Thursday, 31 December 2015

Building your own slot car track

Putting together lots of Scalextric track pieces is a good way to build a temporary or a semi permanent track layout.  The choice of interesting Scalextric track pieces is OK especially with some of the digital options.
For a fully permanent layout the limitations of using Scalextric track pieces can be done away with by making your own slot layout.  There are only two things you need, the slot and the conductors.  After that, you can design what ever shape circuit you like.

The slot can be cut into the base board using a router with a suitable bit and for the conductors you can use self adhesive copper tape.  The copper tape is available on rolls with plenty of length.  The board can be painted to form the track, run off areas, add height, field and all sorts of props to give your layout realism.
Finally, the best benefit of this type of layout – the magnatraction magnet doesn’t work!!

Another blog from Scalextric Car Restorations

New Scalextric tyres tires for classic French Scalextric cars

These Scalextric tyres were used on the rear of the French made Scalextric cars.
These new hand made MAX Grip Scalextric tyres are unique to Scalextric Car Restorations and give the absolute maximum in performance at all times. Cornering and acceleration will all be at their maximum with these tyres. They give the very best performance possible on all track surfaces at all times. Simply put we have not yet discovered a better tyre for grip and race performance.
These MAX Grip tyres are hand moulded from 29 Shore A hardness rubber which is a very high grip material.
The tyres are treaded and have a smooth tyre sidewall.

French Scalextric tyres


Ref.
Description
Fitment
090022 Porsche 917
Rear
090100 Tyrrell 005
Rear
090101 BRM P180
Rear
090102 Matra 670
Rear
090104 Alfa T33
Rear
090105 Porsche 911 Turbo
Rear
090112 Alpine Renault A310
Rear
090114 Fiat 131 Abarth
Rear
090120 McLaren Marlboro Texaco
Rear
090121 Yardley McLaren
Rear
090122 Brabham BT44
Rear
090152 Matra 670
Rear
090107 Alfa T33
Rear
090155 Porsche 911 Turbo
Rear
C27 Lotus Turbine
Rear
C28 Alpine Renault A310
Rear
C29 Ferrari 312B2 F1 (Type 1)
Rear

Another great Scalextric part from Scalextric Car Restorations

Scalextric – evolution, revolution or death

Scalextric are clearly going through a difficult time at the moment, even our local Hobbycraft store has just sold off it’s Scalextric stock but has retained it’s Hornby railway stock.  Going back to the early years Scalextric was always an expensive, aspirational toy, everything was expensive in relative terms.

Today there is a lot of competition for the slot cars market with manufactures like, Artin, Ninco, SCX and Autoart to name just a few.  The market has become squeezed too with so many other things for people to do; the internet, computer gaming etc.

So how do Scalextric fight back, well, we have a new Scalextric Sport track system and we have the Scalextric digital system.  There’s also no doubt that Scalextric are not the best at electronic innovation and the digital chips are no exception.  There’s a high failure rate, we measure at about 5% to 10% which is crazy for modern electronics.  Scalextric should sort it out or ditch that part of the market.

Our solution for Scalextric?  Go back to the basics, simple cars with OK detail and basic track systems.  Get rid of these blacked out windows and let’s have some interiors back, basic one or two piece mouldings is OK, just like the old Scalextric cars.  Ditch the Scalextric Start system and simplify the main product line up.  Scalextric must waste a fortune and time on innovations like Scalextric Start – why bother?

Finally, sort out the project management, as all these late deliveries from China are causing chaos in the market place especially for the Christmas market.  I support you Scalextric, but you must do your part too.

Another great insight from Scalextric Car Restorations

Wednesday, 30 December 2015

Removing paint from old Scalextric cars

We’ve been in the Scalextric car restoration business for many years and we’ve been asked this question many times, “I have an old Scalextric car and when I was younger I painted it, how do I remove the paint?”.  There is only one real answer, you can’t remove the paint.

Scalextric Audi Quattro

Sure, we did remove the paint off one car as a test and it took ages, we only did it because it was a car body moulded from Polypropylene or similar soft plastic material.  We did it really to prove it couldn’t be done, if you understand what we mean.

The best solution for a Scalextric car that has been painted is to sand the paint down and repaint it properly.  We use a spray paint method for the custom Scalextric cars we paint, which looks natural enough and in any case Scalextric now paints their car too so it’s OK for us.

Another great insight from Scalextric Car Restorations

Police Scalextric cars

Scalextric have produced many types of Scalextric cars over the years but only one type has remained the most popular.  That’s the range of Scalextric police cars.  This popularity may even have started with the very first Scalextric car with a light on the roof which is the hugely sought after E/5 Aston Martin DB5 Marshal’s Car.

After the E/5 Aston Martin Scalextric didn’t launch another car with lights on the roof until the C284 Rover 3500 (SD1) police car in 1981, then the C315 Rover 3500 police car in 1983 and the final Rover 3500 was the C362 police car.  Following the Rovers was a C137 Ford Sierra RS Cosworth Police car which was available from 1994 to 1998.

Scalextric then went onto a rather unconvincing C2120 Opel Vectra police car in 1998 and a C2121 BMW 320i Police car Polizei also in 1998.  In 2000 a Subaru Impreza Police car was briefly available.
The more modern range of Scalextric police cars have gone back to the action era with lights and sirens and was started with a C2488 Ford Focus in 2004.  Following this was the Range Rover and now we have a Subaru Impreza again.  The current Scalextric C3068 Subaru Impreza police car has flashing lights and sirens just as it should.

