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Power Supply and Track Length Question

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  • Power Supply and Track Length Question

    I'm a newbie as you can tell by my username so forgive me if I am asking a question that might seem obvious to some but here it is anyway... I have an SCX analog track set that I've extended it to a length of approx. 42 feet. The power supply is one that came with the track... Technitoys Toy Transformer MDL #SMU1400210T... Output: 14V DC 1500mA. So far I haven't noticed a decrease in speed or braking but is there a point at which this power supply will not properly energize the cars or make them "sluggish"? Can I extend the track length without needing an additional power supply? Does Technitoys make a power supply with more output? Sorry for all the questions but it's what newbies do.

  • #2
    Have heard that jumpers should be used every 30’. Some tracks have better conductivity than others. Also a good rule is to keep all the contacts in the joints as cleans as possible. Can be a booger, especially when tracks have a lot of scenery.
    Scott.....War Eagle River......Tampa, Florida, USA


    • #3
      Once the track design is permanent - copper tape it....
      All the way from Sydney, Australia.......

      Cheers, Tony.


      • #4
        the power supply doesn't care how long your track is because the load from the cars doesn't increase, just the drop to the far ends of the track does unless you install jumpers.
        having said that, if you use higher-end cars, an individual power supply for each lane allows them to run independently if you see one car slow down a little when the first one accelerates.


        • #5
          As WER said....with plastic track, the issue is the voltage loss across the joints. Longer track = more joints = more resistance = less power. Installing jumper wires between sections every 30 ft or so will help. The other thing that helps is multiple power taps (where the power feeds in to the track) around the length of the lap. I ran two taps on my 45 ft Artin track and never really had issues.

          So....a couple more taps, and some jumpers if you see a drop off. Most of us run a different power supply, but what comes with the track is absolutely fine for now.
          Come Race at The Trace!
          Timberline Trace International Raceway - SW of Mpls, MN


          • #6
            If it ain't broke, don't fix it..... Sounds like you have good new track with good connections. If your environment is good, you may get away with this for a while.

            Not sure what Chappy mean by jumpers versus taps. To me they mean the same thing and do the same thing electrically.
            But to me, if needed, they are the best solution - just one jumper set placed half way around gives two bites at the cherry of getting power around the track. But if you have more than one bad connection, you still have a problem.

            You can also do this.
            If you do get voltage drop now, or when extending, it is unlikely to be a series of joints where poor connection causes a voltage drop, typically you just have one or two bad connections.
            When that does happen, I recommend you disconnect the track from the power base just before it gets back to the power base. Then drive a car on each lane slowly - at a fixed trigger position around the track, until it slows down after passing a particular track joint.
            - Work on fixing that connection with slight bending of the outer box the lugs to the inside a little, and/or some anti- corrosion compound. Resume testing until you have done one lane all the way back to where you disconnected from the base.
            Repeat with other lane. You should now have good connection all the way around both lanes.
            I am personally not a fan of the copper tape method as it has durability issues, and it prevents further maintenance on the track, or taking it apart - unless you use more copper tape and end up with joints and ridges in it.

            SCX isn't quite as reliable as connection as was Ninco - but I remember Ninco building a 2.2km (1.4 mile) track in a gymnasium, powered by a single standard supply, and people driving laps on it, to demonstrate just how good/reliable plastic track can be. It used to be on Youtube, but I can't find t now. Bottom line is, you don't have to accept voltage dropouts. Plastic track can have completely regular voltage.
            Last edited by LegOutOfBed; January 21, 2020, 11:22 PM.


            • #7
              Here is more information on power supplies:
              When we were running cars with very powerful traction magnets you could actually see the track flex as the cars went by. We had Scalextric Sport tracks and all of that flexing caused some of the joints to fail, so frequent troubleshooting was needed. I believe that SCX track is similar to Scalextric track. Probably your cars do not have such extreme traction magnets, so the flexing problem may not surface in your case.
              If it was me I would skip the jumpers if there were no obvious power losses. It is actually best to fix bad joints, rather than rely on jumpers. It is still possible to have a bad section between two sets of jumpers and the jumpers can make it more difficult to locate bad joints.


              • #8
                I have a 70 ft Carrera track, which is regarded as high quality, with 3 jumper wires from the power supply. That calculates to 17 ft between each jumper wire connection. I could have put in two more jumper wires, because there is noticeable power loss in some sections, particularly with cars that draw high current. Jumper wires is a cheap and easy way to maintain power along the track. Better one jumper too many than one too few...


                • #9
                  Yes, jumpers work very well. We can preach "track joints", but they are what they are. There is rarely a fix.

                  The whole NINCO massive track video?'s easy to compensate with more voltage. NINCO has the one of the shortest connections and not nearly as good as that video showed. (IMHO)

                  Here is a power tap article


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by HomeRacingWorld View Post
                    Yes, jumpers work very well. We can preach "track joints", but they are what they are. There is rarely a fix.

                    The whole NINCO massive track video?'s easy to compensate with more voltage. NINCO has the one of the shortest connections and not nearly as good as that video showed. (IMHO)

                    Here is a power tap article
                    Harry - Not that I disagree with the use of power taps, they cover many a problem - but if you have more than one dodgy joint between taps, you still have voltage loss.
                    You can often end up with problems just a couple of sections apart.

