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Scorpius-wireless Digital Slot Car Project.

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Hi Guys,

A re-visit on how Scorpius Anti-Collision function works and what it is.

Scorpius was first to market with an in built anti collision system as standard equipment. In 2021 Scorpius remains the only manufacturer to include the function as standard equipment.

Anti collision: A function that prevents collisions on lane changers on digital slot car systems.

How it works (Scorpius Wireless system): A proximity system is allowable by the addition of just one simple LED "Beacon" or LED.

Each LED says: "Hey Im the LED for lane changing on lane 1 for Lane Brain ID 6" (Lane Changer number 6) or...... "Hey I'm the anti-collision LED for lane 2 for Lane Brain ID 6" (Lane Changer number 6). This information is used to activate the anti-collision function. The car sees this information and does 2 things:

1. Send this track data  together with car telemetry (data for Motor PWM, Brake PWM, Lane Change status) back to the computer for various race software functions and diagnostic tools.   Another Scorpius World first and still not matched in the market).

2. Broadcasts it Car ID and LC request status. Each Lane Brain receives this data and decodes it. Only the LB matching the ID will respond.

Activation: Anti Collision is activated by preventing the lane changer from operating by temporarily switching off the possibility of firing for a period of 50 milliseconds.

Rule: If a car detects a Anti Collision LED on lane changer "X" it will send a message to the lane changer "X" only to prevent a lane change for 50 m/S.

Note 1:Each lane changer marks the end of one sector and the beginning of the next. Each lane changer marks the beginning of a sector. This data allows precise sector timing in the Scorpius Race Management System.

Note 2: An XLC or double lane changers are looked at as 2 independent single lane changers. The Scorpius Lane Brain has 4 LED outputs and so too will the upcoming Scorpius MPD (Scorpius Multi Purpose Decoder).

The data can also be used to activate best line driving, an automated function called PEARL (programmable electronically activated race line) and Ultima (where Anti Collision and PEARL functions are combined. Ill elaborate on these functions in separate posts.

Note the Scorpius Lane Brain is the only "Smart" lane changer decoder on the market. It is also the only wireless one. It is wirelessly upgradeable and configurable.

Pictures showing positioning of "Track Beacons" (3mm dia. infrared LEDs on flyleads). Each LED has a unique code.

 

Scorpius Anti Collision SLC..JPG

Scorpius Anti Collision XLC..JPG

Edited by aussieslotter

The best form of satisfaction is success.

www.scorpiuswireless.com

 

 

 

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The only system that sends car telemetry back to a pc and once received the rms can use it? 

If so the only system that is currently set to use Multi Axis Accelerometers?. 


Spaghetti Mess = More Stress. .

Projects of Clown is a great laugh. 

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Hi Ade

2 aspects to this.
1.Using accelerometer data for race management software.

2. Using accelerometer data onboard the car decoder. 

In regards to item 1 above yes, any other competitor would be a stand alone new to market system as I can’t see Carrera, SCX or Hornby ever incorporating things telemetry or accelerometers.

In regards to item 2 telemetry is not required to use the decoders accelerometer to help run a ghost car. 

A common mistake new comers to digital slot car development is to over specify dream ideas that will simply will never make it to market. Very easy to state online big ideas and expensive unaffordable products.  For example you can spend $3 to $50 on a single accelerometer. Yes $50USD on a single component measuring 2x2.

By the time you add labour and development costs and then a PROFIT that $2-$3 accelerometer chip is suddenly adding $8 to the cost. Imagine an accelerometer selection that added $20-$30 to a decoder? 
 

Rick

 

 


The best form of satisfaction is success.

www.scorpiuswireless.com

 

 

 

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Pity they can't copy bootloader technology.. LOL 


Spaghetti Mess = More Stress. .

Projects of Clown is a great laugh. 

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Hi Crew,

I hear a lot of endless talk about innovation for digital slot cars online but is innovation based on talk then action or just talk with zero action ?

