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Worldwide slot car chat on Zoom!


"Old farts talking about little cars"

Even newbies can show us all something new...Anthony has a rally track in his playroom, and stored under it, on it's own wheeled table, is a race circuit track. He also had a question about how often cars should be oiled. You can take your pick on the answers; from a) as often as you want as long as you clean off all the old dirty stuff first, to 2) regularly on February 29th. 

"Awesome!" and "Super cool" were just two of the praises heaped on Jeremy's light bridge. This is no ordinary timing light bridge, this is a bridge of lights that does anything and everything Race Coordinator tells it to do. I'll need to wait for the 80 page user guide when it comes out, but I think I heard him say that flashes your lane colour when your car crosses the line; it flashes white when you have parked underneath for a pit stop; it changes from red through amber to green when as you refuel; and there were probably other things I missed. all via a couple of wires and an arduino. You saw it first here, and once seen, never forgotten.

There was a bit of tension in the air when three competitors in a forthcoming Group C enduro race chatted about each of their car preparation...or did they! Jim had a picture of all the performance parts he was going to use, and then admitted he would be using some of them and the replacements were secret. Frank had gone to all the effort of painting his proposed spur gear white so no-one could recognise the tooth count from the gear chart. Dennis was playing it cool and advising his fellow competitors not to have too much grip on their rear tyres. All in all, the most unhelpful set of technical advice on tuning a car you could ever hear.

Far more useful were all the different examples of holders for controllers that people have on their tracks. Jeremy laser cuts his and then bends them in a vice with a heat gun. Greg 3D prints his with personalised messages on each. Gazza colour codes his to match his lane colours. 

Our Alan has never liked the ergonomics of the SCP controller, particularly the need to use your other hand to press the lane change he doesn't have to. He has installed a remote lane change button that plugs into a new socket on his handle, et voila, now he can change lanes without having to take his other hand out of his pocket. Don has just got himself an SCP and needs to get it to talk to his Arc powerbase..."Who you gonna call? Greg-buster!" BOOM, straight on the website, straight to the right page, straight to the right sub menu, straight to the file needing to be downloaded. He's like one of those really annoying people in supermarkets who go round at twice the speed of everyone else because they know exactly what they need and which shelf they will find it on.

Greg's main Tip of the Week was one that anyone could join in with this week...braid set up for Scalextric Classic/Sport type slot track. Basically it was braid origami that positions the braid where you need it to maintain the best electrical contact with the rails. Frank was following at home and showed us how he had got on with his own car. 

Club Corner went off in a number of directions this week. Mike has a Can-Am class at his club, or as it is now called, Thunderslot class. The ensuing chat regarding that make of cars established that whilst all Thunderslots are equally fast, some are equally faster than others. Watch the chat to find out where to put your money...Lola or McLaren, hard or soft top? Frank went to a race meeting where each of you had to run three cars in a sort of relay to find the winner. So it started with 5 minutes of a Scalextric type car, 5 minutes of another class of car, and then 10 minutes of a 25k open GT car. The winner being the one with the most laps. Gazza was saying farewell to the old faithful home track. A new house means time for a new track, but he has found a home for the old one that's not a skip this time. Big Den showed some pictures of the tracks that he races in various parts of Tasmania. All routed wood and all very smooth and shiny.

Dennis showed of an interesting new slot car, the MR Slotcar Jaguar XJ220. Not an obvious choice for a racer, but Dennis reckons it might just be a winner. He has done a first pass of tuning to it, and will be running it soon to see how it goes. And if you want to know why it has a wood track guide fitted, watch the Chat! 

There were a couple of topics on the theme of levelling the playing field for races. Jeremy wondered if activating the fuel variable in Race Coordinator made racing more fun or too complicated. Lots of fuel stories were shared, but the general gist seemed to be that it added a new level of enjoyment to races, along with a heightened need to concentrate in 3D. Which led to a observation that it had led to some races being won by the tortoises rather than the hares. And it touched on something Anthony queried regarding how to address the imbalance between different types of cars to make racing more competitive and varied and avoid him having to buy two examples of each car in order to create parity on the track. Of course, it was highlighted that there was another variable in the equation, and that is the skill level of the drivers, and that is not something easily balanced. 

An alternative Tip of the Weeks came up late in the chat, and that was that a variable power supply is one of the most useful things you never realised you needed. Anthony was asking about gear options for cars on his twisty rally track and cars on his race circuit, what would be best for each? Lots of chat about best gear ratios, and Frank raised the issue of gear diameters and compatibility with pinions and pods [Golden Rule: Optimum tooth count = (diameter x 2) - 2]. It was suggested that Anthony should get a variable power supply and possibly just turn down the voltage for the rally track compared to the circuit to allow cars to be at their best on each. And it was suggested that Frank needed to ignore any gearing advice given by Jim or Dennis and he will be just fine.

I love puttering with gears
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Topic: World Wide Slot Car Chat - #85
Time: Dec 1, 2021 04:00 PM Pacific Time (US and Canada)

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