Slot Car Sets
For many people, slot cars are their first exposure to the sport of auto racing. With many slot car sets being small enough to set up in a spare room it's a great hobby for children of all ages. Companies like Scalextric and Carrera have been making racers and sets for years, and new designs have transformed the hobby.
Slot Car Basics
The idea behind slot cars is easy enough. The cars race around a plastic track guided by a slot. Two conductors line the track feeding electric current to drive the car. Each player has a controller that can adjust the voltage and send more power to the car making it go faster. Racers can make replicas of real tracks, or simply create a stripped down track to test their skills.
Analogue Slot Cars
Analogue slot cars were invented by Lionel over a century ago, and the majority of slot cars still follow the same basic design. The thing to remember here is that the controllers work with the track, not the cars, so if you put a car on the other side of the track it's going to respond to the other controller. Analogue models are a great gateway to the hobby and many of the track pieces and cars can go with both analogue and digital installations.
Digital Slot Cars
While analogue slot cars of different brands can easily be swapped from track to track, digital cannot. However, digital slot cars offer a whole host of advantages over their analogue cousins. The tracks run at full power and you drive the cars digitally by the controller. This requires a chip in the car, but also means they can do things like swap lanes and pass each other. It's a more exciting game using much of the same slot car tracks.
Slot Car Sets
The big advantage of slot car sets, whether digital or analogue is that you get everything you need in one package. Cars, tracks, power supplies and controllers all come in the same box. This is particularly useful with digital as the power supplies are often significantly more expensive when bought on their own.