For TCR to work well, you need a good track for your slotless cars to run on. That means the tracks need to be clean, rails polished, connected properly and in good original condition. Those are the basics, but much more improvement is possible.. read on
What TCR tracks are best?
At TCRSlotCar, we feel the Ideal brand track is the best overall to use with not just the Ideal cars, but other brand slotless racing cars as well. The Ideal TCR track is the clear choice because of the following:
1. It's the best quality - thicker, more rigid plastic, better connection and superior assembly design. Think of it as the "Cadillac" of slotless tracks
2. It's the right size. All brands will run on it. The Aurora Ultra5/SpeedSteer track, though fine for their cars, is narrower. This prevents running Ideal or the later Tyco cars on Aurora track without modifications to the cars. The later Tyco track is a bit too wide, is of lower material quality and the inside corner dividers ruin the charm of the cars moving to the outside lane when traveling at high speed in a corner. The ability to potentially change lanes during a corner adds excitement, freedom and the challenge of improving car cornering, to be able to stay on the inside.
3. Supply. The Ideal track is still plentiful and available in the market due to its popularity over the years. A lot of it was sold and a lot of NOS track is still around to buy inexpensively.
4. The track accessories were the best and most varied. Speed boosters, Crossfire 4 lane tracks, Jumps, the glow charger, bridges, etc. This results in better potential for unique and creative designs.
5. The controllers are good quality too and come in 2 sizes, the larger originals and the later smaller ones with a switch for changing lanes vs a slider. You can choose your preference, they both work well and are widely available.
How do you run Aurora SpeedSteer or Tyco cars on an Ideal Track?
Easy.. Simply reverse the Power and Car B connectors. No other modifications. They work great too on the Ideal track with the Ideal power supply. Do not, however, make this change with the rare Electronic Speed Booster accessory as its internal circuitry could be damaged. There is no circuitry to damage in the standard power track. If you want to run the Electronic Speed Booster as well as be able to switch to Aurora or Tyco cars, simply add a standard power track to your setup in place of one of the straights, configured for Aurora/Tyco and power the track from it only this when running those cars.
How to optimize your track for the best racing fun and performance:
Clean and polish - use Rubbing Alcohol to clean the tracks and a copper coin (penny) to polish the track rails. You can also use fine grit (400 or higher) sandpaper on the stainless steel rails. Keep a sheet over the track when not in use to prevent dust and always clean your cars tires before and after every race.
Create a Challenging Design - it is important to pick a track design that forces and encourages lane changes, preventing a car from simply staying in the outside line all the time. Oval tracks (like the ones unfortunately included in many of the original sets) just don't cut it! Some suggested track layouts will be posted on the site. To make a track competitive, use the 1/8th round curves and the smaller 7" 1/4 curves (instead of just the standard 9") to create tighter turns and chicanes to increase the chance of the cars coming off the track when going too fast. The crossfire track allows mutiple circuits to be combined and cars moving in opposite directions. Bridges, jumps, obstacles, it's all part of the challenge to add to the fun.
Surface Improvement - from the factory, though the Ideal TCR track is of good quality, it's texture is not the smoothest and some friction is therefore introduced, slowing the cars down. Recoating the track with plastic paint has shown improvement in car operation and speed by lowering friction. Painting the track black can also improve appearance. Painting your track is easy and can be a win-win.
Power Supply Improvement - the stock power supply is fine to start with, however improvements have been discovered using alternate or newer power supplies. Not to mention that the original power supplies are now very old, so output could be decreased or inconsistent. We have measured that power decreases somewhat as the old power packs heat up. Even back in 1977 Ideal had to limit the power due to concerns of potential electrical shock to kids. While obviously still important, a slight increase in power could result in a still safe track with much improved car performance. Modern power supplies are safer anyway and more consistent in their power delivery. Consider a new power supply similarly rated, but that provides more amps.
More info on coming soon..