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Which Controller?

3574 Views 21 Replies 14 Participants Last post by  RichD
After several years out of the hobby I hope shortly to be returning to racing with a new Club.

I sold all my previous collection of cars, spare etc and my electronic Prof Motor controllers, which I was never really happy with anyway.

I am looking round at the options and really fancy a decent Club Thumb controller as being old school I find much greater control using my thumb rather than a finger, I really don't want to use a finger controller turned on it's side as the fine control I seek is just not there for me.

Is anyone apart from SCD making one?....I'm not even sure if SCD are still operational or not.

Any advice appreciated.



PS An analogue controller is, of course, required.
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SCD are still very much in business despite the sad loss of founder Chas Keeling last June. I understand they have recently made a new batch of controllers.

I don't know of anybody else selling new thumb controllers suitable for club use, but very usable second hand ones do come up from time to time.
This is good to read, Alan.

I cannot help with the controller but pleased to see the boy is still into slotcars.

A couple of guys here have thumb is self made and the other is a much modified MRRC piece.
Absolutely agree.

I use both but find the subtlety of control is lacking with either the forefinger or the middle finger which I tend to use as I have big hands.

I did OK at Bordo using an ancient MRRC 5ohm. No adjustments, you just drive according to what you have. Suits me.

I have been using an SCD controller for about 10 years now, and it very much depends on what you intend to do with it.

I find that if the track voltage is high (13.8v) it runs out of adjustment with low current modern motors, to the point where I had to modify mine.

I ended up buying a DS Racing (Pro speed 4) which is much much better for that sort of racing (although I have to use it upside down)

The SCD works great with the vintage motors.


PS: Nice to see you back.

PPS: Sadly the DS is not terribly reliable, the switches break off with astonishing regularity.
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My DS controller has also proved a bit of a pain. The resistor had a blank spot or two to start with and then the spring kept breaking. I had to use one from a cheap and nasty Ninco controller that has proved considerably more resilient
Hi Alan,
If you go to SCD it would be worth telling them what type of motors you are using. This would help get the correct adjustable resistor pot fitted.
I realise I'm beyond redemption but I like the idea of keeping the controllers as simple as possible. There are enough things to go wrong without adding another layer the the pile.

I therefore have come down to four controllers that I use at home and that appear to work elsewhere too. MRC 2ohm for the hotties, MRRC 5ohm for most, MRC 12ohm suits some others and the DS 25ohm for the milder ones and RTRs (and some Ninco 35ohms for guests)

Yes I could have one with all the adjustments but I have an adjustable thumb instead and see no problem in plugging in the right controller for each car. I'd rather spend time learning the car and track properly than making micro adjustments to braking etc.

You of course, won't know which you really prefer until you try. I just took up where I left off 50 years ago.
When I got back into slot racing in 1990 I found that thumb style controllers were no longer being made and that the newer cars did not work well with my old controllers. Since I could not get used to using my trigger finger I had to turn the controller around and use my thumb on the trigger. That solution has worked well for me ever since, but once in a while I have to readjust my grip on the controller during a race. Today I only use electronic controllers if I am given a choice. If you do all of your racing under the same conditions with the same type of cars a single resistor controller will do, otherwise you might need several controllers if you don't want to use something with less than perfect control. In HO scale the range of controllers that you might need is especially wide, you would need about five controllers to do every type of HO car. A single well designed electronic controller will cover the entire range. There are some electronic controllers that have too many adjustments in my opinion, if a controller has too many adjustments you may never find the ones that are perfect. My controllers have numbered tic marks on the adjustments. Once I have found the correct settings for a particular car during practice I can go back to them before the actual racing starts. I rarely have to make on the fly adjustments, that mostly happens when my club hosts a proxy race where I have not had a chance to try all of the cars.
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Thanks for all your comments and advice. It appears the only choice is SCD...So I will contact them anklet them know the type of racing I intend to undertake and see what they can suggest.


Following on from this thread it appears the only thumb controller that is sometimes available is the scd and that this can sometimes prove troublesome so reluctantly it looks like I will have to go with a finger controller.

