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Controllers... what was used with all these great cars?


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#1 slotbaker

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Posted 30 March 2006 - 12:15 AM

There's a few snippets on the forum and in various threads about controllers, and I was wondering what the top guys used in the '60s & early '70s to propel these great cars and thingies around with.

What tricks and or mods were done to them?

And can you show some pics of the controllers?

Thanks.
:)

Steve King





#2 TSR

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Posted 30 March 2006 - 10:35 AM

In the early 1960s, mostly RAM or copies.
In the mid-1960s, the general public was using MRCs but the pros were using the Cox MK IV.
In the late-1960s, more and more switched to a modified Russkit unit as the Cox and Champion units were getting too hot. In 1969, Bob Emott was first to introduce microswitches in the Russkit unit, followed by John Gorski. Gorski set for production and sold what which became the most popular modified Russkit controller. Many copies were made by other cottage industries all over the place and eventually Parma made a serious production effort and issued their own double and triple micro jobs, and that pretty much took over the market until 1973.
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Philippe de Lespinay


#3 don.siegel

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Posted 30 March 2006 - 10:57 AM

Now where did you get that from Philippe?

As the uber ordinary slot racer of the 60s, I can tell you (Midwest style):

Early-'60s: mostly MRRC, since they were the first ones to have a decent controller out, the old blue barrel job.

Starting in about 1964-65, Towerstat on the East Coast, Russkit trigger on the West Coast, modified Atlas in the Midwest club scene, and the Cox black model just about everywhere!

I never saw a Ram anywhere in the day, but to tell the truth, I didn't see any Atlas or Towerstat controllers either. Digging back into my memory, I can see a few miscellaneous K&B and other controllers at the local raceway, but Cox was largely dominant.

From about '66-68, the MRC basically replaced the Cox, although lots of Cox controllers were still being sold - they needed more mods than the MRC to stand up.

1969: I stopped slot racing, went to college and our "controllers" resembled plants, water pipes and other non-electrical conduits.

When I started again in 1974, it was all Russkit-based, with microswitches...

Don
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#4 tjsguns

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Posted 30 March 2006 - 01:19 PM

Mosta the local "pros" in Detroit were using homade jobbies or modified Cox when I hung out at the Groove from about 1966-69. They seemed to be stripped down for better cooling and so you could easily change the barrel-shaped thingie on them that always burned up over time. Here is a pic:

Posted Image
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#5 Horsepower

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Posted 30 March 2006 - 03:15 PM

Don, you should have come to Turek's! I had an Atlas to start (1964) followed by the red Cox 25 ohm (1965-66) until it burned out, and I switched to the MRC 12 ohm (1966-67). That was the smoothest, best control I ever used. It felt a little big at first, but you quickly got used to it and it was super smooth, never hot. :up: Them again, this was about PRO'S, so it's just my 2 cents. :)
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#6 endbelldrive

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Posted 30 March 2006 - 04:24 PM

Cox Mark IVs were the controller of choice when I first started because they had resistors that were compatible with the hotter Mabuchi rewinds. That would have been around late 1966-67 and was the days of melting nylon endbells. At the time the locals assumed that Cox had the highest quality fit and finish on their stuff and their controllers were no exception.

I remember a couple of MRCs but by that time higher-quality armature winding, Arco magnets, aftermarket endbells, shims and hardware became the norm and Russkit came out with a line of lower-rated resistors that worked well with these motors. The Cox and MRC ended up in the bin because they couldn't handle the heat and the triggers were too slow anyway. The MRC Varipower was useless because it would overheat, the fuse would kick in and shut everything down except for the indicator light.

Our track rental controllers were the bicycle-handle RAMs and were a really good all-purpose controller.
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Bob Suzuki


#7 ravajack

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Posted 31 March 2006 - 08:19 AM

This type of controller was pretty common over here (Sweden) in the late 1960s.

Posted Image

This one I built some time before I left slot racing and moved with my parents to a remote little village, far fom slot tracks & commercial raceways in the summer of 1969.
It's also the sole of my own items I've got left from back in the day, as everything else of my old slot stuff was stolen in a burglary some years ago.

Today, I've completely forgotten how it's supposed to work together with the huge variable ceramic resistor at the end of the heavy wires, but the complete unit was pretty good at handling the hottest rewinds available back then like Mura, Zimmerman & Steube.

