Troubleshooting

.

Maintenance

Cars keep stopping

Track problems

How to troubleshoot C7039 digital lap counter

Fried chips

Lane change 'flipper' fails to operate

Health & Safety

 

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Maintenance

We recommend truing the tyres, even on new cars. To do this, hold the rear tyres against sandpaper whilst revving the car. This will remove any unevenness from the moulding process and increase the contact area with the track to improve grip performance.

Light cleaning of the track surface is recommended for daily use. Disconnect power before proceeding with any cleaning or maintenance. Dry track before reconnecting power. We recommend using a damp cloth or very lightly oiled cloth. This removes light grime and dust from the track surface. Wipe surface dry after using a damp cloth. As a matter of good practice, always do this before using the Scalextric layout as this will help ensure you get the best grip from the car tyres.

Use a mild abrasive material to shine up the running surfaces of the pick-up rails, making sure that the male and female connections at the ends of the track sections are also bright and shiny.

If the track is tarnished (dull) or has rust spots, all you need to do is give the metal parts, around the affected area, a quick clean. I personally use a PECO PL-41 Rail Cleaner Rubber. Click here to purchase. They are amazing and you will need one after every few times of usage to keep the rails shiny for maximum performance. Alternatively you can give it a rub with very fine sandpaper or wire wool etc although these aren't recommended but will be sufficient for just the once.
If you have a circuit and the car isn't running round, a method to find out which pieces of track are affected is just to join one piece of track to the powerbase track and run a car on it. You don't need a circuit.

If you are experiencing slippy tyres, try swapping the front tyres for the rear tyres. You can also add extra weights inside the car or extra magnets.

Cars keep stopping

First thing to do is check if your track is analogue or digital? You need analogue cars for analogue track and digital cars for digital track. If the car is buzzing then it is likely you have an analogue car on a digital track.
After checking you have the correct type of setup, it is important that you check the car before checking the track sections. If the car is running but keeps stopping then it is most likely the car's guide and braids. The braids are the two pieces of metal under the car (sometimes called brushes) the run on the rails of the track. The braids are fitted to the guide blade assembly. The braids allow electrical power to pass from the track rails, up through the braids and into the car. Any issues with the braids will result in the car not working correctly.

Adjust the position of the braids to make sure they are making the connection to the track and with the metal contact that they are touching, on the car. If the braids are really flat, you can puff them out a little to give more contact with the metal rails.

Check the rear axle is sat in the chassis' mounts. See video:

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Track problems

If you've tried the solution above and the car is working well but it still sticks in certain areas then the next thing to check is the track.

A Scalextric track is an electrical circuit and power can 'leak' at every connection point in the layout. Therefore the next step is to ensure each piece of track has a good connection to the next piece of track. Sometimes part of Scalextric track layouts, looses power. The Scalextric cars run well on some parts of the track but slow down at other points.

Here are some solutions:
Keep the track as flat as possible.
Make sure there is no carpet fluff or debris between each track piece.
Make sure each track piece firmly locates with the next piece.
Keep the track clean. Clean both the rails and connectors after every few times of use or when you notice a reduction in speed.

Cleaning

Disconnect power before proceeding with any cleaning or maintenance. Dry track before reconnecting powerUse a mild abrasive material such as a PECO PL-41 rubber to shine up the running surfaces of the rails, making sure that the male and female connectors, at the ends of the track sections, are also shiny. Please be aware that sometimes, no amount of cleaning of heavily corroded rails and connectors will restore the track to a useable state. If the track cannot be restored, for example, if it is very rusty, replacement of the track is the only alternative.

Click here for track cleaner

Relocate

Frequently take up the track and relay it with the track pieces in different locations. This may sound pointless but it does work.

