Guard Rails and Track Borders

Guardrails like these pictured here from ontracks are fine to add to your slot car layout and look good in their stock configuration. All brands of track have their own guardrails and most slot car sets these days of guardrails as standard for most of the kits.

The guardrails basic aim is to make sure that a de slotted car does not fly off and break which is a very bad thing considering the price and detail of the models.

The guardrail systems have not changed over the years, they are a made from a tough flexible plastic that can absorb most impacts. The guardrails have little tabs at the bottom that clip under your slot car track.

Track Borders and Rumble Strips

Everyone knows that real life race circuits have rumble strips or track borders as most slot car hobbyists call them. Most of the slot car brands have ready-made track borders like the ones pictured from ontracks here and are more than adequate for most slot car track designs. The idea of the track border is to take the advantage that the outside lane has in lots of situations the outside lane can use full power through a corner and the guardrail acts to keep the car from de slotting on the other hand if you have track borders in place the outside lane can’t use full power through the corner due the car sliding and eventually de slotting.

Track Planning for the Perfect Slot Car Design

There is quite a bit involved in track planning for a good slot car track design. In this section of the slot car track design site you will be taken through each step of the track planning phase to make sure when you come to build your slot car layout there will not be any hidden nasties like running out of space or even track which has happened to me in the early days until good planning software came along. Here is a summary of what you will find in this section of the slot car track design web site.

Track Planning for Your Table Size

This section deals with the first initial steps of planning your layout, which is what size the actual layout is going to be which depends on lots of different factors.

Choosing the Right Track for your Slot Car Design and Layout

There are numerous slot car brands out there these days and all there track is different read this section if you would like to know the differences in the different track even though you can run any brand of slot car on any track you will find that that most slot car track is not compatible with each other so choose wisely or you could end up spending a lot of money which no one wants or you can go DIY and build the track yourself by using a router and some brass or copper tape.

How Many Lanes Should Your Slot Car Design Have?

These days there are numerous possibilities when it comes to lane configuration, gone are the days of the simple 2 lane layout most slot car brands support up to 8 lanes this also becomes an important factor when planning your slot car layout and choosing which brand of track to use.

Slot Car Track Design Software

There is some really good slot car track design software this section has reviews of this software as well as some links to programs that are free to download so you can try them yourself, once you have used this software you won’t look back.

Ideas for Great Track Design

This section has some great ideas for track design. Ideas for turns and features to add to your slot car track design.

What does it mean to bore out something(car maintenance)?

I tried installing new spark plugs but one the plugs only went in 2 threads. My mechanic said he bored out the the slot where the plug is supposed to go and now it goes in fine.

What does bored out mean?

Will this result in the issue being fixed, or will this come up again next tune-up?

5 Responses

Rod Knocker Says:

I sure hope he didn’t bore out your plug hole. That would not be good. He probably chased the threads with a tap and cleaned them up. It should be a permanent fix.

If he bored it out, he enlarged the hole. If the hole is enlarged, the plug will no longer stay in place and all the metal would have fell into your engine.

Christophero Says:

It like drilling a hole that is already there and making it just slightly bigger so that the interior wall is smoothe and fits correctly with the part that connects there.

Perchy Says:

When they talk about boring things out, it’s like drilling them. Making them wider or deeper. He made the slot deeper so the spark plug would fit. Shouldn’t cause any more problems.

James B Says:

Bore out is too widen something. In this case it would be to widen out the threads back to normal. As for the problem it should not occur again, if it does you can buy a special tool to “chase” the threads, which means to clean them and make sure they are all good.

jim Says:

He could have just chased the treads with a tap or drilled out the old thread completely, tapped it with a larger tread and epoxied an insert in to the hole so a standard plug will fit. Permanent fix, either way

Slot Car Size Guide

Slot Cars and slot car tracks come in many sizes. The 4 most common sizes are 1/64 (Small), 1/43 (Medium), 1/32 (Large), and 1/24 (XL). The size of the track and cars you purchase should depend on how much room you have to setup the track and what aspects you are looking for in the cars and track itself. The most popular tracks for home use are 1/64 and 1/43.

