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Scalextric Incar Firmware

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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

To bring us back on topic B) :

I was torn here as it's good to have maximum flexibility for the 2 modes as have recently moved into using analog mode, as well as digital, as I have finally seen the light with magless running and this has left me with 2 Scalextric set ups - analog for magless higher quality cars and digital for super-resistant cars with magnets.

However, I'm for abandoning analog mode in InCar-Pro chips in favour of the overiding factor of digital reliability & extras - here's my logic:

 

My slot passion has really evolved over the past year but is home based being out in the sticks (bush?). At first it had to be 100% digital for the geek me with all its whistles & bells but as the addiction kicked in & the number of cars increases at an alarming rate I can't afford to chip every car I buying. I had thought of swapping chips between cars but this seems like too much hassle for casual late evening pickup & race.

Also, I am now moving into more quality cars which I don't want to smash them up and will run more alone for lap times & beautiful drifts or against one other person/pace car. Moving towards magless means I'm swaying around more & often I catch a lap changer flipper (in analog mode) with a bang or an unwanted lane change. So I have removed the lane changers which takes out one of the main reasons for digital. Additionally, analog mode on the APB works great.

 

However, I will keep digital but use it less now - more for when I want more intense 3-6 car racing and multiple pace cars using super-resistant cars like the Audis, Boxsters & Lambos and keeping the magnets to keep the kids happy as they tend to favour the speed element over nice drifts.

 

So +1 for reliability in InCar-Pro even if it means no analog.

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Yes, sorry, back on topic.

 

I am a big analogue fan, and I love the new APB giving analogue mode. I use that mode to drive scalextric cars that are not chipped. I dont use it to drive digital cars in analogue mode - why the hell would I want to do that? No brakes is a complete turn-off for me. I had toyed with the idea of adding brakes in digital mode, not impossible but not easy, that would make driving a chipped car on analogue more palatible but it still doesn't make a lot of sense, I'm rarely in a position where I think "if only I hadn't chipped that car"

 

For me it is clear. Ditch analogue mode in the car chip.

Edited by RikoRocket

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"I had toyed with the idea of adding brakes in digital mode,..."

 

huh? Brakes are already in digital mode...

 

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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Yeah, brain out of gear.

 

Chipped cars, brakes in analogue mode. relay sprung shut to short motor. shunt to stop chip blowing. opening voltage directly from rails (after rectifier bridge). Just an idea, in reality I don't want this, if I have a chipped car I run it in digital mode... duh :D


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

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So +1 for reliability in InCar-Pro even if it means no analog.

 

Sorry Off-Topic again but Chris when did you work at the Boundary in Bendigo maybe you've provide me with a quiet beer or 2 or...... :unsure: (assuming that's the Boundary Hotel you're talking about in your profile location).

Edited by Billy_Cart

Cheers

 

Phil

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So +1 for reliability in InCar-Pro even if it means no analog.

 

Sorry Off-Topic again but Chris when did you work at the Boundary in Bendigo maybe you've provide me with a quiet beer or 2 or...... :unsure: (assuming that's the Boundary Hotel you're talking about in your profile location).

Not unless you were floating down the Murray in 1978 :lol: I was pickin' oranges near a one horse village called Boundary Bend (2 men and a dog - which bit into my jeans - & a general store) in the back of beyond between Robinvale & Swan Hill - fond memories.

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

Ian

Just wondering, with this upgrade what would happen then if you put an InCar-Pro chipped car on the track & switched the APB to analog - would it fly off or just not move?

Cheers

Chris

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

Ian

Just wondering, with this upgrade what would happen then if you put an InCar-Pro chipped car on the track & switched the APB to analog - would it fly off or just not move?

Cheers

Chris

 

The 'release' version of the InCar-Pro code (which I hope to get published tonight following one last test), the car will just sit on the analogue track and do nothing. The car will 'see' the power, but without proper Digital commands, will have nothing to do. (Pre-release beta versions will charge off at maximum speed)

 

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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InCar-Pro moves out of Beta!

 

The first full release of the InCar-Pro firmware is now available at http://www.electricimages.co.nz/SSD_ChipUpgrade.ashx

 

This is build 3.3 of the firmware and includes a number of enhancements and tweak-up improvements...

- lights flash during programming

- improved track signal sensing

- improved driver FET handling

- 'car run-away' management by removal of analog mode

 

Also published up is the Firmware, which is available for review. Any feedback, corrections or improvements are welcome back to me.

 

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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:) That's great. Thanks for all your work.

 

I've seen all the nice clear photos on your site but is there any chance you could post a video of the upgrade process, particularly to see how difficult/easy the soldering part is?

 

Also, what's "FET"?

Edited by chris99

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FET =Field Effect transistor - these are the devices used for transmitting/controlling power

 

:) That's great. Thanks for all your work.

 

I've seen all the nice clear photos on your site but is there any chance you could post a video of the upgrade process, particularly to see how difficult/easy the soldering part is?

 

Also, what's "FET"?


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

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So +1 for reliability in InCar-Pro even if it means no analog.