Improve connections

Disconnect the track from the power base track.
Connect the affected piece of track to the powerbase track. When testing track, if you wish, you don’t need a full circuit, just a piece of track connected to the powerbase track.
Next. Drive a car forward at a slow speed. When the car crosses from the powerbase track to the next piece of track, there should not be a drop in speed.
If there is a drop in speed, then fix the track connection: Disconnect both track pieces (the track piece immediately before and after the fault). Turn them over on a hard flat surface. Using a screwdriver, or similar, press down the metal tabs of the rails ensuring that they are fully pressed and clamped down to the plastic. This holds the rails in place more securely.

Reconnect the repaired track pieces and retest by placing the car at the powerbase and drive the car slowly, until you meet the next reduced or lost power section.
Continue the above repair process until full power is restored to all pieces of track.

Scalextric track connector

Push the flange down to tighten the connection

 

Scalextric connector in position

Connector pushed in firmly


If you feel the above process is not sufficient, you can go a step further: Using small pliers, slightly pinch the square box ends of the rails to squeeze the sides inwards slightly. This will make an interference for the connectors, so there is a slight bite when they engage. Do not squeeze too tight or you will not be able to reconnect the track.

Boosters
Finally, run a Scalextric track power booster cable around the track and make connections to the track every couple of meters or so. Just search on the word ‘boost’ on our website.

Warped track
If your Scalextric cars have a bumpy ride or struggle because the cars have ground out then the answer is to flatten the Scalextric track pieces. This can be done by leaving the track under heavy books overnight. Or you can reverse the bow in the track a little at a time over the edge of a table, until the track is visibly flat again. Be careful not to push too hard because then it will cause a kink in the rail and this is more difficult to restore. A kink will need reshaping by pushing it, at all angles, with a screwdriver, or similar until it is straight again.

C7039 digital lap counter

Scalextric C7039 Digital Lap Counter

 

How to troubleshoot C7039 digital lap counter

1) First, from the layout that you are testing the lap counter with, turn the power base over and look at the underside. If it says 'AZ1', then proceed to step 2. If it says 'A', unplug it, as it will not work due to being incompatible - This is a digital lap counter and 'A' means you have an analogue setup. If the power base says ARC Pro on the top then this lap counter will not work. Any other letters, please contact us.

2) Just connect the lap counter to the power base on its own. No other track. The power base is the piece of track that has the mains lead and throttles plugged into it. You should see the numbers light up on the lap counter. This means it is working.

Flashing random numbers occasionally

It might be worth having a look at your braids. Make sure that they are not too splayed out or sticking up. Also give you track a good clean with a vacuum as you might have little bits of braid lurking in the track recesses causing the track to short (bits of metal bridging the pair of metal rails).

The lap counter misses laps occasionally

Check the guide fins of the cars. If they are worn or not deep enough, they may not trigger the lap counter sometimes. The sensors in the track should pick up the car ID from the cars LED as it passes over, so you may need to clean the LED if it has become dirty. Check your braids as these can raise the nose of the car. If they are raising the car too much, it will not sit in the groove correctly. If none of these work, please contact us again with an exact description of the fault and which set it is being used with. Photos are very helpful.

 

Fried chips

Scalextric fried chips (digital plugs)

Scalextric chips or DPR plugs or Scalextric Digital Plugs C8515 are used in digital slot cars to control speed and lane changes. A chip will 'fry' if too much current passes through it. If you are frying chips, these may be the reasons why...

Short Circuits: If there is a short circuit in the car or track, it can cause an excessive current to flow through the chip, leading to overheating and damage. See our information on track maintenance with regard to shorts. To avoid car short-circuits: be careful of any metal-on-metal contact inside the car and crossed wires.

Overvoltage: Applying a higher voltage than what the chip is rated for can cause it to overheat and fry. Ensure the power supply is within the recommended range for your Scalextric setup.

Poor Ventilation: If the chip does not have adequate ventilation, it can overheat during operation, leading to failure. Make sure there is enough airflow around the chip.

Electrical Noise: Excessive electrical noise or spikes on the track's power lines can damage sensitive electronic components in the chip. Suppress electrical noise from the car’s motor. Suppress electrical noise from TVs and radios too. These can result in the cut-outs, intermittent issues, and ID changes.