                    Ninco was renowned for having the most secure connection of the track brands, it was one of the "10 reasons to buy Ninco"
                    Short lugs maybe, but strong cross sectionally, and a good tight connection.

                    But that Ninco video was deliberately done just using a single, standard 14.8V 3 amp regulated supply as found in all sets from about 2005 (the kind that looks like a PC power supply.)
                    It was done as a proof of how good the system was. They made a big deal of it to dealers, had media there and local Barca shops etc. It was done to prove a point.
                    - I don't recall what they did re: power taps to shorten the natural resistive voltage drop. They must have had some as the distance was 2.2km / 2 around the circle.

                    FWIW - Electrically speaking - just throwing more volts at a bad joint issue is far from a linear cure.


                    • #11
                      You should check continuity all the way thru the track by doing as was said as above......take the track apart near the power supply and make sure you have good connections all the way around with no sections where the car stops....... You got this done, now you have continuity all the way around, ..... Power taps or jumpers can take off from your main terminal rails.....As Harry said slide the stripped wire end in underneath the track and inside the rails. ,,,,,Go about half way around the track and slide the other end into the matching rail.....You should have equal power all the way around and when a car is stopped on the other side of the track, you will notice the throttle response is just as quick as when the car is on the main terminal track,....It's possible to just use two terminal tracks to connect your one near the main terminal track and the together on the other side of the track. Use the terminals to hook up the jumpers...... a couple pieces of light cord are the cheapest and easiest way to buy jumpers........All good points above......Taping a plastic track is probably a great idea, unless you change it very often.
                      Matt B
                      So. In


                      • #12
                        Cleaning a track joint helps a bunch, but power taps have been...and always will be a good idea. You can argue it all day, I have set up a couple in my life and it DOES make a difference.

                        Because no matter how clean and secure the joint will still have a slight loss. Over multiple of those? Well, it affects the track.

                        And on this side of the pond...there were TWO "largest NINCO tracks in the USA".

                        One in Atlanta I here in St Louis. These were massive to say the least, so large you could almost lose sight of your car.

                        Care to guess how that one transformer "selling point" truly worked out? The underside of that table looked like a kid's spaghetti plate when they finally had it working.

                        Most larger plastic tracks I have raced on had jumpers in every section. Even with power taps. Over time dirt, etc gets inside these joints and they just decrease in continuity.

                        Simply taking them apart is not something as easy it sounds for all tracks. As with some that have major scenery attached, or the access to the track is not as accessible as it should be.

                        So the use of jumpers plus taps is one answer, and it does the job until the track owner finally decides to clean them.



                        • #13
                          If you don't own a multimeter, you now have a perfect justification to get one. (And spend a bit more money to get a good one. A good multimeter can last you a lifetime -- worth the investment!)

                          Turn off the track power, disconnect the wires from the terminal section and short-circuit all the connections. Disconnect the terminal section from the rest of the track on one side only. Now set your multimeter to the 'ohms' setting and go around the track, one track section at a time, testing each pair of power conductors. Read the ohms. If you see a sharp increase in the ohm reading, you have a poor connection between that track section and the previous one. Fix it.

                          The ohm readings should slowly increase as you work your way around the track. If it gets up close to a full ohm I might suggest adding another power tap. You can just install another terminal section, but make sure all the terminal sections are oriented and wired the same. (Imagine yourself driving around the track. The terminals should always be on your left. Or always on your right. Either works, but don't mix them up.)

                          More power taps are better, in theory, but don't go nuts. You'll quickly get to diminishing returns.

                          Ed Bianchi
                          Ed Bianchi
                          York Pennsylvania USA


                          • #14
                            Cleaning a track joint helps a bunch, but power taps have been...and always will be a good idea.
                            That is a fact!!!..I'm guessing your running the newest SCX track.It is much better then the older style.
                            I'm running about 40 feet or so.Using two independent power supplies,one for each lane.
                            Haven't had a problem,but do plan on adding a power tap.Easy to do.
                            The main thing is have fun!
                            Humboldt ,out in the country in west Tn...


                            • #15
                              This is one of those track setup/building areas where you can't do too much....... Probably we should make it clear to the OP that when I say "power taps" and "jumpers", ,I mean the same thing. .........In my jargon,, both of these descriptions mean running an extra track power wire from your main wiring panel or from the main terminal track to a remote location on your track,, to make the power level and response at that section as good as your main terminal track.

                              Harry is using "jumpers" to refer to wire run from one section of track to the adjacent section.......... I probably should have used the "power tap" description in my posts to stop any confusion between what most guys consider "power taps" and "jumpers"....... I have never had to run "jumpers" between my plastic track sections. .... I have also cleaned the connecting rails with a wire wheel on a Dremel when I put one together.... Probably never had a plastic track in the same format more than 6 months,, so they got taken apart a lot and never were allowed to set and age!!!

                              This is pretty basic stuff, but it is important to anybody new to serious slot racing..... Lot of the time an old guy like me takes stuff like this for granted and it is good to have everybody jump in and rehash old subjects. ...We all learn a little more.
                              Last edited by mattb; January 24, 2020, 10:13 AM.
                              Matt B
                              So. In