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High-quality replacement hand controllers are available for as little as $22.00 dollars. These after-market controllers are not only made much better than the small set controllers, they also include motor braking.

These replacement controllers are also quite a bit larger and will fit in your hand better than the smaller set controllers.

Motor Braking

Motor braking will allow your slot car to stop much more quickly. Normally, without motor braking, your slot car will continue to roll after power is removed from the motor, but with a motor braking circuit your slot car will stop much faster. This will allow you to drive deeper into a turn before slowing.

Any slot car track can easily be wired for motor braking using the track wiring diagram below.

Motor Braking Circuit


The red brake wire leading from the driver's station to the negative power rail in the illustration above is all that is required to add a motor braking circuit to your HO Slot Car Track. See the Power section of this web site for more information about wiring a track for brakes.

The wiring diagram below illustrates a typical track wiring scheme for a simple 4-lane slot car track employing motor braking.

Typical 4-Lane Track wiring Diagram


The principle behind motor braking is quite simple actually. Normally, a DC motor will spin freely when power is removed. Motor braking involves placing a shunt across the commutator poles to increase its turning resistance, and thus slowing its armature.

If you elect to install motor braking circuits on your slot car track you can easily defeat them by simply leaving the red brake wire on your hand controllers unconnected. This will allow you to run with or without the benefits of motor braking. You will find the effects of motor braking to be quite beneficial though, and will probably want to race with them in the circuit.


Controllers with Stereo Plugs

Several 1:32 scale race sets now include 3-wire 1/8" stereo mini-jacks for hand control connections. The diagram below illustrates the plug wiring as used by both Scalextric Sport and Ninco for their set hand controls.

Scalextric Sport & Ninco Hand control Plug Wiring


Most commercial slot car tracks built in the 1960s used 1/4" Stereo Phone Plugs, but this practice was quickly abandoned because when the hand control was plugged in or removed it created a momentary short while the plug slid out of the jack. Modern 1:32 scale track manufactures all warn users to make sure the power pack is unplugged before inserting or removing a controller plug for this very same reason.


Controller Impedance

Commercial after-market slot car hand controllers come in a variety of resistor sizes. Hand controllers built specifically for HO Slot Car Racing are normally rated at 60, 45 and 25 ohms of electrical resistance, or impedance to current flow.

The hand controllers supplied in most boxed race sets are rated at approximately 60 ohms.

You may find however that replacing the stock 60 ohm hand controllers with lower impedance units in the 45 ohm range makes for better car control.

A properly selected hand controller should allow your slot car to slowly creep away when the trigger is squeezed just a fraction of an inch. As you continue to squeeze the trigger the car should accelerate in a linear fashion throughout the controllers trigger range.

If your hand controller behaves more like an on-off switch than a variable throttle control you have selected a controller with too low of an impedance rating.

The chart below describes recommended hand controller impedance ratings for the various types of HO Slot Cars and motors currently available:

  • 90 Ohm - Model Motoring Thunderjets
  • 60 Ohm - Aurora A/FX & Auto World
  • 45 Ohm - Stock Tomy AFX, Life-Like & Tyco Cars
  • 25 Ohm - Modified Tomy AFX and Tyco Cars
  • 15 Ohm - Open and Highly Modified Motors
  • A good quality 45 ohm hand controller will work with just about all of the slot cars listed above except those with open or highly modified motors.

    If you are only going to buy one set of hand controllers to replace your boxed set controllers the 45 ohm rating is probably your best bet. It will have a wide enough control range to smoothly drive everything from a Model Motoring Thunderjet to a modified Tyco or Tomy AFX slot car.

    Note: The resistors used in most of the better slot car hand controllers are easily replaced. You can always replace the current power resistor with a different rating if your tastes or needs change.


    1:32 Scale Racers

    Recommended power resistor impedances for 1:32 scale racing differ slightly from HO slot cars. The list below describes the various uses for 15-45 Ohm Controllers:

  • 45 Ohm - Home Set Cars on Small Tracks
  • 35 Ohm - Home Set Cars on Medium Tracks
  • 25 Ohm - Home Set Cars on Large Tracks
  • 15 Ohm - Hot Motors on Large Tracks
  • Home Set Cars such as those produced by Scalextric, Ninco, FLY and Carrera generally work best with a 45 Ohm Hand control on smaller tracks with short straights. As the size of a track increases, i.e. longer straights, the power resistor impedance can be lowered. A 25 Ohm control will work best on home tracks in the 6x12 to 8x20 foot range.

    Hot Motors such as the ProSlot EuroCan, TSFR and NSR Boxers work well with a 15-25 Ohm control on large tracks with long straights. Slot.It and FLY Racing motors, while considered hotter, still work well with a 25 Ohm control on larger tracks.


