Detailed Introduction to a better way of racing model cars
The AC2Car system allows home track builders a simple method to run more model race cars in a given space, with more control and realistic racing action, then is possible with conventional tracks. And, far less expensive than the restrictive digital systems.
Currently there are a number of AC2Car tracks running, or under construction, around the world. Home track builders will find that by using the unique slot pattern that the AC2Car system of track design requires, they can easily gain more linear feet of track in a given space. This is accomplished because twice the cars will race on a much narrower scale width roadway than a conventional slot car track. The narrower the track, the more linear feet of racing a track builder can design into a layout.(see Track Building page)
A simple, do it yourself, AC2Car electronic circuit powers AC2Car tracks. It uses rectified alternating current from an inexpensive toy train transformer. This allows two cars to share the same slot, and gives drivers more control of a smoother running car.(see Electrical page) Tracks designed using the AC2Car system, are powered by this inexpensive AC2Car electronic circuit. With this easy to build circuit, two regular slot cars can share a common slot with independent control. They will run with more racing fun, passing, blocking, and lane changing. Drivers get more realistic racing action than the conventional pass anywhere tracks, because they can choose the inside or outside of the track on each lap. (see Lane Changing page)
Below are a few Facts that anyone planning an AC2Car wood routed track should know.
Because the track is a scale width roadway, you can design a track with longer laps that will run up two cars per lane. Cars will be lapping the circuit in either of your own lane’s inner or outer slot. The improved car control that the AC2Car electronics give the cars, will allow you to creep into pit lanes, blast down the straight, or smoothly change lanes to pass or block other cars.
All these things provide a dramatic difference in racing with the AC2Car system . Just like real racing, cars block and pass each other with the driver making the decisions. AC2Car is unlike regular slot car tracks where all one needs is the money for a hotter motor to pass others anywhere. Just like real racing though, with AC2Car a driver must work his car up the field to take the lead. And, drive smart to keep it! The fastest car does not always win.
Any regular store bought non-digital car can run on this system. Unlike restrictive digital racing, visiting friends can put cars from their collection onto an AC2Car track and go. Later, by simply adding an inexpensive diode to the car’s wiring, two cars can race in the same slot! (see Electronics page) This virtually doubles the amount of cars that are able to race on your track. By implementing the AC2Car system into your track design, 4 cars can race where 2 cars ran before for less than 25 cents a car. Yes, cents, not dollars. Originally designed for 4 cars, we run 8 cars at a time on Northline Raceway today. (see Gallery page)
Unlike expensive digital systems, anyone at home can set up any AC2Car electronic circuit using an inexpensive AC toy train transformer. About $35 is an average price for a used Lionel transformer. This AC transformer acts as the variable rate power supply to power two cars independently in one slot at the same time. (see Transformer section of Electrical page) One single 90 watt Lionel transformer has proven powerful enough in the AC2Car electronic circuit to run 8 cars at one time on Northline Raceway.
With AC2Car electronics, each car receives a pulsating rectified AC signal. Higher voltage pulsating half the time. This gives drivers markedly improved car control. Cars can creep into the pits or go full speed down the straight. This adds greatly to the realistic action in pit lane, or over the lane changer. Cars are much easier to control than with high torque DC on regular tracks. The number of spin outs are reduced, because the wheel spinning torque that drivers must deal with running on DC, is reduced to a realistic level. The pulsating power makes cars growl as they go around, which everyone agrees sounds cool. The car control, especially for children, is greatly improved over standard DC.
