RC Slot Cars Up Close: You Get to Call the Shots

hotrod slot car racing

Dipping your feet into the world of remote-controlled cars is a great way to have fun regardless if you do it within the family or with friends. Making a hobby out of it can be very beneficial for your children. If they are past eight years of age, racing slot cars can help to further develop their eye-hand coordination. They can learn basic assembly skills in the world of miniature racing in terms of how such systems work. And it will help to nurture and boost their competitive spirit.

There are many types of hobby RC cars to choose from when getting started, but for now, we’ll delve more thoroughly into the thrilling world of slot cars. If this is the first time you encounter this niche concept in RC cars, then there are several things you need to consider before advancing head first into a proper race.

Type of Race Tracks

speed slot race

When getting a race track and slot cars you will find two types available: analog and digital. Being well into the digital age, the first thing kids ask is ‘What are digital slot cars?’. They are slot cars made for tracks where cars can drive on each others’ lanes, so racers can overtake and switch between lines on the track. On the other hand, analog race tracks have separate tracks for each contestant. So, if you are considering to get an electric slot car, it’s very important to also pick a suitable race track. If you don’t make sure that the race track and the slot cars are compatible, you’ll risk ending up with an unusable combo. 
Type of Controller

There are a handful of different types of controllers. Because of this, you need to be very careful when checking compatibility. For example, you can have a great controller with wireless access, however, this controller can not be used on an analog track. The wiring plays an important part too. If the power terminal is connected to the power source positive than you have what is called ‘positive gate.’ 

Some controllers can be used only with one kind of track wiring, so if there is no switch for the alternative gate configuration you need to find a new controller. The new digital controllers usually have a button for sensitivity control, button for changing lanes and a button for applying brakes.

Level of Detail

picture of different slot cars

Miniature remote-controlled cars can allow you to recreate some historical or modern-time feats in automotive sports. Slot cars are not an exception to this. Aussie RC shops even sell slot cars that have a lot of history attached to them and are built to recreate the historical success of our drivers on the actual race tracks.

Some take upon themselves to create scale models of actual tracks, and they even succeed in recreating the real venues with full scenery. You can either do that, or you can push even further and create a completely original race track. RC slot cars allow for plenty of customisation regarding looks, so, the level of detail is all up to you. 

Type of RC Power

close up picture of rc race track

We are all used to talking about all kinds of RC car batteries because that is the most prevalent propulsion fuel. An electric slot car is different in this regard because its little motors are powered by the metal strips in the slot. So, in essence, you have an electric circuit and the contacts in the slot car are meant to pick up that power. By controlling the flow you control the movement of the car. Race tracks with even and adequate power distribution apply power every 4 meters or so.

That being said, slot car track maintenance consists of getting rid of the greatest threats to conductivity: dirt and corrosion. If either of them is present on the track (after a week-long pause in use) then it will interfere with the flow of electricity and create problems for your racers. So when you buy slot cars, expect to spend some time wire-brushing the rust off the tracks and wiping dust off the contacts. You will need to prevent air humidity and potentially cover the track with a cloth after each use. 

Slot Car Maintenance

picture of rc track

It’s common wisdom – a lot of contacts cause a lot of wear. You have certain moving parts in the system and they are your primary targets for intercepting issues before they become problems. In slot cars, these would be the axles, motors, tires and gears. So, aside from taking care of the track, you will need to clean those parts before your slot car starts to slow down.

There are simple and straightforward ways to do this. The tires can be cleaned from dust by rolling them over some adhesive tape. This will not only get rid of the dust, but it will also give the tires better grip. The other way to ensure things run smoothly is to use a lubricant. This is a delicate matter so start applying as little as possible until you find the appropriate amount