How Slot Cars Work
Racing slot cars is an exciting hobby in which anyone can engage. Enthusiasts can be found all over the world and there are slot car racing clubs found in nearly every major city. Most slot car racing clubs rules state that having fun is their primary objective. Slot car racing can be enjoyed by people of all ages, male or female.
Slot cars are very simple little devices. They are miniature models of real racing cars, slot usually on a 1:24 scale. Power is supplied to the slot car via metal strips which are situated next to the slot on the track. This is then picked up by contacts alongside something called the guide flag which is a blade that swivels and is located at the front of the car. This voltage is varied by a resistor found in the hand controller which the car’s “driver” holds. This forms the basic circuit. Other optional features like electronic devices are available.
HO cars work somewhat differently, but the premise is the same. The current is passed through metal rails which project just above the track’s surface and which are set out farther from the slot. The car has electrical contacts which are called “pickup shoes” which are mounted directly above the slot car’s chassis. A small round guide pin is usually used rather than a swiveling flag.
In many scale slot car racers, traction magnets are often used to give the car something called downforce. This helps the car maintain its relationship to the racing track when traveling at higher speeds. It provides greater enjoyment for the driver because the car will not slide or “drift” outward when racing. This provides a more realistic visual impact for drivers.
Slot cars are more than just mini versions of their full sized counterparts. Some are built from scratch and are beautifully hand-crafted renditions of their creator’s favorites. Some are even further modified to give them an even better performance edge. Other than the small swiveling flag there is nothing to keep the car from flying off the track when rounding curves. This is what gives the hobby such an exciting appeal to those who participate in it.
All are comprised of a body which is a solid molded piece of plastic that fits on top of the chassis. The car’s weight and distribution of that weight are of primary consideration when designing and building a slot car.Each car usually has an interior portion which is attached to the body as well. Each car will have an electric motor placed in either in its middle, front or rear. Racing car motors are rated according to the number of RPMs (revolutions per minute) they produce. This is determined by amount of voltage it receives.
Wires made of copper or steel braids make contact with the track and provide the car’s power. A guide flag is attached under the car’s chassis. The guide flag is what guides the car along the race track’s slot.
Gear sets are used to control the car’s acceleration and speed. Standard gears can be upgraded at a later time so as to increase the car’s performance level. Magnets are added to the front and rear of the car for downforce. Some racing car enthusiasts choose to race cars without magnets because magnets add to the weight of the car.