(Small) 1/64

1/64 cars are also known as HO. With a size of around 2.5 inches, they are the most popular and smallest size of the slot car family. Choosing to go with a 1/64 slot car set will mean you will be able to fit more track in a small area. This will allow for more turns, more track, and a greater journey. Because of their light weight, HO or 1/64 cars can do loops and obstacles that larger cars can not perform. Another benefit of purchasing a 1/64 scale track is you can easy find 2 and 4 lane options. 2 lanes are perfect for smaller areas, while 4 lanes are great for larger groups or families. One downside of 1/64 cars is, because of their small size, they will be less detailed.

(Medium) 1/43

If you are looking for a track to fit in a small area, but would also like the cars to have good detail then a 1/43 size track would be a good choice. These cars are 3-4 inches long. The cars are light enough to do loops and small enough to fit many curves in a small area. They are large enough to display racing decals, door handles, and other detail. 1/43 cars are newer to the hobby, so there are far less cars and tracks available then at the 1/64 scale, but the are becoming increasingly popular. This is a good track option for kids and the Carrera “Go” brand has many cars that have been designed for kids, such as Disney Cars and Spiderman.

(Large) 1/32

1/32 slot cars are still small enough for home use, but require quite a bit more space than the smaller cars. They are 5-6 inches long and are very detailed. These cars are too heavy to do loops, but are very fun due to their larger size and more realistic appearance. 1/32 slot cars are not new to the hobby and they are many tracks and cars available. These cars have many options for customization. You can upgrade tires, gears and motors if you choose to, but the cars almost always come ready to race. 1/32 slot cars look great on a display case or shelf when they are not racing.

(XL) 1/24

1/24 cars are large. They are usually 7-8 inches long. These cars are normally raced on club and commercial tracks. It is possible to have a track at home, but it would likely take up a whole room. Because of the large size of these cars, they are very detailed. These cars can be customized by adding new tires, a new motor, new gears, etc… Many hobbyists build 1/24 slot cars from parts and can become a slot car mechanic when their cars crash.

The Joy Of Slot Car Racing

Not only do they look like their real life counterparts in so many ways, but slot cars also move in great speeds that only the most experienced can do without failing, and only the inexperienced can only dream of doing!

Owning a set, however, is oftentimes a bit on the expensive side. The most affordable ones can do the trick, although not as similarly exciting as how it is seen in reality.

In addition, most of these miniature cars are produced to almost have the same details as that of the real one, including the engine that’s included in it. To be able to capture the capability of its bigger brother, the slot car is built in the same way somehow – same dimensions, same speed, same character.

Also, most of the race tracks made are built in a way that all of the miniature cars launched move in the same manner – enclosed in a space enough to accommodate the edges of the car, guided in one direction where all the others are being navigated as well, and are at all hindered by any obstacles in their paths. Such race track actually brings out the best in the miniature car, as the only distinguishing factor would be the speed and durability of it.

The most thrilling experiences come from racing with friends within a track that is long enough to drain the cars of their energy after several laps. Aside from having a ‘freeway’ track (no designed tracks at all, although there’s a starting and a finishing point to determine winner), there are also other race tracks that would need a big space – just like how the real ones are seen on TV.

Of course, they key to winning the race is to make sure that the slot car being used is in top shape even before it is laid down to the racing arena. If running on removable batteries, the user should make sure that the battery is of heavy duty (if disposable) or fully recharged (if it can be charged.) The edges of the race car should be checked for possible cracks which would eventually contribute to the damaging of the car’s peripherals. Lastly, it’s all about having fun. Though miniature car fanatics do hate the fact that the hobby they love is not being treated with seriousness, they do not deny the fact that the fun factor remains to be the root of their dedication to the said hobby.

Now, where can people buy the best bundles? Online, of course. There are many race track – car miniature bundles sold in premiere shopping sites, with some even offering ‘branded’ race tracks and mini cars featuring some of the world’s most popular characters.

It pays to be not so serious for a while. It can even be a way of living for some, as long as it doesn’t affect their entire lives. One thing’s for sure, however – such hobby like collecting miniature cars, especially if it has its own cult following, will stay and will always be around. Unless something that’s more thrilling comes along, rest assured that these mini versions of the cars we love seeing live, and are afraid to mimic in real life, will just be around.

Plus, if it’s not mentioned already, doing this is an alternative to the much more perilous real-life version. If you’re a guy, don’t pass up on this chance. If you’re a girl, persuade your boyfriend to engage in it. It surely won’t disappoint.