The “system” associated with AC2Car racing comes from the fact that since two cars now share a common slot, there must be a method of changing lanes for them to pass each other. Now that you and another driver share the same slot, there has to be a smooth mechanical way to guide your car’s shoe into another slot, still in your control. The AC2Car “system”; of track design calls for a unique pattern of slots routed around the track to give cars the ability to change into this second slot cut around the track on the opposite side of the road. This second way around the track, still powering the two cars sharing the lane, is used to pass any slower car blocking you. A simple, mechanical switching device allows a driver to change into this second slot cut on the opposite side of the roadway. Unlike chaotic digital lane changing, AC2Car system tracks are designed to include a realistic chicane that funnels cars smoothly, in single file, through the lane changing section. This negates side swiping shunts, and makes racing and lane changing dramatically more realistic.(see Lane changer page)
The Unique Slot Pattern
We run up to 8 cars on Northline Raceway, but let’s outline a simpler 4 car, two lane track to explain the typical pattern of slots needed on AC2Car tracks; Using the AC2Car electronic circuit, 4 cars can be controlled by 4 individual controllers, 2 per each lane. Note that one pair of cars, car A and car B, sharing lane #1, and the second pair of cars, car C and car D sharing lane #2, are all independently controlled. Both lane #1 and lane #2 have two separate slots cut for each to lap an AC2Car designed track. They both have an inside or an outside way to do a lap. Every lap, any of the cars can stay in the lane it is in, or switch over to the opposite side of the road each time it drives over the lane change area. Starting on the outside of the roadway, two 1/8″ slots are routed 7/8″ apart. One slot for lane #1 and 7/8″ inboard of it, another slot is cut for lane #2. A second two slots are cut 7/8″ apart on the inside of the roadway, with a space of 2 3/4″ in the middle of the roadway separating the two groups. 2 3/4″ is wide enough for 1/32 cars on either side of the road to pass. This means that the track will have two groups of slots routed all the way around it. One group on the outside and another group on the inside, separated by a 2 3/4″ space. To race even more cars at once, AC2Car tracks running 6 cars have two groups of 3 slots in each group. And, tracks running 8 cars have two groups of 4 slots on either side of the road. All separated by a 2 3/4″ space between. This sounds complicated, but it is not. (see Slot Pattern diagrams on the Track Building page)
The Longest Track in a Given Space
The best part of the AC2Car system is that not only can you run twice the cars as conventional slot tracks, but a layout can be designed that is almost twice as long as a conventional track within the same space! AC2Car uses half the road width of a conventional slot car track. Remember that the narrower the roadway, the more track can be designed in a given space. Let’s compare the track widths between conventional lane spacing and a home routed AC2Car designed track. A conventional track running 4 cars with 3 1/2″ spacing would be 14″ to 16″ wide. Based on the minimum width needed on a straight for 1/32 scale cars, a home routed track using the AC2Car system with lane changing built in, would only need to be 8″ wide! (see Simple Math on Track building page) That’s half the width, which equates to almost double the length of racing in the same amount of your valuable floor space!
Two minor points may seem negative when drivers first run with AC2Car vs. conventional DC. The first is that with AC2Car, drivers that were used to braking hard with DC will be coasting through corners since they won’t have braking. It has not been a problem here though, because drivers have found that fastest laps are done with out brakes to keep up speed into a following straight. When Northline Raceway was powered by conventional DC, cars would often ram into harder braking cars at the end of long straights. Not too unlike digital tracks. Thankfully, there is far less rear end plastic tapping today because all 8 cars are going through the turns hard, but in unison. A second curious issue is that older slot racers take a while to get used to not having the high torque wheel spin that they grew up with on conventional DC. Veteran drivers are used to having gobs of wheel spinning torque as they enter a straight. The AC2Car system is a more realistic way to run cars. The systemâ€™s reduced torque is more prototypical in that you must exit a turn before a straight as fast as you can, to achieve the highest speed at the end of it. No different than real racing. Believe me, the cars can go plenty fast! New guys never notice the reduced torque until we switch back to DC. Then the cars revert to the jerky, wheel spinning, limited control that conventional racers have gotten used to. After an hour of running, even the veterans agree that it is a great smooth way to run cars. No more flying blurs darting mindlessly around the track. It takes a new mindset to drive, but it’s smoother and more realistic.
All of the above points add up to a home routed race track allowing more cars racing, on longer laps in the same space, with improved control, in a fun and realistic way, for a very minimal cost. The AC2Car system is well worth looking into further. Use this website as your connection to a better way to race. We are here to help you experience the fun we’ve had these past years with the AC2Car system set up on our tracks. (see FAQ for questions to Jimmy)