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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi all,
For the last school year I've been studying at the University Technical College at Silverstone race track, doing A-levels and an engineering diploma.

As part of my education, I'm also doing an Extended Project Qualification (EPQ), which is something totally motivated by the student, so my idea, my plan, and all the rest. And the topic subject can be ANYTHING, any subject I want, preferably related to the line of work I wish to go into (automotive engineering).

So why am I posting this here? Well I've been into slot cars since I was very small, and I wondered if the technology of slot cars could be applied to the "real world", which brought me to the idea of full size slot cars, that could work in cities built with rails in the roads, but could also function as normal electric cars when not in town. Therefore, as part of the project, I would like to demonstrate the practicalities of such a system, as well as build a 1 14 or 1 18 scale model car showing how to car would look and work, this is to be done by next May, when I have to turn in all my coursework.

I'm not asking for someone to do it all for me, but if any of you have any advice, or things I need to know or ideas (having seen the knowledge of some people on here that wouldn't surprise me), or are just interested in what I'm doing, feel free to pm or respond to this post, I will also be updating my progress from here, just for your general interest as well (fyi Rockingham is my closest club).
Thank you for your time,
Have a good rest of the week,
Joey
 

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Look in to the old trams and trolley busses. They mainly used overhead wires for power.

Croydon has new trams and so does Frankfurt am Main in Germany. I'm sure there are loads of others but they are two I know off the top of my head.

Look at the San Francisco cable cars. They use a cable under the road so are probably the closest to slot cars that I can think of.

I guess scalling them all down, look at bumper cars. They have free movement because of a metal grid ceiling with an aerial style contact with the other contact being on to a metal floor.

The Daleks in the very old Dr Who film picked up power from the floor but without a slot.

Good luck.
 

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Hi Dave

Thanks for the link, however these cars (and most of the cable cars) are powered by cables under the track, I'm talking about a car that could just be a normal electric car, with the capacity to be a slot car in a city area, instead of just being a car shaped cable car. But thank you for the link, always a help.

Joey
 

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you will need a big box of plasters for all the blisters you will get on your fingers after laying a track to every house in the country!!
 

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Tell me about it Gordon, I get blisters just going around the attic!!

To avoid this unfortunate eventuality, as I said, I thought of only having them in cities only.

"full size slot cars, that could work in cities built with rails in the roads, but could also function as normal electric cars when not in town."

Joey
 

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that's me stuffed then.... I'd best buy some new walking boots!!
 

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Circuit Owner
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Slot - very costly. Painted lines with magnetic particles - way cheaper and easier to adjust routes on a permanent or temporary basis.

The paint could potentially also contain transponders so the car could determine where it is and which way to go at the next junction. If cars had Bluetooth they could detect when another car was within 10 metres and apply the brakes.

All the tech is there just not yet applied in this way.
 

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great idea but where will you put the driver's stations?

and will they be digital or analog


and don't get me started on marshals


but seriously good luck with your project we need people with creative ideas to make the world of tomorrow
 

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Phil Kalbfell
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There are buses that use overhead wires for most of their running BUT the pantograph can be lowered and the bus driven As a normal electric vehicle.
Having the cables embedded in the road would just make it like an electric train.

DM they would have to be digital so more than one on each lane! LOL
 

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Don't forget that putting the power on the road will kill a few pedestrians. Too many people already die walking on electrified underground lines just in London.

Because of the resistance of the conductors you need 1000s of volts to transport electricity any usable distance.

The safe voltage is up to about 56v. That will get you about 12v after 100m of track if you were very lucky.

The slot would have to be very cleverly insulated and therefore costly if it was going to be able to carry the typical 11,000 volts without pedestrians being able to accidentally touch it.

You've got yourself an interesting engineering problem there.
 

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That's a good point about the people dying and stuff, JCB [I tried to quote your quote, but the quote wouldn't quote]. I think that would be the main stumbling block to a project like that. You'd have to get it up off the ground to eliminate public risk. Aside from having to jump over two 6-inch [or wider] copper strips carrying loads of dangerous current, not to mention the 6-inch [or wider] slot that would have to be in the ground and dealt with [ankle breaking, cleaning....I mean, epic slot cleaning and constant debris clearing]...I think these would be the problem.

Doing something like bumper cars do, getting power from above, and then using other external navigation systems for ground that wouldn't put pedestrians at risk might be be things to consider.
 

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I didn't mean to put too many hurdles in the way because it sounds like a fun project but I keep thinking of more problems to overcome.

With both contacts at ground level, how do you avoid short circuits?
I see aluminium cans crushed on the road every day.

I did think about providing the power via induction but at the power levels needed for cars I think we would still have problems with things like pace makers not to mention the radio interference!

Perhaps the cars could continue to run on their own power and just use the slot for safe automated guidance to the destination.
 

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.....or even run on a "slot-less" surface? mmmm....back to square one!!
 

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I think you are all missing the point, that the card draw power when they can, but run from stored power of they can't. That way they can run long distances on motorways but still get to your cottage at the end of the lane. This has to be the holy grail of electric vehicles, which otherwise are doomed to be second vehicles with short ranges and long refueling times.

I remember reading somewhere about wireless charging (as in the phone advert) could be used for posting electric vehicles, but the physics is way beyond me.

Good luck with the project!
 

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JEXY1 and I looked into building a full-sized slot car track in the 02 for an unnamed motor manufacturer (they build rubbish Le Mans cars), and found out pretty quickly that it wasn't going to work. Money wasn't a problem. But physics was.

The most that you could do safely would be half scale. Full scale would cause major issues in terms of keeping them on the track and the amount of energy that they would carry if they crashed. Even then the cars would have to be effectively radio controlled - with a car battery onboard the car and powering the motor rather than the mains electricity.

I can't really tell you any more than that, except that the bloke who was going to build them - and gave us the feedback - knows a thing or two. He built the Ninky Nonk.
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
Hi all,

First of all, thanks for the response, wasn't expecting so much interest, thanks fellas!!


Next, thank you Pansy, I plan to have it as a secondary system, to run of the cities' power grid, but then be a normal electric car everywhere else. I've encountered a lot of problems, raised here and elsewhere, but I believe I'm on the right tracks to overcoming them, more updates in the future.

Also, thanks driver #8 for the feedback, won't stop me from trying, being the foolhardy wide-eyed youngster I am
, I'll share some other ideas I've had later on when I have them nailed, in the mean time thanks, any other ideas keep them coming here.

Thanks again everyone, big help.

Joey
 
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