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  • Power surge?

    I don't know if this is real or something I'm imagining, but when one car goes of the track, is there a small power surge on the remaining lanes? This is with a 3 lane MDF track with a 10 amp adjustable power source.

  • #2
    You're probably not imagining it, that's not many amps. How long are your lanes, braid or copper tape and how many taps (power connections to the track) do you have? With that few of amps and if you only have one tap and copper tape you will definitely have power surges when a car comes off. I always heard with low end racing and braid you want a tap at least every 50', I like them every 30'. If you're using copper tape you'll probably need more.
    Butch

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    • #3
      It's real and usually comes from having a power source with low amps. When a car deslots it just puts all the amps in one lane instead of splitting them in half. The same thing can happen when one driver goes off throttle. It seems most of these supplies I see being talked about are 10 amps or so. I run a 35 amp supply and the guys still think they get a boost when a car deslots. I think they are just looking for an excuse for their wreck. Most of the little Chinese motors don't take a bunch of amps. Lot different than hot motors from the 60's.
      Matt B
      So. In
      Crashers

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      • #4
        Yes, depends on the cars/motors you are running. If you are running 3 cars with hot motors you could see this...it was more common in the old days since the vintage motors pulled more amps but it can still happen. Especially with the standard wall wart power supplies, which is one of the reasons many folks use after market power supplies.

        ​​​​There are several threads about inexpensive power supplies.
        Come Race at The Trace!
        Timberline Trace International Raceway - SW of Mpls, MN

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        • #5
          Isn't the key factor the quality of the power supply? In addition to being variable it has to be regulated, which is what keeps the power constant and prevents surges.

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          • Fast Co.
            Fast Co. commented
            Editing a comment
            Exactly. Power regulation is the key. Modern slot car motors draw about 2 amps at peak. Seems that 10 amps should be enough for a 3 lane track. I use a Pyramid PS26K 22 amp unit. It provides more than enough regulated power and I have never had any issues with it in the 10 years since I've had it. Whatever ps you use make sure it provides regulated power.

        • #6
          Add power supplies to each lane. Problem solved.

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          Scott.....War Eagle River......Tampa, Florida, USA
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          • War Eagle River
            War Eagle River commented
            Editing a comment
            There are tons of them listed on eBay. 30v-5a & 30v-10a. Just cheap adjustable power supplies. We’ve been using the same ones for many years, never any issues. MDF, braid, No power taps, 70’+ lane length.

          • Cgyracer
            Cgyracer commented
            Editing a comment
            Not related to the original post....just curious what size are your noise filtering capacitors for each of your four lanes I see in the picture.
            Thanks
            Rob

          • War Eagle River
            War Eagle River commented
            Editing a comment
            Cg, what noise filtering capacitors? There are none. If you are talking about the little tan rectangular pieces on the wiring center, they are self reseting circuit breakers.
            https://www.professormotor.com/4-Lan...p/pmtr1027.htm

        • #7
          As with most things, there is more than one way to skin the cat. But it depends on what you want to do. Not every track has lanes that are equal.....some designs without cross-overs have an inner and outer lane. And some folks like to offset that lane length difference with power difference, say 11.5 vs 12 volts.

          One power supply per lane certainly is one solution. You can get decent supplies for under $50 each - several tracks run on adjustable tattoo power supplies, as an example.
          That does require that the lane power be set, and does not allow the driver to customize the power as they change cars on the lane. But it is easy and straightforward.

          For me, I had a nice heavy duty power supply with plenty of amps for two lanes so instead of buying another supply, I bought "buck" step down converter boards (something like these https://www.amazon.com/Valefod-Volta...2067793&sr=8-5) that allow adjustable voltage directly at each driver's station. It does require a little more soldering, but it's not especially complex (heck, I managed it).
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          But in either case, the voltage is regulated, which makes the difference.
          Come Race at The Trace!
          Timberline Trace International Raceway - SW of Mpls, MN

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          • slothead
            slothead commented
            Editing a comment
            It can also be the case that different cars perform better on different lanes. On my paperclip oval the outside lane is easier to drive and typically faster, but some well handling cars are faster on the inside lane. Make the lanes equal power-wise and wave the green flag.