Police Scalextric car

The Scalextric car library allows you to view these and all the other Scalextric cars produced from 1960 to 2005.

Another great insight from Scalextric Car Restorations

Ebay Scalextric and the pitfalls of buying

Buying eBay Scalextric cars can be a complete minefield as there are many traders who are not totally honest in what they do.  We have seen many Scalextric cars purchased as eBay Scalextric items that are NOT what the buyer expected.



There are 2 generic types of eBay Scalextric cars; there’s new and there’s used.  New Scalextric cars can have several things not right with them; the first is that they might not be new but used and simply cleaned up.  The second is that the Scalextric cars may be stolen and not the property of the seller and therefore not yours once you’ve purchased them.  The third is that the Scalextric cars may not be what you expected, for example many eBay Scalextric cars are removed from sets so do not come with a box.

Ebay Scalextric used cars are even worse.  The best advice we can give for a used eBay Scalextric car is that the car will have a fault of some type and will need Scalextric spare parts to repair it.  Your mission as the buyer is to find out what the fault is and decide whether or not you can fix it or live with it.  Sellers of eBay Scalextric cars tend to lie by omission, so find out what is not described.

Another great insight from Scalextric Car Restorations

Tuesday, 29 December 2015

Scalextric cars with lights not working

Many different Scalextric cars have been fitted with lights, from the early E1 to E5 range of Scalextric cars to the current range of Scalextric cars.  In the early days small bulbs were used and as time passed these were replaced with LEDs.
The most common problem with bulbs is the traditional problem of the bulb filament breaking, known as a blown bulb.  The answer is to fit a replacement Scalextric bulb.  There are only a few different bulbs used and they are easily identified.  Nowadays there are some more options where high brightness bulbs can be used that give more light as slower car speeds.


LEDs were first used as rear lights, brake lights and for the turbo flash on the Formula 1 cars.  With Scalextric cars like the Porsche 962, Ferrari F40 and several others of the period, the LED rear light actually use the headlamp bulb in the circuit.  This means that when the headlight bulb(s) blow none of the lights work, and , no, we do not know why Scalextric did this.  Replacing the headlamp bulbs should restore full function to the lights.
With the more modern range of Scalextric cars with LED lights all round, if the lights don’t work the chances are the polarity is wrong, which can happen easily.

Another great insight from Scalextric Car Restorations

Scalextric cars depend on tyre grip

Scalextric cars, just like real racing cars, depend on tyre grip for best race track performance.  The rear tyres of Scalextric cars have a huge amount of work to perform, they must drive the car forward and they must provide cornering force.
The rear of the Scalextric car slides outwards on corners when the forces become too much.  This is made worse by the fact that Scalextric cars have a fixed rear axle with no differential.  This means that the inside and outside rear tyre must travel at the same speed.  So, one or both, of the rear tyres must be slipping on the track while cornering.
To get better performance the tyres have to be made from a material that offers more grip to the track.  Soft, high grip and MAX grip Scalextric tyres do just that.  These tyres give the raw, physical grip that’s needed for best race track performance.

 

Another great insight from Scalextric Car Restorations

Scalextric and slot car clubs

List of local Scalextric and slot car clubs:

