEDs automatically reset after a few seconds, so you don't have to run to the end of the track after every race. 

Of course, the best part about the Max Traxxx finish line is that it is compatible with Hot Wheels brand orange track. I expected one of two things to happen in regards to orange track. Either a) it wouldn't fit at all, or b) it would fit but would do so in a shabby manner that would prohibit quality racing. Thankfully, it's false on both accounts. Orange track slides on snug without any serious unevenness. And since this track is a pass-thru track, you can have an extra length of track on the back side leading into your catch box.

Another bonus about this finish line is the clearance height is about 2 ΒΌ inches so this gate is well suited for any tall stocks or modded cars. You'll definitely want this for your next Heavy Hauler tournament.

If there's anything to complain about with this finish line, it's that the flappy paddles require some distance before they trigger the light...let's call it trigger lag. Given this trigger lag, I'm sure there are some cars that will trigger the light sooner than others but I imagine it will be negligible (or unnoticeable) for most cars and races. There could possibly be some easy modification that would help reduce the lag but this review only covers the out-of-the-box toy.

Don't buy just one

So this finish line is sturdy, easy to use, compact and compatible with all the track you already own...but best of all, it's affordable. I ordered my Max Traxxx finish line from Fat Brain Toys for $13 and $4 delivery, so I was out the door for under $20. You can also buy it from Toys R Us or direct from the maker, Skullduggery Toys, and they're all right around that same price point.

You might say that for $20 you could buy a whole playset that comes with cars, loops and a bunch of other things. That might be true but it's hard to find good drag racing accessories and the Max Traxxx finish line is a true gem. Now excuse me while I go order a couple more...

Where to buy

buy brian buy !
And I did, 2 more are on the way

If you need to order some things from Amazon, they can be had for $12.99 and then possibly free shipping.  They also make glow in the dark tracks, if interested in some fun for the kidos.

Another thought to buying multiple is having segmented races. Since it is a pass through design, you could have "checkpoint" winners. Great way to see which cars are your good short and long trackers at the same time.

I'll be getting some of these soon.

That's a neat idea! Could have whole tournament around that concept.

Great Review..I have another one coming.Hard to beat at that price..


Thanks for the review Brian. Just a heads up though. I stopped at Toys R Us Friday hoping to buy one and was told they no longer carry it. The clerk checked the inventory and said there are none to be found in any store in the country. The TRU website had it for about $12 I think. 

Yeah, TRU web site says its only online

I ordered one yesterday on Amazon...$12.99!

I got mine seems cool! The only thing I have to say is that the 'paddles' don't really swing all the way up, so the clearance might not be that much more than others.

I'll try it out this weekend!

Yeah, the paddles could be a weak point but I'm not sure they're a point of worry...only time will tell. I slammed a ton of cars through mine already in tests and nothing seemed like a problem. Lets just say I trust the Maxx more than the old Mattel V-Drop I was using...that thing was pretty beat up. I got 2 more Maxx Traxxx just yesterday, so I'm stocked. 

I think this finish line would be a good base for modifying too, or at least seeing how it can. Since the electronics are in there and small, as are the batteries, you could probably rebuild structure/paddles to be better or custom to the tracks you have. At $13 there's not much risk if you really mess up.


Here it is on Amazon, Smitty...

Added more links to the bottom of the first post, I'll add as people post others

I just ordered one, just because.

Is the Maxx Traxx track compatable with the HW orange?
Like, will the loops or turns work with the HW stuff?
Don't know...just got the finish line, but it's compatible so maybe the track is too
3rd pic from the top shows it plugged into the orange track in both directions... cool !

I see that the roll-through width is slightly wider than the 2 [orange track 3.25"] sections... [DRAG TRACKS won't fit 3.5"].... hmmmmm.......

it wouldn't take much to make them work with Drag Tracks, Smitty
had the pencil and paper out this afternoon...

I tried mine out today.  I used one of Smitty's drag-track-to-orange connectors and ran it off the end of my drag track. 

It seemed to work very well! And, we are going to run heavier classes, I can use a Smitty started gate to my drag track, with this for a finish line!

I was looking around online for this item. Just saw walmart added it to their site for online purchase and free ship to store for $12.99.

    I recon if I remove the inner surface from both sides, 1/8" each side,  should make the unit wide enough for the 3.5"  DT track to fit between the towers.

  ..... Mounting the rig with threaded studs welded to the steel base that the rig's angled "feet" will slide over, washers and nuts will anchor the rig.

