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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Well, after 43 years of dormancy, I have resurrected my old AFX track and out of 6 cars, only one worked. We recently moved and the new place has a lotta room for a large track. So, since September, while I was constructing the base of the track w two closet doors, I have acquired 3 more old AFX track sets (Quick Snap) and 25 cars in various condition and types and now have 30 cars all running fair to excellent. I'm pretty happy with how everything is coming along, and I am really good at re-building the AFX cars. The track and the cars run good - if you're patient and careful, 50 laps at a run on this layout without a crash is do-able. I plan on lighting and scenery etc but that's later.

Most importantly and what's really bugging me is the massive discussions about power to the track and what is optimal. I cant get a consistent straight answer on what I am supposed to do so before I screw it down, I'd like to finalize that mystery. I have heard everything from putting power every 12' of track to a 30V 10amp power supply, to soldering additional wiring half way around to adding another terminal track etc. The track measures about 35' in overall length. Most of my cars are old vintage AFX magna traction style only because that's what I had as a kid. I have one G-Plus car. I also have 2 brand new G-plus mega cars which are ridiculous fast and one of em already spun the rear axle gear. The Ford GT mega G+ cant even stay on the track. I know I don't have the right track for those but i liked them so that's that. I have a handful of Tyco's and a couple Life Like chassis. No non-magnetron or no T-jets. (if that helps). All 1/64 scale mid-70s to early 90s dated I think. The current power to the track is one Aurora orange pack and two yellow controllers. I took a meter to the rails and it shows about 16.4V when you squeeze the trigger. I think that's low from what i have read - sb between 18-20V with the hardware i have. If in fact that's the way to even measure it.

So those are the facts. What, if anything do you suggest I do for power? Any additional power of lights etc will either be via battery or separate transformer FYI. In advance, I appreciate any advice you can give me




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Hello PJ. Welcome back to the hobby.

If 45-years went by? You have the experience to know that if you ask 3-people, you'll get 3-different opinions.

A portable track has benefits in that the contacts between the tracks can be cleaned. It can be stored in a dry place when not in use.

Once you screw a track down. You need to be concerned with keeping the track from rusting or the power loss can be a bit silly over time. Jumpers help prevent power loss in the future when the track gets old. Is your track in a dry place where the temperature rarely changes? Or is it in a spot where corrosion can do it's thing?

You need to consider many things to get the right answers to your questions. How serious of a racer do you want to become? Two separate wall transformers work fine in my basement for a hobby track similar to yours. Separating the lanes prevents surges to the other lane. 30-volts/10 amp power supply is for very serious racers that want to break land/speed records. Some drag race HO cars can go 70mph in 20-feet with that kind of power.

If the Mega G+ is already a lightning rod at 16.4 volts. More voltage won't help that issue.

A serious racer will spend a lot of money in power supplies and competition hand controllers. Most of us old newbies don't need to do that just to have fun.

Two power tracks with 2-wall transformers and a jumper going to mid-track may likely work. That's what I'm using.

I hope this helps?

Cheers,
Ken
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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Hi Ken - you're right. Im more like at 50 different responses. But thanks for the in-depth response. It is very much appreciated. So a couple more details. The track is in the basement with a whole house de-humidifier so that should help w/corrosion throughout the year. Additionally, before i dug out the sets, they were sitting in similar setting, but just in the box for all those years so i think as far as that's concerned, i s/b ok w corrosion. I also recently washed each track and scrubbed w scotch brite so i think i have pretty good rails. Additionally, any of the rail contact points that were oxidized or not shiny i buffed out w the dremel. So i think i have consistent power throughout - for example, a newer lifelike car stays on the outside track for 50+ laps and near full throttle without falling off. So i am not experiencing any power loss per say. The inside track needs a little more attention and is harder to drive and keep the cars on the track.

So at 53 years old now I dont have a hankering to run out and compete - i just want to enjoy the cars and fix em etc. But I want optimal performance for what they are-i think thats my point. For example i did a complete tear down on one AFX magna traction car and washed and cleaned everything including gears, brushes and replaced pickup shoe springs and brush springs too. That car runs great - for what it is and im satisfied. The mega GPlus cars are ridiculous and i may just end up leaving them on the shelf or trading them if they cant stay on the track - esp the Ford GT - flies off into the wind.

So i see your set up and i believe that's the route i could go since i have multiple power track terminals i can use. Two packs and I'm done. I see you have them next to each other. So first question is does it make sense to have them half way around to have adequate power and secondly, you menitoned that you jumped one of em or both? can you tell me a little bit more how you did that? because in order to have the second terminal run power you'd have to have another controller. But you circumvented that by jumping it. I am interested in knowing more about that. Thanks again!
 

