A nice surprise: After a few seconds of thinking, this turned out to be very easy.
The interior tray is shallow, almost flush with the bonnet, leaving plenty of room inside the car.
However, the car is so short that standard mounting of the IR LED would leave it almost mid-car, so I opted for the SureChange Racing guide. I took care to chamfer it a little bit as per the Scalextric chip instructions.
There is no room for a ferrite man on top of the motor, so after getting rid of the factory mounted resistors and capacitors, I soldered down the motor ferrite man, bending the legs so his head pointed down towards the bottom screw hole. I put the Scalex F1 chip transversely behind the front axle, fixing it with a small lump of blue tack. The guide wires were shortened, the front ferrite man re-soldered with two 2.5 cm lengths of wire. There was no need for extending the LED wires, so the LED was simply pressed into the SureChange guide, making this nice and tidy package:
Testing and gentle tuning
After fitting the chips, the weight landed at 67 g, except for one car, which weighed only 65 g. The chip incl. ferrite men normally weigh in at 5.5 to 6 g. This lead to cars that were fairly front/rear balanced (31 g front axle/guide, 36 g rear axle). No more extra weight was added.
I don't run analogue, so no testing was done prior to chipping. Running the cars w/ magnet was not a lot of fun in my opinion. They behaved quite 'stop-go-deslot'-ishly, staying glued to the track until optimistic cornering was rewarded with your typical rocket-like deslotting.
Out went the magnets. Nice... But some flaws were revealed immediately - rear axle slop and untrue tyres. So, I did a few things:
- The rear axle bearings were glued to the chasses
- All the cars were given a super glue collar rear axle treatment
- The rims were cleaned and sanded
- The rear tyres were checked on the inside, sanded, and glued to the rims
- One car kept whining loudly with the body mounted. This stopped after the edges and posts of the chassis had been sanded a bit
- On one car, the front wheels had to be straightened up
Handling was not completely even across the six cars, but I'm sure more tinkering would have levelled the field even more. Anyway, for a round robin series, the very small differences would only add to the competition.
Tune-up and maintenance
Replacing the gear with Slot.it inline crowns/pinions definitely is possible. The wheels are very small, and the ground clearance is only approx. 2.5 mm, but at Ø 16.7 mm and W 9 mm, short hub Ø 15.8 mm Slot.it wheels and low profile tyres would be an option if the original ones are worn down. The original hubcaps could be sanded and used as inserts.
Last week, a few guys popped in for a race night - magless only. After a few laps to get a feel for the cars, we ran a four round 25-lap GP series, with a 5 min back-to-front qualification session.
Of course, the NSUs were tipsier than a Slot.it LMP or an NSR classic, but that is part of the sport: the ability to handle different cars well. In this case, delicate cornering became paramount to success. As a safety precaution, we ran the series at 12V DC (in), just to get rid of any stop/go controller issues for all drivers, regardless of abilities. All controllers were clean, and calibrated in RCS64.
The overall fastest lap of the night was 7.2 secs (Slot.it Alfa 33/3), against the fastest NSU lap of 9.5 secs. For a Scalex TransAm Ford Mustang without magnets 8.6 secs is a good lap time. However, remember that my tiny 13m track includes 5 R1 hairpins. I will post again when they have been tested on another track. In my opinion, running them at 13.5 V is fine too, though I prefer a throttle profile like L-SPD -1 in RCS64.
The repair ratio (deslots) did not go up, people were very focused and enthusiastic, and we had just as many laughs as we had with 60ies/70ies classics or modern GTs.
In a nutshell: A success. If you like variation, if you're not dedicated to fast-fast-fast only but want to reward versatile driving skills, then the NSUs might be for you too.
Thanks for reading,