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5,546 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Two things for all of you guys running TSRF cars on plastic or routed tracks:

1/ New TSRF/Ortmann tires in both scales are now available and will soon be at your regular retailer. These have so much grip that you may need to add some more weight to avoid running on two wheels in the fast corners!

2/ We have been promising this up-graded guide pin for a while and must apologize to you all for the delay. The trouble I personally had with my sight slowed me down a lot, and lots of projects were temporarily shelved without my direct input. But this one resolves most of the problems encountered with the TSRF cars used with no magnets on slot car tracks with very narrow grooves, where the standard plastic blade can bind when the car is overly drifting, often causing all kinds of unwanted reactions as the car snaps back.

This new two-piece guide system replaces the current one, but requires that the TSRF cars owners enlarge the blade slot on the nylon chassis to clear the larger pin. This is accomplished with a standard drill or even a X-Acto knife, and does not compromise the use of the earlier guide blade. Of course the chassis mold will be modified in time to have this enlarged hole molded directly into it. A simple drilling pattern will be available online.
The new guide is composed of a stainless steel pin that will endure much longer than the current blade. It snaps tight into the new nylon guide holder and is assembled onto the car in the same manner as before. The pin is tapered slightly so as to contact the slot only at its bottom, and radiused so that it will not break in the most violent impacts.
The new pin is designed to be used either on a club or commercial routed track or good quality modern tracks such as Carrera or Scalextric "Sport". A shorter pin will be available for the more antiquated tracks with shallow slots such as the Scalextric so-called "Classic" track.

Dokk Pea

· Registered
289 Posts
QUOTE (McLaren @ 14 Jan 2005, 19:30)Why could it not?

Sure, it may not be thick enough to touch both at rest, but what if the car tips slightly?

It is long enough to touch both rails at an angle.

See my childish diagram: |/|

Andy, I honestly don't think so.

Stick a finishing nail in the bottom of a piece of wood the length and width of a slot car in the approximate postion of the TSRF guide pin and see if you can cause it to short out the rails on a piece of track.

· Premium Member
5,546 Posts
Hi McLaren,

Actually what we have here is a secret plot fomented by those nutcases at the TSRF to blow up Scalextric tracks so that after the whole mess melts from the massive short, the badly wounded victims are forced to go to the local hobby store and purchase some decent track, like some lined with plastic as virtually every other appears to be except for the 45-year old british aberration, what a concept.

But in fact I am told that this new pin is made of all-new unobtainium-55, a non-conductive metal specially engineered for this specific use at the cost of MILLIONS.
Millions of what remains to be seen.

Seriously now: we have tested the do-ickey for months in various circumstances including the dreaful (hey, it's MY opinion, OK?
) Scalex "Classic" track and no sparks have been seen yet.

Of course, it DOES require a basic-level IQ for one to adjust the braided contacts in such a way that they gently trail on each side of the guide pin. And of course, there is always the one...

Kind regards.

Einstein P. von Dokk

Chief Engineer
TSRF World Plot

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5,546 Posts
Discussion Starter · #13 ·
As your diagram shows, it could not possibly short out. As the only part of the pin to touch the rail is the top the bottom part of the pin is way below the rail.
Well observed, Doctor Watson.

QUOTE Sorry Mr. P. I still maintain that pins should only be used on slot cars for mounting bodies with.
Kind regards
Russell, I do respect and value your opinion as you are possibly the finest expert one would ever find out there, but the naysayers have been proven wrong in this case, EXCEPT for extreme situations (I.E. the Scalextric "Classic" track system and its "curve # 1" and "crossover" track pieces in whcih a long blade is definitely superior. However, looks like on any civilized track system (I.E. ALL the others), there is no such problem.
I chose to ignore the Scalextric track as I saw a definite shift towards the Carrera track system in the hobby, and I also calculated that Scalextric enthusiasts would have little regard for our car anyway. It was a gamble that paid handsomely so far as sales are still climbing.
What worked for 40 years on HO cars would bot be any good for 1/32 or 1/24 scale cars? I am presently making an open-class wing car with a pin-style guide, as it saves lots of undesirable weight.
Also if you let Al Penrose, Mr. BWA, know about your sympathy for using pins to mount bodies, you may get some maple syrup all over your next batch of wheels.
Kind regards,
your friend in Evil Amerikka,

Dokk Pea

· Premium Member
5,546 Posts
QUOTE (McLaren @ 16 Jan 2005, 14:33)But why not just use a guide?

I believe TSRF already make a good one...


Indeed, we make this little device designed to eliminate most of the problems encountered with the "plug-in" guides uesd by the toy industry.
The philosophy behind the choice of a pin-style guide on the TSRF chassis was one of rationality. The car has to be extremely simple, the pick up system should hardly ever need adjustment and no lead wires should be in the way of body components. The car should have an assembly time 4-fold quicker than of a Scalextric car, or 8-fold than of a Carrera car. This because our cars would be assembled in USA instead of China, and labor rates are not quite the same.

Looking at a not-so-distant past, one would have noted that the second generation of Scalextric cars (1960) featured a pin-style guide but with a misguided notion about picking up current through pre-formed curved braided contacts. Obviously the very notion of electrical resistance did not even enter the mind of the engineer(s), probably the same who designed the (in my opinion) dreadful but very popular (there was hardly anything else available then) track system. When the only car available is a Standard "8", it becomes the world's best regardless of how bad it is, and this was pretty much the case for Scalextric's until they changed their philosophy of placid compleasance in the late 1990's in the face of increaded competition.

