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Bad Decisions


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#1 Conditionally Human

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Posted 08 February 2012 - 01:42 PM

When I was a kid (and not in charge of my own finances) my slot car sets were generally of the less expensive variety. Anybody remember “Speed King”? To this day I don’t know the scale. It was a smaller scale than 1/32 but bigger than HO. Made in Taiwan, very cheap, battery powered, and totally crap, but, that’s how I wasted my young life. The actual racing was rather ordinary but I loved designing and building new tracks with my very limited resources. All in all, I’d say “great bang for the bucks”.

Meanwhile, back at the ranch, my mates at school had good sets like Tyco, AFX and Scalextric (damn their eyes).
Fast forward thirty plus years and I’m still not in charge of my own finances, but at least I can now negotiate with the minister of war and finance for a stipend.
So, what do I do with said meager extra cash? Pay off the mortgage? Save for a holiday? Feed the kids? NOooooooo!

Two words. “Slot Cars”!
I chose Ninco. Good thing too since I love over spending for limited return. If I’d chosen Scalextric I would have needed to buy a train set and a kite as well as the slot car set to waste as much money as I have. Don’t get me wrong, I’m still fully immersed in the hobby, and my track is getting to be pretty awesome, but I’ve made some good decisions and some bad ones.

This brings me around to the subject at hand. “Choices”.
In my next post (If you’re not bored enough already), I hope to be liquored up enough to highlight my best and worst decisions when it comes to money wasted, or money well spent.

I invite others to join the discussion.

It can include your choice of Scale, track surfaces, the support from manufacturers (as “Ninco Hobbies” disappears in a puff of logic), value for money, new and immerging technologies, or simply what you would have done differently had you known what you know now.

What’s the worst choice you ever made (and what’s the best) when it comes to your track?

Peter.

Edited by Conditionally Human, 08 February 2012 - 01:42 PM.

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#2 neil

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Posted 08 February 2012 - 04:48 PM

Know where ya coming from when you feel your money is not well spent with this hobby,,,,,,I too have made not what I call bad descisions, but I'll call them unlearnt. Thankfully though (I'll admit to being a scrooge),,, my first couple of investments were in a brand called Wallop/Jaida,,,,,This brand alone was not a problem if you know that "you get what you pay for" ,,,,actually it was quite good,, It was the outlaying of extra monies on the SCX track to gain a variety of corners,,,, problem there was the wallop/Jaida brand is probably the deepest slot amongst all plastic track brands,,, & the Scx was possibly the shalowest slot of plastic track availible....My 2nd outlay of monies again was on the elcheapo Wallop/Jaida brand,,,it wasn't a case of "gluten for punishment" but at $60 for a 10mtr layout ( this time I bought 3 sets),, I wasn't prepared to pay for the so called premium brands knowing what I was going to do with the track in my enviroment...

Then there are the cars ,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,

#3 moneypit

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Posted 09 February 2012 - 02:07 AM

Bad decision? getting rid of my childhood scalextric track years ago, with the 2 AC cobra cars. Wish I had kept the cars.

24 scale flexi and grp 12 racing? actually not bad value. You can keep the chassis for ages if you don't bend them, and just paint up different bodies now and then, but alas the tracks died out in my area years ago. Though a new one is comming aparently!

32 scale? How the hell did I acumulate 100+ cars and counting? Then add the cost of fitting alloys and engines to probably half of them, Jeez, I don't really want to add that up!
Craig

#4 inveterate retiree

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Posted 09 February 2012 - 03:48 AM

Letting go of my Cox magnesium chassis sidewinder. I had a wonderful time with that thing.

Apart from that, $3k on the nDigital track setup (complete) & some cars could have been more effectively invested. I really should have made my own routed track. Anyway, that's how it went...

Edited by inveterate retiree, 09 February 2012 - 03:49 AM.

I used to be surprised that I was still surprised by my own stupidity, finding it strangely refreshing.
Well I don't now.
I'm over it!

Photos of my track in progress.


#5 Garry J

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Posted 09 February 2012 - 07:15 AM

Worst decision ever ?

Too easy, that would be my first wife.

Best decision ever ?

That would be my second, current, and hopefully permanent wife, whom I met when she was running a commercial slot car centre. Every boys dream come true.

Edited by Garry J, 09 February 2012 - 07:16 AM.

