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244 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
My Christmas came late because I ordered late! Having now set up my first Policar circuit courtesy of a drift set plus a lot of extra track and borders I have to say I’m very impressed. To me it’s the perfect replacement for Ninco and ideal for anyone who likes to change their circuit now and again. The track dimensions are quite similar but being rigid plastic gives a much better ride and the slot is deep enough for Carrera cars and 1/24 scale. The grip is superb, and I don't use magnets!

So while very happy with the track itself I did discover some system shortcomings. First, the terminal seem a bit weedy and the controller sockets didn’t seem to secure the plugs very well. The controllers themselves are small and I found they didn't provide fine control, in fact being a little erratic half way down the plunger. I suppose they’re made to a price (15p?) but even my Carrera ones are better and they’re decidedly iffy. Nincos are better still. Bear in mind I’m talking about home racing here not ‘professional’ super-duper controllers.

I decided to wire my Ninco dual-power terminal unit into a Policar half straight. After soldering I noticed a very small and slight heat depression by one rail but no real issue. This means I can plug in 1/4 “ Ninco jack controllers and have separate power to each lane.

I had to resort to temporarily using some ill-fitting Carrera guardrails and some Ninco crash barriers because the Policar offering I found to be utter rubbish, not fitting either track or border. It's enough of an effort to get them on, then only to find they just do not fit properly.

My verdict

TRACK 5/5 - Superb in every respect

POWER UNIT 4/5 - Allows variable track voltage, maybe a bit lightweight

TERMINAL UNIT 2/5 - Controller plugs not very secure, only one power input

CONTROLLERS 1/5 - A bit small and didn’t impart great feedback

GUARDRAIL 0/5 - Awful and useless. So that's why the set has none!

BORDERS 4/5 - Push-in, snap-fit system, effective even on gradients


Your experience may be different!
I’ll stop rambling and leave here my Policar Wish List:-

A 1/4 straight
A 1/4 straight border
A 22.5 degree R1 curve
An 11.25 degree outer curve
Crash barriers that fit and stay on


Tire Wheel Plant Automotive tire Bicycle tire
Green Gas Grass Chair Metal
 

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David H
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3,991 Posts
I had to resort to temporarily using some ill-fitting Carrera guardrails and some Ninco crash barriers because the Policar offering I found to be utter rubbish, not fitting either track or border. It's enough of an effort to get them on, then only to find they just do not fit properly.
That's an interesting and useful observation. I've read many opinions of Policar track, some good, so less so, but have not seen anyone comment about the barriers.

My ageing Ninco track is becoming ever more bumpy and I've reluctantly decided to replace it with Policar track. I'm not won over by Policar's appearance, but for me it's the only real alternative track system, Scalextric being too narrow and lacking R5 curves, Carrera too big and Ninco now defunct. All I'm waiting for is Policar to produce R5 and 22.5° R1 curves, so hearing about your experience of Policar's barriers is valuable.

Are you able to give more detail about what you found to be their failings? I don't want to buy a load only to find that they've been a waste of money.
 

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I wish the Policar track surface was smooth like Carrera. I don't see the need for the textured surface.
 

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*** Leo A Capaldi ***
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3,694 Posts
I am 80% through replacing my Ninco with Policar. As I removed the Ninco track sections, shoulders and barriers I kept thinking how good the Ninco stuff has been. Solidly reliable over 20 years and came apart easily. I wanted to retain the Ninco barriers and so have superglued them on to the Policar shoulders. The curvature round the bends helps keep them taught so I think they will endure.
I used my own wiring to the rails so simply removed the power connections and used the track section as a half-straight.
I had two situations where the Policar track rails had not been fitted robustly and so the rail ends were causing a (small but severe) step up from the previous section - only discovered these after I had laid everything in place so was not best pleased. I had decided that it was a good move to switch to Policar but am now wandering around thinking "If it ain't broke don't fix it".
Cosmetically I do not like the fact that the section joints are very noticeable as the surface pattern does not cover the emtire track surface there is a small plain border. Ninco gives an almost seamless/invisible joint.
I like the rigidity of the Policar track although that results in audible running noise.

Leo
 

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ParrotGod
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9,878 Posts
I am also curious about the policar barriers: as far as I know they are the only one doing a three layer guard rails that you find in most modern circuits.
From what you are saying it looks like they do not stay in place.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 · (Edited)
I must agree about the appearance having clear lines dividing each track section. It's not ideal. I heard there was a manufacturing difficulty about getting the entire track surface the same finish, yet Ninco had no problem with that. Also, having bought a set and track from three different sources it is apparent that slightly different finishes exist - some are matte, some shiny, and some don't seem to have quite the same level of texture.

Most of all though it's gratifying that some of the cars I worked on to become smooth running are exactly that on this track, whereas on the Ninco I witnessed frequent bumps so it was a challenge to iron out exactly where the problems lay. It was the track!. Every car now runs like silk!

The Policar guardrails - I really gave them a proper go. They are a struggle to get on either track or border but it becomes clear the design is flawed. They look the business but that's all. Even as I got one tab onto a track piece it immediately started falling away. It may be they're only for fitting to borders...so I could try again. I noted before buying the set that no barriers came with it, which I thought odd considering virtually every other set ever made comes with crash barriers. Ah, now the secret is out! They're not included because they're no good! But your experience may be different - so do tell.
They're not crucial for a permanent circuit as others find because alternatives can be fixed in place, but for anyone (like me) who likes changing the layout now and then it's a real pain having no decent, effective crash barriers. I thought about buying the Barrier & Clips put out by Policar (much like those of Carrera) but saw that they do not fit around borders, only track. Seems to me they spent R&D on the track and cars with crash barriers a mere afterthought...
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
I see from Pendle's website the guardrails are shown on Policar borders. All borders have a lip to keep them in place, which is why they won't stay on the track. There needs to be a note to this effect as there is with the Barrier & Clip set. Even so, I found them a bu88er to get on but maybe I didn't persevere enough. Tomorrow's another day.
 