Pin-guide was then a feature (and remains to this day) of (IMO again) the most perfect slot car ever devised, the Aurora Thunderjet. Then in the mid-1960's the fierce 1/32 scale racing in the US midwest with the likes of Pete Hagenbuch, Gene Wallingford, Dick Dobson etc. showed that they began with "conventional" guides, then dumped them for a pin-guide systrem featuring as the TSRF does, very short braided contacts. They had little problems with them and everyone appeared very happy and their cars were, even if faced to todays' super-sophisticated multi-everything chassis, rockets.

One would note that the HO track rail system as well as the commercial raceways tracks and the better plastic tracks then such as Revell, Strombecker, Monogram, K&B... is spaced in such a manner as to make a short nearly impossible. The problem only appears on ONE track design in the whole planet: Scalextric's.

So we had a choice: use a "conventional" guide and encounter all the usual problems due to anything from falling lead wires (Russell, remember the Lancia-Ferrari?) to improper tracking to poor braided contacts wear to excessive mechanical drag, OR, ignore the Scalextric track system and concentrate on what we see as the future of the hobby in the long run: the conversion by the serious hobbyist to better track systems.

Artin showed clearly that a better track design can be done while keeping the same basic sizing as Scalextric's, but engineering everything else better: plastic liner in the slot, rails set at a greater space, better track connections and better borders fitment. For lots less money I may add. "Heresy!" will claim the Scalex fanatics. "Simple truth" I claim, I have nothing personal against Scalextric or any other companies. Indeed I love their beautiful cars even if I loathe their guides, but that goes for all the others since they keep copying this antiquated plug-in design that keeps causing so many problems.
Scalextric missed a great opportunity to FIX their problematic warping track with raised rails (why in the wide world of stupidity!!!) when they devised the "Sport" track. Much improved indeed with flush rails, stiffer plastic, better connections, but still falling short off the mark in my opinion due to their stubborn sticking to line the slot with the rails. Are their engineers asleep at the wheel? Not my problem, but I like their cars a lot more than everything else in their system. Are they happy and make their customers happy? More power to them.

Carrera's track system, the same since 1965, does require 20% more space but has proven vastly superior in every respect to the Scalextric system, despite the irks and peculiarities of that unstable company over the years from odd to bizarre choices of vehicles to the most complex while ridiculous chassis engineering. But the potential is there in their track, and adding the stainless-steel railing is such a benefit. Scalextric cars run MUCH better on Carrera track than on their own...

So we concentrated on making the TSRF car work on what we felt the better plastic tracks and routed wood tracks, and just ignored conventional thinking even at the cost of marketability. No compromise in this hard head of mine, comprende, amigo?

However, even before the TSRF car was launched, strong opposition was published in various forums against the guide system, never mind that no one ever drove a car except for a few test drivers who never asked such questions. The car was called "old, antiquated, a poor design" etc. Such critics have been mostly silenced once actual users published their intense satisfaction of having a very reliable, fast and smoother machine at their disposal. While body mounting is still a challenge for many, the simple transformation of a given toy car into a TSRF-chassied rocket convinced many, and all one has to do is read the customers and online magazines reviews.

After two years of sales and over 20000 cars produced in both scales, we got about two dozen (known) cases of electric shorts in which the positive lead wire fused, but most were due to a design oversight regarding the steel pan when set at its longest wheelbase as it shorts out the lead wires. This was the subject of a fix but at least 5000 cars were issued and sold before that fix was applied.
This requires a change of the plastic chassis and two lead wires as the chassis melts at the fusing point and cannot retain a new lead wire except if glued in with cyanoacrylate stuff. Guide shorting out over track rails has frankly not been much of an issue... Fortunately the actual chassis and lead wires are frankly dirt-cheap.

However, one has to bend some towards its more difficult customers, and I am the first to admit that there are problems with the TSRF guide. When used on tracks with very narrow slots the guide blade can bind inside the slot, provoking a jerky reaction. This is what we are addressing with the steel pin, reverting to "old" but sound thinking. The new guide pin kit will also include a shorter nylon pin to use on old shallow-slot old Scalextric tracks, in an attempt to make everyone happy.

There WILL be another change before long as this is only a temporary fix. For a while, we have contemplated a new revolutionary guide design, still not using any flexible lead wires. It is our intention to put it in service sometimes in 2005. The chassis centerpiece will be interchangeable with this new system that will also feature a new plastic body mount and a few other interesting devices allowing the mounting of shorter and narrower bodies. While this will in no way INCREASE performance (we don't NEED that), it should put an end to the controversy in a manner satisfying even the most minded of the basement curmudgeons.

Dokk Pea

· Registered
4,591 Posts
I was going to expound a little on the subject actually Doc, but I found it frustratingly difficult to do so, seeing as how the essence of the meaning of the phrase is so admirably summed up in those six short but apposite words, an aphorism that has indeed echoed through the ages with unimprovable succinctness, resisting all efforts either to disprove or improve its meaning or sentiment; in fact
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