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How does the type of controller affect performance?

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  • How does the type of controller affect performance?

    Reading the posts about the DS controller was interesting and I was impressed. It got me to thinking about the differences (advantages and disadvantages) between the different kind of controllers. Slotit has a fully electronic controller, Third Eye has a mosfet themed controller and others have more conventional controllers. Excluding the "feel" of the handle and other physical attributes, what are the different kind of controllers strong and week points that would affect performance? Obviously if you have a $600 dollar controller with every doo dad isn't a fair comparison to a $20 thumb controlled resistor controller. There has to be some inherent advantages and liabilities to each types design.

  • #2
    There are two main differences between the "build" of the controller. The electricity passing through the controller is either Resister based or PWM (Pulse With Modulation) based. There may be others that I'm not aware of. Some can use a combination of the two. This does not include digital controllers.

    The main difference betweens any cheapo thumb controller vs. an expensive/professional model
    1. the speed of response between input and output
    2. range of control
    3. precision of control
    4. voltage loss at maximum power
    5. better braking

    There are other features on many expensive controllers but to me these are the main points.

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    • #3
      I didn't mean to compare cheap vs expensive even though that may be where the comparison goes. I was more interested in the PWM VS Resistor VS mosfet VS transister comparison. Builders of controllers choose their designs because of the advantages or liabilities of one type over the other and I don't know what the advantages are. As a consumer it might be useful to understand the advantages when deciding on the type of controller to look at.

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      • #4
        How well a controller works for you and your cars is all about the detail of the design and build quality, there are excellent controllers based on each of the common technologies.
        We've all seen advertising copy claiming one technology is vastly better than another, basically that's adverting BS.

        For those interested in the techie bits
        There are two basic ways of building a controller - switching and linear.

        Switching controllers
        All PWM controllers are switching, but not all switching controllers are PWM
        These generate less heat when on part power. This is a major advantage for things like radio controlled cars, it's of no consequence in slot racing hand controllers. The electrics in "digital" slot cars are usually based on this technology.
        Modern switching controllers use various types of transistor in their circuits.

        Linear
        These generate heat when on part power, they usually have heat sinks and sometimes cooling fans to get rid of the heat. (Some switching controllers also have heat sinks and cooling fans.)
        These days the up market liner controllers generally use some type(s) of transistor.
        Resistor controllers are also linear. There used to be some really good resistor controllers about, but they seem to have died out.

        Types of Transistor?
        The two most common types of transistor used in controllers are bipolar transistors and MOS field effect transistors. There are thousands of different types of each basic technology, part of the circuit designers job is selecting the right one for its function in their circuit. If the techie details are of interest, go to google for more detail. "Transistorized" Controller circuit designs will use either or both.
        Last edited by Al's slotracing; 12-12-2014, 04:09 AM.

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        • #5
          For most guys that race a wide range of cars and motors there is no one perfect controller. I use one brand of controller that I have been useing now for 4 years and I race mostly NSR and Slot-it type cars. But when we race say Ninco Classics with 14K motors my old 15 band DiFalco comes out. I just prefer the feel of that controller with those cars and since braking isn't as big a deal with that class I use that controller over my regular controller that has massive braking. You should try as many as you can before buying any high end controllers.

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