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Scalextric Incar Firmware

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I have always wanted to replace the firmware code in the in-car chip computer with other, as I believed some cars problems were software related, not necessarily all hardware.

 

Well I can report the following...

 

I have recreated the code and started testing by loading into a car, and comparing with 2 factory cars by running on a simple oval with many XLCs and a simple 4 car powerbase. All car used Rev-E type saloon chips. All contained ferrite combinations at both braids and motors.

 

One of the factory cars (a high-impact Audi - read 'cheap') struggled to achieve any more than 150 laps before stopping dead. I reset and started again. After about 400 laps, I decided that this car was my first candidate to reprogram, and sent it back on its way. At the end of testing, the lap counter tells me that the cars, along with my original, successfully ran over 3000 laps without ANY hiccup. No fits, no coughs, nothing - just hot little motors whining in the background.

 

Now I do realise that this is only ONE car which has now been 'solved' of its bizarre ID loss, but its 50% of the standard cars put into test. Right now, I'm a happy chappy. I believe I've proved & solved one of the known issues on these chips.

 

But along the way I've also added:

 

* Variable braking - up to 64 different levels of brakes from 0% to 100% in 1.5% steps, provided on-the-fly so you can vary while driving

* The means to turn on/off the car headlights (and tail lights) from the Powerbase - ie similate day/night driving while driving

* Ability to add vari-mag, for those who want to simulate wet & dry weather during a race

 

and my little jewel

* Trimming of the motor/curve matching within the car providing up to 128 levels of motor 'tweek' so you can get the best throttle trackability with the hi-torque motors like used in F1.

* Anti-wheel spin when using these hi-spec motors.

all held within the car chip, so set once and forget.

 

All of this config is provided right from the track via an improved powerbase

AND all of this is backwards compatible with the standard incar chip. ie, you can have both types of chip on the track at the same time.

 

For details, please see my web-site http://www.electricimages.co.nz/SSD_ChipUpgrade.ashx on the code, upgrading, and the additional facilities it provides.

 

Ian


Linux: A '90s reincarnation of a '80s Operating System based on a '70s design philosophy

Website: www.electricimages.co.nz

InCar-PRO: Chip Main Page

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Great stuff mih.

 

I always believed that the in-car chip was far from perfect - just look at the testing Rick undertook with scorpius and the issues he found after many days of testing.

 

Looking forward to reading how to upgrade. Be nice if your superb work could be incorporated into all the Scalex chips at the factory.

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Hi MIH,

 

Nice work.

 

How are you intending to drive the electromagnet, a piggy back chip with its own drive or reprogram a car chip as a driver or......?

 

I investigated this idea not as a wet weather simulator but to increase speed on straights and in corners. At the time we had a spare 3A driver on the board, since removed.

 

Rick

Edited by aussieslotter

The best form of satisfaction is success.

www.scorpiuswireless.com

 

 

 

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This sounds to be a great step forward in dealing wiht errant chips. I note you are working on a saloon chip. As the majore difficulty is with the early DPR chips I am wondering if you have tested on one of these or if you know if the pads you need to attach to for upgrade are easily identifiable.

 

cheers

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I have always wanted to replace the firmware code in the in-car chip computer with other, as I believed some cars problems were software related, not necessarily all hardware.

 

Well I can report the following...

 

I have recreated the code and started testing by loading into a car, and comparing with 2 factory cars by running on a simple oval with many XLCs and a simple 4 car powerbase. All car used Rev-E type saloon chips. All contained ferrite combinations at both braids and motors.

 

One of the factory cars (a high-impact Audi - read 'cheap') struggled to achieve any more than 150 laps before stopping dead. I reset and started again. After about 400 laps, I decided that this car was my first candidate to reprogram, and sent it back on its way. At the end of testing, the lap counter tells me that the cars, along with my original, successfully ran over 3000 laps without ANY hiccup. No fits, no coughs, nothing - just hot little motors whining in the background.

 

Now I do realise that this is only ONE car which has now been 'solved' of its bizarre ID loss, but its 50% of the standard cars put into test. Right now, I'm a happy chappy. I believe I've proved & solved one of the known issues on these chips.

 

But along the way I've also added:

 

* Variable braking - up to 64 different levels of brakes from 0% to 100% in 1.5% steps, provided on-the-fly so you can vary while driving

* The means to turn on/off the car headlights (and tail lights) from the Powerbase - ie similate day/night driving while driving

* Ability to add vari-mag, for those who want to simulate wet & dry weather during a race

 

and my little jewel

* Trimming of the motor/curve matching within the car providing up to 128 levels of motor 'tweek' so you can get the best throttle trackability with the hi-torque motors like used in F1.

* Anti-wheel spin when using these hi-spec motors.

all held within the car chip, so set once and forget.

