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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I am trying to get an old Varney track operational, and wondered if anyone can help with original wiring instructions or a diagram? The power pack appears to have separate dedicated outputs for each lane, and the track hookup has 4 posts labeled 1 through 4. The original controllers have FOUR wire leads, I am guessing to accomodate the polarity reverse switch on each. Thanks.
 

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Fraid I can't help you there; found a period review of the Varney set, but it just says that "all the connections are easily attached to the single commuter strip."

Maybe Bernard Sampson of bernardsslotcarmuseum can help you - I'm sure he's got that set! The cars aren't all that rare, but there don't seem to be a lot of sets around.

Don
 

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That's great Bernard, thanks!

Always good to look at those cars too: they were actually kind of nice and the track seems very solid. Wonder why it didn't sell any better than it did? Another case of "better to keep it simple"!?

Don
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Wow, sirs, that was fast! I can't wait to get it wired up and running! I had some of this paper, but not all, inc. the crucial wiring diagram, but on inspection I may have been able to logic through it (he who still thinks 3 times before connecting a car battery!). Yes, it is a somewhat complex system, in some ways reminding me of the AMT turnpike that a friend of mine occasionally runs. I have concluded it was designed totally for "play value" for kids, rather than the serious club slot racer type. What with the gear change, polarity switch, controller lock, lock-down cars for spin around capability, (although they marketed an accesory standard guide), and extra-wide shoulders for such. In fact I came to this conclusion while assembling the track in recent months, at first being quite impressed with its width until I realized the slots are on 2 1/2 inch centers!! Try a pass on a curve, if you dare! Can you imagine two IMC stockers going at it on this stuff? Even lowly Eldon track ran on 3 inch centers. I got a laugh from the instructions while assembling: "a 5 year old can do this in seconds"! Notwithstanding the evening I spent supergluing the aluminum strip conductors back down to 45+ year-old track, I was experiencing one of the sources of the urban legend of the 60's dad being up all night Christmas eve trying to make some new toy work! Thanks again, much appreciated. Glad I just joined the forum for this info.
 

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*** Leo A Capaldi ***
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... and two gear ratios to play with (and change of direction) - great stuff.

Leo
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Well, I've got it up and running, sort of; I'm learning as I go. Here's the latest: most of my large collection of cars, including many from vintage manufacturers, have trouble on this track! Look closer: I mentioned the 2 1/2 inch centers; but now I'm noticing how far apart the contactors are. Out comes the scale, wow, a full 1/2" between the rails! More curious, I measure the slot itself, 3/16". For comparison, my Monogram track has a 1/8" slot with 1/4" between rails, HALF the distance of the Varney. The result being that almost every guide in my collection is just way too narrow to bridge that gap. And modern cars like Fly, et al, can just forget it! Why did they do this? I am guessing that once they made the commitment to this kind of a modular track system, their manufacturing capabilities would not allow a strip contactor to be installed so close to a plastic edge. And so we have yet another example of a system designed solely for its own cars, one of the practices that killed slotcars in the 60's.
 

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Good points 60s!

The review of the set was in the June 1964 issue of Rod & Custom Models, so this came out relatively early in the game, and things weren't quite set in stone yet.... altho more than in 62 when the Turnpike set came out!

There were a few other manufacturers with their own proprietary systems that wouldn't handle other cars, especially Marx... Of course, just look at all the incompatible digital systems today to see that manufacturers still don't standardize, all to their great detriment I believe...

Of course (again), looked at from the manufacturers' standpoint, maybe they all just figured that most kids would just be playing in their own homes, and didn't care about mixing other cars and sets together...

Don
 
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