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  • Carrera vs Scalextric

    Hi all,

    I know this question is asked a lot so my apologies but most of the posts I've ready are a few years old so I'm looking for more current opinions. I'm looking to purchase a nice set that won't leave me wanting more right away.

    I'm interested in a digital 1/32.
    Not sure that 1/24 is where I want to go but having that option isn't a bad thing.
    I'd like to stick with an 8x4 layout, but I can go larger if needed.
    Would also like to be able to race older analog cars.
    Slot racing is not big in my area and none of my friends are interested so ghost cars would be an important feature for me.
    I live in the USA so not sure how that affects availability of track, cars and accessories.

    My original thought was Scalextric ARC, but I read where many prefer Carrera so would love to get thoughts and options.

    Thanks
    Brian

  • #2
    People prefer what they start with, most of the time.
    If you want the option of 1/24, then Carrera is the only choice, really.
    But, if you want a decent track on 8x4, then Scalextric will work better. You said you can go larger... just cut to the chase and go as large as you possibly can from the get go. You'll end up there eventually, anyway.
    Scalextric ARC Pro has an easy switch between digital and analog, but if you've got some money, you can also buy a TekSlots Carrera digital power base, which is a base with the necessary mods added to it for analog control. You can also DIY the same thing if you're comfortable with some soldering.

    Neither is "better" than the other. They both have pros and cons. I started with Scalextric, so that's what I prefer, but I also have a Carrera Digital layout I can set up whenever I want. Either way, you'll have a great time.

    Comment


    • #3
      Both systems can be made to work very well. With that being said, I feel Carrera is more user friendly out of the box. The main drawback to Carrera is it takes up a lot of space. I would say a minimum of a 5 x 10 foot table is needed for Carrera. Scalextric has a reduced footprint which would work on a 4 x 8 table.

      Comment


      • #4
        If comparing the current state of Carrera Digital with the previous Scalextric Digital 6-car power bases, I would whole heartedly agree that Carrera had the better, more friendly, user experience. Since the ARC Pro, though, I would say they are on par with one another.

        That said, user experience is highly subjective, and some may find that the way the old Scalextric 6 car base worked was intuitive. Not many, but some. ;-)

        Similarly, some feel that the thumb plunger controls that Carrera sticks with is enough to turn them off that system, especially compared to the fairly comfortable to hold and use trigger-style controllers of the ARC Pro system. Add to that the simplicity of upgrading to a very powerful controller in the SCP3, as well as a small step if choosing to upgrade to oXigen, and a strong argument can be made for Scalextric.

        I'm not trying to convince anyone in either direction. I'm simply making the point that both systems are great. Each have strong points and weak points. Both are great systems, and either would be a great choice for most people. Sometimes, the choice can be made by picking whichever set is readily available.

        Another factor to consider is what other people nearby may be racing. If you share what city/state you live in, you might find that there is someone within a short drive that races digital of some kind. It makes sense to go with the same system as them, just to make it easier to race on each other's tracks.

        Comment


        • #5
          Where does Policar track fit in with Carrera and Scalextric?

          Comment


          • #6
            It's a good middle ground. It's not quite as large as Carrera, but most 1/24 will work on it, I think. They also offer a smaller R1, more akin to Ninco, allowing more compact layouts than Carrera. Policar will be offering a slot.it oXigen lane changer in the not too distant future, which will make that a good option for those looking at digital. It's a hard plastic (like Carrera) and has a strong texture so that lots of different types of tires will work well on it. I think when the full compliment of track pieces and lane changers are readily available, it will be a great option for someone looking at getting a new system of sectional plastic track. Until the lane changers are available, though, it's primarily an analog option.

            Comment


            • #7
              Thanks for all the good input. In response to some questions /comments;

              I live in Southeastern MA.
              Wider track seems appealing, I can make space.
              How nice of a Carrera layout could I fit on a 5x10 table?
              I know I want digital and I know I want to be able to run a ghost car or cars. A lot of the other computerized stuff is interesting but not necessary right now.
              I may eventually get further in the hobby and do more but for now I would like to buy one nice large set that has all I want right now.
              Read some reviews about Carrera that suggest the cars in some of the sets are not all equal, some are faster than others which is definitely not good to me.
              I'm an old Aurora ho racer as a kid so I prefer finesse over magnetic downforce.
              Who make the better cars? Faster is appealing.
              Is there a manufacturer aside from Carrera or Scalextric that I should consider?

              Sorry for all the questions. Your advise appreciated.




              Comment


              • #8
                Sounds like your best bet is to start with a Carrera set. Get one with the wireless 2.4ghz controllers, and also get an App Connect. Even if you don't want fancy things, it's the best (IMHO) way to get the lap counting and timing.