 

All of this config is provided right from the track via an improved powerbase

AND all of this is backwards compatible with the standard incar chip. ie, you can have both types of chip on the track at the same time.

 

For details, please see my web-site http://www.electricimages.co.nz/SSD_ChipUpgrade.ashx on the code, upgrading, and the additional facilities it provides.

 

Ian

Awesome work, please keep us all posted.

Any possibility of creating more car id's to break the six car id barrier?

Drifter


www.sydneyslotcars.com

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6 is the limit because of hardware. The LED to diode method is fairly limited too in terms of the amount of possible IDs.


The best form of satisfaction is success.

www.scorpiuswireless.com

 

 

 

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So given what you (MIH)have discovered Would it be possible to build your own in car chip? Assuming one has some basic electronic and soldering ability?

Drifter


www.sydneyslotcars.com

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So given what you (MIH)have discovered Would it be possible to build your own in car chip? Assuming one has some basic electronic and soldering ability?

Drifter

It is a condition of the licence that the firmware must be loaded into original Scalextric chips. Portions of the Car ID process are owned by Scalextric, and so must remain on those chips.

 

Ian


Linux: A '90s reincarnation of a '80s Operating System based on a '70s design philosophy

Website: www.electricimages.co.nz

InCar-PRO: Chip Main Page

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This sounds to be a great step forward in dealing wiht errant chips. I note you are working on a saloon chip. As the majore difficulty is with the early DPR chips I am wondering if you have tested on one of these or if you know if the pads you need to attach to for upgrade are easily identifiable.

 

cheers

'Under the hood' there is no difference between Saloon, DPR and F1 chips. They all use the same technology, CPU and the only change is the design of the board. The Saloon chip provides the most pre-connected functionality, and so is easiest to upgrade. (Its also my chip of preference.) I will shortly be showing pics on how to upgrade a DPR chip too - but its a fiddly job, and for those confident in soldering.

 

Ian


Linux: A '90s reincarnation of a '80s Operating System based on a '70s design philosophy

Website: www.electricimages.co.nz

InCar-PRO: Chip Main Page

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Hi MIH,

 

Nice work.

 

How are you intending to drive the electromagnet, a piggy back chip with its own drive or reprogram a car chip as a driver or......?

 

I investigated this idea not as a wet weather simulator but to increase speed on straights and in corners. At the time we had a spare 3A driver on the board, since removed.

 

Rick

Electromagnet would be connected through a 'high-power' mosfet and contolled directly off the main board. Saloon chip is easiest for this (as SP line already presented) and more than likely this will be a permanent addition to the car anyway. Not all cars have room for magnets, and the super-resistant ones have the most space.

 

Of course, this requires a modified powerbase (with appropriate firmware, and higher-powered output - more than APB)

 

In the car, somthing like a bridge rectifier, through mosfet, to electromagnet. May be best to connect between boards with an opto-isolator, as this saves incorrect or different earths appearing. Thought is required, but a starting point is needed somewhere, and the chip is it.

 

Ian


Linux: A '90s reincarnation of a '80s Operating System based on a '70s design philosophy

Website: www.electricimages.co.nz

InCar-PRO: Chip Main Page

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...

I always believed that the in-car chip was far from perfect - just look at the testing Rick undertook with scorpius and the issues he found after many days of testing.

 

It should be understood that my testing still requires extra validation by others, and many, many more hours running to test it.

 

Ian


Linux: A '90s reincarnation of a '80s Operating System based on a '70s design philosophy

Website: www.electricimages.co.nz

InCar-PRO: Chip Main Page

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Guess what arrived :unsure: Only the low cost programmer! :D

 

It works a treat!

 

med_gallery_4291_1185_143737.jpg

 

And with V2 of MIH's firmware a C7042 can program IDs for the cars

 

Nice one Ian


gallery_4291_493_4007.jpg

.............................PM me for C7042 Aux to PC cables............or Pit-Pro...

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Great to 'see' the InCar-Pro put through its paces at the latest UK Slot Car Festival at Gaydon. It demonstrated to the big market a range of Scalextric products which had been upgraded to the -Pro tools. In demonstration was the:

- newly enhanced APB, with APB-Pro+

- enhanced SSDC v5, with car headlight control

- InCar-Pro v2

- Pit-Pro with extra sensors

- Velleman USB for track lights

- Live flippers on LCs

 

All in all a very souped up system, using all the latest enhancements from the SSD user community. Would have liked to have been there to actually see it in person.

 

Ian

Edited by MIH

Linux: A '90s reincarnation of a '80s Operating System based on a '70s design philosophy

Website: www.electricimages.co.nz

InCar-PRO: Chip Main Page

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Following a number of queries, I have added details on wiring up and programming the DPR chip. This will provide those who use DPR chips a step-by-step process on reloading the code.

