WHEN: Most Friday evenings. TIME:

01 December 2016

Costa concept stock inline car race preparation 2016

Buy the excellent Scalextric GT Lightning and a pack Ecurie stock class rule 8.1 specified S2 tyres, along with the option useful investments for the future in the form of cheap 3mm wide trim stripe tape, needle point oiler with thin oil and lighter fluid for cleaning (original can is ok but needle point bottle useful). 
Dave carries a large stock off free pair skinny magnet, 2.5mm thick front O ring, 1.0mm thick rear O ring and one pair "just in case" rear axle plastic spacers as per Ecurie rule 3.3 - just ask and you will receive these. There are other Ecurie experienced who will have similar. My own current source:
O ring 2.5mm thick by 17mm or 18mm OD
With guide plate in place, flip the top pair braids (brushes) forward as per left in pic. Now only carefully remove the guide plate by sliding forward then lifting rear. Rotate the guide plate 180 degrees and refit per the right in pic. Use will decide if you should trim the rear longer braids but most do and some also replace with other brand braids. This now redundant as Ecurie has amalgamated the GT Lightning Pro and Stock classes and one may now dispense with the clip in guide plate and fit the braids directly to the guide as well, whist Hotslots even allows a switch to a guide. The O-ring fronts can also be switched to front tyres. Tony at Durban and Oliver at Hotslots are still showing the stock form running gear and wheels to be competitive, though. Now ease the 2.5mm O rings on to the outer front wheels, so the O ring is not "twirled" in the process. I prefer not to glue, if you really must then nail varnish or ask uncle Lance to MEK secure - DO NOT superglue.
The Scalextric wheel centre rib is wrong for and other non Scalextric tyres and must be built up with a single layer of trim tape and widened with a single 1mm O-ring on the outside (no glue). Start and finish the trim tape so the rib "pimple" is in the gap, obviating any need to shave the pimple. 
Ease the tyre on, sidewall writing inwards (so the ruffle edge also inwards) and "knead" the tyres till well seated and a totallly flat finish with no sign of rib (the sunken cheek finish is what kills the stock motors). Never sand S2, makes the tyre too sticky for stock motors.
The only place I use glue on the whole car, if needed to stop the motor rocking (some motors are tight enough). If you really must remove the motor for any reason, lift at this front point or you will break the rear motor mount. 
The skinny magnets are boon as one can leave the original magnet in place and stack add the skinny magnet without popping out the motor or axle. I break (do not Dremel as heat kills the magnet) the last 20% so that the 80% will clear the plastic clips and sit flat on top of the original magnet. I then stacked the little 20% piece on top (per pic below) and the car came out just shy of the spec 180 gram downforce per Ecurie limit. Use bits of the spare magnet to trim to same, it is worth the time and effort. The finished stack should be pushed forward to the motor mount and will be well clear of the gears. 
Never run a stock motor "wet" with any kind of muti, it burns the commutator black. Dribble in some lighter fluid through the the top little square holes till the bottom of the car is damp then stop and wipe excess. The hi-tech RC approach is to use a slave motor to turn the car motor to seat the motor brushes, the lower tech Mike Wilkie approach of spinning the rear wheels by hand gives plenty gearing to do the job - sitting in front of the tv for ten to fifteen minutes is ample manual run turn time. Once dry then oil all the moving parts of the motor, axles and gears with your new pin oiler or similar.
Ecurie is strict on no butchering of plastic cars so the simple solution is toss the fragile spoiler up front. If you really must fit it then this is the one time you will be forgiven for butchering the locating pins shorter and then bumper taping the spoiler directly on to the car body. Carefully screw the body on to the chassis with the original screws so that the body is loose enough to give about 1mm gap front and rear, there should also be a tiny amount of sideways body float at the rear.
You are ready to run, most cars are fine but some (not all) show excessive rear end axle float, which manifests in a motor killing "Grrrrrk" through the long bends. You should immediately stop as you are hurting the motor and it is time for those "just in case" plastic washers per Ecurie rule 3.3, Dave gave you up front.
This gets tedious and fingerprint removing but one needs to sand the the washers to half the thickness (no don't just put one in, it must be balanced or the motor will run tight). Note the slit (with scissors or knife) so that one can twist and fit over the axle after completion.
This is for example only, just to show where the thin spacers go. Never pop the axle out more than once or twice or you will eventually be obliged to glue the bushes in - you are warned. If the axle still spins freely and the "Grrrrrk" is gone through the long turns, you are now ready to race :-)

Regular maintenance is a must. A day or two before each race night (or minium couple of hours), repeat the lighter fluid dribble through the top of tmotor, clean the mess and manually rotate the wheels for a minute or two only. Then oil sparingly and wait to race. Running the motor "wet" is an anathema, it will bring a short term gain for the first few laps but kill the motor in the not so long run. Also avoid thrash practicing with your new race car for long periods on race evening, just a half dozen laps maximum to settle. The advance motor preparation will give you consistent good performance throughout the evening. 