Cheers,

Garry J


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#6 Conditionally Human

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Posted 16 February 2012 - 12:04 AM

Bad Decisions Part 2

Firstly, niel. Sixty bucks you say for ten meters of track? Good decision in my books. If you were buying Ninco, that would have bought about six meters of track borders. Seriously.

With regards to the brand, “Wallop/Jaida”, you had me fascinated. I followed links on the subject all night and read something about SCX getting them on an infringement of copyright, and that the brand is no longer in production. That’ a shame in a way. Another player on the market offering good value for money surely would be a boost to the hobby in general.

Craig (Moneypit). Do you race many of those cars? How many are raced and how many are still new? I’m relatively new to the hobby so I’m hard pressed building up a decent race fleet. I’ve bought and chipped fourteen cars so far (mostly Ninco) and only eight are drivable
.
Now, that brings me back to the subject of good or bad decisions. I’ve been encouraged by SlotsNZ to document my successes and my failures in the hope that it may be of help to others. In reality, I strongly suspect that I’m still throwing good money after bad. After all, I spent a year or so researching and saving before I took the plunge and didn’t buy Scorpious. How I wish I knew what I know now. When I did step into the breach, I had about fifteen hundred dollars to start off with and thought that I’d get the slot car track of my dreams for this money. How naïve I was.
As stated earlier, my main theme will be “Bang for the Buck” (and Garry J, marrying the cutie from the slot car shop is priceless and we don’t have enough space to cover it here, though you probably have lots of guys thinking).

So, here’s how I’ve gone so far.

Today, here are my good decisions on a bang for buck rating.

1. 1.A can of Innox (thanks for the tip handy).
2. 2.Power taps. (an absolute must for any track).
3. 3.Switchmode power supply. I bought a powertech mp3090 second hand for $120.
4. 4.After market controllers. Slot-it SCP-1 controllers have short leads (a problem I still haven’t addressed but will) but I can’t express in words the difference they’ve made to my whole slot car experience.
5. 5.Track choice. While I have issues with Ninco Hobbies and their commitment to slotting and to their customers in general, I’m still not unhappy that I chose Ninco (cost not withstanding) for the track surface, the conductivity and the fun I’m having.

Again, I’m new to the hobby and new to the forum, but I'd have to say that I don’t see a lot of activity here lately. Is that normal?

If anybody has anything to add, please do so. Bang for the buck. Good decisions, bad decisions, or just say hello.
I don’t get lots of time off, but I’ll post about bad decisions next time (in a week or two perhaps).

Peter.
"At last, after two thousand years of work, the illudium PU-36 Explosive Space Modulator" - Marvin the Martian

#7 SlotsNZ

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Posted 16 February 2012 - 05:40 AM

View PostConditionally Human, on 16 February 2012 - 12:04 AM, said:

Bad Decisions Part 2

Firstly, niel. Sixty bucks you say for ten meters of track? Good decision in my books. If you were buying Ninco, that would have bought about six meters of track borders. Seriously.

With regards to the brand, “Wallop/Jaida”, you had me fascinated. I followed links on the subject all night and read something about SCX getting them on an infringement of copyright, and that the brand is no longer in production. That’ a shame in a way. Another player on the market offering good value for money surely would be a boost to the hobby in general.

Craig (Moneypit). Do you race many of those cars? How many are raced and how many are still new? I’m relatively new to the hobby so I’m hard pressed building up a decent race fleet. I’ve bought and chipped fourteen cars so far (mostly Ninco) and only eight are drivable
.
Now, that brings me back to the subject of good or bad decisions. I’ve been encouraged by SlotsNZ to document my successes and my failures in the hope that it may be of help to others. In reality, I strongly suspect that I’m still throwing good money after bad. After all, I spent a year or so researching and saving before I took the plunge and didn’t buy Scorpious. How I wish I knew what I know now. When I did step into the breach, I had about fifteen hundred dollars to start off with and thought that I’d get the slot car track of my dreams for this money. How naïve I was.
As stated earlier, my main theme will be “Bang for the Buck” (and Garry J, marrying the cutie from the slot car shop is priceless and we don’t have enough space to cover it here, though you probably have lots of guys thinking).

So, here’s how I’ve gone so far.

Today, here are my good decisions on a bang for buck rating.