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The AFX Mega-G+ HO slot cars require a high ohm controller in the 90 to 120 ohm range. The AFX 21036 120 ohm controller is an inexpensive option that will work good with the AFX Mega-G+ slot cars.

I would advise against screwing the track down which will make it much harder to make any changes to the layout and maintain it.
 

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Hi PJ,

I had to destroy two power-tracks to do this. By removing the power tap to one opposite lane on each track, you isolate the lanes. But they are dedicated after that unless you repair the power tap.

A jumper is just a wire that bridges the power from the supply to the other side of the track. I'll make a drawing and post it later when my boss isn't looking.

Bswan72 makes a good point. Why are you screwing the track down? Mine is screwed down so I can fold it up against a wall.
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Rich Dumas
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Before you consider getting a different power supply you should first make sure that all of the connections between your track sections are good. I am not a fan of the old Aurora AFX type track, the connections tend to be problematic because the contact areas are very small. Even if you clean and adjust all of the contacts you may also have to add a few sets of jumpers.
To check the track you will have to disconnect the last section before the one where the power comes in. Put a car with its rear axle removed on that section and pull the trigger on the controller for that lane. If the motor runs you have at least a partial connection all the way around the track, if not there has to be an open circuit someplace. If the motor is running take voltage readings on the power strip and on that last section, if the readings are nearly the same there must be good connections all the way around the track, if the difference is much more than a half of a volt there has to be at least one bad connection someplace. Note that it is important to put a load on the circuit when you do this sort of test, an open circuit voltage reading will only tell you that the circuit is completely open someplace. If the motor does not run on that last section you will have to back the car around the track until it does. You will have to test all of the lanes and fix any bad connections starting with the one that is closest to the power strip. If a track has jumpers those should be disconnected before you do any testing.
Once you are certain that the track is OK you can consider a different power supply.
Take a look at this article: Power Supplies for Home Slot Tracks V3.pdf
Mega G+ cars are designed to be used with a 120 ohm controller, those old controllers are too low to work well with Mega G+ cars. You can buy new AFX 120 ohm controllers or aftermarket controllers that are at least 90 ohms. The new AFX sets include a power supply with three settings, the high setting is actually 24 volts and that can make some cars difficult to control.
 

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As has been mentioned, consider your goals:

)) Permanent track and the hassles that go with it, or...

)) Temporary track and the hassles that go with it.

Then figure out which cars you like. As has been mentioned, the type of cars dictates the controller required.

There are work-arounds for anything, like variable power supplies and variable controllers, at a cost, of course.

For most hobbyists on a 4 x 8 (or less) footprint, 60ohm "set" controllers and a power pack per lane will do it for most inline cars (excepting the Mega G + cars).

Every so often you have to tune up a track connection, but as it has been since the '60s, that is just part of the deal for those that don't toss out their tracks a week after the Holidays.

As your obsession grows, there are jumpers, or secondary power paths from section to section, or even routed track.

Lots of good resources here, just let us know what your current goals and efforts are, and you will have several options to mull over as you go, all of which will "work".
 

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Rich Dumas
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My original track used the original Aurora Model Motoring lock and joiner sections. The track had been in storage for some time but had no visible corrosion. I cleaned and adjusted all of the connections and use Aurora track clips at every joint, but I still had problems. I added one set of jumpers and that worked well enough for the casual running that I was doing at the time. Eventually I replaced the old Aurora track with a MaxTrax and that has been trouble free for 23 years. Conventional sectional track does not always stay fixed, if you screw it down that will make fixing bad joints in the future more difficult. If the track is screwed down and its location will see big temperature changes it may tend to buckle somewhat. The track really only needs to be fastened down where the controllers are connected.
 

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In the UK the Derby Club and others construct huge layouts for events with no jumpers, I believe. I will wager that the set-up time is considerable to get it smooth and consistent from lane to lane.

Rich--re jumpers--Help me out. Lots of folks speak of jumpers as a fix-it for sectional track. I always had trouble with track joints. ...All track joints, sooner or later. What good does a jumper do if you have a poor connection or corrosion in the joint right next to the jumper?
 

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Rich Dumas
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Remember that I recommended fixing all of the joints before resorting to using jumpers. Having jumpers connected will make troubleshooting more difficult. With the old Aurora Model Motoring and AFX track there are bound to be at least a few poor connections no matter what you do and that is when having jumpers can be useful. If it was me I would be tempted to dump that old track and replace it with modern Tomy/AFX track that makes much better connections that do not require periodic troubleshooting or jumpers.
 

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Well... if you fiddle with them often enough and long enough you can usually get most any connection to work.

And although I have sanded/scraped connections and rail surface, it has always led to more frequent maintenance.

So, I agree with you that new AFX track is the way to go, although it too will eventually require tuning.
 
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