ACSlot http://www.acslot.com/noticies.php
Almodeli Club slot http://www.almodeli.com
Aosta Slotters Association http://nuke.aostaslot.it
Australian Scalextric Racing and Collecting Club http://www.scalextricaustralia.com
Autorennbahn Centre http://www.renncenter.ch
AutoSprint Slot club http://www.autosprintslotclubgenova.org/ita.htm
Bangkok Slot car club http://www.thaislotcar.com
Blue King Club http://www.bluekingclub.de/
Bolwextric Ultimate Slot car http://www.bolwextric.co.uk
British Slot Car Racing http://www.bscra.org.uk
CARRACE http://www.slotsofcars.com/carrace/carrace.htm
CerdanyolaSlot http://cerdanyolaslot.mforos.com
Chivenor Chicane Raceway http://www.chicaneraceway.cjb.net
Club Racing slot goats http://www.crs-goats.com
Dudley slot Car club http://www.slotracing.org.uk/Dudley/
Dundee Slot Car Club http://www.dundeeslotcarclub.com
Ecurie Barton http://www.ecuriebarnton.co.uk/index.html
Fosse raceway http://www.site.fosseraceway.co.uk
Fylde Model Car Racing Club http://fylde-mcrc.pwp.blueyonder.co.uk/Version4/index.html
Hamilton Model Car Club http://www.hamiltonmodelcarclub.co.uk/
Hawkes Bay Slot Car Racing Club http://www.burmac.co.nz/hbmrc/index.html
Home Farm slot Car circuit http://www.homefarmslotcars.co.uk/
London Scalextric Club http://www.londonscalextricclub.co.uk
Luton Slot Car club http://www.lutonslotcars.com
Manx model Car Racing club http://manxslotcarclub.co.uk
Medway slot car club http://www.medwayslotcarclub.co.uk/
Melton and District Model Club http://www.mdmc.co.uk/
Middleses & Herts Scalextric Club http://www.mhsc.co.uk
MRTU http://www.mrtu.nl
Mussel Bay Scalextric club http://www.musselbay.co.uk
North East Restoration Club Slots http://www.nercs.co.uk
North Staffs Scalextric Racing Club http://www.nssrc.co.uk
NSCC http://www.nscc.co.uk
Old Slot Racer http://www.oldslotracer.com
Ontario HO Racing http://www.slotcars.org/ohora/
Op Zolder http://slotracing.be/
Oxford Scalextric club http://www.oxonscalextricclub.co.uk
Pelican Park speedway http://www.pelicanparkspeedway.com
Pendle slot racing club http://www.pendleslotracingclub.co.uk
Phoenix Scalextric http://www.phoenixscalextriccircuit.com
Pinewood raceway http://www.pinewoodraceway.com
Posillipo Slot Club http://xoomer.virgilio.it/geyclaslotracing/index.htm
Presto Park (Norfolk, UK) http://www.prestopark.co.uk
Quorn slot Car club http://www.quornslotcarclub.co.uk
Racer Rillen Odense http://www.rro.dk/news.php
Raceway 81 http://www.raceway81.com
Raven slot rally http://users.telenet.be/ravenslotrally/
RCT Valles Club Slot http://www.rctvalles.com
Renncenter Ratzeburg http://www.renncenter-ratzeburg.de
Rennes Slot Club http://rennes-slot-club.org
Rockingham Slot Car Club http://www.rockinghamslotcarclub.co.uk
Roedale Model Car Racing Club http://www.roedaleslotcars.co.uk
rossendale Model Stock Car club http://www.rmscc.co.uk
Scalex Sanremo http://scalexsanremo.altervista.org
ScaRaDo http://www.scarado.de
SLN http://www.sln-slotracing.nl/home
Slot Car Brasil http://www2.uol.com.br/slotcarbrasil/
Slot club lagosanto http://web.tiscali.it/slotclublagosanto/
Slot Connection http://www.slot-connection.de/oben/home.html
Slotracers Ontario http://www.slotracersontario.com
Solent Slot Car club http://www.solentslotcarclub.co.uk
Sonderpark http://www.smrk.dk
Southend Slot Racing club http://www.southendslotclub.co.uk
SRC P3 http://www.src-poering.de
SRC-Ebersberg http://www.src-ebersberg.de
Tendring Scalex Club http://www.slotcar.moonfruit.com
timaru http://timaru.co.uk
United Slot Racers Association http://www.oldweirdherald.com
Valley slot car racing http://www.accesswave.ca/~trefor/
Viking Slot Car club http://www.ukslotcars.co.uk/viking/
West London Scalextic club http://www.westlondonscalextric.co.uk
Westhove Racing http://www.westove-racing.com
Wolverhampton Scalextric http://www.wolverhamptonscalextricclub.com
Worthing HO Racing http://www.whoracing.org.uk

Sunday, 27 December 2015

How best to resurrect your old Scalextric set

Abstract

Frequently the older Scalextric sets are rescued from long term storage. This article shows that in six simple steps a typical Scalextric set can be brought back to life and enjoyed once more.

Introduction

Scalextric sets produced from 1960 through to around 1990 can be temperamental at times. This is particularly noticeable when the Scalextric set has been in long term storage. Numerous fault can occur even when the set is not in use as well as faults induced by the storage conditions. Damp and high humidity can cause corrosion and mould growth, dust can coat everything and materials can age, for example the shrinkage of plastics over time.
This article lists six simple steps that when followed will ensure an old Scalextric set can be brought back to life and offer great enjoinment more. The six steps are:
  • Completeness of the set
  • Inspecting for damaged parts
  • Resurrecting the track
  • Checking the power supply and controllers
  • Resurrecting the cars
  • Upgrading the cars

Part 1 – Completeness of the set

Any Scalextric set or layout needs to have all the necessary parts in order to operate properly. In this first section we’ll consider the completeness of your old set and generate a list of items you’ll need to source to get your set up and running again.
If you have an original boxed set then the contents will be listed in the relevant Scalextric catalogue or in the instruction sheet that came with the set. If your Scalextric set is one with many added accessories, cars and other parts then it’s a case of checking against the generic list given below.
  • Power supply
  • Hand controllers – at least 2 off
  • Track – a good range of straights and corners
  • Barriers
  • Track support pieces for bridges and banked corners
  • Cars – at least 2 off
If any of the above are missing then sourcing suitable parts will be necessary. Make a list at this stage as other parts may be needed later, just because something is present doesn’t necessarily mean it will work.
With the track you should ensure that paired or matching track pieces are present in the correct quantities, for example if you have a long chicane then you’ll need both an “in piece” and an “out piece”. Also if you have a cross over you’ll need to ensure you have two of these, that is if you want to race 2 cars. Match these track pieces and keep them together for now.
Every item should be checked briefly for any obvious damage or missing parts, for example hand controllers with no attached wires. Items found to be unusable should be put to one side and added to the list of parts required.
At the end of this section of resurrecting your old Scalextric set you’ll have two piles of parts, one where the parts look OK to be used and one where the parts cannot be used. You’ll also have a list of missing parts and damaged pieces that you need to source.
You can, of course, start sourcing the missing and damaged pieces of your set immediately or wait until after part 2 where we’ll inspect all the parts for damage and draw up a complete list of what’s needed.