1. 1.A can of Innox (thanks for the tip handy). [I can live with that]
2. 2.Power taps. (an absolute must for any track). [Nah, if you have Ninco you shouldn't need power taps]
3. 3.Switchmode power supply. I bought a powertech mp3090 second hand for $120. [definitely - if it is variable voltage]
4. 4.After market controllers. Slot-it SCP-1 controllers have short leads (a problem I still haven’t addressed but will) but I can’t express in words the difference they’ve made to my whole slot car experience. [Yeah, decent controllers so much better, but most brands seem to come with pretty short leads, never fear, because you bought THAT good controller; in a few months, you'll be able to plug the bottom of the controller into the station, and hold the rest in your hand and wander about wirelessly]
5. 5.Track choice. While I have issues with Ninco Hobbies and their commitment to slotting and to their customers in general, I’m still not unhappy that I chose Ninco (cost not withstanding) for the track surface, the conductivity and the fun I’m having. Again, I’m new to the hobby and new to the forum, but I'd have to say that I don’t see a lot of activity here lately. Is that normal?
[Yeah, for plastic brand, a lot of advantages over Scaley/SCX. Carrera also has some great points for a permanant setup, but has connection issues - requiring lots of power taps]

If anybody has anything to add, please do so. Bang for the buck. Good decisions, bad decisions, or just say hello.
I don’t get lots of time off, but I’ll post about bad decisions next time (in a week or two perhaps).

Peter.

I could add a couple right away.
6) Buying a really well tuned 2nd hand Slot.it, so you can see what the "cunning beggars" do to get the last 5% out of them. I say Slot.it, simply because it will be difficult for you to avoid adding a bunch of these to your stable over time, and their common platform is a good product, and good learning base.
7) Good tools and glue. I just got a Scale Auto torque driver, and it has variable torque settings, so really useful for setting up to your own tightening preference. KNowing which glues to use and where . . . priceless.
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#8 Ember

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Posted 16 February 2012 - 06:59 AM

Perhaps I'm lucky but I don't really think I've made any bad slotting related decisions... yet.

Unless, of course, one considers getting involved in the whole thing in the first place. It can become a bit of a funding blackhole without careful control.

Best decisions? Buying a slot car set

DSE variable power supply - $120
Professor Motor 2120 controllers - $65 each
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#9 moneypit

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Posted 16 February 2012 - 12:53 PM

Yeah Peter most of my cars are used. I probably have a dozen that are shelf queens. A couple of carrerra dodge chargers and a hot rod cuz they look cool, and a few collectables like the bob jane comaro's and moffat mustangs.
I have a ninco home track that is rarely set up for a "testing" run as I usualy run them on a commercial wood track, though not as often as I'd like these days. I actually like the quality of the ninco track and the surface sort of roughs up the tyres.
Not a fan of the ninco cars I'm afraid. I just don't want to do the chassis work to get them to run on a wood track, there are other brands that work well so why bother, plus I just don't like the sound of them! It wouldn't take ninco much to stiffen the rear of their chassis, so if they can't be bothered why should I? I only have 2 of them, rarely used.

NSR make a great car, couple of drops of glue, couple of adjustments and nothing more to spend to have a great race car.

I have a soft spot for slot-it's as well. good looking, a little cheaper to start, but a little more work (not much). We where chucking the plastic fronts and fit the stock 8mm rears to the front, fit some 10's to the rear with some wide P3's and off you go! the nissan R390's are my favourite's

Scaley comaro's and mk1 gt40's are my pick of that bunch oh and a couple of stang's too (though these are a bit narrow to fit aftermarket wheels). Buy a 20 or 22K motor, sloting plus (fit well) or similar wheels and axles, slotit gears, tyres new bearings, they end up dearer than the NSR at the end. In fact a sorted and repowered mk1gt40 on a mag track will surprise a few!
Similar story with the pioneer have a few mustangs, they are a good match for the scaley comaro. I found the stock plastic pioneer wheels fell of within half a dozen laps!
The yank style cars are not as quick as the nsr/slotit type but still fun, a little different, and just look great IMO

Oh and a couple of the Spirit reynard "long can" cars, very nice, look good, though the short can model I accidently grabbed was, well, crap, just my opinion however.

So yeah, and I seem to have a dozen cars that are in the process of a freshen up at any one time (in bits) but that's some of the fun.
My "race" box has room for 10 cars and the professor motor you-beut controller, and I tend to leave a couple of the favourites (fastest) in there and rotate the rest.

So yeah, 100 odd cars, a shitload of spares, and most with alloys cuz I just hate the plastic wheels, they break, normaly arn't very true, and too hard to dissasemble, adds up to many $$$.
And I don't spend anywhere near the amount of time as the club racers do on setup, too fiddly for me, but those guy's do go way quicker, but only for a few laps, then clean the tyres! I just CBF'd with that, I just like running them when at the track.