    Parma Hand Controls

    Parma is currently out of stock on the trigger assembly required to build Economy controllers. It may be some time before Economy controllers are available again.

    In the interim I recommend the Aurora A/FX Adjustable control instead. It has a full sized handle that fits an adult's hand and is adjustable from 35-70 ohms. It includes a red brake wire just like the Parma.

    View Aurora AFX Adjustable Control in Pop-Up WindowAurora AFX Adjustable Control$17.99

    Parma is without question the premier manufacturer of after-market slot car hand controllers. Parma has been building controllers for all scales of slot car racing for over 35 years.

    Replacement parts for Parma hand controllers are inexpensive and widely available. The wide availability of replacement parts should not be underestimated. While these controllers are very well made and can easily last a lifetime, they will from time to time require maintenance.

    Parma makes several different models of hand controllers from their entry level Economy line up to their TQ or Turbo Qualifier models. All are well made and will easily stand up to many years of use.

    The Parma hand controls and parts described below can be purchased using the Add to Cart buttons displayed to the right of the various controls are parts.


    Economy Controller

    Parma's entry level hand controller, the Economy line is suitable for all types of HO Slot Car Racing. This is a well made hand controller and should stand up to many years of use.

    Parma's choice of the name "Economy" for this line of controllers is unfortunate. A better name would have been "Standard", as these are well made controls that will last a life-time, and should they ever need repair, replacement parts are readily available.

    The Parma Economy hand controller uses a single-barrel wire-wound power resistor, and a completely enclosed controller body. The handle is molded in tough Lexan, so if they do hit the floor they won't break. You could even step on the handle without damaging it!

    Price: $22.00

    Parma Economy Controller

    Several models of the Parma Economy hand controller are currently available with the following power resistor impedance ratings:

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    Modern AFX and Tyco slot car motors require a power supply producing 18 to 20 volts of direct current (VDC), while older Model Motoring cars require 20 to 24 VDC. The wall-outlet power pack supplied with most boxed racing sets is not sufficient for use on large table-mounted racing layouts.

    DC power supplies normally have two specifications, the output voltage and the output current. Modern HO slot car motors require at least 18 VDC, and 1 ampere or more of current for proper operation. Most of the DC power supplies currently being manufactured provide only 12 to 13.8 VDC. These WILL NOT work for HO slot car tracks. They will however work properly for larger 1:32 and 1:24 scale slot car tracks.

    A good quality DC power supply is essential to safe, trouble-free racing and prolonged motor life. Investing in a good power supply will quickly pay for itself in motor savings alone.

    A good rule of thumb to use when determining the size of the power supply required is to multiply the number of lanes by 1 ampere or more. Especially long layouts or very hot motor armatures may require more power, but 1-2 amperes per lane should be sufficient for all but the most demanding racing situations.

    A 5-10 ampere DC power supply would be a good choice for a long 4-lane racing layout. This should provide sufficient power with an adequate reserve.

    Power needs to be applied evenly around the entire race track. Slot car tracks with lane lengths greater than about 20-25 feet will need to have power applied at several locations. The rail connections at the joints in plastic sectional track are the single largest factor contributing to voltage drops as the cars move farther and farther away from the power terminal track.

    It is often said that power should be applied every 15 or 20 feet for an even power distribution. This is true, but an even better way of determining power terminal track spacing is to count track joints. It is the joints that rob your track of power not just the length. Applying power every 12 to 15 track joints will assure that your track is properly powered.

    It is important to determine where power will be applied before you build your track and mount it permanently to a table. Racers who skimp on adequate track power distribution will be disappointed when they have completed their track and find that cars slow dramatically on those sections of the race track farthest from the power taps.

    Replacing the power supply with a unit producing higher amperage has very little effect on power distribution. Inadequate power distribution produces voltage drops around the circuit. All of the amps in the world can't overcome this drop in voltage though.

    Powering each lane with 1 or 2 amperes is sufficient if power is distributed evenly. It's far more important to apply track power evenly around the racing circuit than it is to have a high-output power supply feeding a single set of power terminal tracks. Regardless of the power supply output, cars will slow down dramatically as they travel farther away from the power source.

    Generally speaking, a 4-lane race track mounted on a 4x8 foot table would require 2 or 3 power taps, while a 4x12 foot table would probably require at least 4 or 5 taps. Even larger and longer race tracks may need as many as 10 power taps. Count the joints for a single lane and then divide by 12 or 15 to get a better idea as to how many power taps your particular track design requires.


    Commercial HO Power Supplies

    Astron is a good source of high quality DC power supplies for HO slot car racing layouts. Astron offers several nice 0-30 Volt Variable DC Power Supply models producing 10 amperes of power or more. Astron power supplies are fully regulated. A regulated power supply eliminates power surges associated with other multi-lane power supplies.