Part 2 – Inspecting for damaged parts

Part 2 of this guide on resurrecting an old Scalextric set takes a closer look at the quality of the items you have in your set. In part 1 you may have discarded some components as clearly damaged and in this part we’ll examine the remaining pieces in a little more detail to identify any parts that are also damaged.
Let’s start with the power supply and controllers. Check the power supply for any visual defects, missing or incorrect mains plug top, exposed mains wires, damaged mains wire insulation. If there are any doubts about the mains side of the power supply then consult a qualified electrician. On the low voltage side of the power supply (transformer) check that the connection studs and thumbscrews are present and undamaged. If all looks good then the power supply can be testing by connecting a 21W car bulb to the output of the power supply. The bulb should illuminate brightly and consistently.
For the hand controllers, visually inspect each controller housing and ensure the operating lever moves through its full displacement smoothly and returns to the fully off position. Inspect the wires for damaged insulation and confirm the connection plugs and eyelets are present and undamaged. Connect the hand throttles to the known good power supply and the output of the controllers to a 5W car bulb. The bulb should not illuminate with the hand controller in the off position. Slowly operate the hand controller and the bulb should illuminate ever more brightly until full throttle is achieved.
With the power supply and controllers working correctly it’s time to inspect the track pieces. Firstly check that the plastic connection lugs are all present and correct, then check for visible corrosion on the steel track rails (orange / brown rust marks). Light corrosion can be removed with a track polishing pad but deep pitting will be difficult to remove and a replacement tack piece will be needed. Check that the conductor rails wrap around the plastic end lugs such that each track piece electrically connects to the next, then check the flatness of the track. Many older track pieces tend to bow in the middle giving very a uneven running surface.
Some of the specialised track pieces, e.g. crossovers, have small wires underneath to electrically connect the track rails together. Visually check these are present and are making good connections.
Finally, your Scalextric cars. Inspect the cars for any obvious missing or damaged parts Obvious faults to look for are:
If the car looks complete then the first test is to turn the driven wheels by hand. The wheels should turn the axle and the motor armature. Feel for freedom of movement and for binding of the drive system. Any binding, however slight, should be investigated.
The easiest way to check the functionally of a car is to connect together the power supply, one hand controller and one piece of track. Place the car on the track and with one hand lift the driven wheels off the track surface slightly. Then apply a very small amount of power with the hand controller. The motor should hum slightly and the driven wheels should turn slowly. With some of the older cars the motor will hum but the wheels may not turn, this is normal.
Then apply around one third throttle and the motor pitch should increase and the wheels turn faster. If the wheels do not turn then stop this test as there is a fault which will need to be investigated. Listen for a repeating clicking sound from the car. If this is heard then stop the test as there may be a fault with the drive gears. Further investigation will be required.
With the driven wheels turning freely on one third throttle the next step is confirm the condition of the electrical connections. Still at one third throttle, pivot the car around the guide pivot slowly in one direction until the end stop is reached, now back in the other direction until the other end stop is reached. If the motor hesitates during the test then the wiring and connections will need further investigation.
These checks and tests will give you a good indication of what parts of your Scalextric set are damaged and need to be replaced or repaired.

Part 3 Resurrecting your track

Now that all the damaged parts of your old Scalextric set are identified it’s time to start to get things into working condition. In part 3 of this guide we’ll look at your track and get it into full working order. There are a couple of common problems with old Scalextric track:
  • Dull and rough metal track rails
  • Bow in the track surface along the track piece length
  • Narrowing of the slot between the track rails
  • Dirty and dusty track surface
Let’s start with the dirty and dusty track surface. Just like a real race track, the surface of your Scalextric track is vital for grip and the performance of your cars. Track that has been stored well may need nothing more than a wipe over with a damp cloth. However, very dusty track may need a good scrub with an old nail brush in warm soapy water. We recommend adding washing-up liquid as this will also remove any oil and grease deposits. Dry the track quickly to prevent any further corrosion of the track rails.
With the track clean the next step is to flatten out any bowing or kinks in the running surface. This is accomplished by gently bending the track back to a flat level surface. While doing this you may find that the track rails buckle into the slot, blocking the slot. This is normal and should not be considered a problem at this stage. The important point is to get the track as flat and level as you can.
Now that the track pieces are all clean and flat we can take a look at the slot between the track rails. Some track pieces may have a narrowing of the slot especially towards the ends of the track piece. This is usually caused by the steel rails not being crimped well to the plastic track moulding. Tightening of the crimping will resolve this. Then, you may find that the slot narrows at the very end of the track piece where the next track piece will electrically connect. This is resolved by pushing the track back into shape with a flat blade screwdriver. The same technique is used for any localised bucking along the slot length, simply push the buckle out of the way to open up the slot.
Finally the running surface of the track rails need to be polished back to bright, shiny metal. This will give better electrical connection to the car giving higher speeds and better acceleration. Also, there will be less rolling resistance to the car and far less ware on your pick-up braids. The track polishing pad is ideal for this task bringing your track rails back to shiny metal easily. Even light corrosion can be removed but deep pitting will be difficult to remove.
By now your track will be ready for use with a good, clean track surface and bright shiny, smooth track rails. Time to design your layout …