 

Sorry Off-Topic again but Chris when did you work at the Boundary in Bendigo maybe you've provide me with a quiet beer or 2 or...... :unsure: (assuming that's the Boundary Hotel you're talking about in your profile location).

Not unless you were floating down the Murray in 1978 :lol: I was pickin' oranges near a one horse village called Boundary Bend (2 men and a dog - which bit into my jeans - & a general store) in the back of beyond between Robinvale & Swan Hill - fond memories.

 

Off Topic - Thanks Chris, bad assumption on my part thinking Bend was short for Bendigo, although years ago I drove from Mildura via Robinvale to Swan Hill and must admit can't remember Boundary Bend (but it was a while back), in 1978 I was in NSW (Snowy Mountains) so no floating down the Murray at that time. However did float down the Murrumbidgee a few times around that time, I should have kept going maybe then I could have passed you by ;) Now I think I saw your current locale on this year's Tour de France (am I right?)

 

On Topic - Nice work Ian I will have to get me some new glasses to attempt this mod :blink::D


Cheers

 

Phil

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I have been thinking further about Analog mode in the InCar-Pro chip. I had a discussion with a number of the key Brits on SlotForum some time ago when I was starting the firmward development. Their point of view was that Analog was a worthwhile facility, and it was this opinion which drove me towards originally implementing Analog.

 

Of course, right now its been dropped from InCar-Pro.

 

But I got thinking more - actually considering a discussion I had with some Model Railroad enthusiasts who recognised the Analog Runaway situation from their own experience. Considering the digital data on the rails is (almost) identical to that used in the railway's DCC protocol (in fact I think they invented it see Wiki), I can see similarities. For them, though, the answer was to program the trains to either recognise Analog or not.

 

So, we could have the same thing here... Set up the InCar-Pro chip, by programming it, to allow Analog or not. Something like - PB sends 2 or more Reset Packets which allows Analog mode; and PB sends Program ID packet's as normal to place into Digital only mode. Technologically pretty easy. Reset packets, I'm told, have been totally dropped by Scaley in the APB6 (they are sent by standard PB6 and PB4, just before the Program ID packets) so there seems an opportunity here. There would need to be some further management in this process though, otherwise directly after programming to Analog the cars would charge off into the sunset at max speed...

 

Anyway, enough banter. I wonder what others might think?

 

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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Ian,

 

Given the APB allows for easy switching between Digital & Analogue modes it makes sense to have both options in the chip so all cars can be used on the track chipped or not and as Aussieslotter said brakes in analogue mode for chipped cars ensures an even setup for racing.

 

As for how to achieve all that I have no idea and as usual I will defer to greater minds for all the electrnic bits & pieces.


Cheers

 

Phil

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The sad chip already runs analogue but they forgot to put in the hardware or was it firmware for brakes!


The best form of satisfaction is success.

www.scorpiuswireless.com

 

 

 

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The sad chip already runs analogue but they forgot to put in the hardware or was it firmware for brakes!

 

The main issue is that there is little decoupling between the motor and the CPU regulator, and using a common storage capacitor. This means that the motor drains storage very fast, and so the CPU only has up to about 1/2 sec of reserve power. This means that any potential braking can last no longer than that before the brakes release.

 

Of course, a changeover switch will also allow about 1.2 more volts to be applied to the motor as well, because the bridge is taken out of circuit.

 

So the SSD chip cannot apply brakes for any useful time, and will always provide less maximum speed to the car - who'd want to race with that?

 

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 want to change my DPR Rev G board to InCar Pro.

I need to know what side of each resistor: R7, R8, R9 and C6 to connect with my PICkit.

The Rev F board is completely different.

Any help would be greatly appreciated.

 

Photos of DPR Rev G board:

http://dl.dropbox.com/u/3977605/Rev%20G%20R7%20R8%20R9.JPG

http://dl.dropbox.com/u/3977605/Rev%20G%20C6%20JPG.jpg

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I want to change my DPR Rev G board to InCar Pro.

I need to know what side of each resistor: R7, R8, R9 and C6 to connect with my PICkit.

The Rev F board is completely different.

Any help would be greatly appreciated.

 

Photos of DPR Rev G board:

http://dl.dropbox.com/u/3977605/Rev%20G%20R7%20R8%20R9.JPG

http://dl.dropbox.com/u/3977605/Rev%20G%20C6%20JPG.jpg

 

The Rev G chip, based on these pictures, has solder pads which are appropriately marked and named. Use the instructions for the Saloon chip, and 'reinterpret' them for the Rev G.

 

When I get one of these chips, I'll post up the full process.

 

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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Ian: Thanks for the help and all your terrific work on InCar Pro, etc.

 

I was so focused on following the Rev F instructions that I never noticed the markings on the Rev G board.

I updated the DPR firmware today with no problems.

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Ian: Thanks for the help and all your terrific work on InCar Pro, etc.

 

I was so focused on following the Rev F instructions that I never noticed the markings on the Rev G board.

I updated the DPR firmware today with no problems.

Hi 350Zman

Glad to hear it works. Did you connect the 5v pad or did you just put the car on the track?

Cheers

Chris

 

Edit: Never mind, just seen your other post saying you didn't connect it

Edited by chris99

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