 

The same process can be used to discover and reprogram the F1 chip, although specific pictures are not yet available.

 

Also, I've added additional technical details on how to program the Torque curve and the Anti Wheel-Spin (AWS) within InCar-PRO. These details will be more useful to those who develop code for Powerbases.

 

Ian


Linux: A '90s reincarnation of a '80s Operating System based on a '70s design philosophy

Website: www.electricimages.co.nz

InCar-PRO: Chip Main Page

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The InCar-PRO chip firmware has the facility to turn on and off the headlights, and dim the brakelights on the car. The wiring pads on the Saloon chip provide a convenient way of achieving this control, if you are good with a soldering iron and can place a small wire across the place on the board where Scaley have omitted the resistors (R1 & R2).

 

For a long time I've been wondering why Scaley do not populate and make use of this as a feature of the chips. After a great deal of playing, and working on the InCar-PRO code, I have a reasonably good idea - the extra load of the 'chip driven' lights causes the main storage capacitor (C1) and secondary storage (C6) to become depleted when running over LCs and the like. So the CPU ends up by being more susceptable to getting a power loss and so is reset. Its somewhat exacerbated by the chip design, which has the motor also draining power from the main capacitor.

 

Of course, passing over LCs and other points of power loss is a normal part of digital racing, so cpu resets are a normal fact of life. The problem comes about with chips which have to run in both analog and digital mode... if the CPU resets, then it needs to assume an analog track until it recognises digital data. This is why when you drop the car on the track, the wheels can spin momentarily - it assumes analog, so switchs the motor on so the speed is controlled in analog way. Once it sees real digital signals, it knows its digital and so follows the commands from the track.

 

So what, you say... well what happens if the chip resets going over a LC, restarts and assumes it could be on analog, but doesn't see a digital signal quickly enough??? Runaway cars... And if more lights means more resets... then maybe more runaway cars!

 

So the real question is... if you're a purist who would invest in upgrading your chips to InCar-PRO, then would you ever even want Analog mode? I'd suggest not. (and if you did want to run analog, wouldn't you want the best analog performance from the car - like full speed and brakes - something that the chip just cannot do)

 

Any comments before I consign analog mode to the bin for InCar-PRO... to try and save those runaway cars.

 

Ian


Linux: A '90s reincarnation of a '80s Operating System based on a '70s design philosophy

Website: www.electricimages.co.nz

InCar-PRO: Chip Main Page

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I say, get rid of analog mode. I almost never run chipped cars in analog mode because I like to have as much brakes as possible, most of the time.

Unless you can improve analog by adding brakes, which I don't think is even possible, just get rid of it and make the digital performance that much more robust.

My plan is to get 6 DPR chips hardware and software upgraded for "party" usage, and special occasions, or just whenever. I'd like the most reliability in digital operation as possible.

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I say, get rid of analog mode. I almost never run chipped cars in analog mode because I like to have as much brakes as possible, most of the time.

Unless you can improve analog by adding brakes, which I don't think is even possible, just get rid of it and make the digital performance that much more robust.

My plan is to get 6 DPR chips hardware and software upgraded for "party" usage, and special occasions, or just whenever. I'd like the most reliability in digital operation as possible.

 

No, its impossible to have brakes for analog {for any meaningful time*} Think about it - braking in analog is all about shorting out the two rails, thereby shorting the analog motor. In digital, its different - its some electronics which shorts out the motor, not the track rails (or all cars would brake!) On analog, If you've taken away the power to the electronics, then how can the chip turn on the brake when the chip itself has no power... chicken and egg.

 

* Now when the chip loses track power, the CPU can run for a short period using the reserve power in the storage capacitors. It may be possible to apply brakes for a short period of time, until the cpu dies, if the CPU notes that power from the track has gone away. A short period may be 1/4sec, or more, or less - only testing could tell. Of course, just because the CPU has some reserve power, does not in any way mean that the rest of the chip would work as designed... so, could it be done in analog mode? I'll leave that as an exercise for the reader. :)

 

Ian


Linux: A '90s reincarnation of a '80s Operating System based on a '70s design philosophy

Website: www.electricimages.co.nz

InCar-PRO: Chip Main Page

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analog is dead .... bring on the digital revolution.

 

Thats a big statement.

Analogue racing on wood is a lot of fun, it will never die.


Hoo Roo

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Hello RikoRocket and Rick, If man scaleY in Spain I am, my love for scalextric, is longstanding.

Also any car brand.

In Digital ssd is the best choice at great prices.

I hope with time, that option is also scorpius a good price.

All good systems are based tenologia 64 steps.

After PB PRO, InCar-Pro logical step is, I'm very interested.

Regards.

Edited by m1k3lslot

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