Part 4 Checking the power supply and controllers

Part 4 of this guide on resurrecting your old Scalextric set takes a closer look at the power supply and controllers you have in your set. In part 2 you may have discarded some of the power supply and controller components as clearly damaged and in this part we’ll examine the remaining pieces in a little more detail to identify any parts that are also damaged or not functioning correctly.
Let’s start with the power supply. Check the power supply for any visual defects, missing or incorrect mains plug top, exposed mains wires, damaged mains wire insulation. If there are any doubts about the mains side of the power supply then consult a qualified electrician. On the low voltage side of the power supply (transformer) check that the connection studs and thumbscrews are present and undamaged. If all looks good then the power supply can be testing by connecting a 21W car bulb to the output of the power supply. The bulb should illuminate brightly and consistently.
The power supply should emit a quiet humming sound and if this sound is louder than expected then the transformer itself inside the power supply is at fault. If the humming sound is excessive then the whole power supply may need to be replaced. Repairing or replacing the transformer can be carried out by a fully qualified electrician.
Some of the earlier power supplies are also fitted with a manual reset button which switches off the output of the power supply if there is a short circuit in the output or if too much current is drawn. This can be checked by deliberately connecting together the output terminals for a short duration. The output protection device should then disable the output of the power supply. The reset button can then be pressed to re-energise the output of the power supply. Later power supplies also have this protection device which automatically resets itself after a few seconds.
Various replacement powers supplies are available if needed.
For the hand controllers, visually inspect each controller housing and ensure the operating lever moves through its full displacement smoothly and returns to the fully off position. To do this operate the trigger slowly to the full power position and then release it very slowly until at the fully off position.
Inspect the wires for damaged insulation and confirm the connection plugs and eyelets are present and undamaged. Connect the hand throttles to the known good power supply and the output of the controllers to a 5W car bulb. The bulb should not illuminate with the hand controller in the off position. Slowly operate the hand controller and the bulb should illuminate ever more brightly until full throttle is achieved.
Replacement hand controllers are available if needed.

Part 5 Resurrecting the cars

Part 5 of this guide on resurrecting your old Scalextric set takes a closer look at resurrecting your old Scalextric cars. In part 2 you should have inspected your cars for any obvious missing or damaged parts. The obvious faults to look for are:
If you haven’t carried the inspection of your cars as covered in part 2 of this guide then you should do so now before preceding with the process below.
  1. Carefully take your car apart to the major components. Some Scalextric cars are held together with screws, some with sliding clips and some where the chassis clips into the body.
    Note: Some cars are difficult to unclip the body from the chassis, if in doubt then contact us for further information.
  2. All the plastic parts (body, window moulding, chassis, driver plate, wheels etc.) can then be cleaned in warm soapy water. Use a nail brush or similar to remove all the dust and dirt. This will most likely also remove any water slide decals that have been added to the car. The plastic mouldings may have become brittle with age so support them while applying pressure with the nailbrush. Once the plastic parts are clean rinse them off with fresh water and dry thoroughly. Some of the cars from the 1960s tend to have a white powdery mould growing on them. This can be removed through repeating this cleaning process until all the mould has gone.
  3. Once clean and dry inspect the plastic parts for for any damage. Parts not suitable should be discarded and replacements sourced.
  4. The motor should have a small drop of lubricating oil on each bearing and then be tested at full speed for a short period of time and at race temperature to test the bearings, the armature windings and the motor brushes. If the motor fails any of these tests then replace it as it would be of little use under race conditions. The open frame RX and Formula Junior motors can sometimes be repaired, see our article “How to service the RX motor in your Scalextric car” to find out more.
  5. The wiring to the motor should be checked and repaired as necessary. If you are in any doubt about the condition of the wiring then replace it as a damaged conductor can be hard to find and can ruin a good car.
  6. The white plastic motor pinion gear fitted to cars from the late 1970 through to the late 1990s can crack and become loose on the motor shaft. Check for this and replace the motor pinion gear if you are unsure.
  7. Check the condition of any other electrical items fitted to your car, usually lights. On some cars the lighting circuits are polarity sensitive as they are fitted with LEDs which are polarity sensitive. Replace blown or damaged bulbs.
  8. Reassemble the bearings, spacers and wheels onto the axles. If the wheels are loose on the axles then a small drop of super glue will keep them in place.
  9. Refit the axles to the chassis. They should be a secure fit and rotate freely.
    Note: For the rear axle the large flat disc of the contrate gear should be on the RIGHT of CENTRE as viewed from the UNDERSIDE of the car. If the rear axle is fitted the wrong way round the car will go backwards.
  10. Refit the motor and all the other electrical items to the chassis / body of the car. Use new pick-up braids and new pick-up pins (if pins are used on your car). The old pins, especially if crimped to the wires can be a common cause of open circuit wires. There are 2 sizes of pick-up pins are available, 1.75mm and 1.95 mm, if you are not sure which you need then contact us.
  11. Fit new tyres to the rear (driven) wheels unless your original tyres are in very good and grippy condition. Front (non-driven) wheels can take visually good used tyres. Give all the bearings and gears a drop of oil to enhance performance and prolong their life. Check the gears for smooth and free operation. If you feel any resistance then contact us for further information.
  12. If all is well then put the chassis on the track and ensure the car is OK electrically and goes in the right direction. If the car goes in the wrong direction then swap over the wires at either the guide OR the motor.
  13. Refit all the parts back into the body, windows, driver plate etc.
  14. The assembled upper body can now be re-fitted to the completed chassis. Carry out the tests from part 2 of this guide once more to confirm the car is functioning as well as can be expected. Run the car on the track confirm the tyre grip.
  15. Finally, the ancillary or decorative parts can be fitted, e.g. bumpers, wing mirrors , spoilers etc. and decals.
With the cars, track, power supply and controllers all working correctly it’s time to race and have some fun.

