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  • New to the Forum - Power Supply Question

    I'm an old guy so bear with me. I got into slot cars in the '60s and worked at a local raceway. I eventually scratch built my own cars and rewired lots of motors. Then life got in the way (you know, a job, marriage, kids all that stuff). So now that I'm an old retired (sort of) guy I've decided to get back into it. Obviously lot of things have changed. I started with what I knew and collected a bunch of Scalextric classic track and cars. They came with controllers and other accessories. I've now started building tables to set the track up on. The track is going to be set up in a garage so I have to be able to break it down to put the motorcycle back in, but I wanted to make it as large as possible. So I've drawn up a layout (using AnyRail6) using three 4' x 8' tables (well technically a 4' x 8', a 4' x 10' and a 4' x 6') in a U shape with fold down legs. I plan on using power taps to keep the power up around the track. Where the tables are joined I'll probably use 4 prong connectors for the power.

    I've been looking at power supply options and decided I need some help sorting it all out. I understand that I want a regulated power supply but I'm not sure what kind of output I should go with. I've been looking at 30 volt 10 amp units. Am I in the right ball park? I've downloaded a wiring diagram manual from slotcarcorner.com so I think I've got that part covered. I also see that the controllers are much more than what I used to have back then (I think it was a Cox controller with a plunger). Now I see there are all kinds of dials to control braking and sensitivity. I also see that you can spend $300 plus (which I do not plan on doing).

    Any help regarding power supplies and controllers would be greatly appreciated. For now I'm probably going to use the stock Scalextric cars but I'm sure I'll eventually start back making my own.

    Thanks,
    Joe

  • #2
    A 30/10 power supply is more than adequate. I use these: https://www.amazon.com/%EF%BC%88Prec...ps%2C69&sr=8-3. I use one one each lane. You don't have to, but it has it's advantages. I have been using these models for over a year and they have never been shut off.

    Stock controllers are crap. You can get decent controllers with single resisters for around $50 (https://slotcarcorner.com/collection...rofessor-motor). These would be more than adequate for plastic track and Scalextric cars. Single resister controllers handle a specific motor type and rpm range. As you venture beyond those parameters, your controller will act more like an on/off switch. Then you will want a controller with a resistance network, capable of handling a range of motors. But, you may never get to that point.
    Last edited by Bal r 14; August 5, 2022, 11:40 AM.

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    • #3
      One power supply is all you need for those cars. 10 amps is more than enough.
      The supply shown in the link above works just fine. Have one here for 3 years now.
      There are the lower cost controllers also shown and they will do the job for you.
      Meaning, you don't have to spend a ton of money. You don't need a 300 controller and you don't need multiple power supplies.
      -Harry

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      • #4
        Hi Joe,......A 10amp regulated power supply will be just fine for what you have described.......make sure that the voltage is variable, as you will likely end up running in the 10/12 volt range.

        As far as controllers, yes, a lot has changed, and while the $2/300 + controllers do offer some adjustment variables, unless you are involved in club competition (where the adjustments do offer some benefits) for what you are describing, they are likely unnecessary. That said, you should absolutely look at "electronic" controllers as opposed to the fixed ohm resistance controllers (Cox etc.) that you are familiar with..........In very (very) basic terms, the electronic controllers act as direct voltage regulators, which again in simple terms allow you to use a good range of motors using the one controller,.....as you will likely remember, the resistance controllers that you are familiar with worked with a very narrow range of motors, and it was not uncommon to see folks with a few different controllers for different motors.

        For your purposes, a very decent electronic controller (without the adjustment knobs) can be had inexpensively. The Professor Motor #PMTR 2120 is a quality electronic controller and is $60.......tons of these have been sold/used, ......they are reliable/durable, you can get replacement parts if needed (unlikely) , and they will perform light years ahead of your Cox.

        You will likely get opinions expressing the virtues of the more expensive variants (sensitivity/braking/choke adjustments,) and the comments will be valid, but, for what you are doing, and running on Scaley Classic track, with predominantly Scaley cars...the high option/cost variations are not needed........

        A decent power supply and decent controllers are the 2 most important things you can do to a home plastic track to improve performance, reliability, and most importantly your fun

        Cheers
        Chris Walker




        Last edited by chrisguyw; August 5, 2022, 12:48 PM.

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        • #5
          You can probably do with a single power supply, but 2 would give you the option of tuning the voltage on each lane for maximum competitiveness.

          I have 2 routed wood tracks but for simplicity use Scalextric power bases under the track for power and controller connections. Slot Car Corner made a wiring harness to connect a variable power supply to the power base, making it plug-n-play. About 10 years ago I got diode based controllers from Professor motor that came with Scalextric plugs making them plug-n-play too. They are much better than the set controllers and weren't expensive.

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          • #6
            Chris is right. Harry is right.

            You don't need dual power supplies to run different voltages on each lane. Small step-down adjustable voltage boards (buck converters) are available cheaply on Amazon. Wire them in, and one supply gives you variable voltage for each lane. That, with modern controllers, will let you do whatever you want. For home racing, it's cheap and easy.
            Last edited by chappyman66; August 5, 2022, 12:23 PM.
            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
              I would like to make some comments about the track. If you are designing a track for others to race on, make sure you have the controller stations positioned where the view isn't obstructed by other racers. That tends to be more of a consideration with L or U shaped designs. Temperature and humidity can raise hell with tracks, especially if the track is in an uncontrolled environment. Expansion and contraction of the track can cause lots of problems. One of the members of our group has tried several methods of building a track in the garage and ultimately ended up with routed PVC and braided wire.