    A large voltmeter and ammeter on the front panel show the current output power status. Output voltage is adjustable from 0-30 VDC. Modern HO slot car motors run at 18 VDC, but with an adjustable power supply you can also reduce the voltage when young racers or novices are running.

    Older Aurora T-Jets like slightly higher voltages around 20-22 VDC, so an adjustable power supply is ideal here too. Higher voltages equate to faster speeds, but also hotter motors, so it's always a good idea to stay within the recommended voltage range for the type of slot cars being raced.

    I've sold other less capable power supplies over the years, but now I stock only the best. A good power supply is a big investment. Don't waste your time and money on lower-priced units that burn up and can't be easily repaired. Some of the junk sold on eBay is just that junk.

    Three different HO Power Supply Models are available:

    Astron 0-30VDC Adjustable HO Power Supply
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    Custom Power Supply

    If you feel comfortable building your own electronics projects you can easily make the DC power supply illustrated below for under $25 dollars per lane.

    Single Lane DC Power Supply Schematic


    If you would like to provide individual power supplies for each lane of your race track this simple design will produce 3.5 amperes per lane. This power supply would be ideal for large layouts or HO Slot Cars using hot armatures.

    This power supply design uses only three (3) components available from Radio Shack's web site or your local Electronics Parts Store.

    Parts Required

  • T1 - 16 Volt - 3.5A CT Transformer
  • D1 - 50 Volt - 10A Full Wave Rectifier
  • C1 - 2200 uF - 35V Electrolytic Capacitor
  • A 4-lane power supply using four (4) of each of the components listed above will cost you less than $100.00, yet will provide 3.5 amperes per lane, for a total power output of nearly 15 amperes.

    This power supply design uses a classic full wave diode bridge circuit (D1) to rectify the transformer's secondary AC output (T1). The capacitor (C1) smoothes DC ripple.

    The instructions and schematic for building your own custom power supply have intentionally been left rather vague. If you're comfortable working with the 120 VAC primary side of the transformer, or know someone who is, perhaps a HAM radio operator, then this would be a simple one-evening project. Due to the high voltage primary wiring on the transformer this project should only be undertaken by someone who understands what they're doing. This is NOT a good first project for the electronics novice!



    Power Requirements

    The table below shows the maximum peak current (amps) drawn by various types of HO slot car motors.

    HO Motor Power Chart
     
     
    Track Wiring

    Neat track wiring is important. Spend the extra time to properly wire your slot car racing layout. Solder all connections whenever possible, or use crimp-on connectors if you do not want to solder. Use 14 of 16 gauge stranded wire for all power, controller and track connections. The increased wire gauge will guarantee safe racing.

    The diagram below illustrates the basic track wiring required for a single lane. Expand this for the number of lanes your racing layout has.

    Single-Lane Basic Track Wiring Scheme


    A 2 ampere fuse should be sufficient to protect your car and controller. If you run hotter motor armatures you may need to increase the fuse rating to 3-5 amperes. Each lane should be individually fused. Do not use a single fuse for all lanes.

    If your controllers do not include a brake circuit the red wire at the drivers stations will be unused. It's always a good idea to wire your track for brakes even if you don't plan to use controllers with brakes initially. Re-wiring for brakes can be a real headache later on. It costs next to nothing to provide the brake circuit right from the start.

    See the Construction section of this web site for step-by-step pictures of a 4-lane raceway being built and wired using the wiring schematics below.

    The diagram below illustrates typical 4-lane wiring using standard dual-row barrier terminal blocks for all power, controller and track connections. This wiring method uses solderless crimp-on spade lugs for all barrier terminal connections.

    Longer race tracks will require power to be applied at several locations around the racing circuit. The barrier terminal blocks on the right side of the diagram below illustrate a wiring scheme for a track with power applied at two individual points on the race track. You can add extra terminal blocks if you plan to apply power in more than two locations. The actual length of the wires between the track terminal blocks on the right side of the drawing will be longer than those illustrated below.

    4-Lane Track Wiring Diagram


    The 4-lane track wiring diagram shown above can be used with a single power supply or individual power supplies connected to each of the four lanes. If a single power supply is to be used bridge the four positive power lines (white wires) together with a jumper wire. Use a second jumper to bridge the four negative power lines (red wires) together as well.

    Required 4-Lane Track Wiring Parts

  • (3) - 8 Position Barrier Terminal Blocks
  • (4) - 4 Position Barrier Terminal Blocks
  • (48) - #6 Spade Lug Terminals
  • (50) - Feet of White 16 Gauge Wire
  • (50) - Feet of Black 16 Gauge Wire
  • (50) - Feet of Red 16 Gauge Wire
  • The wiring diagrams illustrated above assumes that power fuses are installed at each of the four driver's stations.

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    RAMP Racing

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    Reply with quote  #9 
    A lot of good info here.
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