It's built around a standard Russkit steel frame & trigger, but that's also about all of the standard material in there. The controller resistor has a standard ceramic core, attached with plastic padding to a huge block of solid aluminum. It's wound with the same kind of copper wire used for rewinding motors. I guess the resistance can't be that big...

Posted Image

The cooling nut and bolt is also made from aluminum. Also the trigger plunger, standard Russkit, is filled with a solid aluminum block for cooling purposes. The trigger unit is also, of course, running in ball bearings. Further enhancements are micro-switches (2) for brakes & full throttle.

Posted Image

I built this unit myself (age 15), but of course didn't manufacture all the aluminum stuff myself. This was done by a guy named Waldemar Hansson, a fine mechanical worker and father of one of the guys in my local club. Waldemar machined a lot of stuff "to order" for us local slot heads.

Waldemar was also involved in the construction of the by now famous dual-engine "Swedish Thingie", built by Ronny Hellqvist and today owned by Don Siegel.

Posted Image

Ronny built several versions/iterations of this "Flat-Iron" car, the first ones with Dynamic motor brackets, but the later one(s) with a special made aluminum job (see below), manufactured by Waldemar Hansson, as we were all members of the same slot club.

Posted Image

And for the curious:
Yes, the controller above has actually been used driving the "Flat-Iron", both by me and by Ronny himself. So I guess you might call it a real "Thingie" controller... :lol:
Bertil Berggren
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#8 TSR

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Posted 31 March 2006 - 09:25 AM

Don,
I was generalizing, kind of a 3-liner. Of course, the MRRC was really the first used seriously, but actually, fairly few Towerstats found their way but in a few parts of the country. :)
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Philippe de Lespinay


#9 Cheater

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Posted 31 March 2006 - 12:06 PM

Bertil, thanks for posting the pics of that neat controller! Very nice work, especially for a 15-year-old.

I'm thinking that the clear Lexan handle is later than 1969, as I don't think Russkit ever molded them in clear Lexan. I assume this was a later Parma-produced replacement, even though it still carries the "R" emblem (Parma eventually modified the mold to eliminate this).

AFAIK, all original Russkit controller handles were molded in blue plastic. Dokk, is this correct?

Gregory Wells

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#10 tjsguns

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Posted 31 March 2006 - 12:16 PM

8) 8) 8) 8) My jaw drops and I drool uncontrollably every time I see that "flat iron" thingie!! It still tops them all as far as I'm concerned.
..... I think I remember reading somewhere that it's not all that fast compared to tube and wire frame single-engine Dyna-powerd cars???? Can this really be the case???
That thing (ie) looks ferocious with those two heavily modified Dynas side by side. :twisted: :twisted:
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#11 Rusty Pinion

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Posted 31 March 2006 - 02:57 PM

Greg , I have a Russkit handle molded in black. Most everyone around here used Cox controllers, then some moved on to use MRCs.

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#12 slotbaker

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Posted 31 March 2006 - 05:03 PM

Wow! :o

Thanks for all the great feedback.

tjsguns, that's pretty neat, simple and effective.

When I was a kid in Sydney, the slot car world revolved around the USA and I was totally unaware of the activity happening in Europe untill I got back into slots a couple of years ago.

ravajack2, that controller also looks pretty neat, thanks. Were there other similar controllers used at the time? Where did you get the clues on how/what to make?

Can someone give me some info on this Strombecker controller?
Posted Image
Was it any good for the day, or is it just another version of the Cox ruby?
:)

Steve King


#13 Rusty Pinion

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Posted 31 March 2006 - 05:13 PM

Steve, I had one of those Strombeckers. They actually weren't too bad. If I'm not mistaken, Champion based their controllers on these. I know the Dokk will correct me if I'm wrong. :)

"Waddaya mean, it won't pass tech?"
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#14 BWA

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Posted 31 March 2006 - 06:14 PM

I think that chrome jobbie is just another plastic Cox-style clone.

The one I posted is all metal, 12 ohms, and has a ball bearing contact. It is very smooth, and operates a wide range of cars. Almost everything I own in fact.

It runs all my modern home set cars on a tight twisty track with no problems. It runs Falcon-powered cars, and all my old vintage stuff right from RP66-77, SP500/Russkit22, the 510/23,s all my Pittman 704-6s, all my 36Ds, and most of my rewinds from that era. About the only thing it won't run very well are the few Challengers I have. Everything else it handles with a nice range of control from top to bottom.

