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RC Receiver and ESC as Slot Car Controller

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  • RC Receiver and ESC as Slot Car Controller

    Having been in the RC hobby for a while, I have accumulated a bunch of superfluous RC electronics.

    I am considering wiring an RC ESC for brushed motors to each lane of my (non-digital) Scalextric track. I have spare radios to control the ESCs. The theory is that this will give me wireless controllers for my slot cars, and drivers of the cars will use an RC remote to control the speed of the cars.

    My ESCs have input voltage that is supposedly limited to 11.1 volts, but the "overvoltage detection" that they claim to have does not seem to cut them off when I briefly apply 15V to them. I am sure that at RC motor currents this would quickly put them into thermal shutdown, but at 1/32 home track stock motor slot car currents I think they would hold up. The wattage involved in slot cars is well below that involved in RC, even if the voltage is generally lower, and I'm guessing that wattage is really what fries ESCs.

    Does anyone think this is a good/bad idea? I kind of want to try it for the science, but unlike a real scientist I hate it when things fail.


  • #2
    Electronics can be damaged by excess voltage as well as excess current. The safe answer is to reduce your track voltage to 11.1 volts.

    BUT if you don't want to run at lower voltage.......You might have guessed right and it'll be OK, here's two ways of finding out

    1 Analyze the ESC circuit and check the ratings of each component.


    2 Take the risk of trying one ESC, give it plenty of testing before using a second one.

    Unless you are into electronics I guess that means 2!

    Incidentally perhaps a pedantic point ... while I don't question the wattage of your slot cars motors are very well within what your ESC can handle , high power slot car motors are a lot higher wattage than low power RC motors.
    Last edited by Al's slotracing; 01-23-2019, 11:47 AM.


    • #3
      Thanks for the reply.

      11.1V is the smart play, and my power supply will happily provide that with a little fiddling with the knobs.

      You are correct that I am unqualified to do #1.

      On #2, a tiny bit of testing at 15V has resulted in a slot car motor that spins and an ESC that smells OK.

      On your final point, yeah, I get it. I should clarify for any future readers of this thread that the particular RC gear I own (for 1/10 and 1/8 electric) is higher wattage (20A+ continuous at 11.1V) than the particular slot car motors I own (stock Carrera and Scalextric, which I assume are 1Aish continuous at 14V).

      I will probably set the power supply to 12V (rather than 13.8, which is what I normally use now simply because my old 12V supply was really 13.8) and see how I like it. The ESCs are out where I can see them and smell them, so I'm not worried that anything truly horrible will happen.


      • #4
        I tried this a couple of years ago with a Novak ESC, it took a bit of noggin scratching connecting it up and whilst it worked there was very little control over motor speed. I gave up on it.


        • #5
          I was worried about that. I noticed when I was testing that the motor seemed to be on or off.


          • #6
            To be honest - I think you'll be pushing it to get this to work....

            I have had a lot of experience in electric RC racing, and the speed controls you're talking about - Novak, KO Propo, LRP, HPI etc. are all designed to finesse much larger electrical loads than a 1 1/32 slot car.......

            A competition RC car will draw something in the region of 15 - 20 Amps over a 5 min run, a 1/32 scale slot car maybe 4 Amps if things are desperate.....

            So, the performance design requirements of the RC controller will feel like an On - Off switch when used on a low Amp drag slot car.....

            Maybe you can play with throttle curves to get some feel - but good luck with that!

            Cheers, Tony.


            • #7
              There's some work on brushless slot cars going on here -> BSCRA British Slot Car Association


              • #8
                My conclusion after attempting this with a Traxxas XL-5 ESC is that it would have been easier to install "the clapper" on the track. Clap once for car at full speed. Clap twice for power off.

                That is the result I got. The car was either on or off. I'm not qualified to speculate as to why, but it was an on-off switch.


                • #9
                  If you need a slot car motor that draws more amperage, use a "C" can motor. a Group-15 or Group-20 will draw over 15 amps on startup. If that doesn't do it, a Group-27 will, You want over 20 amps, a group 7 will be right there.
                  While these need a longer wood track, they do draw the amperage, along with the tiny Euro 1/32 motors (a mini Group 7 motor), that draw just under 20 amps to start.



                  • #10
                    The starting amps will be higher, however the running amperage will be a fraction of that. The running amperage is likely to be just under 20% of the starting amperage, so that controller may not work well even with a C can motor. Group 27 and 7 motors are very expensive, a group 20 motor is the same wind as a 27, so you could try one of those if you want to experiment.


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