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Vintage cars voltages

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  • Vintage cars voltages

    What is a safe voltage to run the old strombecker cars at? I don’t want to burn up my motors.

  • #2
    I believe that those cars were intended to be run at 12 volts, going up a little would not hurt them. Old motors may have worn brushes or dirty commutators that will require some attention. You might get a can of CRC contact cleaner from your local hardware store or home improvement center and give each motor a shot of that if there are any holes in the motor case or endbell. Put a drop of oil on the bearings if you can get at them.


    • #3
      I am a member of a Vintage Slot car club. We have a class where the cars must use original parts from cars made before 1969. I run my track at 10 volts. The Vintage cars will run fine at this voltage. The thing to remember is the older motors will require more amperage than the modern motors. We run 1/32 cars for most of the time. Last year, we tried the 1/24th cars for the first time. All cars have ran well on my tracks. The open frame motors can run very well with the use of an adjustable power supply. I have a few Strombecker Red hemi powered cars that can really run on my wood track with braid. I also have a Strombecker open frame Avenger powered car, James Bond car, that has done well even with me driving.
      I still have my first slot car, a front motored Strombecker Jag, I remember how much better it ran when my brother and I used all of our track, maybe 15 feet, and made a drag strip powered by a car battery. We didn't put the track locking clips in and when the cars took off, the first three sections of track would come apart!! We had filled the back of the cars with wood putty so the cars could get traction.

      Jim W


      • Michael Squier
        Michael Squier commented
        Editing a comment
        What amperage do you run at? I have a 12 volt transformer that puts out 2.5 amps. It’s an old realistic transformer. I wonder if that might be better than the Scalextric transformer. Can’t find the amps on that one.

      • jaws
        jaws commented
        Editing a comment
        I try to have power supplies that will allow 5 amps for each lane. The Strombecker Red Hemi will pull about 4 amps on start up and will pull 2 amps while running at 12 volts. I have never had a car surge or slow down, from another car starting or coming off the track. It may be a little excessive, but using an adjustable power supply with the extra amps has worked for me. I know a guy that ran heavy magnets on 3 lanes and he kept blowing the transister in his 5 amp power supply!!! We raced on one track that had a power supply for each lane, 1 amp only. When we ran the Vintage cars with the open frame motors, one of the guy's cars kept setting off the power supply's breaker overload.

        If you use some set power supplies they may produce 14/16 volts under no load, but when a car is put on the track the voltage may drop to 12 volts. If this happens, the large voltage drop, the cars may also surge when another car comes off the track. As a kid in the 60's, we subbed a12 volt car battery for our Strombecker power supply and the cars seemed to run a lot quicker, as I try to remember that may years ago.

        I would look for 2 amps per lane to run old Vintage motored cars. I would think this would be good for most of the cars. The hotter winds of some cars like the Strombecker Red Hemi or some of the other "hot" motors rated at 6 volts or less "may" run a little better with the extra amps.

        Jim W
        Last edited by jaws; February 24, 2021, 11:01 AM.

    • #4
      Like Rich said....biggest issue is making sure the motors are clean. The commutators can get gunked up so the contact cleaner followed by a drop of oil on the bushings will help. Provided they are clean and run, I tend to stay around 10V just because I have a sort twisty track. But vintage cars were designed for 12V and will be fine.
      Come Race at The Trace!
      Timberline Trace International Raceway - SW of Mpls, MN


      • #5
        Thanks guys. I was wondering because someone told me that the old motors would burn out if it went over 9 volts, that didn’t sound right to me. But maybe the Scalextric transformer is a bit much, I think it’s 16 volt?


        • #6
          Even 16 volts probably would not hurt a motor that was intended to be run at 12 volts, providing that the motor was in good shape. Even though the nameplate voltage on that transformer is 16 volts it is very unlikely that it puts out 16 volts with a load applied. If you have an old 100 watt light bulb hanging around connect the power supply to that and measure the voltage. I once measured a 20 volt power supply that dropped down to 15 volts with that load.


          • #7
            Sure, the old stuff was made to run on 12V so that should be fine.

            However - I would run 9-10V or whatever lower voltage you can get away with while still having decent performance and the "ability" to de-slot in the turns.

            Not only is a little easier on the 50-plus year old electric motors generating less heat, but it will also slow the cars themselves down.

            Less unnecessarily hard hits for the vintage toys, and fewer little parts broken off and lost. I think other racers who have old stuff, would welcome that lower voltage approach.



            • #8
              Vintage motors may have magnets that have lost a significant amount of their power simply due to age. Once it was common for racing centers to have remagnetizing machines, used to 'zap' motor magnets to restore their power.

              Modern magnets are worlds better than what we had back in the 1960's and 1970's. No need to zap them these days.

              A motor with weak magnets will tend to run hot. That is what I'd be concerned about. How to fix? Not easy without a remagnetizing machine. Could you replace them with modern magnets? Maybe.

              Ed Bianchi
              Ed Bianchi
              York Pennsylvania USA


              • #9
                Eldon sets came with 6 volt power supplies. I don't know if that applies to all of their production or only part. Those motors are probably ok with 12 volts, as long as it isn't constant.
                Matt B
                So. In


                • BIG E
                  BIG E commented
                  Editing a comment
                  Careful with the voltage on those old ELDON 6 volt motors. They're cheap and fragile, I wouldn't try doubling the voltage immediately. Follow Rich D's cleaning and lubrication suggestions before doing ANYTHING. Then, if you dare, S-L-O-W-L-Y increase the power...
                  Good luck and have FUN! -- Ernie