10 August 2016

New Hotslots Pmb track race video

Macho Mart's Leon achieved something special by managing to follow this A main dice between Lance Cranmer (orange car on black lane), Dave Greer (yellow car on Red lane) and Hadley Woodroffe (black car on yellow lane). 

The lap and a bit down Dave's yellow car catches up to Lance and Hadley on the outer lanes but both immediately lift their game so that Dave cannot pass to try catch up the lap deficit - that only being achieved on Dave's next lane (white) but thereafter both Lance and Hadley pulled away to give Lance 1st, Hadley 2nd, Dave 3rd, Oliver Wills 4th and Dave Gush 5th.

The mob in the pits at briefing and the hand over by Oliver of the obligatory beer to Chairman Arthur, along with the special plaque to be mounted on the track commemorate Arthur's drive and dedication to making the new wood track a reality.

Then it was on to race day action for the 25 participants from the Hotslots Pietermartizburg and Ecurie Durban clubs.

The very first race heat on the new track for driver, Ross, one of the Jacoby twins, Byron and Rodney.

Marshalls ready for race action.

Drivers Gavin, Dave Gush, Freddie, Ashwin, Chris and Tony in one of the heats.

Leon, Kevern and Keith busy in the pits.

Finals results for the absorbing afternoon's racing.

07 March 2016

Britain's best kept clubbie slot car secret? ;-)

I have enjoyed experimenting with transistor slot car controllers ever since assembling a Difalco Junior kit I obtained through Gustav Heymann at the turn of the century. That controller sparked a series of scratch builds, although I have to concede that that ultimate value was still enjoyed from the over the counter Professor, Difalco and Truspeed buys I eventually settled on for magnet plastic slot car racing.

Transistor controllers remain relatively easy for the owner to maintain, often just a transistor replacement being all that is required. 

One and half decades later and midst a softening Rand for South African slot car racers, it was rare treat to again trip over another inexpensive transistor controller byo kit for a donor Parma Turbo chassis (with thanks to RC friend Stan Haussman), available at modest price through the link below, along with detailed graphics and instructions:

Even for total novice slot racers, the kit is simplicity itself to wire up. I was fortunate enough to entice returning slot car racer and multiple South African champion Johan Louter in to tackling it as an initiation to transistor controllers. Transistor and PWM controllers are new concepts for Johan, who still retained his trusty rectifier diode controller from when he retired from racing just after the turn of the century.

Pardon the fuzzy cell pics of the final product, which is ultra compact, clear of controller case top clutter and very light, given the Turbo chassis combo:

I did much googling to try find some outside commentary on this excellent kit, which Truspeed's Steve Hill had evolved as an inexpensive option for Britain's clubbies to put together. An unusual element not seen on other transistor controllers is the use of transistor braking as opposed to the normal wire wound or diode pot, along with the brake and hold feature mentioned in the Truspeed blurb. The total lack of Google find reviews or commentary thus convinced me to publish this on the blog and get the word out. I can only assume the clubbie's were keeping this gem secret to themselves. ;-)

The main test vehicle for the controller was my open magnet racer GT40 with trusty Scaleauto 35K red motor. This combo has been a useful Ecurie open and handicap option for me but pretty much red lined at 4.5 second laps on the Ecurie track. The outright lap record for open magnet had previously been set at 4.3 seconds with Lance Cranmer driving my Proslot Toyota GT1, also powered by the Scaleauto red 35k motor.

After being suitably impressed at my own efforts with the Truspeed and the GT40, it was time to entice Lance back for another crack at a useful lap time. He too was impressed with the knife through hot butter feel of the controller and, as per the pic below, the rest is history with a new outright lap record and constant 4.2 second laps. 

The same car / controller combo also broke the laps final record at the recent open magnet event. :-)

Truspeed have now gone one better than their Transistor kit and will be producing a complete transistor controller at a very good value price:

Truspeed BP2 transistor controller


Friday 22 April Open Handicap - extract

"Secondly, the Truspeed controller continued to weave its magic with the aging GT40 and not even its owner in his wildest fantasies would have contemplated again breaking the laps record, this time by a whopping three laps, to take it to 156 laps, like Ash did with 1/24 production record earlier in the month."

Latest and final update:

Friday 26 August Open handicap - extract

"From a personal perspective, the steady improvement had looked red lined at 157 laps, although last month’s 157.96 was knocking at the 158 door. Qualifying was very, very nervy and the race only slightly less so but it is with thanks to Truspeed controllers and track-clean Lance that the same GT40 frog-leaped the plastic race record by almost four laps to the new ultimate record of 161.69 laps. Whilst I am confident that Ash, Lance and co. will soon attain same and beyond, it is time to tick the 160 lap holy grail box and retire the GT40 and slightly crazed speed to shelf queen status."

The ultimate best lap time with the BP Controller:

Sub 4.2 second lap time with the brand new production version Truspeed BP2 controller, which features adjustable spring tension (the plug mounted pot not required):