Part 6 Upgrading the cars

Part 6 of this guide on resurrecting your old Scalextric set takes a closer look at upgrading your old Scalextric cars. In part 5 you should have restored the cars so that they run like they did when they were new. Unfortunately that means they are no match for the modern range of Scalextric cars and suffer all their original handling and performance problems.
Upgrades to a Scalextric car essentially fall into one of two categories, those that are totally reversible and those that are not totally reversible. The upgrades that are totally reversible are the best to start with as you can undo the upgrades and get your original car back. These upgrades are:
  1. Just as with a full size car, a Scalextric car relies on its tyres (rear tyres) for traction, braking and cornering. Simply put, the better the grip of the tyre the better the performance of the Scalextric car. For many Scalextric cars there are higher performance tyres available. The very best results are obtained with our max grip series of tyres.
  2. The next step is to increase the power of the motor. If your car has an RX open frame motor then use an adaptor kit and fit a Johnson motor. If your car has a Johnson motor then again use an adaptor kit and fit a Mabuchi motor. If you already have a Mabuchi motor fitted then consider one of the latest and more powerful versions of the Mabuchi motor. If you are not sure which motor you have then use our free Library of motors to identify your motor.
  3. Adding weight to your Scalextric car can make it more stable in the corners and accelerate more quickly. Weight over the rear driving wheels will reduce wheel spin by increasing the friction between the tyres and the track. For the Engineers this is simply a case of F=┬ÁN. Adding weight increases N and therefore proportionally increases F, the friction. Use Bluetac and steel ball bearings to put the weight where you need it.
  4. The Scalextric cars from the 1970s and 1980 had a tendency to tip over in corners due to a floating front axles. This effect can be reduced by replacing the current axles with wider ones which increases the stability of the car in corners allowing corners to be taken at higher speeds.
The upgrades above can be carried out to most older Scalextric cars and can be adjusted and removed as necessary. The upgrades that are NOT reversible are the next to try. Which, if any, of these you try will result in permanent alterations to your car which may affect its value. If you are unsure DO NOT proceed with these upgrades:
  1. Adding a magnet to your Scalextric car will give an instant performance increase if fitted in the right location. Remember that the magnet will also give the car an increase in rolling resistance and so can be overdone. Use magnets only with Mabuchi motors for best effect. The best place to fit a magnet is just in front of the rear axle between the rear axle and the motor. This will give the best grip for the rear tyres.
  2. By lowering the guide the centre of gravity of the car is lowered too. This will give your car more stability in the corners. Note that it is not possible to lower the guide on all Scalextric cars.
  3. With most of the older Scalextric cars the front axle is allowed to move up and down. This allows the car to traverse the banked corners and obstacles in the track. If your track is mostly flat then the front axle can be fixed in location giving a great increase in cornering stability. The front wheels should be placed so that they just touch the track with the weight of the front of the car still on the guide blade.
There are, of course, many other upgrades you can make to your Scalextric car to improve its track performance. The points listed here are the more common ones and the ones that can make a big difference to the car with the least amount of effort. For other ideas and some test results have a look at what happened as we upgraded an old Scalextric C52 Ford Escort RS1600.
This concludes our series on how best to resurrect your old Scalextric set. We hope you’ve enjoyed this series of articles and found them helpful. If you have any feedback please let us know.

About the author

Gary Harding has been working with Scalextric cars for over 30 years and now operates Scalextric Car Restorations in the UK. Scalextric Car Restorations is a Worldwide internet based business that offers for sale high quality Scalextric cars and Scalextric spares and parts from the 1960s to the present day. All the restoration work is carried out to the highest standards with the highest quality parts available. Only the best cars are selected and the final result is a car that is genuinely like new.
Further help and advice relating to this article or Scalextric cars in general can be found at:
http://www.scalextric-car.co.uk

How to service the RX motor in your Scalextric car

Maintain your Scalextric car’s RX motor with these simple hints and tips

Abstract

The earlier Scalextric cars produced in the 1960s were fitted with open frame motors the most common of which is known as the RX motor. This motor was also fitted to many of the Hornby locomotives of the period. This article shows how an RX motor can be serviced in a methodical way by considering the mechanical, electrical and magnetic aspects of the motor.

Introduction

The RX motor was fitted to most Scalextric cars from the 1960s. In order for your Scalextric car’s RX motor to give the best possible performance it has to be in the best possible health. Effectively giving the maximum torque for the electrical power available to it. For any electrical motor to give its best 3 key areas need to be considered; the mechanical condition of the motor, the electrical condition of the motor and the magnetic condition of the motor.

Mechanical

Mechanically the RX motor needs to be in the best condition possible to ensure that no energy is lost and the motor can transfer all of the generated torque to the rear axle. To do this several areas need to be reviewed:
  • Firstly check and ensure that all the parts are present and undamaged. All missing or damaged parts must must be replaced.
  • Check and ensure the motor armature spins freely with no rubbing or tight spots. This could be caused by missing or damaged bearings or a damaged motor housing.
  • Review the motor pinion gear and ensure all the gear teeth are in good condition. Replace the pinion gear if gear teeth damage is found.
  • Add a drop of oil to each of the bearing felt pads.
  • Ensure the brush spring sleeve is present and in good condition. Replace if necessary.

