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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I am confident that this query will generate a myriad of differing opinions, but I wish to know what is the very best controller which I can buy.

The electronic capability to build one is beyond me, whilst I have reasonable craft skills I do not understand that which I cannot see thus electrical wizardry defeats me, my capabilities being restricted to simple circuitry. I do understand the rheostat variable resistor but it is all the other bits in a circuit which confuse me.

I am currently running analogue, scratcbuilt and restored vintage cars, I am not looking for speed, but reliability and smooth gentle acceleration to scale speeds. Whilst I do have mains transformers my preferred power source is a 12 volt wet cell leisure caravan battery as I am trying to build an outdoor circuit. I am currently using second hand Scalextric controllers, from a set probably 5 to 10 years old. If these cannot be improved upon I shall stick with them, however I would prefer something more substantial and less 'toylike'.

Thanks
 

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Well that is a can of worms! The Parma controllers are a great alternative and easy to come by. I've had a Professor Motor electronic controller for a few years now an love it. Check out http://www.professormotor.com/category-s/2...w=20&page=3

Mine's probably a little dated as I can't see it on that page but it has a lovely, smooth action and handles a lot of different power motors nicely.

It all depends on your budget I guess. The Slot,it controllers have had lots of very positive reaction as well. I think there are plenty of threads on SF already so try the search function.
 

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If you're looking for one controller to do most anything at a reasonable price then the Slot.it SCP is a great choice. If you're on a budget then MRRC controllers are very good and have the option of a two finger trigger.
 

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Hi John
What sort of motors are you using in your scratcbuilt and restored vintage cars?
The sort of controllers needed depend a lot on the current.
If you are managing with second hand Scalextric controllers right now and they are not getting ridiculously hot, I guess you must be using fairly modest current motors?
No point in spending more money on a controller to handle high motor currents you'll never use.

(But those who are restoring (for example) late 60s raceway 1/24 cars will need a controller that'll take the current.)

You say you are using mains transformers, if these are basic unsmoothed mains transformers they will produce large amounts of AC ripple. Not all electronic controllers work properly with that much AC ripple.
Any controller will be happy with a 12 volt battery supply.

Is your track wired negative or positive polarity? If buying an electronic controller, make sure it is suitable for the polarity of your track.
This has nothing to do with the cars going forward or backward, its about which way the power goes through the controller. Nearly all electronic controllers will only work on one polarity and very often can be damaged by connecting to a track with the opposite polarity.

A Parma resistance controller is much better than what you have now and will work well with any amount of AC ripple and either track polarity.
 

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If money wasn't an issue, I'd get one of these:

JayGee

There are also Ruddick, Third Eye, Slot It (as mentioned), Difalco, PM (which I use), Truspeed and a bunch of others. It really depends on the sort of motors you'll be using. I started with the stock Scaley controllers, realized they were useless fairly quickly but didn't want to spend the money on something nice, so I bought a pair of Fly controllers, and a pair of Parmas (45 ohm) but ended up with the PMs because they work with all of my cars. I should have just spent the money in the first place.

Randy
 

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QUOTE (keysandslots @ 17 May 2011, 13:35) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>If money wasn't an issue, I'd get one of these:

JayGee
Hi Randy
Why would you choose that one in preference to the other makes you list?
All the other ones you list are very good controllers.
Carsteen is another popular choice amongst racers wanting high end controllers.
I kinda get the feeling most of them are built to take a lot more current than John is likely to need.
 

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QUOTE (highbarn @ 17 May 2011, 13:35) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>If you're on a budget then MRRC controllers are very good and have the option of a two finger trigger.

I've been very happy with them. Changing the trigger wasn't that easy for a beginner, but after the first time it wasn't that bad. Adjusting trigger pressure is very easy indeed if you have the correct hex key.
 

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I bought a MRCC controller last year and found it great to use, but like others at our club it didn't work reliably for very long. After about 6 months the brakes gave up, couldn't really send it back (others have) as I felt it was "used" but have not been able to repair it. Multi meter suggests all is well but doesn't work when used. Real pitty was great to use while it lasted, anyone had simmilar experience? Know how to fix it? Gone back to Parma ecconomy as these seem to be more reliable.
Steve A
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
As I suspected, it seems to be very much personal choice.

Whilst I do not have a huge budget I have learnt in life to buy the best, which is usually the most expensive. I did not however wish to spend money on something with capability which I do not need. As I said it is for restored vintage cars. To date only old Scalextric for no better reason than that they are those with which I am familiar with from my childhood in early 60's and those of my own children in the late 70's, thus Scalextric RX, Power Sledge, Formula Junior motor, Johnson 111 motor and Mabuchi can motors. I may in the future buy other production toys which take my fancy, and I am scratch building currently with Mabuchi cans. I may wish to buy better motors or more streamlined ones for some of the finer F1's which I wish to convert, kit build or scratch build. I may well upgrade to the best motors which I can buy for this purpose, but I do not envisage ever being a petrol head speed freak, I merely want reliable motors which will generally be well geared down, and I want a reliable chunky controller to get the best out of them. Nothing fancy, the plainer the better.

As for polarity SLR, how would I figure that out. I have noticed a better performance from the Battery that the transformer, thus without needing to know what AC ripple is, shall stick to that in the future.

Thanks all for comments.
 