If anyone wants to know what the team has been up to for the last 15 years I thought I’d put together a list of world firsts.

World firsts as follows:

First to invent and develop a wireless digital slot car system.

First 2.4ghz controlled slot car.

First pure DC driven digital system.

First wireless car decoder.

First 2.4 wireless slot car controller.

First slot car controller with LCD menu.

First controller with 256 step throttle.

First controller with 256 step braking.

First with throttle control 0-100% in 1% increments.

First with brake control 0-100% in 1% increments.

First upgradeable controller.

First to controller to allow end user to customise a throttle curve on a computer and upload to car decoder.

First controller with onboard library of 10 throttle curves, each configurable.

First controller with speed limiter (button controlled).

First digital controller with adjustable sensitivity.

First end user upgradeable lane changer electronics.

First wirelessly upgradeable car decoder.

First and only system with anti collision function.

First and only system to include livened flippers.

First and only to allow end user to customise each aspect of the controller using a configuration program.

First system to include wireless track telemetry.

First to implement 32 track location IDs.

First digital system to include a best race line system. 

First 2.4Ghz wireless dongle.

First system with 2 way wireless communication for all products.

First to “chip” rails, ie use car decoder, connected the track, to drive an analogue car on analogue track using wireless transceiver/power module.

First system to be able to drive both analogue and digital slot cars wirelessly from a PC.

First system to give each lane changer a unique ID.

First 2.4Ghz wireless analogue system.

First to market with a digital wireless system.

First wireless slot car race management system. (RMS).

First system to implement a RMS driven ghost car with artificial intelligence.

First RMS to implement the Guided Set Up system.

First system used in large scale wireless digital races. (Aust 2007).

First multi platform decoder to run on 3 different brand systems.

First system to supply diagnostic programs to end user.

First system to include speed detection in m/s or kmh.

First system to be Scalextric Sport Digital compatible (C7030)

First system to be Ninco Digital compatible.

First car decoder to use Schottky diodes.

First fully functional car decoder prototype under 50 sq.mm.

First to invent and design the Disc Decoder for Scalextric Sport Digital.

First to invent and design a single multi purpose decoder to perform a variety of functions across multiple products types for multiple brands.

So we have over 40 World firsts on that list and there are others. 

Currently we are back on the MPD decoder development which will require over 250 hours of firmware development. We hope to commence manufacture of 100 prototypes in coming weeks. 

Rick

 

3880975F-9FC2-4333-9C30-DECB1E823EDA.jpeg

Edited by aussieslotter
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Hi Guys,

  Lighting options MPD chip.

The Multi Purpose Decoder by Scorpius has an amazing 4 separate LED driver channels. 

Any output can be re-configured as:

1.Headlights

2.Tail lights

3. SSD track comms.

4. Carrera track comms 

5. SCX track comms 

5. Sirens

6. Exhaust flame simulator 

This also enables neater/shorter wiring as you can choose the nearest LED port.

Of course the output would need to correct LED:

1.headlights.... clear or white LED

2.tail lights...... red LED

3. SSD track comms.... IR LED

4. Carrera track comms ...IR LED

5. Siren red, yellow or blue LED.

6. Exhaust flame red, yellow or orange LED

The exhaust flame simulator idea is an old one I found on a forum 15 years ago. Nothing new. I wonder however who was the first to think of this nice accessory.

So the Scorpius MPD will also act as a specialist wireless lighting board for any scenario where the Scorpius controller can be utilised. 

Rick


 

BCFF48A3-1052-4F0E-86E1-3236CE926F62.jpeg

Edited by aussieslotter
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The best form of satisfaction is success.

www.scorpiuswireless.com

 

 

 

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The original light board project below  from 2019 now on hold due to more exciting projects.

The MPD will cover the lighting and accessories role until the dedicated light board project is picked up again. 
 

Link to original announcement:
https://www.slotforum.com/threads/wireless-light-board-for-analogue-and-digital-cars.191097/

Pic below of previous light board project 2019. Note the size is pretty much the same as the MPD. It goes to show how far Scorpius has come over the years.