Electrical

There are many electrical connections and contacts used on the RX motor. Each of these must be in good condition to ensure the best performance of the motor. To do this several areas need to be reviewed:
  • Firstly check and ensure that the solder joint between the wire from the pick-up brush and the eyelet that fits over the brush spring sleeve is complete and sound. Replace or remake this joint if any of the wire strands are broken or not making contact.
  • Inspect the eyelet for any dirt or metal oxides that may have formed over the years. Clean the brush spring back to clean shiny metal where it contacts the motor brush.
  • Inspect the brush spring for any dirt or metal oxides that may have formed over the years. Clean the brush spring back to clean shiny metal where it contacts the motor brush and the screw that secures the magnet.
  • Inspect and clean the motor brushes removing any dirt, oil and carbon deposits. Ensure the carbon block is present and securely attached to the brass strip. Clean the motor brushes back to clean shiny metal where they contact the brush spring and eyelet.
  • Remove any dirt, oil and carbon deposits from between the commutator segments of the armature.
  • Remove any dirt, oil and carbon deposits from the commutator.
  • Check the three solder joints that secure the armature windings to the commutator, remake these joints if necessary.
  • The electrical connections for a car with an RX motor are:
    • Contact: Track braid to track rail
    • Contact: Braid contact to track braid
    • Solder joint: Wire to braid contact
    • Solder joint: Motor brush sleeve to wire
    • Contact: Motor brush to motor brush sleeve
    • Solder joint: Motor brush carbon block to motor brush
    • Contact: Commutator to motor brush carbon block
    • Solder joint: Armature wire to commutator
    • Solder joint: Armature wire to commutator
    • Contact: Commutator to motor brush carbon block
    • Solder joint: Motor brush carbon block to motor brush
    • Contact: Motor brush to brush spring
    • Contact: Brush spring brass bolt
    • Contact: Brass bolt to eyelet
    • Solder joint: Eyelet to wire
    • Solder joint: Wire to braid contact
    • Contact: Braid contact to track braid
    • Contact: Track braid to track rail

Magnetic

The magnetic field used by the RX motor is provided by a permanent magnet at the rear of the motor. The magnetic field reaches the outside of the armature by the use of steel plates that are also used as the housing for the motor. To ensure the magnetic circuit is maintained the RX motor uses various materials to ensure the magnetic field is not reduced.
  • Ensure the magnet is secured by the correct brass screw.
  • Ensure both the steel housing plates make good tight contact with the magnet.
  • Ensure the aluminum plate adjacent to the magnet is fitted correctly.
  • Ensure the brass plate at the commutator end of the motor is fitted correctly.

General

Through experience we have found that some RX motors still do not perform well even with all of these checks completed. This may be caused by a weak magnet or internally damaged armature windings. These faults are outside the scope of this article. There are many other possible faults with the earlier cars with the open frame motors. This is intended as a simple fault finding guide only. If the information above does not resolve the fault then contact us for further information.

About the author:

Gary Harding has been working with Scalextric cars for over 30 years and now operates Scalextric Car Restorations in the UK. Scalextric Car Restorations is a Worldwide internet based business that offers for sale high quality Scalextric cars and Scalextric parts from the 1960s to the present day. All the restoration work is carried out to the highest standards with the highest quality parts available. Only the best cars are selected and the final result is a car that is genuinely like new.
Further help and advice relating to this article or Scalextric cars in general can be found at:
http://www.scalextric-car.co.uk

7 steps to improve the track performance of your classic Scalextric car

Lap times improved from 18.72 seconds to 6.44 seconds. Read on to find out how we did it…..
Abstract
Frequently the older Scalextric cars can seem slow and difficult to race by the standards set by modern Scalextric cars.  This article shows that in seven simple steps a typical Scalextric car from the 1970s can be updated to give track times nearly 3 times faster compared to the car when found.  This was all accomplished with some basic servicing and with some readily available replacement parts.
Introduction
The older Scalextric cars from the 1970s and 1980s are great models but can seem slow and difficult to race by the standards set by modern Scalextric cars.  Luckily these classic Scalextric cars can be upgraded to greatly enhance their track performance making them competitive on the track while not removing any of the enjoyment and skill required for the older Scalextric cars.
This article lists seven simple changes to greatly improve your classic Scalextric car.  We have based this article on a 1970s Scalextric C.052 Ford Escort RS1600 which was selected as being typical of the Scalextric cars of the period.  It was not prepared before the test apart from ensuring the motor operated as expected and the car was complete, electrically and mechanically with no obvious faults.  The tyres were not cracked or split to any great degree and still had grip when run on classic Scalextric track.  Our overall impression is that this car had been stood unused for a long period of time.
The seven steps
The results are based on a Scalextric Sport track with a test circuit specifically designed for this test.  Built from the modern Sport Scalextric track the surface offers little mechanical grip with a smoother surface compared to the original classic Scalextric track. It incorporated tight inner corner hairpin sections, long straights, chicanes, corners that tightened, corners that opened out. Essentially all types of challenges.
Step 1:  After conducting a visual inspection we measured the best lap times the car could achieve.  The best lap time achieved was 18.72 seconds.  Then the car was given an electrical service with new; copper pick up braids, pick up pins and wires from the pick up assembly to the motor.  A retest gave a new lap time of 15.22 seconds which is an improvement of around 18%.
Step 2:  Then, the car given a full lubrication service with all the motor and axle bearings given a small drop of oil each.  Also, the gears were lightly coated with Teflon impregnated grease.  A retest of the car gave a new best lap time of 13.77 seconds which is a further improvement of around 9.5%.
Step 3:  After the lubrication service slightly wider axles were fitted and a little weight added to the rear of the chassis.  Again the car was tested of the track and this time gave a best lap time of 12.50 seconds which is an improvement of 9.2%.
Step 4:  Next a set of high grip replacement SuperSlix tyres were fitted to the rear wheel hubs.  A retest gave a new best lap time of 9.99 seconds which is a further 20.1%.
Step 5:  With the improvement made so far the next step was to replace the original Johnson motor with a new Mabuchi motor.  This more powerful and lighter motor slightly increased the car’s lap time probably due to problems in getting the power down to the track.  The best lap time recorded was 10.49 seconds which is a degradation of 0.5%.
Step 6:  In order to give the car a chance to use the power available from the Mabuchi motor a Neodymium magnet was added to the chassis of the Escort.  The best lap time achieved was 9.12 seconds which was an improvement of 25.5%
Step 7:  Our final change was to add MAX Grip tyres as some tyre slip was clearly evident even with the Neodymium magnet present.  These replacement SuperSlix tyres are manufactured from a latex material and give outstanding track grip.  The best lap achieved a time of 6.44 seconds which was a further improvement of 25.5%
Conclusion
The overall improvement in lap times make this car competitive on the track while not removing any of the enjoyment and skill required.  With these simple changes this car was almost a staggering 3 times faster than when purchased.
A more detailed account of the parts used and the results of each step can be can be found at Scalextric Car Restorations.
About the author:
Gary Harding has been working with Scalextric cars for over 30 years and now operates Scalextric Car Restorations in the UK.  Scalextric Car Restorations is a Worldwide internet based business that offers for sale high quality Scalextric cars and Scalextric parts from the 1960s to the present day. All the restoration work is carried out to the highest standards with the highest quality parts available. Only the best cars are selected and the final result is a car that is genuinely like new.
Further help and advice relating to this article or Scalextric cars in general can be found at:
http://www.scalextric-car.co.uk

