We suggest an inspection of the race course is the first order of business. This may sound too simple, but a dirty track will definitely affect the performance of every slot car in a negative way. Non magnet cars will tail-slide more easily and strong magnet cars will act more erratic than ever. To ensure fair competition and the best possible performance we suggest a quick vacuum job of the track. In most cases this will remove any room dust and more importantly any metallic braid or tire debris (rubber, silicone, etc.).
Clean track is also critical to the life of slot car racing motors. Dust and metallic particles from pick-up braids can impede the flow of cooling air around the motors and clog up bushings and armatures. These same elements can collect on lubricated parts of the chassis. Just think about it for a second! Gears, bushings, axles, and any lubricated area of your car acts like a dust and debris magnet!!
Our first choice for routine maintenance is a dusting brush attachment on your shopvac or home vacuum cleaner. A damp cloth can also be used but we don’t recommend it because lint can be more destructive than dust. If a damp cloth is your only option, be careful not to litter the track with lint from your cloth. SCX and Ninco plastic tracks are quite abrasive by design and cloth can leave lint behind very easily.
Many slot car enthusiasts like to improve performance of their cars. Lap times are generally the measuring tool used to check for better performance. We suggest any serious test session must be done on a clean track for reference purposes.
Tips on Magnets
Many people ask us how can they make their favorite “non Fly” car go as fast as a real Fly car. It doesn’t take people long to realize that a Fly slot car is one of the fastest out-of-the-box cars on the market. But, most people don’t realize that the strong Fly magnet is what makes these cars so quick. Fly motors are no faster than any other stock motor. Replacing a car’s magnet is the easiest and most effective way to improve lap speeds.
So, to make your favorite “non Fly” quicker you need to swap to a stronger magnet. We could debate which magnet is best all day long, but it boils down to finding a neodymium magnet that “fits” the underside of the car you are modifying. Ninco makes a very nice round neo magnet but it is rather thick. And, you can buy Fly neo magnets too. Yet, some of our favorite neo magnets are by Slot-It and Professor Motor.
Finding the right “neo” magnet and the right placement under the car takes experimentation and tuning. We can make some general recommendations, but every car’s weight and balance is different so we recommend you experiment with double sided tape before you glue a magnet in place. Some people like to place the magnet in the middle of the car (this tends to hold the front end down a bit and helps minimize rollovers). Other people like to hang the magnet out the back so they can still power slide the around curves.
One warning though………Neo magnets are very strong and they do place added strain on the car’s motor. Too much magnet can damage your motor.
Following are our favorite magnets
SICN01 neodymium magnet 1/4″ X 7/8″ rectangular flat bar good replacement for Scalextric’s rectangular magnets.
SICN02 neodymium magnet 1/4″ X 7/8″ rectangular flat bar, unique design is thin in the middle (for low drag for straightaways) and thicker on each end (to catch and hold the car on curves).
PMTR1063 neodymium magnet – direct replacement for Pro Slot 6001 – 25% stronger.
Tips on Motors
Racers always want to go faster…………….The old saying goes, speed Costs money, how fast do you want to go$$$? The Slot-It motors we offer are significant improvements over the stock units in most cars. However, a 26,000 RPM motor needs room to rev up. So, if you have only short straights on your circuit, you may not benefit much by these motors. Sure, they will be quicker off the line, but they won’t rev to their maximum RPM unless they have a nice long straightaway (10+ feet long should be enough to feel the difference). We offer Slot-It motors for most common modern slot cars. The motors are designed to be easily snapped into place and they come with the soft silicone wires. You need to connect the wires to the front guide too (be sure to connect the wires correctly to the guide or the car will go the wrong direction. Check them out below.
What else do I need to consider….your controller!
Now that you have one or more “HOT” cars you need to consider if your throttle controller is up to the task of delivering the power this car demands. If you are using stock controllers you probably will not take advantage of the increased power. Controllers differ in their “ohm” resistance and cars vary in their demand for more or less resistance. You don’t need to be an electrician, we can guide you with just a couple of tips.
Stock controllers are often 50-60 ohm and were designed to run best with the cars that came with your race set. On the other hand, high performance controllers can range from 20-30 ohm and must be purchased separately. High performance cars require a low ohm controller, but not all companies make a full range of controllers. In an ideal world you would have adjustable range controllers, but they are usually very expensive and are not offered by most of the common companies (with the exception of Ninco which has 16 ohm rating settings to choose from). Because all cars are different, they each have different resistance demands.
Scalextric’s Pro-Tec controllers are 30 ohm and work very well with all but the most powerful cars. If you modify your car with stronger magnets or more powerful motors your ohm resistance needs will change. We offer a 20 ohm controller by Parma which can be adapted to your race set. The Parma controller does not come with a plug so you must be handy with a soldering iron to connect it to your track.