 

 

 

 

E04F8E16-16ED-4E07-85C5-D397F9EF1BDA.jpeg

Edited by aussieslotter

The best form of satisfaction is success.

www.scorpiuswireless.com

 

 

 

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Yes indeed. Any LED port (1-4) can be used for any application. Just design your requirement in the app.

Process:
1. Select port 1-4

2. Select function for each port: Carrera LED ID, Scalextric LED ID, SCX ID, Headlights, Tail/Brake Lights, sirens, (using 2 channels), auxiliary light or exhaust flame simulator.

3. Tap car 5 times. The accelerometer picks up the request and puts the car into Bluetooth mode.

4. Press Upload and follow the prompts.

5. Lift and replace car on rails. Lights are now configured to your personal requirement. Car can now be driven.

6. Turn each lighting channel in/off or activate high beam using Aux button on controller. 
 


 

Rick

 

 

 

5C183350-5B74-4436-863E-7DA79F778559.jpeg

Edited by aussieslotter
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The best form of satisfaction is success.

www.scorpiuswireless.com

 

 

 

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On 8/2/2021 at 7:44 PM, ade said:

Pity they can't copy bootloader technology.. LOL 

I could hand it on a platter and they would still balls it up. It’s a continuous internet sitcom. 

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Wiring specification  finalised.

Decision had been made to allow end user to fit their own JST plugs. 
Issues included not enough variety of colours, wire types, diameters and insulation types.

Another issue is Carrera and Scalextric dont have any compatibility in the power in/power out plug system. So do I include both or none? Both would mean a 4 pin jst male for Scalextric, a 2 pin female and a 2 pin male JST for Carrera. 

Another issue JST plugs take up important volume and add weight. 

All heat shrink will be not be shrunk.  This will allow the end user to customise any cable length, then shrink.

I’ve included the spec too so you can get an idea of the amount of detail required by a typical factory in order to get the correct product delivered. 

 

.

674174B8-B8B5-481A-9F3E-0566B374E6E7.jpeg

 

Scorpius MPD wiring spec V8.0.xlsx

Edited by aussieslotter

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So how will the new Scorpius Muiti Purpose Decoder compare size wise to existing decoders on the market?

The Scorpius MPD is 22x13.3 or 292.6 sq.mm

Compared  to :                     % Reduction

Scalextric Rev H 412.3sq.mm 29%

Scalextric F1       325.0sq.mm 10% 

Carrera                 626.0sq.mm 53%

Scorpius Gen 1.  471.2sq.mm 38%

Slot. It Oxigen     375.0sq.mm 22% 

 

Note: Scorpius MPD has full lights, SCX solenoid driver, double track comms for 4 brands, an accelerometer and hall sensor. 

 

AA393310-3A29-428D-8CB7-D76AFB023067.jpeg

Edited by aussieslotter

The best form of satisfaction is success.

www.scorpiuswireless.com

 

 

 

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Track Mapping

The Scalextric Challenger had a wheel rotation sensor and a guide angle sensor and no doubt a complex algorithm to go with that. It’s a pretty good product but no longer available and it’s an analogue product as although it could be digitalised.
 

However if you have ever taken a Challenger apart you will know it’s full of gadgetry and not something suitable for every day applications.

So what to do and how to execute? What methods can be used to achieve a better ghost car?  What hardware is required? What firmware is required and how complex would it be to write? What’s the best path to take?

Do I really want to make special hardware installations such as guide angle sensors? Or wheel rotation sensors? Wouldn’t it be better if any slot car with a decoder installed could do it all on the decoder itself?

In 2016 Scorpius released the first slot car with AI (Artificial Intelligence). You record the far and it is played back during the race. The car is recalibrated at each lane changer by seeing the LED beacon. And track telemetry reported by each car at each lane changer tells the ghost car wether to change lanes or not. However it is not quick nor easy to use and was more of a let’s see what can be done type of project. 
So what systems in the market offer track or car telemetry. Answer is zero except Scorpius of course.

