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So I got a little bored over the rainy weekend and decided to rebuild and expand the track I made for my niece. It looks GREAT. Lots of features, a couple nice straightaways, some S curves, but... It appears power is an issue. Surges in some zones, dead stops in others. I'd read on HO Slot Car Racing that:

"It is often said that power should be applied every 15 or 20 feet for an even power distribution. This is true, but an even better way of determining power terminal track spacing is to count track joints. It is the joints that rob your track of power not just the length. Applying power every 12 to 15 track joints will assure that your track is properly powered."

Does anyone have any ideas? Is there any truth to the above statement? Would soldering power to track fix my issue? Or can I get away with just installing a couple more standard terminals as I have 2 more available? Or is the problem I'm having something else completely?

I can get a car through a lap or 2 but I do feel like I'm gassing it in areas I know are problematic only to have it surge a couple feet later then de-slot and fly off.

Here's what I'm working with:

Essentially 99' or 33m of track with 3 terminals (2 standard Tyco, 1 Tyco computer terminal)
1- 30V-10A variable power source which I've been running at 22V (The Tyco Racing Computer came with a 21.8V source and I've been running power between 22-24V w/o issue)
1- Tyco Racing Computer (details available if needed)
2- Parma Controllers (1-45ohm 1-60ohm)

If anyone needs any other information please let me know as I'd love to get this sorted before Father's Day!

THANK YOU ALL!!!
 

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I solder wires to the underside of track pieces for power taps.
some folks don't like to do that.
you can use the terminal tracks to provide the same purpose.
place equidistant apart for best results.
My Humble Opinion. (also note, I drag race and I use a lot of power taps in 20' 7.5". I don't know anything about slowing down to make a corner)
your mileage may vary
 

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If it is anything like model railroading then the more feeder wire points you have the better the power distribution. I agree with the equideistant points as well. Check your track joints as some of them may be seperating which will cause the dead zones. :cheers2:
 

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Discussion Starter #5
If it is anything like model railroading then the more feeder wire points you have the better the power distribution. I agree with the equideistant points as well. Check your track joints as some of them may be seperating which will cause the dead zones. :cheers2:
I'm sure it's just like model railroading! OK, so equidistant seems doable and it seems like you two are in agreement that it's power related. Question is, do I go by joints or do I go by distance? On 99' that would be 5 "terminals" for power. Not excessive and easily solder accomplished.

If I am soldering the points, what gauge wire works best? For trains O is 16, HO is 18. Same math?
 

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If you are using the same sized track pieces. The distance should equal out over the track joints. What I try to do is make all the feeder wires equi-distance in their length. Meaning cental location for the power source. The trade off is using a longer controler loop or moving your postion to centralize the location. How your track layout is accessible may not allow you to do that though.

As to the size of wire to use it is the same math but based on the power output not really the scale "0" or "HO". The bigger the wire (smaller # size) the less resistance (and heat) will be generated. Eventually you gain no discernable increased benefit so #12 or #14 sized wire is about as low as you need to go. I dont know the optimal wire size for slot cars so maybe someone else can make a better (and less expensive) recommendation for you.

:cheers2:
 

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Discussion Starter #7
What I try to do is make all the feeder wires equi-distance in their length. Meaning cental location for the power source. The trade off is using a longer controler loop or moving your postion to centralize the location. How your track layout is accessible may not allow you to do that though.
To clarify, all your pigtails are the same length? No matter where or how far they connect, right? Meaning the longest distance from power determines the length for all other pigtails?

And what do you mean by a longer controller loop?

Moving my location isn’t really possible as the track sits below an O scale layout with a control center or HO layout on either long side.
 

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Pretty much, but not exactly. They may vary by a few inches, but I always try to centrally locate a power connection strip under the layout to make them equal out.

The controller loop I reference depends on where you place your power pack and the 'rheostat' you use to control the current flow in relationship to where your pigtails are connected. If its inside the power pack - no need to worry about it. With my model rail roads I often have two rheostats (controlers) set up from a single power pack with a DPDT direction switch incorporated into each 'cab' (cockpit for the racers) to the power grid for the track which is in a fixed point on a side of the layout. The controller loop in my set up is the distance from the cab to the power connector strip. Unless you want to run your track clockwise and counter clockwise (or each lane seperately) it should be a much simplier set up for you.

The focus you want to have is to power equal lengths of the track layout. Like alpink stated just make them equidistance apart. Just make sure you have polarity correct for the different cross overs you have (I can see two of them.)
 

