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1) Quality
I believe that the development has gone two ways. Forward and backward. To give an example - how is it possible that I can run a 35 year old slotcar without any problems but the car I bought last year has already had to be repaired a couple of times? Another thing is that while quality often has risen - reliability has not in my experience. What I mean is that RTR cars I had in the seventies did just that - run. Now I may not have had many cars but I find it odd to buy cars today that even if they look good sometimes do not work reliably. No matter what one things about manufacturers and there products one does expect that a new slotcar of today is possible to run on a track without any mechanical issues... This is I believe a major point where the hobby will have to develop further, a RTR car has to be possible to run straight from the box. Expectations are such that it is detrimental to the hobby if the most basic issues are not sorted out in a near future. No matter if they are called toys or models. Even toys are expected to work as described...

2) Digital Technology
As far as I can see all the current systems are quite interesting - but (to be polite) they are hardly pushing the digital technology development. All of them have - if we assume that they will work as advertised - really significant limitations. It is quite possible that they will survive - but there will have to come something very different in the future. Remember that the manufacturers did not understand their markets very well in the eighties, and this surely had a large impact on their downfall. But today most manufacturers cars will work on most other manufacturers track - what about the digital technology then? Sure you could put in chips from Scalextric in any other manufacturers car and use them - but only on Scalextric track. You will surely agree with that Scalextric is not the only track in town. Just think about video players - as I see it the current tendency is not even equivalent to VHS vs Betamax - no it is much more infantile technology we are seeing examples of. Even if it might be fun and interesting it is still just the beginning. Hopefully these matters will change otherwise the manufacturers risk to 'paint themselves into a corner'. This would be rather unfortunate I think. One other possibility is ofcourse that third party technology will surface - e.g. once we have switches and other stuff we could reprogram them with alternative controllers etc... Basically I believe that there is much room (and need) for improvement when it comes to digital technology and slotcars. I am also sure that there will be more of analogue technology inside slotcars - I can see a need for a microchip controlled condensator already.


//peter
 

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wow - I just read through the discussion about standards again. It is funny that some who are against standards seem to make a large number of assumptions. A couple of things to remember that my eventually come with the digital revolution (no matter what is 'promised' today). It is quite possible that:

1) only cars made by the manufacturer of the track that you have might run on that track.
2) only controllers made by the same...
3) only transformers made by the same...

In a few years it is quite possible that all manufacturers of track have their own (and with everyone else incompatible) digital systems and if the complexities of each system drastically change you might not even be able to make your own homemade cars to run...

I am not saying that this will happen - just a question of 'standard'. Remember that standards sometimes develop by tradition or coincidence not alway written down as regulated 'rules'. If anyone things that a development into incompatibility is impossible (based on thinking that companies are too smart etc?) you might want to study the digital revolution and the history of manufacture of computer technology to see a few examples...

I do think it would be a very good idea to support a body (organisation) that should invite participation of all major manufacturers. It is not about standardization of details like cars, motors etc - it is about standardization for interoperability. For example that 1/32 cars should be possible to run on 12 - 16 volt without problems, another example is that there would be some limits on how big the guide might be. This does not mean that track needs to be the same, but it could mean that the variables could be agreed upon. It does definitively mean that it would be a good idea to have a forum where manufacturers did have a dialogue about these issues.

That is what I think anyway...


regards
//peter
 

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Carrera was supposedly doing something with car sounds as part of their RMS system. The sounds were to be recorded engine sounds of a number of vehicles and would adapt the engine revs according the slotcar controller. I like the idea of having the Carrera supercharged musclecars going for it soundwise while driving them on the track - have not tested it so I have no idea if it works well or not. Anyone got any experience of their system?

//peter
 
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