I'm hugely impressed with it. I have a similar Veco unit, which is more ohms, and not nearly as nice.
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#15 M. Steube

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Posted 31 March 2006 - 07:04 PM

In So-Cal, most everybody in the soon-to-become-pro group used Cox with a few MRCs. Team Russkit always used their Russkit unit. Mike Morrisey tried and tried to get us to use their controller on the idea that the finger was faster and more reliable than the thumb. I don't think the cars were fast enough at first, say up until '67 maybe, to make that much difference. Mike built me a controller to use and at first it was hard to adjust from the thumb to the finger. Once I got the hang of it I was hooked. My choice between the Cox and the MRC was the Cox, only because it fit my hand better. The MRC was way smoother, but was just too bulky for me. Never really noticed what was going on outside of our area untill later in the '60s.

#16 32Deuce

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Posted 01 April 2006 - 02:09 AM

I think that chrome jobbie is just another plastic Cox-style clone.

The one I posted is all metal, 12 ohms, and has a ball bearing contact. It is very smooth, and operates a wide range of cars. Almost everything I own in fact.

It runs all my modern home set cars on a tight twisty track with no problems. It runs Falcon-powered cars, and all my old vintage stuff right from RP66-77, SP500/Russkit22, the 510/23,s all my Pittman 704-6s, all my 36Ds, and most of my rewinds from that era. About the only thing it won't run very well are the few Challengers I have. Everything else it handles with a nice range of control from top to bottom.

I'm hugely impressed with it. I have a similar Veco unit, which is more ohms, and not nearly as nice.


Sounds like a dream controller. Where is it posted?

Deuce
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Posted Image

#17 slotbaker

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Posted 01 April 2006 - 06:17 AM

It does sound like a dream controller.

Al posted the pic for me in the Mura controller thread, towards the end.
http://www.slotblog....highlight=#4270
:)

Steve King


#18 Edo

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Posted 03 April 2006 - 10:38 AM

Hi, guys,
I've found this with some stuff that was used by Italian racers in the '70s (or later?):

Posted Image

Was that cooling system also tried in the US then? Or is it just an Italian thing?

PS: If Scott likes ( and after our Fierce & Powerful Dokk certifies it as "interesting), I would like to give it to the Museum.
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#19 Cheater

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Posted 03 April 2006 - 10:46 AM

Edo,

That controller looks to be a pretty standard Parma Turbo with a pretty crude home-made heatsink installed on the resistor's attaching bolt.

I don't have a picture of one handy, but commecially-made heatsinks of at least two types were readily available when these controllers were new. Both kinds of heat sinks are on the microswitch controller I just shipped to Jairus; perhaps he'll post a picture once he receives it.

I hope you will not be insulted when I suggest that this controller isn't particular special or notable.

Gregory Wells

Never forget that first place goes to the racer with the MOST laps, not the racer with the FASTEST lap


#20 Edo

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Posted 03 April 2006 - 11:00 AM

Hi, Cheater,
No, I am not particularly insulted at all, I was just hoping somebody here would find this exceptionally interesting.
Oh well, I thought I was going to get a medal for my contribution to the museum.

:mrgreen:
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Finish Line: the movie

#21 tjsguns

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Posted 03 April 2006 - 11:10 AM

:lol: :lol: :lol: Leave it to the Italians to have "Rocco Siferiddi" (sp?) style heat sinks!!! :lol: :lol: (I now have "heat sink" envy!!!)
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#22 Edo

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Posted 03 April 2006 - 11:17 AM

Tom,
The correct spelling is actually "Siffredi"!
I see your Italian is not getting any better lately and it's certainly not watching his movies that you will learn...
:mrgreen:
EdoTBertoglio - Maverick assembler (formerly troubled)

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#23 proptop

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Posted 03 April 2006 - 11:53 AM

Tom
the correct spelling is actually "Siffredi"!
I see your italian is not getting any better lately and it's certainly not watching his movies that you will learn...
:mrgreen:


Well...not how to speak Italian anyway... :roll: :mrgreen:
Tom Hemmes
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#24 TSR

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Posted 03 April 2006 - 12:31 PM

You need to watch "The Godfather" again to improve your Ythalien. 8)

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#25 Bill from NH

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Posted 03 April 2006 - 10:58 PM

Edo, it looks as if you could stick marshmallows on that heatsink to toast them! :lol: A very unique looking piece of work none-the-less.





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