Slot Cars for Toddlers

Slot Cars are fun for Kids of all ages and adults. This makes them great for families who would like to spend some time together doing something everyone will enjoy. There are specific features of certain slot car tracks that we feel are best for younger kids. These same tracks can be a blast for adults.

Some things to consider when purchasing a slot car track that toddlers will be using:

How hard will it be to set the track up and take it apart? Chances are that if you are purchasing a track for family fun, you won’t be leaving it up all the time. You will want a track that can handle the wear and tear from multiple uses.
How durable are the cars? Larger cars are typically more durable. Larger cars also tend to be more exciting for smaller kids.

How fast are the cars? Some cars / tracks are very fast and can’t be run around the entire track and full power. Sometimes curves require less power and this may be difficult for your toddler to understand. While having cars fly of the track can be fun, it can also be frustrating for smaller kids and can damage the cars. Are the controllers wired, or wireless? Wireless controllers seem to be better for young kids. You don’t have to worry about them pulling on the cables, or getting tangled in them.

How magnetic are the tracks? Some slot car tracks are more magnetic than others. Tracks that are very magnetic will hold the cars to the tracks better around curves. This is something to consider when purchasing a slot cars for toddlers.

Our 2 top picks for slot car sets for homes with kids are the Ninco 1/32 track sets and Carrera 1/43 track sets.

Ninco 1/32 Analog sets are large, but they have just about all the features from a set that people of all ages will be using. Ninco tracks are more durable and flexible than other tracks and can withstand the weekend setup and breakdown. Ninco 1/32 Analog sets come with wireless controllers that have a power adjustment feature. This, along with the fact that these tracks are more magnetic and cars stick to them better, help toddlers keep the cars on the track. This would likely be the best choice for a slot car set that a toddler would be using, as long as you have the room and the money. A track like this, with cars, will run you $300 or more.

Carrera 1/43 track sets were designed with kids in mind, but still don’t have quite all the features that the Ninco tracks have. Carrera 1/43 tracks are smaller and cheaper than the Ninco tracks. They are smaller scale, so you can fit much more track in a smaller space, but the cars are still about 4 inches long and are still exciting for small children. Carrera sets come with wired controllers, but they do have a spacer that can be inserted behind the controller trigger so that the cars will not go full speed. Wireless controllers can be purchased as an add-on, but they lack power adjustment features. Something else to consider about these tracks is that they are not as easy to put together and take apart as the Ninco tracks. Something that these sets really have going for them is many of the tracks are kids themed. There are many cars for the 1/43 Carrera tracks that were designed for kids, such as Disney Cars, and spiderman. Another benefit of these tracks is the cost. At around $100 – $200 the Carrera 1/43 track is definitely the way to go for a family on a limited budget.

Sunday night slot cars can be a great experience as long as the right type of set is purchased. Hopefully this guide will help you make the right decision when purchasing a family slot car set.

How do I put a chip in an analogue car?

SSD conversion from analogue

Here’s a quick guide to chipping a modern standard analogue car. (This is for non-digital-plug-ready cars). With practice this whole process should take no more than 30 minutes. A chipping guide is provided with every chip, and this is just our variation on a theme. You will probably find you develop your own preferred technique with practice and also depending on the car you are chipping. Tools required: A soldering iron with a fine tip, solder, a small Philips screwdriver, glue, tweezers, and a craft knife, scissors or wire cutters/strippers.

If you are chipping one of the Takara (Quattrox) Japanese JGTC cars from 2016, the plug-in modules for these were not available in the UK so you will have to chip these in a slightly different way using an ordinary saloon chip.

For this exercise we will use a saloon chip which comes as shown. The green and yellow wires run to the little silver feet that thread through the guide blade. The green wire goes to the left side braid and the yellow to the right. The two thinner red and black wires run to the under-car sensor board. The other two red and black wires go to the motor.

Here’s the car we’re chipping, an analogue Aston Martin DBR9. All the latest cars are chip-ready with chip holders and pre-drilled LED holes, so you will find them easier to do than some of the older ones that were out before digital was thought of. But if you can chip one of these, you should have no problem applying the same principles to a car from a previous decade. Start by unscrewing the (usually four or six) screws in the base of the car to separate the body from the chassis and put them somewhere safe. Inside the upturned body is a good idea as long as you remember they are there.