Oh dear that ended up too long! but you asked!
Craig

#10 Conditionally Human

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Posted 24 April 2012 - 01:17 PM

Bad Decisions Part 3

Firstly, a thank you to everyone who has contributed to this thread so far.
I’m a novice still in this hobby and need all the help I can get..

Bad decisions (on a “bang for buck” rating).

1. Ninco Digital (not the track, just the electronics).

Seriously, I regret every dollar I’ve spent on something that just doesn’t work right. For nearly two years I’ve been throwing good money after bad trying to make something work that was flawed in its original design. Add to this the fact that I think Ninco Hobbies already came to same conclusion, which, in my opinion, is why they will never improve their current system without going back to the drawing board and starting again.


The design flaws are myriad and I’m too lazy to document them all here, but there’s the lack of control steps in the throttle and brake profiles, the poor implamentation of fuel usage (making the pit lane useless), the tiny, difficult to read display screens, lack of ghost car facilities, no race management software as promised (I’m guessing that they won’t deliver on this ever, because it would further highlight the systems limitations), and then there's dead strips (just to start).


There is also the little reported fact that Ninco lane change electronics seem to require at least 10 volts. I’m not sure of that figure exactly, but since, my track has over a hundred pieces, and every track join is a potential source of impedance, when running lower voltages for non magnet racing I need to power tap almost every lane change section to make them work with any accuracy. Add this to fact that I thought I could race eight cars at once (no, I haven’t spent money on the simple H mod yet) which just won’t happen. I can get five cars into a race after some fiddling around, but you’re lucky if the power base records any driver info except for the driver who recorded the fastest lap.


2. My choice of cars.

If I spend $60 or $70 on a car and $29 on a chip, then the average cost of a car is around $90 to $100. I have purchased and chipped sixteen cars now (you can do the math). Five of these cars are un-drivable. The bad ones are Scalextric and Carrera. Let’s call them the “lemons”. I even took my favorite lemon, a Scalextric Ford Escort (I drove one when I was younger) to to Armchair to see if something could be done (I’m new and just learning about car tuning). No good. Along with the other lemons, it’s still track scenery. The good news is that after advice received on this forum, my two latest cars have been a Slot-it Alpha 33/3 and an NSR ford GT40. Early days yet but I think I’ll be removing the magnet from both (how good is that straight from the box with nothing more than truing the tires and a lube job?). There’s also two Ninco 1 cars that nobody drives because they are gutless (a mini should not beat a Lamborghini down the straight).

3. Lack of research.
My local hobby shop (big on SCX but not Ninco) is terrible. This is where I went to for advice.Big Mistake. All the frustration, wasted money and lack of results could have been avoided if;

A. I’d have spoken to an expert from specialty slot car store like Armchair or Thunderbird instead of the local clueless guy and

B. If I’d spent more time asking the right questions on this forum.


Is this post too long?

I have more.

Edited by Conditionally Human, 26 April 2012 - 07:11 AM.

"At last, after two thousand years of work, the illudium PU-36 Explosive Space Modulator" - Marvin the Martian

#11 Conditionally Human

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Posted 24 April 2012 - 03:11 PM

P.S. I did research the different digital systems before I parted with any of my hard earned.

None of the retailers I deal with have ever mentioned Oxygen or Scorpius. All of these things are going through my mind as I write. More decisions to be made. More money to spend.

By the way, my track is currently 27 meters long in two lanes (I'm thinking of making it shorter but in four lanes). with seven lane change sections.
I can't go back to analog. I like lane changing too much.

I'm thinking that I (like Ninco) should go back to the drawing board and start again.

Peter

Edited by Conditionally Human, 24 April 2012 - 03:21 PM.

"At last, after two thousand years of work, the illudium PU-36 Explosive Space Modulator" - Marvin the Martian

#12 Ember

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Posted 24 April 2012 - 03:36 PM

I think both Scorpius and Oxygen are fairly specialised and not known by the run of the mill retailer. It would take a slot specialist to know of them and be able to recommend them. O2 has really only fairly recently hit the market, although it has been in development for quite some time.

Scorpius has been available for longer, but it is not available through a dealer network. Not sure just how much stock is made in excess of orders to be on hand for those who take up Scorpius between manufacturing runs.

