HO Slot Cars with your HO Trains?

Discussion in 'HO Scale Model Trains' started by George, Jan 25, 2001.

  1. Matthyro

    Matthyro Will always be re-membered

    George, how about trying to get Dan Crowely to join the Gauge. I tried to e-mail him but it bounced back. Now to slot cars. Years ago when I had an HO layout I tried to do the slot car thing but it was a big disapoinment as it all looked so unrealistic. If you can't have cars moving down the road without a slot then don't bother and just leave them parked ,as far as I am concerned anyway.

    NARA member #2
    http://members.nbci.com/Matthyro MAT
  2. George

    George Member


    Unfortunately, I'm rather inclined to agree with you, but I won't give up.

    It's bothered me for years that there can be so much animation in a layout with movement of trains, machinery and even pedestrians, yet devoid of moving vehicles. Why can't we get some kind of affordable system for moving cars? Why isn't there more of a demand for this feature in a hobby where people spill small fortunes just into locomotives?

    The T-Jets are all we have for any kind of token effort in "HO", and there's telling yourself that the slots and pickups are "Trolly lines" for only so long! If getting only two cars to move is all we can get for now, than I'm willing to settle for that, even given the slots.

    Even to leave cars lined on the street, the only way around animated traffic is to have cars backed up at a stop light, and even then it's unrealistic. Why? Because the manufacturers don't have enough brains to put a figure behind the wheel before they rivet the body to the chassis on die casts. Ever try and take a car apart, die cast or plastic, without destroying it? When was the last time you saw an auto FULL of people on a layout?

    It's time to write parking tickets to the manufacturers and get these cars moving.

  3. Matthyro

    Matthyro Will always be re-membered

    Years ago Heathkit made a track that had no slots. I can't remember the size of the cars and wish I had kept the catalogue. Cars had some kind of decoder in them but had no idea how they picked up the current to drive the motors. I believe it could handle four cars independently. The only reason I didn't buy one at the time was because my interest was in Radio Controlled Aircraft and bought kits from Heathkit that included transmitter, receiver and servos.
    Does anyone remember this slotless track system?

    NARA member #2
    http://members.nbci.com/Matthyro MAT
  4. Pitchwife

    Pitchwife Dreamer

    The only type like that that I know of is the TCR slotless racing. As far as the cars go I don't know how they would fit into the overall picture, unless you don't mind dragsters and NASCAR's running around the track. Re: the clearance problem, the answer I've come up with is a reed switch mounted under the track. They are very small and are actuated by the slot car's magnet when it passes over them. They can activate a delay timer or any other type of circuit that you would want to use in regards to controlling your slot cars. Plus they can easily be moved to a new location if you change your layout.

  5. Woodie

    Woodie Active Member

    Saw an interesting idea on a layout while I was away. They had set up the slot cars as a race circuit, fenced off, with pits, grandstands etc, and of course the railway to drop the patrons off at the racetrack. Looked good actually.

  6. Bill Stone

    Bill Stone Member

    One way it may be possible to achieve scale-speed, slot-free vehicle animation (this is not an original idea -- I've seen it somewhere, years ago, but cannot remember where)is to use unpowered, but suitably magnetic, vehicles and cause them to move by magnets traveling on a track, or on a cable, BELOW the scenery. I've mulled this over a bit, as I've often thought that horse cars arriving and departing on the street in front of my (pre-trolley) train station would be great. I've not ever tried it, as I always wind up believing that the moving horse car with a static horse jiggling along in front of it would wind up looking too toy-like, and would likely be worse than no animation at all. I've also been tempted to make a stab at cable cars. These would justify the slot, and get rid of the horse.
    In fact the biggest problem with most attempts at animation (beyond the trains themselves) is getting the motions to appear realistic, and not herky-jerky-mechanical. (Well, now that I think of it, there are a few model railroads that have this problem with their trains!)
  7. billk

    billk Active Member

    Anyone remember the old "vibrating field" football games? Maybe something like that could be rigged up to provide some kind of animation.
  8. George

    George Member

    Hello Bill Stone!

    I remember seeing desplays like that as well. From what I remember, the problem was taking a car around a corner and having it go askew at an angle instead of the nose straight with the centre of the lane. Once the road straightened out, some of the cars were at a 30 degree angle, as if skidding on ice or wet pavement.