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You will get lots of responses quoting all the wizz bang brands and i am a racer and have no less than 6 controllers which i have acquired over the last 2 1/2 years (as you do)
For what you want running scratchbuilts etc i would advise a simple parma resistor controller. You can always put a brake pot on later if you want to and the throttle response is gauged by the resistor. A 15ohm is aggressive and a 60 ohm is very soft. a 35ohm is usually a nice feeling controller for what you will need but try out a few of your friends. A parma is cheap virtually maintenance free and tough. If you want an electronic a basic PM is a nice controller.
 

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QUOTE (John Tremelling @ 17 May 2011, 15:17) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>As for polarity SLR, how would I figure that out. I have noticed a better performance from the Battery that the transformer, thus without needing to know what AC ripple is, shall stick to that in the future.
Does you track have the negative power supply terminal permanently connected to the track with the controller in the positive lead.
Or
have the positive power supply terminal permanently connected to the track with the controller in the negative lead?

That's the essential differance between the tow polarities.

Do you have a brake connection to the controller? It's probable that second hand Scalextric controllers won't have a brake connection.
Some electronic controllers will work OK without a brake connection, some won't. For those that will work on two wires, you can get round the polarity problem. However you won't have brakes without the third connection.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
SLR, my controllers only have a trigger and I would not know what a brake is. A seperate button/trigger? As for polarity, I connect the track up at random, would it make a difference if I connected it consistantly?
 

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QUOTE (John Tremelling @ 17 May 2011, 15:45) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>SLR, my controllers only have a trigger and I would not know what a brake is. A seperate button/trigger? As for polarity, I connect the track up at random, would it make a difference if I connected it consistantly?
Brakes are automatically connected when the trigger or plunger is fully released.
These days just about everything except the really basic controllers have brakes.
Unless the brake terminal is connected to the track, the brake function won't work.

Do you connect the controller to the track with 2 connections or 3?
2 connections = no brakes

With a resistance controller and just 2 connection it doesn't matter if you connect up at random it'll work both ways round.
With a transitorised controller and just 2 connection if you connect up at random one way round works and the other will probably damage the controller.

With 3 connection if you connect up at random some of the permutations will work, some won't, some will short out the power supply and some will probably damage the controller.
 

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QUOTE (John Tremelling @ 17 May 2011, 15:45) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>SLR, my controllers only have a trigger and I would not know what a brake is. A seperate button/trigger? As for polarity, I connect the track up at random, would it make a difference if I connected it consistantly?

A brake pot is simply a dial that lets you reduce the amount of braking from normal. With the controllers you have now when you lift from the trigger the car brakes. Sometimes with some cars or for your driving style you may want less braking effect than that and want the car to have more "roll" and that is when adding a brake pot can help. For most enthusiasts it is not really needed. I know plenty of drivers that are happy with a basic controller with no brake adjustability. It is easy enough to add later if you want to but why spend more money for something that you may not want/need?

Also a resistor based controller will work with any polarity. It is only electronic controllers where you have to concern yourself with such matters.
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
Thanks SLR, I only have a very basic controller, variable rheostat only. with 2 leads.

From my model trains I know of pulse controllers, I do not really know how they work but do know that they produce a much smoother action. Sorry to be such a duffer on electronic devilment.
 

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John, I've heard good things about the JayGee and I like his philosophy, but I have never actually had a chance to try one so I am not an expert (in any of the advanced controllers for that matter).

I do not agree with the people who say a standard issue Parma is all you need, or beginners do not need brake adjustment. I have the standard issue 45 ohm Parma, the one usually recommended, and although many of my cars run fine with it, some do not. So, I could just go out and buy a pair of 25 ohm Parmas or another set of guts to put inside my existing Parmas, but now I'm getting close to the cost of the PM and at least I can adjust it on-the-fly, and experiment a bit for different cars.

Same for the brake adjustment. Cars have different braking characteristics, depending on the motor and the gearing. I never use full braking because I prefer to drive with my cars being able to coast a bit (remember the momentum controls on your model railroad throttles) but others like the car to stop when the throttle is released. Again, I can easily experiment with different settings without taking anything apart or changing throttles.

For home use, I'm not convinced you need a $300.00 or $400.00 controller, but again, I have no experience with those so maybe some people do use them. But I really think one of the simple Parma controllers is not enough for anyone.

Oh, and all of this goes for having a good, adjustable power supply too. I spent the equivalent of 6 cars (approximately) on a Pyramid PS26-KX and two PM controllers and improved all of my cars at the same time. Seemed like a good investment at the time, and still does.

Randy
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
I have just identified my controllers as Classics of the 70's, not a few years ago as I had thought. I guess technology has moved on massively and anything will be better than these?
 

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John,
Standard Parma controllers will do, screw three srews into a piece of board connected to the track soldered wires, with two wires to connect to the battery.
dont bother with any other types of controller for the application you are using you WILL be wasting your monies.
also if you are using a battery, you may wish to keep this on charge when you are using the track, you will be suprised by how much the battery will be drained, keep the charger under cover and run long lines to the battery Health and safety.
Regards
Zen
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
Thanks Zen, I shall try a Parma, but will not take your other advice. The primary reason for using a battery is to keep mains electricity away from Grandchildren, dogs, paddling pools etc. I shall have a second battery on charge should I run out of puff.
 
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