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How to build a track with a small electric motor to move something around a circular track? Answered

I'm a college student in charge of building a float for our homecoming parade. The theme for the float is mario kart, and the design has a track with moving carts going around a track. What is the best way to make a track with powered cars moving around the track? A generator with household voltage will be used to power the track/cars. I know I will need to transform from 120V AC to something else, probably 24V DC from what I have read so far. I don't know much about electricity and the other forces at play in designing such a track, so any detailed information or reference material would be appreciated. I have attached two sketches of the float design, one of which is to scale.

Any suggestions would be helpful. Diagrams would be very helpful as well.


Have you ever seen those little electric slot cars? Basically there are two, parallel, metal rails that run the entire track just inside the wheels of the cars. Essentially those metal rails are like the two ends of a cut wire, a short circuit. Then there are two metal 'shoes' on the bottom of the cars that contact these rails. When both metal pieces are touching current flows through one rail and into the shoe that touches it. From there it flows through an electric motor and out through the other shoe and rail. The cars have a little peg under the nose which runs in a slot in the track to keep the car on course, hence 'slot car'.
You could scale this concept up.

Depending on the size, consider various scales of model railroad - they did all the building for you; you can just add / build cars that suit your needs.

Are larger model trains capable of bearing and moving a significant load? Possibly 15 pounds?

some it probably wouldn't be a problem, those are the biggest ones though; also consider mocking up things in a lighter weight version