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Discussion Starter #9
The controller loop I reference depends on where you place your power pack and the 'rheostat' you use to control the current flow in relationship to where your pigtails are connected. If its inside the power pack - no need to worry about it. With my model rail roads I often have two rheostats (controlers) set up from a single power pack with a DPDT direction switch incorporated into each 'cab' (cockpit for the racers) to the power grid for the track which is in a fixed point on a side of the layout. The controller loop in my set up is the distance from the cab to the power connector strip. Unless you want to run your track clockwise and counter clockwise (or each lane seperately) it should be a much simplier set up for you.

The focus you want to have is to power equal lengths of the track layout. Like alpink stated just make them equidistance apart. Just make sure you have polarity correct for the different cross overs you have (I can see two of them.)
Good eye there are 2! I don’t think I have a rehostat unless it’s built into the power supply I have. I matched the voltage on the power pack for the Racing Computer as to not blow it out (although it says 21.8 I usually round it up to 22V and have pushed it to 24V just for fun w/o problems). Being that it’s 99’, it’d be off no matter what I did, will 6-12” be a problem or should I try to make that last pigtail 12” longer to make up that foot?

The controller loop is still lost on me (I do apologize as I’m self teaching and probably don’t know the terminology). In the past and in this setup I have 3 pigtails that I’ve joined and run directly to the DC power supply (I have the pic of the one I use posted above). It hasn’t caused any burn outs and appears to self regulate the amperage based on the draw of the cars, you can hear the fan kick in and watch the amps jump then settle after the cars take off. That power supply is then plugged into a surge protecting power strip. But that’s it. I haven’t done anything fancy beyond that. If you need further specs on the power supply it’s searchable on Amazon under: “Yescom 110V AC 30V 10A DC Power Supply Precision Variable Digital Adjustable Clip Cable“. I’d post the link but I think the post would get flagged.
 

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I understand we are at a terminology difference. The best way to describe it would be your individual car controls with sliding rheostats would be the controller loops on my layout.

A foot distance difference is not going to make any measurable effect in the electrical flow.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
Really appreciate the help Milton and Alpink, going to see what's easiest tonight, soldering in joints or just adding the couple terminals I have. Either way, it seems like the more power connections I can add, the better off I am. Thanks for your time and I'll update after I get it sorted!
 

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Since this is a longer than normal track there are two considerations. First off the rail itself has some resistance, that would be more important if you were running high performance cars since the resistance would be proportional to the amps that the cars are using. A greater concern with sectional track is all those joints, each joint is a potential problem. Even if there are no open joints the ones that are less than perfect will act like resistors, so having a few of those in the same lane will cause a noticeable drop in power. The usual cure for both problems is to add jumpers, but that may not be completely satisfactory if there are enough bad joints. In order for a car to stall out there has to be two bad joints because power can reach a section from two directions. The ultimate solution is to check all of the track joints and fix any bad ones that you might find. Troubleshooting a long track is a major pain in the neck, that is a major reason that people buy aftermarket tracks.
 

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rheostats can be "pots" [potentiometers](like used for volume control in sound systems). "controllers" are a related form of rheostat.
the purpose .... to control the voltage to the track (in some electronic controllers Amperage is controlled). and as MFR points out, railroads run both directions where as most slot car tracks only go one way.
if not already mentioned. fuse at each controller station will save a lot of headache down the road (pun intended).
 

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Adding or moving power taps won't do much if the rails and/or contacts on the track sections are dirty.
I'd start by giving the rails and the contacts of the track sections where you notice a problem a through cleaning. Then work away from the problem section in both directions.
Avoid using heavy abrasives. I start by cleaning the top if the rails and the contacts on the ends with a big pink pencil eraser. Then wipe the metal and track surface down with a rag and WD-40. Enough to shine-up the track surface. Leave that set overnight of at least a few hours. Wipe down with a clean rag to remove any remaining WD-40. Apply Rail Zip (check in the model railroading area of the hobby shop) to the rails and contacts and reassemble.
It sounds like a lot of work because it is. But, it works. My son and I restored a bunch of encrusted eXcellerators track when we were fooling with slotless stuff. We actually got 3 cars running at once for a time. The concept was a LOT more exciting than the actual implementation :) My Tomy track has been in storage since my last move 4 and a half years ago and I'll be cleaning it before even considering setting it up again.
 
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