    THAT'S IT!! For a snow scene, we've licked the problem of simulating a car in a skid!

    Oh well, let's keep at it for a solution!

  9. billk

    billk Active Member

    It seems to me that the 'skidding' problem could be solved as follows:
    a) Use magnets that were as long as possible and still fix in the vehicle, and
    b) Use the same length of magnet both in the vehicle and 'underground', and
    c) Control the orientation of the underground magnet as well as its speed and
    Then the each end of the vehicle magnet would follow its matching end on the
    underground magnet.
    Bill K
  10. Bill Stone

    Bill Stone Member

    The long magnet idea might work --- or a small magnet at each end, above and below. Or, if the front wheels of the vehicle acted as casters, and the magnets were only in the front, this might also work --- with the added advantage of the front wheels tracking through the turns. This might be tough to do in the smaller gauges, but I should think it would work in O; certainly in G.
  11. Jim

    Jim New Member

    HO Slot cars and HO trains

    I have integrated the old TJet Slot cars into my HO layout. The older TJets are 1:87 scale which matches them perfectly to the HO trains. I have 2 crossings and a T intersection that leads into a small residential area. I'm in the process of a slight rework to incorporate a small industrial off shoot with single lane track. As far as the animation looking realistic...I rather enjoy watching my 67 mustang convertible skid around a corner...or wiggle the backend on take off in order to beat the train to the crossing. Remember guys...this is modeling which in my mind is a resonible facsimile of the prototype. If you're modeling a prototype railroad then I wouldn't suggest the t jets but if you are a freelance model railroader like myself then you can look past the slots and enjoy the race to the crossing.
  12. Pitchwife

    Pitchwife Dreamer

    Hi Jim

    Like you I am using the TJet slot cars, but for the amount of slot track that I am proposing, there aren't enough varieties to fill it up, so for the track that is farther away from the trains, I have had to resort to the 1/64 scale.

    The circuits that I have come up with so far include a delay track, where a car passing over it would shut that section of track down for a predetermined amount of time. This would work independantly in both directions. That way a second car that was close behind would be stopped so that it wouldn't be prone to rear-end the first car. With this control, you can run several cars in each direction, allowing for more animation.

    Another circuit I am working on is for RRXings. I wanted something a little more realistic than just stopping the cars when a train approched. In real life there are always the fools who will still try to cross until the last minute. What I wanted was for the signals to activate but still have the cars cross the tracks until the train reached a certain point, and then as soon as the last car had gone by, start up again. It may not sound so difficult, but to do it so that it worked with the train coming from either direction turned out to be a real puzzle. I think that I have figured it out, but haven't breadboarded the circuit to make sure that it works.

    The third circuit that I am working on is a traffic light controlled intersection. I am fairly confidant that it will work, but I haven't been able to breadboard it yet either.

    If any of these sound like they might be useful to you, or if you have any ideas for other areas that need to be addressed I would be happy to offer any help that I can.

    You might try checking out similar threads at http://www.railroad.net/forums/model/ and http://www.talk.rrdepot.com/viewforum.php?forum=4&64. There are a number of people there with some really good ideas.

    It is always nice to find new people with intrests in the same little niche of this hobby. I am constantly amazed at how many of us there are.there are.

  13. krskev

    krskev New Member

    hey George

    You posted this subject on trains.com awhile ago. I have been to moms house and have found my Aroura set.

    Unfortunatly i lost my job and our house is for sale (too expensive). So setting it up will have to wait till i find a big basement with a house over it.

    In one of the last MR issues there was an ad or maybe a sample sent to MR of an 18 wheel semi. HO scale and it was radio controlled. it might not work for older settings but if you are into he new stuff, this thing looked pretty good.

    Who knows, operating night might have a few operators riding the rails and a couple more riding the big rigs.

  14. Pitchwife

    Pitchwife Dreamer

    Hi Kevin
    I don't know about the radio controled 18 wheeler, but I managed to find a couple of the AFX trucks that run on regular slot tracks. They look the same but with a little imaginatrion and some paint they should make an interesting addition to the highway traffic.

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