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Monday 4 May 2015

SCX vs Carrera vs Ninco

Last year if you had asked me who any of the companies, SCX, Carrera or Ninco were, I would not have known. Like most of the UK the only slot car brand I knew of was Scalextric.

My Christmas set and some other cars are Scalextric and I already have some Pioneer and cars. These are all a similar construction and offered no surprises. I recently bought three cars each from yet another manufacturer. These recent acquisitions all have variations that in one way or another were slightly unexpected.

I bought the Ninco Bowler Nemesis because I wanted something more off- road related, I liked the look of it and at some point I needed to see if a raid setup could be converted to Scalextric Sports Digital (SSD.) I'll come back to the Ninco later and why I wanted something off-road.

I bought the other two cars as they were bargains and I was curious about other manufacturers. I thought if I didn't like them visitors could use them or I could break them down for spare parts. both are nice looking cars with lots of detail, adjustable magnets and lights. It is inside where they are different.

The SCX Porsche is light weight and thinner plastic but well put together. What surprised me was inside.

Instead of wires the SCX uses fine copper colour rails for conductors throughout. That plus the use of plastic mounted stub axles instead of the usual through bar makes the interior very open and very neat and tidy.

Those same features that make it tidy inside along with the custom motor would make it more difficult to add an SSD chip or to use as the basis for a scratch build. [EDIT] When I came to test the SCX car one of the front lights did not work. There is no obvious reason and the electronics, although tiny, are well positioned and secure.

The Carrera Peugeot is a much sturdier feeling car. The plastic and overall fit feels very strong. An interesting feature is the easily adjustable weight. The whole car feels heavier than most.

Inside it is the more common wires. Lots of wires. The reversing switch complicates the wiring and the lighting circuit uses full size components so takes up a fair amount of space compared to the tiny circuits used in other makes.

It's all neat and tidy inside and there would still be space for an SSD chip. The tricky bit would be removing the adjustable weights which are positioned where the signal LED need to be for SSD lane changers!

The Ninco Bowler is the car I wanted to buy. As you can tell from the rest of the blog we do some off-roading in the full size world. The Bowler is the nearest I can find to a Land Rover that I like. The longer term plan would be to scratch build a Land Rover slot car so I will need one as the donor for the wheels etc.

The Bowler and many other rally type cars use the raid setup for the guide.  This is a long arm which drops down so the car can climb over rocks. I am unlikely to build an off-road raid track but that's how the cars come.

The Ninco is a nicely made car.  The plastic feels just right, not too light and not overly heavy. The interior is what I now call the traditional setup, of motor, gears and wires to the pickups. It has the addition of the pulley to the front wheels to give 4 wheel drive. That is neatly to one side.

There is plenty of space for the SSD circuit and it was fairly easy to mount the signal LED on the drop arm just behind the guide. The motor pops out which made it all easier to solder.

I had a couple of attempts at the wiring.
The first, with the ferrite man (ferrite bead and capacitor filter) on the guide wires it got in the way of the axle when the arm dropped. In addition I had an intermittent power loss which I put down to a poor solder joint.

I re-did the setup, as shown in the above photo, with the ferrite man on the motor wires and plenty of slack on the guide wires direct from the SSD circuit to the braids. This works very well and is much neater.

I've tried it on the track and it works very well including changing lanes. I did sharpen the guide blade as it initially knocked on some radius 1 (R1) corners and crossovers.

The very strong magnet helps to hold it on the track but the taller body has, as expected, a tendency to roll out of the slot.

It will struggle to compete in a race against other types of car but I was surprised how fast it would go round my twisty track. I am very pleased with the end result and have plans to get further off-road style vehicles.

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