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ParrotGod
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9,878 Posts
Is your issue with putting the guardrail on the track or on the border?
 

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Premium Member
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3,216 Posts
I've posted this on my Christmas track thread...

The tracks does what I bought it for as the slot is deep enough to let me run and test my club cars and I like the level of grip. The borders also let me run the very few 1/24th scale cars that I have, it's only me running on one lane. After that I'm a bit disappointed. I think Policar have missed out in a big way with the powerbase, why only one power input? It's not a problem for me running on my own but for racing you need separate power to each lane. Also why no border built in to the powerbase, I've had to use an extension lead so I can move the powerbase further away from a corner so the cars don't hit it. As for the controllers all I will say is I'd forgotten how good they can be as hand warmers. Power supply is a bit low on power but at least that can easily be replaced. Also the 61.4mm short straights I have have a slightly narrower slot than the rest of the track. The original Airfix pin guides are thicker than most guide flags and although they run fine on the track they jam in all four of the short straights I have.

I hope also hope the Policar release the other 22.5 curves listed soon as I like to mix up the radius in a curve.

From a purely person point I would also like a crossover track then I could run around both lanes but as this is aimed towards racers I don't see it happening. I could get a Ninco crossover and the adaptors or even use my Ninco rally loops but that would defeat the object of having a deep slot.
 

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ParrotGod
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9,878 Posts
I find it funny that people want more advanced controllers/hooks up/power supply options, almost like club level.
I think that for analog, the items you get in the box should be good enough for kids to play.
If you are serious enough, you should build your own club level controller hook-ups and power harness.
Same for counting laps and timing.

For analog there is simply no incentives for a manufacture to invest in better components - which has only the adverse effect of increasing the cost of the sets.
 

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I find it funny that people want more advanced controllers/hooks up/power supply options, almost like club level.
I think that for analog, the items you get in the box should be good enough for kids to play.
It seems to me that he is comparing with other beginner’s sets like Carrera, which in the case of controllers he finds the policar’s one much inferior.

I think this is very valid and helpful info for many purchasers/customers like myself, who although not exactly a kid, I was looking for an entry to slot cars. Why not have good enough (not necessarily club level) items in the set?

To me, Policar provided the benefit of the smaller size, but price wise and also quality /price wise it made much more sense to start with Carrera.

If a company is interested in dragging you and keeping you in their slot track system, they need to be competitive and not necessarily consider all their customers as kids.
 

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Premium Member
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How much more would it cost to include a second power socket, a switch and a bit of extra wire so you can use one or two PSU, Ninco and Scalextric both did it, and you don't need to include a second PSU but it would be a good idea if it was. Even for kids playing the most off putting thing is to keep de-slotting for no reason and with a shared PSU there is always a chance of a power surge when one car stops for any reason. I like thumb controllers, all my home controllers that I use are thumb, but these have to be one off the worst I have used. Anyone who buys upgraded cars will soon get feed up with having hot hands and will they splash out on a new pair of controllers or just get feed up with the set and extra expense and put it away for good. I have a Policar 330 P4 and it overheats the controller, there is a very good chance that anyone's first upgrade car will be a Policar as they will expect the cars and track to be a match. Would a trigger controller have cost more and at least you wouldn't notice it starting to get warm and with the better airflow it would probably be cooler anyway.

The Policar set and track pack aren't cheap so why spoil a very good track system with a toy power system.

My first job will to be to put a connector plug back on my main power supply then my second job will be to disconnect the controller box from my old Airfix track and wire it up with a jack plug.
 

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Greg Gaub
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15,779 Posts
I find it funny that people want more advanced controllers/hooks up/power supply options, almost like club level.
No no... what they want is club level power and control for the SAME PRICE as the toys. ;-)
 

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ParrotGod
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9,878 Posts
It seems to me that he is comparing with other beginner’s sets like Carrera, which in the case of controllers he finds the policar’s one much inferior.

I think this is very valid and helpful info for many purchasers/customers like myself, who although not exactly a kid, I was looking for an entry to slot cars. Why not have good enough (not necessarily club level) items in the set?

To me, Policar provided the benefit of the smaller size, but price wise and also quality /price wise it made much more sense to start with Carrera.

If a company is interested in dragging you and keeping you in their slot track system, they need to be competitive and not necessarily consider all their customers as kids.
Guess what: most people complain about carrera set controllers as well.
To me, Policar track is more about targeting clubs that have old ninco track that needs to be replaced. As a club level track, it offers a very good quality, and that is what you are paying for.
The Policar sets are just a nice distraction therefore why investing in semi-decent controllers? And even if they did so, there will be still someone complaining that they are not at the same level as club controller.
If you want good controllers, Slot.it (which is Policar mother company) has an excellent controller.
 

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ParrotGod
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The Policar set and track pack aren't cheap so why spoil a very good track system with a toy power system.
Yes they are not cheap because the track is of very good quality. I have not checked but I can guess that if you buy the track pieces separately that are contained in a set they will come more expensive than the whole set (which include cars, controllers and power supply).
If we follow your drift then the next question would be why including cheap cars when slot.it and policar produce excellent club level cars?
 
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