As a racer himself, Kevin Rodden knows delay boxes and the racers' needs. A little more than ten years ago, the mechanical engineer and transplanted Floridian, became serious about bracket racing. With the need for a delay box, Kevin sought the experience of his brother Ed, an electrical engineer, to construct one.
Ed was inspired to create an all new delay box. Together with Kevin, he saw the need for one that had a large lit display and could easily be set with a driver's glove on. "That gold box was our first foray into delay box building," Kevin says, "and it had features that at the time weren't available, such as two-hit interface capability, transbrake lockout, and throttle stop timers all built in to one delay box."
You might have noticed a difference in your reaction time when it's overcast or if the sun is shining brightly. How many times have you raced on a sunny day, only to pull out of the staging lanes and into the water box and have the clouds cover the sun? Adding a few numbers to your delay box might be on your mind, but with some units, it's necessary to scroll through a number of screens before you come up to the delay numbers. "We wanted to be able to make instant changes without having to go through a big hassle to do it, because when you're on the starting line, there's not much time to waste changing a setting in the box." says Rodden. "Our first boxes were designed to be able to change a setting very quickly, and our new Pro Cube continues to utilize those same features."
The relatively small size of the Pro Cube lends itself well to mounting in small confines, such as in a dragster dash. K & R also has an optional mounting bracket that allows the Pro Cube to be mounted flush in a dashboard.
The gold XBC-100 and XTC-200 boxes were slightly ahead of their time, but in 1997, Rodden decided that a smaller, more compact unit was necessary because of the space requirements, or lack of, with most cars. Born was the Pro Cube and with a size of 3-1/2" by 4-1/2", and a depth of 2-3/4", it remains one of the smallest on the market, loaded with a slew of features.
The Pro Cubes have all the delay box features available for most racers. Standard delay, with a crossover feature and programmable to hit the tree twice with separate delays for either one or two buttons. In addition, they have a bump down feature for either the delay or the throttle stop timer. The fully loaded PCT3 has three separate timers, and each will turn on or off any type ofthrottle stop or operate any accessory, such as a shifter or nitrous solenoids. "Some people think that the trans brake delay is a timer," Rodden says, "and it is, but our PCT3 Pro Cube has 3 other separate timers, in addition to the delay." All the units contain adjustable transbrake lockout and run info. This run info is automatically displayed for you when you double hit the tree or bump down, and will indicate which hit you left on along with the number of times you bumped down your delay or timer. Rodden states, "We keep the racer's budget in mind by offering upgrades to even our more basic models. This allows the racer to upgrade his box as their needs advance without having to purchase a new one."
There is also a Pro Stage output on the box that, when used in conjunction with an in-line throttle control, will allow you to stage with your foot on the floor for either Pro or full tree racing. This feature allows for better driver concentration, simply because as soon as you pre-stage your car, you can put your foot to the floor then and, with the engine still at idle, you can bump the car into the stage beams. When the box is set up for pro tree, as soon as you depress the trans brake button, the throttle control will allow the engine to go wide open. On the full tree setting, the engine would go wide open at the top of your tree, regardless of the cross-over or not. "This improves the consistency by maintaining a consistent amount of time on the chip or converter", states Rodden.
One of the nicest features I liked about this box is the Full/Pro tree select feature. It's a great option for those who tend to bracket race and pro tree race with the same car. Essentially, it's like having two complete delay boxes at your fingertips. Once your pro tree settings are in there, switching the box to full tree will allow you to set up a whole other set of parameters. All the while, saving your pro tree settings. Rodden says, "Switching between the two is like taking out the one box and installing another one, with the ease of just flipping a switch."
Mounting is simple for the Pro Cube, with threaded inserts built into the back of the unit. Also available from K & R is an optional mounting bracket that allows you to recess the unit into a dashboard.
The front of the unit also includes a series of indicator lights for each output. These light give you a direct indication of whether the corresponding output is on or off. These lights will also give you an indication of a shorted or overloaded output. By having this, it allows the user to diagnose quickly any problems that might occur.
With the optional mounting bracket and the
wiring attached to the back of the unit, it
makes for a very clean dashboard look. In addition, because of its size, it leaves room
for a host of other gauges.
With a box like this, just where do we go from here? "We've kept this box as simple as it could be, given all of its features," says Rodden. "It's hard to imagine what else could be included in a delay box without having to have a user's manual that's as thick as an encyclopedia and just as hard sometimes to understand. We also have to concern ourselves with installing an option that could be construed illegal by the sanctioning bodies. Not to mention the fact of possibly scaring off a new delay box racer who might be intimidated by his first trip into delay box racing."
Rodden's company also manufactures a line of practice trees and stocks most any CO2 related equipment, such as throttle controls, bottles and regulators. "I still race myself," says Rodden, "so I'm always out there at the track, and because of that, I've got a good handle on what racers need."
by John DiBartolomeo
K&R Performance Engineering
639 Childre Ave.
Titusville, FL 32796