There are a few here that have had some experience with Ninco Digital. I'm not one of them. I've only had one chance to play with digital and then it was SSD. I guess part of the appeal of SSD is the developments that have been made by the user base, between the initial Scalex release and their most recent upgraded release.

You may do well to chat with Captain and GTR XU-1 of the WASCRG who initially ran 4 lane Ninco Digital before deciding to go with a routed track running Scorpius.
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#13 tooter

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Posted 24 April 2012 - 04:34 PM

Scorpius is a retrofit system that can be applied to pretty much any track system not too sure about the Slot it system as its not available yet but I have been fortunate to have had a play with Ricks Scorpius system which he s put his heart and soul into and its fantastic and very stable .

You can contact Rick through his website or through this forum ,,he's a regular on here

Geoff

Edited by tooter, 24 April 2012 - 07:00 PM.


#14 SlotsNZ

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Posted 24 April 2012 - 04:58 PM

Slot.it O2 (for short), can be plugged straight into an SSD track. You simply remove the SSD power base and put a plain straight track in there - with a couple of ordinary magents hot glued one underneath each lane about 30mm from the slot.
You just feed 12 volts - or whatever voltage DC power direct to the track rails. Deal done.

Basically O2 uses the same lane change protocol as SSD so no other physical changes are required.

The magnets activate a "hall sensor" which is part of each car chip, that tell the control system that car just completed a lap.

The control system is a reasonably priced USB hardware dongle, and free software from Slot.it. - Or if you want full pitlane and refueling, Guy Langenaken's PC Lapcounter Software has been developed to provide those facilities. (It also runs scorpius, analogue racing and most of the toymaker's digital systems)

I have actually been running O2 on my ANALOGUE track (without lane changing of course in my case), by simply plugging a "dummy plug" that shorts out controller power in, to power out to track so one lane had 12V DC on it. - (The O2 controllers are wireless) and then running two cars on one lane..... you can play "pursuit" if you want.

You could repeat for each lane and have wireless control for all lanes but no lane changing.

To use O2 on Ninco digital track, you can purchase a software board which doubles up with, or replaces the existing Ninco lane change electronics, and uses the existing mechanics, then use it like you would an SSD track.

You could even take Ninco's "adaptors" to Scalextric, add a scalextric classic to sport converter track (made by scalextric) annd have scalextric SSD lane change sections withing a Ninco track to create lane changing without having to do any electronics yourself on a Ninco track....
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#15 Ember

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Posted 24 April 2012 - 05:18 PM

View Posttooter, on 24 April 2012 - 04:34 PM, said:

Scorpius is a retrograde system
:lol: Sorry Tooter, I'm guessing you mean retrofit
Computers. They'll never catch on.

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#16 tooter

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Posted 24 April 2012 - 06:55 PM

Geez Rick will have the the shits with me!!!!! Of course retrofit .
Thanks Ember

#17 Conditionally Human

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Posted 30 April 2012 - 08:27 AM

This is my current layout. I change it fairly regularly.

Posted Image

When I read my "Bad Decisions 3" post above, I sound a bit whiny don't I? I didn't mean to. I was just having a bad track day.

If I'm to be positive about it, I'd say that I have a pretty cool track that is easily upgradable (albeit at some expense). Ninco track is everything they say it is and I'm still having fun. If I were to start again,knowing what I know now, I would think about the Ninco four lane analog track for around $800 and an upgrade to Scorpius Digital Wireless. It would have been cheaper.

For now, I'm considering my options. I won't be rushing in too quickly. Besides, I may have to sell the children for medical experiments just to afford it.

Peter.

Edited by Conditionally Human, 30 April 2012 - 01:10 PM.

"At last, after two thousand years of work, the illudium PU-36 Explosive Space Modulator" - Marvin the Martian

#18 Ember

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Posted 30 April 2012 - 08:36 AM

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The IMG tags need to be capitals. You can also copy the code from photobucket and paste it directly into the forum message.

Embs
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#19 Caddo

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Posted 22 May 2012 - 11:43 PM

Try a Cartrix "limited edition" classic F1 car for a let down given their high price tag!!

#20 neil

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Posted 23 May 2012 - 05:24 AM

View PostCaddo, on 22 May 2012 - 11:43 PM, said:

Try a Cartrix "limited edition" classic F1 car for a let down given their high price tag!!

I did'nt think Cartrix were for driving,,, I thought they were collective pieces for shop owners,,, I've always admired the collection that the Armchair has..





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