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              • #8
                Thanks everyone. I've been looking at the one Bal listed and a couple other similar ones. I'll check out the professor motor controllers. When if first searched for controllers I got either the stock controllers or those $300 ones. I sort of figured that those were for serious club racing and at this point I don't think I'll be doing any of that. I just want a decent home set up that isn't going to have problems.

                As far as the track goes my original plan was to use one of the bedrooms but again life raised its unpredictable head and things like grandkids sleeping over and daughters moving back home took precedent, so I lost my track room. (there is a slight chance that the room may open soon so things might change, but I'm not counting on it soon, lol). I hear what Bal is saying about trying to control the temperature in the garage. I do have a window and can put a small a/c unit in there. In my last garage I installed gable fans with thermostats that did a good job of getting the heat out. By the time I get the garage all cleaned out, the new floor down and the workbench and storage shelving back in it will in all likelihood be sometime in October so the heat may not be an issue initially. I'd love to do a routed track (I have lots of MDF) but then I'd have to get rid of all this Scalextric stuff.

                My plan was to have the 2 controller stations at the end of the long side of the track to the entire track would be visible. I'm planning on keeping the landscaping low so visibility shouldn't be an issue. I've attached (I think) a plan I did with AnyTrack.

                Thanks again for all the help. I'll try and take lots of photos as the project progresses.

                Joe

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by chappyman66 View Post
                  Chris is right. Harry is right.

                  You don't need dual power supplies to run different voltages on each lane. Small step-down adjustable voltage boards (buck converters) are available cheaply on Amazon. Wire them in, and one supply gives you variable voltage for each lane. That, with modern controllers, will let you do whatever you want. For home racing, it's cheap and easy.
                  Is this what you're referring to? https://directvoltage.com/shop/elect...-power-module/ You'll have to excuse me but it's been a while since I've dealt with track wiring. Would this then allow for the adjustment of one of the lanes separately from the other? And why would I need that. My thought is if the grandson is on one lane I could reduce the voltage so he doesn't run the car off the track every 10 seconds.

                  Joe

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    That's a fancier version, but yes that's the idea.
                    They give you the opportunity to run one power supply for the whole track and still be able to have adjustable power (instead of multiple power supplies).

                    And yes.....you can run at full power, and turn the grandson's lane down so he doesn't come off as often.

                    Or you can theoretically use it to match performance between different cars. On a home track, it's much cheaper than a tunable electronic controller.
                    Come Race at The Trace!
                    Timberline Trace International Raceway - SW of Mpls, MN
                    https://cults3d.com/en/users/chappyman662/creations

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      If you go to a routed track, you will have officially "gone down the rabbit hole". Don't invest a lot in that Scalextric setup if you have any inclination of going that route. I started with Scalextric in December 2020. That didn't last long.
                      Last edited by Bal r 14; August 6, 2022, 12:38 PM.

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                      • #12
                        Originally posted by Bal r 14 View Post
                        If you go to a routed track, you will have officially "gone down the rabbit hole". Don't invest a lot in that Scalextric setup if you have any inclination of going that route. I started with Scalextric in December 2020. That didn't last long.
                        LOL! I have a tendency of going down that darn rabbit hole no matter what I get into. If I had the room I'd definitely go with a routed track, but things being what they are right now I'm going to have to stick with the Scalextric stuff and a modular track that will easily break down. I have enough track to make the layout I posted and a bunch left over. I haven't really spent all that much acquiring it. I have plenty of 1/2" MDF to make the tables. Attaching the track to the MDF is still up in the air right now. I'll probably go with RTV so if the inside option opens up I an just run a razor blade along the table to remove the track/RTV and still have the MDF available for a routed track. I like the idea of a routed track so I can use a design that doesn't limit me to the 2 radius curves in the Scalextric track.

                        Joe

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                        • #13
                          Oh, by the way, Professor Motor is out of stock on those controllers but they do have a number of similarly priced units.

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                          • chrisguyw
                            chrisguyw commented
                            Editing a comment
                            They should be back in stock quite quickly,....they are made at the Professor Motor shop.

                            Give them a call.

                        • #14
                          Welcome back to the slot car world OC…this is the best SLOT CAR FORUM ON THE PLANET…ENJOY
                          TOM...HOME RACING GOO GOO!!!
                          Warren, Ohio

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                          • #15
                            Originally posted by Broman62 View Post
                            Welcome back to the slot car world OC…this is the best SLOT CAR FORUM ON THE PLANET…ENJOY
                            Thanks for the Welcome Bro. It was a shock to see how much things have changed but I enjoy learning and I really enjoy building things. Since I'm a H.A.R.D. I have more time to actually do that. I've been reading a lot of info on building tracks, scenery and cars. I guess the biggest difference since I was last involved is the advent of digital track/cars. Seems like the actual cars haven't changed just the way they are controlled. For now I'll be sticking to the analog stuff. I'll need more research to get into the digital age. At this point it will just be me and my girlfriend's grandson so the analog will work just fine.

                            Joe

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