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  • Pacemaker

    Any of you slot car buddies have a pacemaker? Do our race cars cause any electrical interference? Just curious. Got a new pacer Tuesday, would appreciate any info. The pacer guy said probably would not be a problem but he also warned against leaning over a running engine (and arc welding but that won't be a problem.)

  • #2
    The arcing of the motor and pickups can cause a lot of RF interference. In the good old days when TV had four channels and rabbit ears a track could tear up a TV big time. They can do the same thing with AM radio. Today you don't see the interference but its still there. Can't speak to how it would impact a Pacemaker. .


    • #3
      EMF could be an issue, maybe use a wireless controller and stay a little further from the track. Cars with suppression should create less EMF but a lot take off those noise filters.

      Are you running analog or digital.
      Alan Smith
      SCI Owner.



      • #4
        EMF suppression is the reason the new AFX MegaG+ cars have that little circuit board in them. The newer 120 Ohm controllers also have some sort of suppression built in (I think). So if you are concerned, you may want to run the new cars, not the older ones. -- Charlie


        • #5
          Other things like a Dremel, an electric lawn mower or hedge trimmers also generate RFI. I would expect that a pacemaker would be immune to RFI, but it would be best to check with a cardiologist or the maker of the pacemaker.


          • #6
            I am certain immunity to RFI (Radio-Frequency Interference) is a key design goal for any implantable medical device. And any such device will be extensively tested and proven highly resistant before it is given FDA (Food and Drug Administration) approval. Having worked in the pharmaceutical/medical device industry I know the FDA imposes stiff and immutable requirements that the whole industry is challenged by, and strives to meet. You do NOT cross the FDA!

            That said, there is nothing lost by installing small capacitors across the input leads of your slotcar motors. A microfarad is probably more than enough to suppress RFI. And it actually helps extend motor and pickup life.

            Each capacitor literally short-circuits the high-frequency current spikes which are typically generated by DC motors. The closer the capacitors are to the spark-generators -- typically the commutator and the pickups -- the more effective this action is. Capacitors do this without any loss of motor or pickup performance. Even tiny capacitors are effective.

            Many slotcars come out of the box with capacitors installed. European communications regulations typically require them. Some even have two capacitors -- each one soldered between a motor lead and the motor 'can'. That setup makes the motor can an electrical shield to further suppress RFI.

            The big issue with RFI and slotcars is the power rails of the track represent a very large antenna. Any current spikes a slotcar generates propagate throughout the track's wiring.

            If that concerns you -- and it might -- you could install capacitors on the track as well. You'd install them across the power rails for each lane at a number of locations around the track, and at the driver's stations. Again, the idea is to short-circuit the radio-frequency spikes. And again, small capacitors are all that is necessary.

            RichD's suggestion that you talk to your cardiologist and the pacemaker manufacturer is a good one. My guess, however, is that both will go into aggressive CYA (Cover Your A*s) mode. Those folks fear lawyers almost as much as the FDA.

            Take comfort in the fact that you don't see news articles about pacemaker patients dropping dead from exposure to RFI. You are probably far more likely to be struck by lightning. Quite literally.

            And your pacemaker could very well survive that, and bring you back!

            Ed Bianchi
            Last edited by HO RacePro; 06-26-2020, 06:41 AM.


            • #7
              Thanks for the input. I am hoping that these newer pacers are not as sensitive to RFI as some of the previous devices were. Microwaves are no longer a problem but they may have improved filters in them now. The pacer guy said probably would not be an issue but he really didn't have any info. I guess I can provide some long term research data for them. I am going to stay away from large super Neo magnets anyway. Feeling much better, gonna go work on some race cars.


              • #8
                Good information Ed. I really appreciate your insight especially with your background. It's comforting to know that if I do have a problem there is a solution, Thanks Ed, John Peddy


                • #9
                  I don't think you have anything to fear from rare-earth magnets. Yes, in theory one could induce a current in the wire that connects your pacemaker to your heart, but only if the magnet is close to it and moving. And there is no way that magnet could move fast enough to induce a radio-frequency current. It would have to be passing back and forth millions of times per second to do that.

                  And a static magnetic field should have no effect on your pacemaker. Recent studies have shown that even the multi-Tesla field of an MRI machine won't damage it.

                  Again, take heart that there are no headlines about peoples' pacemakers failing because they were exposed to a strong magnet. Not even the conspiracy-theory "we scare you to death for profit" scams are claiming that.

                  Ed Bianchi
                  Last edited by HO RacePro; 06-26-2020, 07:43 AM.


                  • #10
                    We had an experience with a pacemaker/defibrillator that could be turned off by placing a magnet close to it. The person couldn't be wanded or pass through a metal detector. Car on track or in your hand is fine. Just don't put the car on the PM if yours has that feature..


                    • #11
                      I had a pacemaker/defibrillator installed 3 years ago and have spent countless hours racing slotcars since then and have experienced no effects at all. Hope this helps