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Friday, 24 January 2014

Basic Slot Car Maintenance - Part 3

Make sure to check out Part 1 of our Basic Slot Car Maintenance to learn:
  • Fixing track to a Baseboard
  • Power drops and breaks
  • Testing Lane Change sections
and Part 2:
  • Cleaning
  • Lubricating the Chassis
  • Guide Braid/Blade replacement.

Welcome to the exciting hobby of Slot Cars.  At the beginning it is great fun, until everything starts to hesitate and slow down. That's when you need to look after your setup so you can continue with maximum enjoyment of your Slot Car experience.

You are here to learn abut how to maintain your Slot Car setup before it needs major maintenance (we hope we've caught you in time, lol)

Weather you have a small and simple setup or a 4+ lane for club racing, the proper cleaning routine is needed.

Tire Maintenance

Cleaning the tires gives the greatest amount of benefit to car performance.
Before using these tips, ensure that the track surface is clean and dust free.

For the novice:

  • Clean the rear tires with a slightly damp cloth.
  • Dry the rear tires.
  • Test the car on track.
A good tip is to visually check the colour of the rear tyres. If they are grey (the colour of dust) then they need cleaning. Repeat the process of cleaning and testing until the tires remain black after a track test. Then, the tires are ready to produce the best results.

For the experienced racer:

  • Clean the tires with tape (masking or gaffer tape or similar)
  • Test the car on track.

For the advanced racer:

  • Clean the tires with tape
  • Apply 3-in-1 oil (or similar) to the tire surface. Rub it in to the tire surface.
  • Gently remove any excess oil from the tire surface. Tires can be moist but not wet.
  • Test the car on track.
Tire truing is also recommended for the advanced racer and involves running the rear tyres on a flat surface of sand/glass paper to wear the tyres down to a smooth flat surface where 100% of the contact area touches the track surface.

Magnets & Downforce

What to race : A Super Resistant or Fully Detailed car?
Let's use the Audi R8 GT3 as a comparison. It comes in detailed and super-resistant form. With two cars of the same make,  in super-resistant and detailed build, the differing down-force between each car might influence your choice depedent upon what type of circuit you race on.

The magnets on both cars are the same so why the difference in down-force?
A super-resistant Audi R8 has a weight of 87 gm and a magnet force of 260 gm. This down-force is measured with the magnet fitted to the car. The overall downward weight on the track is, therefore, the force of the weight of the car and magnet together. E.g. 260gms. The magnet accounts for a force of (260-87) 173gms.
A detailed car has a higher weight of 93 gm and a magnet force of 277gms. The magnet added a force of (277-93) 184gms.

The 11gms difference between both cars is accounted for by no two magnets being alike in terms of their magnetic attraction (gauss value). Other factors such as flexibility of the chassis also come into play as does the condition of the track, thickness of the tyres, etc as the distance of magnet from rail is critical and exponential. The magnet being twice as close to the track doesn't mean it's effect is two-fold - it could be tens times stronger! So differences in all of these areas can make significant differences.

From a practical point of view, for racing both cars have good performance. This car does race well and feels sure-footed, even for those racers who prefer to race without a magnet (which is the best way to race in my opinion!).
Pros and cons are:
A light weight super-resistant car is superior on smooth track and/or long straights since it won’t be inclined to de-slot and can accelerate to top speed far quicker than a heavier fully detailed car. For circuits with bumps or only short straights a heavier car is recommended because the extra weight is required to keep the car in the slot and not so much is time is wasted accelerating along short straight lengths of the track.
If you have a car that sticks to the track too much check the underpan to see if the magnet can be moved to a different position. Usually, moving it foward lessens the downforce effect. When you are ready for more of a challenge, try removing the magnet completely. It's interesting to note that most Scalextric clubs ban the use of magnets!
---weights can also be used to increase downforce

Motors - An overview

An overview of Scalextric motors.

Scalextric motors are rigourously tested to help ensure that the Scalextric car is fitted with a motor that has good durability and will give many years of serviceable life without problems.

Is maintenance necessary?

Generally, a Scalextric motor needs no maintenance at all for the average home user. In fact, the car is built so that access to the motor is difficult. This is to comply with toy regulations and means that the motor has to be durable and maintenance free.

Maintenance for the enthusiast.

Enthusiasts may want to ensure that the motor is running at its optimum. Therefore, with chassis removed, it is possible to add a single drop of oil (3-in-1 light oil) to the ends of the motor shaft. Whilst this maintenance is carried out it is also good practice to clean all moving parts such as the pinion and axle gears and the axle bearings and lightly oil these components. Electrical contact cleaner can be used to clean the internal motor brushes but be sure to only carry out this maintenance on a cold motor.

Motor specifications

Scalextric motors are expected to be used at 12 to 15v. In practice they will work up to 18v without much problem. Above 20v seriously shortens the life of a motor.
In basic terms, current draw is 0.5 to 1Amp. However, strength or magnet, weight of car, grip of tyres are but just three factors that effect current draw.
Note that the current draw will only, and can only, be no more than the current available from the power source!
We recommend that only Scalexctric power supplies are used.
The standard Mabuchi S (SP) can motor or Mabuchi slimline motor (FF) fitted to most Scalextric cars are rated at 18,000 r.p.m. measured at 12v.

Performance Motor range

Motors can be changed for higher revving motors. See our Performance Motors range.
This range has 20,000, 25,000 and 30,000 rpm motors available.

Car Tuning

We do not recommend that any tuning is performed on an electric motor other than a spot of oil placed on the external motor shaft bearings - now and again. However, the components that act with a motor to deliver forward motion can be tuned. Adding a higher revving motor doesn't neccessarily mean quicker lap times or a better handling car! Different gear ratios can be used to effect the acceleration and braking of the car to improve the overall balance and performance. This is where tuning becomes more of an art. There are no strict guide lines to say what is best as so much depends upon such elements as driving technique, motor, car balance, tyre grip, track surface, hand controller, gear ratios and shape of track circuit - to name but a few variables - but making changes one step at a time and recording the differences is a steady logical way to go.



Performance Tyres

The performance range of tyres will fit most Scalextric cars.
Here's a brief guide to indicate which tyres will fit your car for those extra fast lap times.

C8413-Le-Mans-TyresC8413 - set of 4

Porsche 997
BMW 318Si
Aston Martin DBS
Dodge Viper
Peugeot 908
Nissan 350Z
Ford GT 2004
Nissan Skyline JGTC
Ford Mustang FR500C
Lamborghini Gallardo
Porsche Spyder
Ferrari F430
Maserati MC12
Aston Martin DBR9

C8414-Single-Seaters-TyresC8414 - set of 4

F1, Indy, A1GP cars.

C8415-American-Classics-TyresC8415 - set of 4

Chevrolet Camaro
Chevrolet Corvette Stingray
Ford Mustang
Ford Torino
Ferrari 330 P3/P4

C8416-Rally-TyresC8416 - set of 4

Chaparral 2F
Subaru Impreza
Ford Focus
Peugeot 307
Alfa Romeo 159
Seat Leon
Porsche 911 GT3R

We here at Chinook & Hobby West, would like you to have the maximum fun with your Slot Car set.  Please feel free to come down and talk to us about showing you how to clean and maintain your cars and tracks or to upgrade your cars to Digital.

We carry Scalextric 1:32 scale Slot Cars. We are expanding our selection for the slot car season of 2014-2015 (November to March).



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