Incorrect Installation: Incorrect installation of the chip, such as improper soldering or placement, can cause it to malfunction or short circuit.

Physical Damage: Physical damage to the chip, whether from impact or mishandling, can lead to internal failures. Avoid revving the motor when the car is unable to move. This increases the current draw significantly.
This means:
Gently true the tyres
Avoid pushing crashed cars out of the way
Don’t hold the car on the track whilst pressing the throttle
If the car gets stuck in the track, stop and fix the issue

Static Electricity: Static discharge during handling can damage electronic components. Always handle chips with care, ideally using anti-static precautions.

Customised cars: If a car has been altered then this may affect the chip. For example: Increasing magnetic down-force by using stronger / extra magnets or lower-profile tyres, will add to the strain on the motor and draw more current through the chip. If the car’s ferrite choke (ferrite man) and
capacitor has been removed, this may affect the chip.

The latest C8515 Revision H Digital Plugs have a much higher current tolerance than the older versions. Revision H also has a higher tolerance than the C7005 & C7006 retro fit chips.

To summarise: To prevent chips from frying, ensure proper installation, use the correct voltage, provide adequate ventilation, and handle with care. Additionally, using quality components and maintaining the track and cars can reduce the risk of electrical issues.

 

Lane change track ‘flipper’ fails to operate

Scalextric lane change flipper

Disconnect the lane change track piece and check that the rail connections are all as per the above process.
Check that there is no debris or obstructions in the slot, preventing the flipper from physically moving. It should 'flip' freely.
Ensure the track piece hasn't been bent (for example, trodden on).
Reconnect the track piece and turn the power on.
Manually move the flipper into the position which would cause the car to change lane. Manually push a car over the track lane change sensor (this is a round hole about one car length before the flipper). The flipper should flip back to the 'straight ahead' position.

 

Health & Safety

When fixing Scalextric cars and tracks, safety is crucial to prevent accidents and damage to the components. Here are some detailed safety tips to follow:

Disconnect Power: Always ensure the track is unplugged and the power is turned off before you start working on the cars or track to avoid electrical shocks.

Use Proper Tools: Use appropriate, well-maintained tools designed for small electronic repairs, such as precision screwdrivers, pliers, and soldering irons.

Work in a Clean, Organised Area: Keep your workspace tidy and free from clutter. This reduces the risk of losing small parts and helps avoid accidents.

Handle Components with Care: Handle electronic components, especially chips, with care to avoid static electricity damage. Use anti-static wristbands or mats if possible.

Follow Instructions: Always refer to the manufacturer's instructions for any repairs or modifications. Incorrect procedures can damage your Scalextric components.

Soldering Safety: When soldering, work in a well-ventilated area to avoid inhaling fumes. Use a proper soldering iron stand and always turn off the iron when not in use.
Be cautious of hot soldering irons and molten solder to prevent burns.

Check for Short Circuits: After repairs, check for any potential short circuits in the wiring. This can prevent chips from frying and other electrical issues.

Inspect Components: Regularly inspect cars and tracks for any signs of wear or damage. Replace worn-out parts to ensure the system runs smoothly and safely.

Avoid Overloading: Do not overload the track or cars with excessive power. Stick to the recommended voltage and current ratings to avoid frying chips and other components.

Secure Loose Wires: Ensure all wires are securely connected and insulated properly to prevent accidental short circuits or loose connections that could lead to overheating.

Use Protective Gear: Wear safety glasses when cutting or soldering to protect your eyes from flying debris and solder splashes.

Proper Ventilation: Ensure proper ventilation for electronic components, especially chips, to prevent overheating during operation.

Avoid Overheating: Do not operate the cars continuously for long periods without breaks, as this can lead to overheating and damage.

By following these safety tips, you can effectively fix and maintain your Scalextric cars and tracks while minimising the risk of accidents and component damage.

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