Friday, 18 December 2015

10 reasons why your Scalextric car stops or hesitates on the track

In order for your Scalextric car to give the best lap times under race conditions the track and car must both be in the best of condition. It is common for a car to hesitate or stop on the track spoiling the usual enjoyment Scalextric car racing can give. Listed below is a simple fault finder that will quickly resolve your problem:
Do other cars pause, slow or hesitate at the same point on the track?
For a Scalextric car to give its best performance the track must be in good condition. Below are some common faults found in track layouts.
1.  Dirty or dusty track
It is common for Scalextric cars to drop a small amount of oil onto the track conductor rails as the car is used. This oil builds up over time and can hold onto any dust that may land on the track. Dirty and dusty track can be wiped clean with a cloth.
2.  Tarnished track rails
Over time the bright metal plating on the surface of the Scalextric track rails will oxidise resulting in a rough and high electrical resistance surface. The high resistance will reduce the performance of any Scalextric car while the rough surface will cause increased ware to the pick up braids. The track rails need to be cleaned with a track polishing pad to return the rails to a bright clean and smooth finish.
3.  Poor track rail connections
It is well known that in a medium to large track layout the joints between the individual track pieces can offer high electrical resistance causing a car to slow or hesitate at the far end of the layout. The solution is to electrically connect the track pieces together with a track power booster cable.
Does the car hesitate on left hand corners, right hand corners or the straights only?
It is clearly important that the electrical current flows from the track rails to the car's motor with as little resistance as possible. Over time several faults can occur with Scalextric cars to reduce their track performance.
4.  Pick up braids
The car's pick up braids need to be in good clean condition and both be in constant contact with the track rails. If the braids are worn or very dirty then they will need to be replaced with new braids, these are available as normal tin plate finish braids and pure copper braids.
5.  Poor wire connection to the pick up braids
The connection between the pick up braids and the wires are critical to the performance of any Scalextric car. Most of the cars from the 1970 through to the 1990s used little metal pins to connect the wires to the braids. These pick up pins must be present and clean to give the best connection.
6.  Motor connection wire broken
As the guide pivots over time it can cause the motor wire to fracture internally. The motor wire should be replaced if this is found to be the cause. It might be easier to replace the whole guide assembly with the wires already fitted.
Does the car sound normal but moves slowly or not at all?
This can be caused by a mechanical problem between the motor and getting the power down to the track.
7.  Broken motor pinion gear
One of the most common faults is that the motor pinion gear (the little white gear on the motor shaft) can split. This allows the gear to turn on the shaft. A new motor pinion gear is required to fix this problem.
8.  Damaged rear axle gear
It is common for the gear on the rear axle to have damaged teeth. This is especially true if the motor pinion gear is broken. A replacement rear axle gear is required to remedy this problem.
9.  Loose rear wheel
It is common for the rear wheels to become loose on the axle shaft. If this is the only problem then the wheels can be glued into position or alternatively replacement rear wheels can be fitted.
10.  Tyres with little grip
In order for your Scalextric car to give the best lap times under race conditions the car tyres will need to give their best performance. It is necessary to keep the tyres in good condition. Even the best replacement tyres will reduce in performance if not maintained. Replacement tyres are available for most Scalextric cars and are easy to find with our unique tyre finder.
There are many other possible faults especially with the earlier cars with the open frame motors. This is intended as a simple fault finding guide only. If the information above does not resolve the fault then contact us for further information.
Scalextric Car Restorations