Inside any analogue Scalextric car (excluding any wiring for headlights or other unusual configurations used by other manufacturers), there will basically be two wires running from the guide blade to the motor. All we need to do is break those wires and connect the chip into the gap. Simple! The little bit of factory-fitted sellotape holds the wires flat to the undertray and you may find it useful to keep this.

Underneath the car, a hole has already been made just behind the guide blade, on the car’s centre line, to accept the LED. On earlier cars you will have to make this hole with a bradawl or equivalent. If you are making a hole, make it as close to the guide blade as possible. Sometimes you may be able to use the hole used by the screw for the display case although note that these are not always on the car’s centre line.

Remembering to leave the lighting wires alone, remove the braid plate and unscrew the guide blade so it dangles underneath the car. Cut the wires connecting it to the motor, somewhere around half their length. Slide out the feet of these cut wires from the guide blade (observing how they go, as you will replace them in the next step), and you will have two bits of wire a couple of inches long, with silver feet on the end. Store these safely in your slot car bit box as they may come in handy if you want to return the car to analogue form later. The photo shows the old wires snipped and ready for removal from the guide blade.

Get your chip, poke its pair of silver feet past the front headlight board, through the guide blade area in the car undertray, slide the feet in to the guide blade, and replace the braid plate to keep them in place. The green wire usually seems to go to the left side braid as the car is going forwards, and the yellow to the right. Pull the blade back through into the housing in the undertray and screw it in to the pivot point. You may find that you need to pass the green and yellow wires under the headlight board rather than over as shown in the photo, because of the car’s low nose bodywork.

Next job is to get the little LED sensor board to poke through that hole in the undertray. On this car it’s a bit fiddly because the hole is right by the front axle. A bit of poking and coaxing with tweezers or a craft knife will see it through. Best to do a test seating first so you know how to get it in, then, remove it and apply a small drop of superglue, hotglue, etc. – possibly even Blu-tack – around the hole before pressing it home quickly before the glue dries – the dome should protrude just slightly through the underside of the car. If you don’t fix it in place it can pop out during racing and your car will lose its ability to identify itself to the powerbase. Then the last job is to connect the motor.

You should have the red and black wires from the chip still flapping about, plus stumps of original wires you cut earlier. Strip back a few mm of each wire and loosely twist the red wire to the offside stump and the black wire to the other. Loosely tape over the twists to ensure the two joins do not contact each other for the moment. To check operation, pop the car on track and squeeze throttle ID 1 (all new chips have ID 1) to check if the car goes forwards. If it does, great. If it reverses, just untwist the wires and connect them the other way round, and check again. Also hold down the Lane Change button and run through a lanechanger to check it operates correctly.

Now the soldering. Remove the temporary tape, twist the wires tight and apply the solder to keep them from untwisting whilst racing. Finally a small piece of electrical tape wrapped around the soldered twists will prevent them from contacting anything inside the car (or each other) which could lead to the chip becoming damaged. Then pop the main circuit board edge-on in the holder provided, again a drop of glue will help (earlier cars won’t have a chip holder so you may have to hotglue the edge on those. Sometimes in a tight fit you can leave the chip board floating semi-loose if you are confident about all the other connections).

Now all there is to do is fit the body back on, making sure none of the wires foul the axle or other moving parts. On some older cars there is less room to play with inside and getting the body back on can be tricky, but with these later models it’s relatively easy. With earlier cars (pre-easy-fit guide blades) you won’t need the silver feet, and may have to cut them off and solder wires to some previous configuration of guide blade contact (only cut off the feet, not the capacitor and ferrite choke which are there for radio suppression purposes). Other cars will have their own challenges such as larger driver cages, front-mounted motors, or other bits and bobs inside the car that mean you have to shorten wires or position the chip differently to fit it all in – but stick to these principles and you won’t go far wrong.

Notice that we didn’t go anywhere near the motor, no need to disconnect anything in that area of the car (and risking accidentally disconnecting the lighting circuit for example), and should you want to take the chip out later on, all you need to do is find the wires with silver feet attached, that you snipped off earlier, and twist/solder them back as they were.