Novices' Corner
This is a place where those new to the hobby/sport of slot car racing can ask questions about the basics. For example, how and where do I solder the motor to the frame, and is it necessary? Or, what exactly does "braid juice" do? If you have a question about the basics of slot car racing for SlotSide's "Guest Experts" please feel free to e-mail me.

.....Recommended setup of a Flexi-2 chassis running a 16d motor ( gear ratio, tire size and type, use of hot wing, Flexi-2 setup such as sliding pan forward or back and orientation of square oilites, anything else)

.....Some of the things you asked depend on the rules. The axle bushings can be in four different positions, and if you are allowed to run 3/32 axle, I recommend you put the hole near to the bottom. I myself prefer short cars, so I would (and do) run it with the hole in front bottom corner. Shorter car gives you a faster car but requires some more skill. Longer car gives you easier handling but you lose some speed. However, on tracks with large radius corners it may be wiser to run a longer car. With 1/8 axle you should run the bushings with the hole on top side.

Tires you should always try to run as low as possible. Rules state how low you can go. It will probably turn out that you need to cut your tires narrower. On most tracks there is far too much grip for 16-D powered cars. Some tail-out gives you better control over the car. If your car tends to roll (understeer), make your tires narrower with at least 1/8". This will also give you better speed and motor life.

Sliding the pan forward is a matter of preference. You should try it as well as the use of lead on the pans and the addition of hot wing. All these depend on the track layout, grip and driving style. Kimmo Rautama

..... Motor tuning (how to change timing, how to adjust armature end-play, spring tension, what kind of brushes, zapping magnets, legal after market arms, any thing else). Its discouraging when you drive pretty good and you are getting blown away because of lack of top end.

.....What I think you are talking about is Production class, and to my knowledge the rules restrict you to use unopened motors. Some local rules may allow you to do some maintenance and limited tuning, but in general I'd say 16-D motor performance is more down to variations in quality. There will always be some differences in motors because arms are machine wound, timing varies, magnet material is not homogeneous and cans are stamped. Some things which you probably are allowed to do are reducing the end-play, aligning the brush hoods and magnets and changing the brush pressure (you can do all this without opening the motor). You can reduce end-play by pushing (tapping) in the can bushing a bit. You want to leave some end-play to let the arm rotate freely without touching the bushing at either end. Center the arm between the bearings by sliding the magnets in or out at equal distance until the arm does not lean on the bushings. Then, if allowed, drop some superglue or epoxy between the magnets and the can. Run the motor in on a power supply or on a battery pack (I hope you have remembered to do this, it is ESSENTIAL) with 5-6 volts for at least 30-60 minutes (remember to oil the bushings every now and then). Remove the springs and extract the brushes. Remember to make a small mark to both brushes so you know which is which and which way it was in the brush hood. Now check that the whole arched surface has touched the commutator. If not, the motor needs more running in. If OK, check the alignment by placing the brush on flat block the arched surface against the block. When you look the brush from the longer side (you are able to see the arc), the brush should lie in straight angle to the block. If not, you will need to adjust the brush hood. Open the screws that hold the brush hood slightly and turn the brush hood marginally to correct the angle. Tighten the screws (don't over-tighten) and reinstall the brushes and springs. If you have a fiddlestick, you can check the brush pressure. It should be even on both sides. Run the motor on power supply and gently push the brush with a small screwdriver or wrench. If you hear the motor rev up, you need more brush pressure. Usually production motors have a very rough comm, which results in poor contact between the brushes and comm. Increasing the pressure will help. Finally, keep your motor clean (use solvent or spray cleaner to clean it once in a while. If the comm is deep grooved and you are not allowed to retrue the comm, you better buy a new motor.
Kimmo Rautama

..... Recommended chassis for different types of tracks.

.....If you now are talking about Production chassis, I'd say Trinity Spyder, Parma Flexi-II and Champion Astro all work fine (the only ones I've had) but they need to be built properly (read the article on building the Flexi-II on Slotnet's Tech Tips from the Pro's by Steve Koepp). Champion Astro is the shortest and Trinity Spyder the longest, so take your pick!
Kimmo Rautama

.....Body tuning (taping, reenforcing, etc)?

.....This is always the thing that causes most confusion among racers. By making an outstanding body within rules you can get a tremendous advantage. Body, when talking about non-wing racing, should always be flexible. All bodies need also be light (don't sacrifice the looks, though). You can increase the flex by cutting the front wheel wells open if you dare, that's what I always do and I have to say the body is more durable after that if you remember to put some strapping tape around the wheel wells on the underside of the body to prevent tearing. Apart from these and the tape in the front, you only need small pieces of tape under the pins. This is sufficient, unless you thought about racing the same body the whole year...

On banked tracks you will find high cut bodies work well, and on flatter tracks low cut is the thing.
Kimmo Rautama

.....How does the break work on a controller?

.....Brake connects your motor's poles together (red and black wires in the controller) which is the same thing as you put the braids together. When the motor does not rotate it has no effect. But when the motor rotates (even without the power, as when the car rolls), it creates electricity (motor=generator=changes mechanical energy (rotation) into electricity or vice versa) and makes the motor short out and slow down, as it resists the rotation and tries to turn it in the other direction. Kimmo Rautama


.....I can tell you how to do anything to the motor you want to do. There is a book called, simply, THE MOTOR BOOK that will give the beginner some good advice. I am guessing that you are racing group 10 or around that, these modifications will work for low end group 12 classes: -----Get a brush hood alignment tool, If you have a Parma 16 D, get a tool made just for it; if you are using a C can like a Mura, Champion, R.J.R. etc, get a tool made by Slick 7, Koford or anybody else (It will work of it has two holes). Loosen the brush hood screws, put the tool under the hoods, and get a Mura drill blank shaft to put through the bushings and through the hole in the moddle of the tool. Set the motor on a flat table and make sure the tool is parrallel with the table, or you can time it by having the motor on the table the same way it will be in the car, and looking at the endbell, push the tool down slightly in the LEFT side. The more you shove it down, the hotter the motor will get, so be careful and experiment. ------Another nice trick is to get some Kofors silver heat transfer compound, a very small amount of it is $4.00 but it's worth it. Your track owner should be able to tell you how to use it. I hope this is useful, I know alot more but it takes equipment that the beginner doesn't have like honeing and polishing tools and bits.

Brian Galle

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