                There are NUMEROUS slot car manufacturers to try out. Did you know that, due to the distance between the rails on Carrera track, you can run pretty much ANY scale car? Yep, even your old HO cars. Maybe not optimal for HO cars, but they'll go. ;-)

                I also prefer non-mag slot car racing. As I'm sure you're aware, it's all about the tires. Stock Carrera (well, most slot cars, really) don't have great tires, so replacing them with something that works well on Carrera track is not a bad idea. The other option is to paint the track. Cheap, bottom shelf interior latex paint is the way to go. It adheres well and will improve grip for most tire types.

                As mentioned, it's a good idea to have an analog mode. You can DIY something, or buy an appropriate power base (control unit) such as the one offered by Tek-Slots. This allows you to run laps with a new car without having to install a Carrera digital chip into it. Then, the only cars that need chips, are the ones you actually race against (more than one) other car. The rest of your collection can be left as analog for the joy of tuning and running them around one at a time. Trust me on this.

                But yes, look at brands like slot.it, NSR, ScaleAuto, Fly (and Flyslot), Scalextric, Ninco, SCX, Pioneer, and so many others... as I said, pretty much ANY car will "go" around a Carrera track, no matter the brand or scale, so long as you have the ability to run analog cars.

                To head off a common question, no you cannot just have an analog power track and a digital power track in the same layout, only plugging one into power at a time. The analog power can run back up the wiring and damage the digital base. You need to have a switch between the output of each power base/track so that there is never more than one electrical (e.g. the wires) connection between one base and the rails of the track. Lane changers are generally OK to leave in the track, even though Carrera do not recommend doing so. This is essentially what the TekSlots base does, and as I mentioned, there are instructions out there for doing it yourself.

                Comment


                • #9
                  As for differences in speeds, well.. get used to it, especially if you get other brands. I'm sure you remember having "faster" cars in your HO days. No matter how much we try, there's still going to be differences. As before, you'll learn ways to deal with it, starting with Carrera's power level programming option for every digital car on a 10 step scale.

                  Also, while growing your layout, try to avoid getting sets. It's a cheap way to get more track and cars and stuff, but you end up with PILES of standard turns that are about as valuable as garbage. Instead, get packs of R2, R3, and R4 turns, as well as quarter and third straights.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Excellent advice above. With regard to your question about "How nice of a Carrera layout could I fit on a 5x10 table?" I crammed this layout on a single full sheet of MDF - 4'2"x10'2"

                    IMG_8118 Resized.jpg

                    It's difficult with Carrera track to get more in a layout unless you go vertical in that small a space.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      I found a YouTube video by Merry Boozer RCon Tek Slot products very informative,
                      The reviewer uses Carrera controllers. Would anyone know if there is a way to use my Professor Motor positive polarity controller in the analog mode?

                      I noticed Tek Slots only has a Facebook page (correct me if I’m wrong) and I’m a n9n-Facebooker. Does anyone know where the company is located? The analog lap counter is interesting but requires unit to be sent in for modifications.
                      Last edited by Wicker Bill; 09-04-2021, 08:01 AM.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        If you want to use proper club controllers for analog, then your best bet is to install a switch between the two systems.
                        Code:
                        ____________________________________
                               Track    |
                        ________________|____________________
                                       ||
                                       ||
                        Digital CU == SWITCH == Analog Connections
                                      (4PDT)
                        That's what I Did for my SSD/Analog track. Works great.
                        Last edited by MrFlippant; 09-04-2021, 08:18 AM.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by 82whiskey View Post
                          I may eventually get further in the hobby and do more but for now I would like to buy one nice large set that has all I want right now.
                          I don't know if you have any interest but something to consider is looking at the 1/24 sets. They have borders which are a huge expense. If you are going to run no mag you are going to need borders anyway and the power supply that comes with it will run the 1/32 cars also. Yes the 1/32 sets will run the 1/24 cars if you remove the magnets but they will not have the speed you're looking for. Just more info to consider.
                          Dave

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Lots of good information, Thanks all.

                            Originally posted by dw5555 View Post
                            I don't know if you have any interest but something to consider is looking at the 1/24 sets. They have borders which are a huge expense. If you are going to run no mag you are going to need borders anyway and the power supply that comes with it will run the 1/32 cars also. Yes the 1/32 sets will run the 1/24 cars if you remove the magnets but they will not have the speed you're looking for. Just more info to consider.
                            Dave
                            Hi Dave, interesting idea, I’ll have to consider it. For my own clarification however, according to the Carrera website I would need to purchase the 1/32 transformer to run 1/32 cars. I have to assume this is correct?

                            Thanks Brian

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              You don't HAVE to, but you will probably want to set the power levels of D132 cars fairly low, because the D124 power supply is a higher voltage (due to their slower motors) than the D132 power supply.

                              A lot of hobbyists eventually purchase a variable volts/amps power supply for their slot track.

                              Comment

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