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Track voltages, what do most people run?

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  • Track voltages, what do most people run?

    I recently got a variable voltage devise, I’ve been running with it set at 11.5 but a couple of my cars are real dogs at that setting so I decided to check voltage at the rails. It was only getting 10. I played around and have it at 10.5 and the dogs seem to run much better with just .5 extra.
    this is on a small Scalextric track. What does everyone else prefer for RTR type cars voltage at the track?

  • #2
    I run my scaly road coarse at 12 volts normally but people with the speed bug have run at 15
    Dave
    Peterborough Ont
    CANADA

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    • #3
      Shoreline Model Raceway usually runs non-magnet cars at 10 volts. Cars with mild motors, like Artins, are sometimes run at a higher voltage.
      If your track is run off of a set type power supply the actual voltage may be lower than you think. Do not believe the power supply nameplate voltage, that may be several volts lower when a load is applied. If you put a car in each lane with something under the back of the chassis to get the wheels off of the track and punch the controllers you will see what the voltage is with cars running. Take voltage readings all around the track to be sure that it doesn't have any bad joints.
      Here is an article on power supplies: https://drive.google.com/file/d/1r_m...ew?usp=sharing
      Last edited by REL13; January 28, 2022, 09:06 PM.

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      • Michael Squier
        Michael Squier commented
        Editing a comment
        That’s interesting. I took readings with a voltmeter around the track, but not with a car running. I’ll have to try that.

    • #4
      Routed wood track, 13.8v (historical reasons).
      Kevan - Isle of Man
      Life is like a box of Slot cars...🚓🚗🚚🚜

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      • #5
        Routed wood, non-mag @10.5V. Mostly slot.it and NSR cars.
        Mike V.
        Western North Carolina

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        • #6
          Routed wood with copper tape.
          Anywhere from 10 -12V depending on the cars. Artins can take 12V, Slot.It cars are better at 10V on my short straights. Carrera cars don't run well on low voltage, so those get 12.

          And yes.....some cars show a pronounced change just with 0.5V.....different motors run differently.

          And....on plastic track as Rich points out you need to be aware of bad joints and voltage loss.
          Come Race at The Trace!
          Timberline Trace International Raceway - SW of Mpls, MN
          https://cults3d.com/en/users/chappyman662/creations

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          • #7
            We run a routed wood track at 11 volts racing is closer, we used to run 12 volts we may run a lower voltage with our open wheel cars

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            • #8
              Most of our routed 1/32 scale tracks in Portland are run at 10 volts, we have one class of original '60s cars that we run at 9 volts. Our larger routed tracks where we race heavy brass chassied cars with S16D motors are run at 13 volts., Those boys like to crash hard.

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              • #9
                Routed 3 lane track, 60', mostly NSR, Scale Auto, Sideways and ThunderSlot cars. Running 10.5 V.

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                • #10
                  On all my tracks (building the 4th one now), I go to wally world and buy a lawn tractor 12 volt battery, not extremely fast but very fun ! Only had to charge it once a month.
                  As always my buck 2.98ths worth!
                  Peace
                  Marty

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                  • #11
                    See post #4. FYI 13.8 is the charging voltage for a 12 volt car battery. Some 12 volt power supplies, including ones that are regulated, actually have a 13.8 volt output.
                    If you take open circuit voltage measurements of a power supply that will not tell much, there has to be a load on the circuit. If you are checking the track, unless there are joints that are completely open, if there is no load everything will seem to be OK. If there are places where the cars seem to be getting less power there have to be some bad connections, but without a load you will not see them. The reason for that is that bad joints act like resistors and the voltage drop across a resistor varies as the load varies. No load, no voltage drop.

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                    • Michael Squier
                      Michael Squier commented
                      Editing a comment
                      Rich, I did as suggested and re tested with a car on track, actually I ran the test with several cars to see if they all had a similar drop. They are all close, about .5 volt drop near the base station. But as you suggested I tried it at a different spot, about half way around and I get another .5 drop. I guess it’s time to clean the connections on my track. Thanks for the advise, electricity is interesting and a mystery at the same time.
                      My power supply is an old 12v regulated supply that puts out 14, I recently added a voltage adjuster to it, a very handy addition.

                    • JCIS4ME
                      JCIS4ME commented
                      Editing a comment
                      Hey Rich! Remember stormy weather in Hilo? Ha Ha
                      When I was running the 12 volt battery it lasted a while and when I wanted to go faster turn on the charger, the cars woke up but tended to be a little sloppy! to fast for the short course. And that is with 3 power taps.one in front hook up two on the sides and one in the back WAY OVER KILL but no drops in voltage.

                  • #12
                    I guess it’s time to clean the connections on my track.
                    While you're at it, consider adding jumper wires from your base unit and hook to the furthest point from the unit.
                    Dickie Pearson
                    Canterbury, NH

                    HOST - Home Operated Slot Tracks
                    MSR - Main Street Racing

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                    • Michael Squier
                      Michael Squier commented
                      Editing a comment
                      I considered doing the jumper wires but haven’t because my course is only 21’ around. I still might add two anyway, overkill is underrated.

                  • #13
                    Interesting stuff. I run my 4 lane painted Carrera track at 10-10.5 volts with a 30v/20a DC for each 2 lane track. Never thought about the power actually being lower when connected to the track. I also have 3 jumpers per 2 lane track(6 total) but my track is over 100’ long. I will do a check and see what actually I am putting to the cars…

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                    • Michael Squier
                      Michael Squier commented
                      Editing a comment
                      At 100 feet I bet you get different results than my 21’. I wonder how the connections of Carrera compare to Scalextric track? Hmm, so many things to consider. I feel like even with clean connections on Scalextric it would still have enough resistance to lower the voltage at a distance from the input track.

                  • #14
                    Hi Michael - I run stock slot cars on a 60' Scalextric track. I do have 3 "power taps" spread around my track to help keep the voltage consistent. Here are my voltage settings for various brands of cars: Scalextric = 13.5 v; Carrera = 14.0v; Slot it/NSR/Sideways = 12.5 v; Fly = 12.5v. For open wheel FI of any brand, I usually turn down the juice to around 11.5 or 12.0v - just to protect the cars. Again, I am running stock cars with magnets.
                    Ralph
                    Toronto, Ontario
                    Canada

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                    • #15
                      Assuming that the power supply is large enough and is well regulated there are two factors to be considered if you are concerned about having a voltage drop. The first is the resistance of the track rails and wiring, including the controllers. The second factor is the amount of power that the cars use. Consider the track rails and wiring to be a resistor, the voltage drop across a resistor is proportional to the amps that the car uses. To complicate thing the car's motor will pull a great deal of power when it first starts up and much less when it reaches full speed. My measurements of HO cars indicate that a car that is accelerating will pull twice the amps as when it has reached full speed.

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