  ...  A very careful cut / file can leave a shallow 1/16" deep x 5/16" tall offset in the lower vertical portions after the surfaces have been removed, this will anchor the DT track to the base when the track has been slid through the "slot"...

  pix after they go under the saw !

Ok, I jumped on the bandwagon too. I have one MT finish gate waiting for me to pick up @ my local TRU. PA sales tax is still less than paying for shipping.

On another note, I noticed that Max Traxxx also offers a 2-Lane banked 90deg curve. This is a unique track piece that I've been waiting for someone to make(Mattel's vintage 2-lane curve is 180deg). TRU offered them for only $8ea, so I ordered 2 of them as well. If they work well enough, my road courses are about to become a lot more interesting.


So to be hosting?....I'm listening....
Please do a write-up on any other products of theirs you test out
so a dual lane pitch, transfer and a little runout then a 90* a section and another 90* to the finish... cool
You're close, Smitty. I'm adding a vintage cross-over between the 2 90deg. The lane switch keeps it fair.
the venerable danger changer ?

Smitty took some measurements of the finish gate. Great for general reference and if you plan on modding them at all.

Jamie Hutt, a member of LJLRC, VP, and a great guy, gave me one of these yesterday. I tried it out as soon as I got home. I love the simplicity of it in that it doesn't have to be reset. The only thing I find is that the left paddle has to travel further to trip the light. The right paddle activates the light quicker. In a race where the left lane car is ahead by about 1/4" or so the right lane trips the light first. Any one else have this happen and is there a way to fix it?

Tape off everything, light a candle, carefully heat and offset bend the "late" paddle forward 1/2 of the difference between the 2 paddles ... carefully heat and offset bend the "quick" paddle backwards the same 1/2 of the difference...

... an offset bend is made by converting the alternate interior angles to 90* on the letter z...

The paddles being uneven is certainly a thing I noticed out of the box, but as of yet, my finish gate doesn't have such a big gap. If mine is 1/8" if that...probably varies per box too. Although it'll probably get worse the more you race (or maybe better?...haven't raced mine enough yet to test. Let us know how your results go. 

Has anyone opened one of these up to see if a pair could be wired together for a four lane finish line?

welcome aboard mo... interesting question.

@Mo - I've thought about that as we'll. one reason why I got a couple extra. Alas, I don't have the on-hand electrical knowledge to figure it out. If there are any EEs out there, we could use your help :)

There are 4 small phillips head screws which are easily removed with a small screwdriver.  The leg part of the stand is willing to separate easily  The top part with the lights not so easy.  I gave up 'cause I was afraid I would break it.

I picked one up this past weekend and had it apart about five minutes after i got home.  Unfortunately I don't know much about circuit boards.  I think i could come up with a way to do four lanes with three of these finish lines.  One to pick the winner of lanes 1 and 2, one for 3 and 4 and the circuit board from a third to pick the winner from the two sets.  Pictures of the insides:

I can tell the finish line is off a little bit.  One lane triggers slightly before the other and the shape of the cars affects how early the gate gets triggered. That said, even though it's off, I can now tell much easier who the winner is.  Somehow just having the gate there makes me much more certain about the winner.  Probably just having a line makes it easier to tell than having the cars dissapear under a pillow.

How do you get the two halves apart?  Does the clear lens over the light have to be popped off?  I was worried about breaking them. 

The clear pieces just slide out. The only thing holding them in are the front and back halves. Yours must be wedged
MoHasAFastCar tighter than mine.
Thanks. I'll have to try again.
to even out the paddles, try glueing a 3/8" PAD on to the slow paddle ?

Just a note guys.Went in to TRU over the weekend and they had these boys reduced to about $6 bucks..they also had the other Max Traxx stuff reduced..

happy hunting..



Bought two of these today at TRU, $4.95 each.  The paddles seem pretty stiff to me.  I'm gonna see about some lighter springs for the paddle return.

Also 5 bucks on amazon.

Now back up to 10 bucks on Amazon.   These are notoriously inaccurate finish lines.  However, they are easy to fix.

Step one, make sure the paddles are even.  Bend them until they are.  Might need to apply heat (hair dryer, not blowtorch) to make larger adjustments.

Step two, figure out which side triggers first.

Step three, open it up, just four screws, notice the mechanism to trigger.    Add layer after layer of tape (masking tape easiest to work for me) to the plastic thing that turns and hits the trigger on the slow side.  Make sure to press them down firmly on the tape with a tiny stick/screwdriver and run the lever back and forth.  Test after each layer with a bar that pulls each side equally.

When close enough, seal it up.

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