So the MPD might work as an exceptional ghost car in a Scorpius system but what about other systems?  Realistically is anyone going to install a heap of track hardware to act as brake markers? Or add guide angle and/or wheel rotation sensors? Answer is no.

What existing or planned decoders or systems can achieve equal or better results than a Scalextric Challenger? 

The Scorpius Gen 2 and proposed Scorpius Multi Protocol Decodet both have wireless track and car telemetry as well as current sensing, back EMF detection and an accelerometer to utilise,  The accelerometer stands out as an obvious starting place to start.

So your car enters a curve at full speed. It takes a few thousands of a second to detect the data on the x axis increase as the car begins to turns and experiences G forces. However the car is already in the turn at full speed and deslots. So immediately we can assume the car needs to anticipate the corner and if Jeff’s to be at the right speed. 
So how to do? Do we map the track? And how? Draw a diagram? Record a lap? Record several laps? 
As I will have accelerometer data flowing into the nRF52840 processor a 100-1000 times a second thus can be mapped immediately with no fuss and no additional sensors or hardware installed. Remember I want to be able to use any standard slot car with the Scorpius Multi Protocol Decoder installed to act as the ultimate ghost car. So I propose to simply record the G forces while doing a sample lap at half speed. The data is recorded with a time stamp along with data every time the car crosses a track beacon ie each lane changer.

Now the hard part. An algorithm has to written to anticipate the upcoming corner. Previously a recorded car was stored in the computer using the race software. However that needs to be stored in car and the nRF52840 has a huge memory. 
 

Indeed a good challenge and I expect a difficult function to perfect. This will be a fun project no doubt. But it needs to be done 100% in car.

 

 

Rick

Edited by aussieslotter

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www.scorpiuswireless.com

 

 

 

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What other resources do we have? Instead of a wheel speed sensor what about our hall sensor attached to the motor?. Is motor speed not directly related to wheel speed?

And could we not also map the track using  motor telemetry, brake telemetry, motor revolution telemetry, G Force telemetry and sector location? 
 

Could we map the track in reverse also? This would give us data before the corner gathered whilst driving in the opposite direction.

Early days yet but one thing is for certain, the Scorpius MPD system has enough hardware to do it.

Also a guide angle sensor would also give information too late going from a fast straight into a corner, an identical issue to the accelerometer concept.

Then again if we have a hall sensor onboard could we in fact use magnets to identify braking zones? Seeing we have a hall sensor and that magnets are cheap, easy to install and can be moved quickly if required. Not really my preferred solution so let’s keep looking.

 

 

 

 

Rick

 

EA3B8825-327A-4011-811A-4C86C70CAD91.jpeg

Edited by aussieslotter

The best form of satisfaction is success.

www.scorpiuswireless.com

 

 

 

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Why the mark space ratio technique using light pulses in the cars LED for counting laps and changing lanes is obsolete technology.

Hi Guys,

Since 2005 Scalextric have employed an old technique using the mark space ratio. The ratio changes for each car ID. When changing lanes the maths are inverted to trigger a lane change. 
In short it’s a very limited method in terms of transferring track or car data.

In 2007 the Scorpius team did a lot of work in regards to understanding its limits and to try to improve it.

We found trying to increase available car IDs to 24 failed due to the fact there is a checksum in the algorithm that cannot be altered or it becomes incompatible. Done hobbyists didn’t realise this until it was too late and have had to invent work arounds to make it possible. Increasing the “window of opportunity”, where the photo sensor has enough time to read the LEDs antiquated code. So no we took the algorithm out of the equation using our own hardware, car decoder and lane change electronics and added more photo sensors in a row to make it work.

What we found was it worked. But it was now a new system, totally incompatible to Scalextric Sport Digital so my suggestion to John, our engineer since day 1, was to use much superior code to achieve 24 car IDs. We also invented the revolutionary system where we swapped the cars LED for a photo transistor and vice versa. 
 

