Getting into TCR and progressing through levels


      If you are new to TCR it is very easy to buy the wrong equipment and quickly lose interest in it. Since TCR has been abandoned by the slot car industry for almost 20 years we can all look back with 20/20 hindsight and cherry pick exactly what is needed to create a successful setup. If you went back and progressed through the different generations of Slot-less racing as things originally evolved you would quickly come the conclusion it is all garbage. companies would make progress in one area only to fail in another.

     So I wanted to put together this guide to help everyone get the most enjoyment out of these sets.

Lets start:

First i would read though my tips pages:

Track Tips / Track Layouts / information

Chassis Performance Tips for all TCR chassis

      The biggest hurdle will be cleaning up all the rust and decay the track has but also problems the cars have.

      Get the rust off the track rails and off the contact points between track sections. they make special rail erasers located in the train section of your local hobby store. For heavy rust you will need to sand, file, or using a blade scrape the top layer of rust off the track, you want to try and get the sides of the rail as clean as possible as well. I highly recommend using Aerocar Rail cleaner and conditioner to protect and lower rail friction.

      The AFX/Aurora tracks, didn't use stainless steel so they tend to have much heavier rusting issues. Tyco and Ideal used Stainless rails so they usually have spotted rust in a few places but otherwise get a quick clean up and they are good to go.

      100% alcohol is good for cleaning the tracks getting all the caked rubber and junk off, once the walls and track surface are clean, scrub the rails and get them shiny, At this point using aerocar on the rails is a great idea. let dry back for 20-30 minutes wipe off the all excess, next place a wax like pledge on the track walls, wipe all excess off you need a form of dry lubrication to reduce friction on the car bodies and tires as they ride the wall. it makes lane changes faster and smoother and the cars maintain a higher top speed, it also reduces wear and tear on the cars, and stops traction problems.

      The cars will most likely require replacement parts, you are dealing with a toy that might of had zero maintenance or been stepped on at some point or has a defective or under performing motor. you need to scrub the cars down inspect for cracks or damage and replace parts as needed just to bring them back to basically functioning again. The original tires will most likely be unusable and require replacement as well. From there you can tune the cars up for maximum performance

Beginner level

    You are new to TCR and want to buy a racing set. I recommend going out and finding a Tyco TCR 1990-1993 Complete set, with 9" radius turns with dividing walls in the turns. practice driving and maintaining the track and cars. Slowly add accessories. keep the cost low.

When you are ready i recommend these upgrades in order.

Get more power to the track:

How to upgrade the power supply

Make single player more enjoyable.

How to build a JAM Car/Ghost Car control box

Start to equalize the racing between players.

How to build a Speed Equalizer

the combination of Speed and control from the TYCO TCR set will get you up and running and enjoying things cheaply.

now its time to move on...

Intermediate level

      You are now comfortable maintaining your Tyco TCR system and making basic repairs. Go out and buy some Tyco Command control track. You want to buy the 9" radius curves without the walled sections. You need to start practicing that the Curve areas of track are a no passing zone you will find the flow of traffic increases and once you get used to the idea of only using the outside lane in turns things become more enjoyable. This is a growing pain to overcome.

Now you need to play around a little with customization.

I recommend:

better throttle control

How to add a cooling fan to the hand controllers

more track options

How to build a Cross Fire Track


How to install LEDs in Passing Cars

How to install LEDs in JAM Cars

keep the cars on the track and prevent damage.

How to add Billboards to curves

more track customization.

How to Use Two High Banked Curves

Build up your model making skills and dabble in electronics because its time to advance again. and built up your tuning options.

Chassis Performance Tips

Expert level

The time has come you are so into this type of racing you must start to break out of the mold.

Now you need to get away from Tyco systems because you need more track options.

but at the same time you need a more capable chassis as well.

first you need to up your electronics skills.

How to build a Electronic Super Booster

then you are ready for

How to build a Electronic Mega Booster

How to build a Slot-less Lap Counter

How to build a Boost Track

How to build a Zig Zag Ghost Car controller


At this point you are pushing the boundaries and its time to go out and start buying IDEAL TCR track sections.

Improving the IDEAL TCR system

Skip over the early generations of slot-less car designs except for the Aurora Speed steer chassis

Start adding Aurora Speed steer cars to your new IDEAL track system

Start to play around with changing the bumper width on the Aurora cars so they run better on the Ideal track system. Modify some Tyco TCR cars as well.

you need to up your plastic fabrication skills for the next level


Beyond Expert

you reached the level of theory and prototypes now anything goes.

by now your skill set should be ready for anything.

How Aurora Ran Four slot-less cars on one track

How to build Optically speed regulated Jam Cars: OP-01

Let's build a poor mans Aurora four car Xlerators layout

Proposal: Building a poor mans super booster

and finally

How to drive on the inside lane in a turn (for real)


What makes this level so exciting is you can now get rid of the crutches like the mega and super booster, and the Speed Equalizers At this level the track configuration matches real life and it is up to a driver to negotiate a track without help. A faster car won't help you take a inside curve, and a car with a lot of steering wont help you in the straight sections.

Now go out there and spend some money!


Mixing and matching

      Each version of TCR has it high and low points. Taking the best of each set and mixing them together will give you the best experience but it also depends on your goals.

      If you want he have fun and get the maximum performance then stick with what was designed for a specific set, keep IDEAL TCR on IDEAL track, Tyco's on Tyco, and Aurora/afx on speedsteer or Ultra 5 track. The cars were designed to work with their original track systems that is a given. Each TCR set has tons of room for improvement on its own, new tires, new motors, cleaning up gearboxes and chassis making adjustments to spring tension and adjusting steering mechanics will also make massive improvements.

      It will serve to keep your costs down and the amount of storage you will need. a small set that is mechanically excellent and electrically excellent will be more enjoyable and easier to maintain then a mix of 100s of tracks spanning 10 different types of TCR system

      It might be a good idea to have one really nice complete set on the side that is easy to setup and works beautifly then you have your set you mess around with and try different things to. This way when you get frustrated it won't ruin the enjoyment.


Website disclaimer

This Website has no affiliation with Tyco, Ideal, or any other company that produced TCR play-sets over the years

The information contained in this website is for general information purposes only. The information is provided by a hobbyist and Tyco fan and while I endeavour to keep the information up to date and correct, I make no representations or warranties of any kind, express or implied, about the completeness, accuracy, reliability, suitability or availability with respect to the website or the information, products, services, or related graphics contained on the website for any purpose. Any reliance you place on such information is therefore strictly at your own risk.