        • #8
          I have 2 power supplies 3 amps per lane with adjustable voltage on a scaley 2 lane and 4 amps per lane adjustable voltage on a 4 lane routed oval
          Both are regulated and I have NO issues
          You can’t buy them I made them

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          • #9
            Originally posted by Bal r 14 View Post
            I don't know if this is real or something I'm imagining, but when one car goes of the track, is there a small power surge on the remaining lanes? This is with a 3 lane MDF track with a 10 amp adjustable power source.
            Is your power supply "DC Regulated"?

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            • #10
              Power supply says it is regulated. Track is 50' long with 3 power taps, copper tape. Most of the cars use NSR King 21 EVO 3, 12V, 21400/350gr motors.

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              • slothead
                slothead commented
                Editing a comment
                The ideal and perfect solution is a separate power supply for each lane. Get 2 of the same kind so output is identical. My 56.5 foot road course only has 1 power tape about half way around and is fine. I was getting power fluctuations at one point which I thought we due to crack in the tape but never found anything. The problem went away after I cleaned and burnished the tape. If you have a voltmeter you can easily check power at various places around the track and confirm any suspected problem area.

            • #11
              You could take some readings to see how much power the cars are actually using. My own readings indicate that with the power supply set at 10 volts cars with a Slot.it 21.5K motor will pull a maximum of 2 amps. That would be for cars without traction magnets and the typical running amperage is under 1 amp. Evo 3 type motors might possibly use twice as much power, but I would have thought that a well designed 10 amp regulated power supply would not be prone to surges. With those EVO motors your power supply may be a little skimpy however. If your power supply has an amp control make sure that it is turned all the way up or the voltage will plummet when a larger load is applied. If your track is not used on a regular basis the copper tape will get a coating that can cause problems.
              See this article on power supplies: https://drive.google.com/file/d/1r_m...ew?usp=sharing
              Last edited by RichD; May 27, 2021, 04:53 PM.

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              • War Eagle River
                War Eagle River commented
                Editing a comment
                With our Adjustable Regulated 30v-10a power supplies, running at 10v, no mag, wood track, tin coated copper, zero power taps, 70’+ lane length...our most powerful cars, NSR’s, are drawing about an amp at full throttle on take off. Other cars with lesser motors draw less.

            • #12
              I run the track at 10.6v, I have observed the amp draw of a single car on a number of occasions and it never exceeds 1.2a. I have a multi-meter with probes and have checked many spots on the track. I have not found any differences. I have measured the lane lengths and they are all the same (within 2"). I have observed the copper appears to be darker in some spots, but the readings are still the same.

              I have entertained using individual power supplies. Of the people who use my track (about 6 or 7), my youngest son (age 45) is clearly better than everyone else. Reducing the power of his lane may make things more competitive.

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              • #13
                Your problem is not the power supply. It's most likely your wiring. Wire the track as if you were going to use a separate power supply for each lane, with separate wiring for each lane all the way back to the power supply. Then, right at the power supply output, connect all the red wires together, and all the black wires together. When you daisy-chain the wiring from lane to lane, you wind up with the suriging problems you have now.

                I was in a club once with a 6 lane track that used marine batteries with 100's of amps capacity, and it had surging problems, which the owner denied until one day when a pack of cars were going down the main straight. The front two cars were a little ahead, so they lifted first. The 3 cars behind them got a surge, and all came off, hitting the owner in the chest, as he was sitting at the end of the straight. He had run a single pair of 12 ga wires to the batteries, which were located outside. The wires were probably 20 ft long or more.

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                • #14
                  I used the wiring kit and diagrams from Slot Car corner. There are two large cables from the power supply to panel about 3' away. Then all wires are split out from that panel and I am pretty sure there is no daisy chaining. My son-in-law is a master electrician and he did most of the work, including running separate wires for all power taps and controller stations. But, I will take a look at the wiring diagram I was given and see if there is an issue. Wiring the controller stations with lane reversing added some wiring complexity.

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                  • mattb
                    mattb commented
                    Editing a comment
                    Your wiring is fine.

                  • GearHead36
                    GearHead36 commented
                    Editing a comment
                    Hmmm. Your symptoms are those associated with a wiring issue. Are you running separate relays for each lane?

                • #15
                  I am in the process of taking my track apart. This was my first try at building one and I made a lot of mistakes, mostly in routing and some in design. I think I will add additional power sources on the new track. Thanks for all of the responses.

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                  • slothead
                    slothead commented
                    Editing a comment
                    What you're doing makes sense. Sometime the best way to fix something is to start over. I'm looking forward to seeing how the new track turns out.
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