So now the LED is in each lane at each lane changing point. It emits a unique lane changing ID code (Another Scorpius first) and the car uses this information to perform certain functions. It even has a lane code. It works flawlessly and is the bench mark for lap counting and lane changing in the industry. Having the sensor in the car too prevents random operation of the lane changer from certain lighting conditions which is a bad design to be honest.

So there we have it.

You cannot have more than 6 car IDs with Scalextric. End of story. 
So the result is any system using the old technology wanting more than 6 car IDs will be a standalone system, 

Scorpius super imposed the Scalextric protocols over the top of Scorpius protocols to have both. Another world first.

There are also other major issues that will ensure failure using the mark space ratio technique in combination with multiple track sensors. These issues I have outlined here in other posts. It’s a bad design with limited thought out into it and will ensure failure in any competition scenario.

So can anyone out do the Scorpius architectural design? Or will they need to copy it in order to move forward?

 

 

Rick 

 

 

 

98A25220-8464-4CAF-8599-A6197F0634F4.jpeg


The best form of satisfaction is success.

www.scorpiuswireless.com

 

 

 

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In the meantime the hobbyist still insists any more than 6 car IDs is Scalextric compatible. And doesn’t understand about the checksums or how they are implemented.  The Scorpius team fully analysed all Scalextric algorithms 14 years ago. It’s old boring news. 
It’s also interesting a hobbyist with no completed projects and no firmware or software skills is a “competitor” LOL LOL.

Back in John’s lab (a real lab with a real engineer) we are progressing with some bug fixing while we wait for quotes from real manufacturers for prototypes on the new Multi Purpose Decoder.

Exciting times with now 27 products to be released in the next 18 months. 
 

Rick 
 

 


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A reminder for timber track enthusiasts....

 

 

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Hi Guys.

Development on the new Scorpius Multi Protocol Decoder is completed a far as Scorpius protocols are concerned.

Its actually been exactly 10 years since we released our last product. And all the products are still compatible and fully functional with no hardware issues ever in that time and only one tiny glitch in one seldom used function on one product. It really is a testament of how well designed and manufactured it is that no other has matched.

So I’m looking for rough numbers on how many to order first up.

Could interested enthusiasts please PM me with any expression of interest regarding quantities. 
 

Price will depend on quantities produced. Example first up I could make 100, 250, 500 or 1000. (The first production run I can now reveal 1000 were made). The more I order the cheaper they get. Hence why I need numbers.

The Tyoe C chip by Slot.it is around $60AUD plus tax or around $47USD plus tax. So obviously I’d like to match that.

Having said that in 2022 we will release the Nano chip and the F1 chip. Both will be Scorpius only protocols. The F1 will be around $44.95AUD plus tax. The Nano around $49.95 due to its size. So that will give you a rough idea.

Shortiy I’ll set up a pre order section in the web shop. 
Discounts will apply for orders of ten for the first run only. But 10 get one free or pay in advance and get 10% off etc 

Again please message me with any preorders.

 

Rick

 

D4A40E97-D22F-4302-84D4-780070ED98D2.jpeg

Edited by aussieslotter

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www.scorpiuswireless.com

 

 

 

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Hi Guys,

   We are ready to proceed with app. Here's the flowchart design. as you can see its very comprehensive. And yes its a huge project :)

Unfortunately its in PDF form so you will have to save on your computer to open.

Scorpius Flow Chart.pdf

Edited by aussieslotter

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The new Scorpius app is underway. 
First up we show how easy it is to upgrade the latest car chips using our new sexy app. 
 

Edited by aussieslotter
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                   SCORPIUS RADIO TEST

Hi Guys,

   I did another radio test today on our nRF52840 powered Nano Decoder and was able to video it. 
Equipment used was a Scorpius Nano Chip powered by 8 x 1.5 AAA batteries putting out 12.3V. Alligator clips were use to connect battery pack to the fsr braids.

