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Discussion Starter #1
I'm looking at getting my first big set. I've been into HO for 30 years, with a bit of a break in the middle. The more I look into the digital systems, the more confused I get. Soo, I'm thinking that going with the masses is my best bet. Who is the most popular company? And what are the downfalls?
 

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It really depends on where you live. Here is list of the primary markets for each brand -

Germany - Carrera Digital
UK - Scalextric SSD
Spain - Ninco N-Digital & SCX Digital

In the USA, it is a mix of all the different brands.

How much space do you have available for a track? Do you like fast, stuck down cars or slower, T-Jet style slot cars?

Best regards,
Brian
 

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Unfortunately and fortunately it does depend

FYI. I have tons of time and money in my HO cars over the last thirty years like you. I went with Carrera Digital 132 & 124 initially by accident, but have never regretted the decision. I love slotless in HO and digital is the next best thing. And the detail, driving dynamics, and durability is why I chose and love Carrera. The only other primary consideration that is very important is space. If you ahve limited space Carrera may not be for you. The tracks are made larger than other brands so they can accommodate 1/24 scale cars. Sclextric has the most variety in cars, by a long shot. And Ninco Probably has the most durable track sections. And if you are a modeler and looks are important then it comes down to personal preference.

There are tons of comparisons on the SCI board. Good luck and don;t get bogged down by people's personal tastes. Objective opinions and observations are fine. And the very best way is to hang with the guys who have the different brands. In all honesty; if I had to do it all over again, that one factor alone would determine what brand I'd choose.

Hope that helps
 

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I just bought a used Scalextirc digital set that has a ton of track, I am a long time die hard HO scale racer / collector and I have to admit that just for laying the track out on the living room floor it was a ton of fun racing when we had 4 cars on the track at once, My only complaint is with a big track (70 ft+ lane length) layout you need to run several jumpers for the track or the cars slow down quite a bit away from the power supply. Otherwise it was great, the lane change feature is awesome, we had all 4 cars stacked up in one lane and just racing in one groove, until someone got the guts to make that last minute braking pass, really good racing, all the cars are stock, but I tweaked one and it came to life real fast, lots of improvement room left on the "stock" car platform, make tires round, align gears, better braids etc etc. And also the night racing with the car headlights is really good, you have to know where the lane changes are to be fast. Still good fun.

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Discussion Starter #5
Did a bit more research.. Carrera is out--too brittle. SCX or Scalextric? There's 2 types of SCX track--Classic and Sport. I found an adapter track, but it didn't say if you can use the Classic with digital or not. I've read that SCX and Scalextric Classic are basically the same.. Is 1 smoother than the other? Which would be a closer match to the Sport tracks? I'd like to say thanks too for all of the help here. I try to answer questions as much as I ask them. Some forums out there are all about people posting questions, and no one answering. This is the first one I've tried in over a year, and it looks like I picked the right one.
 

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I have both sets classic & digital of the Scalextric & I cant see too much difference between them & yes they will connect together, the only real difference I see is in the power tracks & lap counters but they all connect together with each other. Not sure on the SCX brand.

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I have a 70' Carrera digital track in the basement and I like it a lot. I can run 1/32 or 1/24 on it and the selection of cars from Carrera was what made my decision. The current range is a little lacking in street muscle cars, but the older ones can be found. The big drawback is the cost of digital chips at $25 makes it expensive to convert other brands to Carrera. I have no issue with the brittle part, but it does take a lot of space for a nice layout.
 

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I'm in a group in the Seattle area, D.R.A.W.W, that runs Scalextric digital. We run a few series a year all on the members home layouts and we have quite a variety. We have run Pioneer Mustangs which were Scalextric digital ready, you just bought a Scalextric digital plug in and screwed it in to the car. We've run Slot It Group C cars, Scalextric Super resistant GTP cars and now we're running Scalextric Mini Coopers, the new style. The tracks range in size from a small L shape with lots of tight R1 corners to a 14 X 7 table with big straights and sweeping curves and a couple of tracks in between. My new track is going to be a Rally style track with lots of elevation changes and twists and turns. I may even build it on multi level tables. Not sure how to do that yet. But the plan is to be able to run Rally races with one car on the track at a time for best over all time and to also run 6 cars at a time digital style. Why did we pick Scalextric? It was most available in our area. Have not regretted the choice.

Later The HO cars just got too fast and too small for my ageing eyes and reflexes Rockinator
 

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Discussion Starter #9
In my searching, I stumbled onto a hoarder's dream cloud for Carrera.. He's local near me, so picking it up and sending it off isn't a problem.. Be nice to get a car for my efforts. He's asking $900 in the ad, but said $750 on the phone when I tried to get more photos. If you're interested, let me know and I'll send a link. If I were selling on ebay, I know I'd come out ahead if I bought it all for $800. Everything was bought from a hobby store a year ago, and a lot have never seen the track. Those that did, weren't on long, maybe an hour, according to him. There's a good chance I'd clear $1K listing on the bay, but there's no garantees. If you want the link, let me know. And, as a bonus, the guy I just bought some track from has at least 1 Carrera set in his shed. He'll be sending along the info in a day or so. Let me know if you're interested.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
Hey, just posted a reply to you in "Which 1/32 is best" thread.. I wanted to chirp in on your elevation plans.. The reason I went with Scalextric was because of the way the cars change lanes. An IR signal from the car hits a sensor, then paddles flip so the car turns. I don't have my parts yet, but I already know how to rout the tracks.. You want a deeper slot, at least 1/8 for what you're doing, but 1/16 for my needs with more gradual hills. How to keep straight, parallel lines? Kinda easy-mark out in pencil, then a sharpie, the basic route on a piece of aluminum flashing you cut from a roll. They actually sell this stuff in different widths, and I think one of them is 8 inches, perfect for multiple hill lanes. Far enough apart that the guy next to you won't crash into you, but close enough to conserve space. Anyways, mark the lines, then either use a sheet metal nibbler(electric or air, not manual, it'd be too choppy). Drill some pilot holes for screws every 4 to 6 inhes, depending on how uneven the surface is, and use the flashing as a guide for the router. Use plywood scraps if you can for the turn-arounds, or cut an arc in the flashing. To keep the edge of the flashing up off the table when routing, use a piece of clothesline under it. I hope I'm explaining this well enough. If not, ask. After you're routed, you'll need cans of expanding foam from a hardware store. Trying to plaster this would be a nightmare of people constantly putting their hands thru it. You'll need 2 types of screen.. A 1/4 inch hardware cloth, and either a bunch of cotton strips/old towels or nylon window screen. The first gives you the basic height of your hills, the second you put on top of the foam before the hardware cloth to keep the foam from coming thru. You'll have hills solid enough for a 250 pound guy to lean on to retrieve his truck without putting his hand thru your hill. There's an unbleached, light cotton fabric on a roll in Jo Ann Fabrics that's pretty inexpensive. Once the foam is in place, then you can top it all off with plaster. You can do a foam top coat, but this stuff is sticky as hell, so make sure you have a bunch of latex gloves and disposable clothes when you use it. If this sound like what you're after, let me know and I'll try to dig up a few vids showing how to do foam mountains.. Now, a question I really need answered.. Can the pit lanes be used as an outside passing lane if it's away from the tree? Since they don't have any turnoffs yet, it's the only way I can think of to add an extra passing lane.. I just want to make sure you can do it without getting penalties added to your time/score. I figure it should work as long as the extra lane isn't part of the pit lane. Could you investigate and let me know??
 
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