When I was racing previously I was using PM electronic controllers which I was never really happy with. My usage will be for general Club use, Scalextric,, Scaleauto type motors with the very occasional dip into something a little hotter from the "dark side".

Having lost touch with the latest trends I would be grateful for your advice on the best controller for my needs. I would rule out single Ohms Parmas as I really only want a single controller. It must be available, electronic with adjustability for brakes at least.


Alan: Plenty of options and no doubt there will be even more opinions to follow.
I have used a few Electronic controllers.
Now use my own build using a Parma handle.
I have a couple of PM adjustable controllers, good controller, but I did not like the feel..The Slot It is great value but has a lot of adjustments and does not suit everyone.
You could look at some of the Parma conversion kits.
IMO many of the other controllers are very expensive for what you get, you are paying for the design and the fact they are part of a limited market.
Go and just test a few where you are going to race and see what you like.
At our club - myself and 4 or 5 other chaps use the ACD Pro controllers - took me a couple of laps to get used to it but now I really like it. Bit on the high end but good. A number of chaps swapped from PM controllers to the ACD.

A couple of other chaps use the TruSpeed controller - they quite like them they have a couple of models and from all reports the owner supports his product well.

There is a bit of a mix from there - - DiFalco - and PM controllers being the main ones.

I too prefer thumb operation and still use an SCD for vintage stuff.

I bought a Slot it about 6 years ago and do not like it at all for all sort of reasons, mostly to do with the trigger action.

For years I used upside down Parmas (had a carrier bag full of them), now, for everyday club use I have a DS pro speed 4 and it is just about perfect for everything. I first borrowed one on a couple of occasions and immediatly found a likeable set of adjustment.

The early ones can be a bit fragile, but they have improved the sturdiness.

Try to borrow one to make sure it works for you.


PS: Wouldn't touch a PM controller at all, ever.
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Been using a basic Professor Motor electronic controller for last 7 years or so, all for vintage, and been very happy with it. Except for sanding the resistor now and then, has needed no maintenance. Good all-around controller, was about $70 for the heavy-duty model when I bought it.

A friend here is very happy with the Slot-It controller, but I haven't tried it.

Have used friends' ACD (if that's the fancy one from Germany), but it seems a bit fragile.

Really, Alan, try as many other controllers as you can before taking the plunge. Good to see you back!

Following on from this thread it appears the only thumb controller that is sometimes available is the scd and that this can sometimes prove troublesome so reluctantly it looks like I will have to go with a finger controller.

The only issue mentioned was running out of adjustment on high track voltage. A simple resistor change will give you whatever range of adjustment you want. It only takes a few minutes to do it yourself, or if you are not confident to do it yourself there's people who can do it at many clubs.

If you like thumb action, it's a shame to give up on it for the need of a few minutes work.
Hi Alan,

I don't do much racing these days but h I have a Truspeed which covers all my needs. I vaguely remember they adapted a controller using their electronics in an older frame. Unfortunately I can't remember who it was for but it might be worth contacting them.


re: a modern thumb controller, are you electronically inclined? if so, you might find a good old 60's MRC and put an HO resistor in it to control an external transistor. if you were to copy the PM circuitry (or steal and hack the electronic board from one), you'll be right in the ballpark. you could do the same with a DiFalco if you prefer their curve (nonlinear, but less track Voltage-sensitive). a lot of people do. I think that you'd also need to add the hard contacts for full power and brake, and get some good bearings in there.

anyway, that's what I'd do.
If you are confident about building your own there are controller circuits freely available on the web.

For example this one uses an ordinary resistance controller of around 25 - 35 ohms. I've seen several controllers built to this cuiruit, they work very well. It'll work equally well with a thumb or trigger handle. It's designed for BSCRA type racing, if what you race doesn't need that much current you could use cheaper components.
I've seen lots of "old school" racers using finger controllers with their thumbs.
The. Modern Bach of controllers are all "Scapella" type designs so if you want all of advantages f modern electronics you really don't have any other option.
Quite a gap in the market here I think.
If someone were to repackage an SCP2 metal as ab thumb controller, I'm sure it would sell.
Alan w
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