Controller used is the Scorpius Wireless controller 

Car used NSR Lola with 21.5K motor. Body removed. Another test with body on planned.

Test procedure tested outside. See video attached. Distance achieved during this test was over 500m with perfect reception and motor output. See attached video. Distance was estimated in a primitive but satisfactory fashion only counting house frontage lengths of 17.5m as a gauge. 

Note the system normally leans to minimal RF output determined in the firmware code in the quest for maximum battery life. Scorpius battery life is the industry benchmark. However the output is a house secret. Let’s see what can be achieved distance versus battery life.

No no amplifiers are used or required.:lol:

Scorpius....System with grunt inspiring hobbyists worldwide. :lol:
 

 

In the slot car industry there are no leaders, just one leader. 

Edited by aussieslotter
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Question: How to make a very small decoder.

Answer: Leave half the parts off.

Hi Guys,

     The Scorpius Nano Decoder is DC only with 47.00sq.mm with a component count of 29.gives 1 component per 1.62sq.mm. This is for DC only.

Obviously being so small, smaller components, smaller vias and smaller tracks make the product more vulnerable to power issues than I say a typical larger chip. Example the MPD chip has 10A mosfet motor drive and 8.8A brake mosfets compared to 3A and 3A respectively on the Nano chip 

Adding diodes that are suitable for the task and not necessarily the smallest  adds a huge 63sq.mm (or 32sq.mm per side) but gives not only AC but DC plus you can put car on track in either direction. Really AC is only for Scalextric as every other manufacturer uses one pure or coded DC.

Based on that info a Nano chip with AC/DC functionality would come  in at 79.0 sq.mm with 33 components or a ratio of 2.39,  a big difference from 1.62. But it can run on AC or DC.

The Scorpius F1 chip purposely built as a robust micro decoder is 12x8 and has 33 components. It had the 4 extra diodes required for Scalextric compatibility. The component to size ratio doubles to 2.90 but is more suitable for big motors and competitive events. And it has the bigger 10A motor drive mosfet and the bigger 8.8A brake mosfet. And an accelerometer.

So there you have it......does making a chip small for the sake of small have consequences? It sure does. 

So don’t believe hype, what do you get for your size? 
One would assume (actually we can know)  a decoder with 15 only components wouldn’t be in the same class of a better designed decoder with DOUBLE the component count. :lol:
 

Rick

 

2601F624-7CF8-4546-A3E4-8FE771C7628F.jpeg

Edited by aussieslotter
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The best form of satisfaction is success.

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Just leave the other half in the drawer of your Kitchen table.. Next to the tins of Spam.. 


Spaghetti Mess = More Stress. .

Projects of Clown is a great laugh. 

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....if you can find room among the 20m/s test track, the multi protocol powerbsse, the 14 car stand alone system, 100s of unloaded pcb’s, the wifi car decoder, blah, blah, blah.

NÉW STANDARD FOR MINIATURISATION 

HI guys,

So the Scorpius team has designed a standard to which micro and nano chips will be judged.

A. For decoders that have bridge rectifiers
B. For decoders without bridge rectifiers

A component count (both sides) shall be divided into the total pcb area of one side.

Of course functionality and specialised auxiliary components like accelerometers, car lights and halls sensors can be categorised.

Another category can be wireless or wired if required.

Currently the record for a fully completed prototype complete with firmware and bootloader is 1.62 by the Team Scorpius who only use robot assembly. 

Can a real engineer or manufacturer beat 1.62? LOL LOL LOL 

 

Rick

 

7BC29B07-655F-472C-ACA0-607A5A915F69.jpeg

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Hey Rick,

Is there anywhere in Australia where your controllers are available, I can get the dongle through your website, but if I want a controller I am redirected to a US site that want nearly as much as the controller just in postage.

Was kind of thinking Scorpius Controller and Dongle to use with RCS64 and Scalextric.

Thanks 

Mark

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