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Bruce,

I am new the this forum, but have gotten some great insight on your software program and getting it set up. You guys have done a great job with the fueling option on the screen as well as integrated the ability to not count laps when needing to refuel. Great stuff. I do have a question.

I have set up the race modes as well as ran a couple of races with the beta 1.33v. I have the new pit stop as well as the new CU. I cannot for the life of me figure out how to refuel the cars before the start of the race. I read in your thread that you only need to press the throttle up and down when all the starting lights are lit up (5 lights), but that is not working for me (or I am doing it wrong, which could easily be the problem). I am assuming that I am missing something. Any insight would be great.

Thanks for the help

Scott
 

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Bruce Yingling
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Discussion Starter · #602 ·
The present beta does not allow the fuel adjustment at race start (It's actually achieved by pressing and releasing the lane change button, not the throttle). When I posted about that in this thread, I don't think I even had a pit adapter yet, so I was unaware that my software would prevent that feature from working. I should have a version of the beta out by the end of the week that does allow you to change the fuel levels at race start. It will also reset the position tower and driver displays if you're using them.

This is once again thanks to Stephan Hess- aka brumbaer aka slotbaer, who has decoded the Carrera digital protocols.
 

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Fantastic. Thanks Guys. Do you see a need to buy the position tower and driver displays? I think that just showing your display up on the screen is good for me, but just want to make sure I am not missing a feature on these units. Thanks again.

Scott
 

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Hi Scott,

Honestly, no. I see no need for those items. The only thing I would recommend, is a cheap projector (beemer). That way you can make a HUGE display that everyone can easily see while driving.
 

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Hi Bruce,

I am not sure I mentioned before but I have a couple of ideas.

1) Now I have an unused lap counter. Would it be possible to some how use it to measure section times with your software? Say by getting another Richg cable and plugging that in into an unused USB port?

2) Alternate display idea. Instead of having a gauge as you do now for the fuel, although it is cool, you could also use just a bar( just to save some space for those with tiny monitors. Additionally,instead of having 6 rows (one for each driver) how about splitting the screen into six sections one for each driver (sort of driver display look but with more info). Anyway, just an idea.
 

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Hi Bruce,

I am not sure I mentioned before but I have a couple of ideas.

1) Now I have an unused lap counter. Would it be possible to some how use it to measure section times with your software? Say by getting another Richg cable and plugging that in into an unused USB port?

2) Alternate display idea. Instead of having a gauge as you do now for the fuel, although it is cool, you could also use just a bar( just to save some space for those with tiny monitors. Additionally,instead of having 6 rows (one for each driver) how about splitting the screen into six sections one for each driver (sort of driver display look but with more info). Anyway, just an idea.
 

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Bruce Yingling
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QUOTE (blm2822 @ 4 Jan 2011, 12:46) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>1) Now I have an unused lap counter. Would it be possible to some how use it to measure section times with your software? Say by getting another Richg cable and plugging that in into an unused USB port?

I've thought about this one, the first problem that comes to mind would be syncing the two internal clocks (CU and lap counter). But they wouldn't have to be completely in sync, as long as the software could be made to compensate for the difference. I'll do some experimenting down the road. It may be possible to do a 4 lane Start/Finish line, or sectional timing. But it would definitely sacrifice accuracy to enable it.

I still have the lap counter in my track, so I can make sure the software works with both. It's kind of cool to see the first lap show up on the computer screen 14.705- and then the lap time on the lap counter screen, one section of track later (so the car has accelerated) 14.583. When running laps other than the first lap, the times are generally within a few thousandths of each other.
 

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Hi Bruce
My Control Unit and Pit lane adapter has landed in AUS - some serious testing will be done.

Now that they have arrived I was able to reuse the redundant BB and LC on my SCX track

Three wires unplugged from the Carrera track and plugged into the SCX track and I can use your great software and my wireless controllers to do some 4X4.



The Wiring for the Lap Counter.

As the Carrera track is wider than the SCX track I had to use one of the water feature track pieces as the Start/Finish line.



Cheers.
 

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Bruce Yingling
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Discussion Starter · #611 ·
If you have experienced a loss of communication between the software and the CU I think I have a solution. Or at least a huge improvement. This will probably work for a lap counter that drops comm as well, but I never had this problem with a lap counter.

You need to adjust the settings in the FTDI driver. Go to Device Manager, and find the serial port created by your cable (PC unit). It will be listed under 'Ports (COM & LPT)'. Double click the port and bring up the properties box. Select the 'Port Settings' Tab. Click on the 'Advanced' button. There are a couple of things to change here. The read and write packet sizes will default to 4096. Change both to 64, the smallest available. The 'Latency' setting will default to 16. Change it to 32 or 48. You only need to do this once. The settings will remain the same even when you power off the machine. The only way you may lose them is by uninstalling the port. After several days of testing, I've had no issues after changing the latency to 48 and packet size to 64 on my track side machine.
 

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Hi Bruce

Interesting stuff and not something I had considered.

To what degree is loss of communication & dropped comm a problem with the CU? Is this just an issue with the new CU or also the old lap counter?

Having a quick read about USB Transfer Size & Latancy it seems that the way things work is that with the standard setup the chip waits for the buffer to be full (4096 Bytes) or when the Latency Timer times out (16mS from the last transfer) So if we are typically seeing less that 4096 Bytes, then it will probably be the the Latency Timer will be determining when transfers are made?

So with your settings of 64 Bytes & 48mS it is likely that it is now the Transfer size that is now running the show? Was there a reason why you turned the Latency up?

Probably worth doing a bit of maths on the typical packet sizes to see what is going on? I will also have a think about this is the context of Scalextric & Ninco, although I have not heard of any comms issues there may be a gain to be had, particularily with the new Scalextric Powerbase, C7042, which like Carrera is very comms intensive with the PC constantly polling the Powerbase with small packets.

FTDI document AN 107 worth a read, in particular 6.2 & 6.3.
Also see AN232B-04

Rich
 

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Bruce Yingling
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This is definitely more in your skill set than mine- all I can say is, it seems to be working. My meager understanding links these results to the fact that we're dealing with slow transfer speeds -19,200 baud, and small packet sizes. At least compared to what a USB port is capable of handling.

I had never had this issue with the lap counter, but I began having issues with the CU. It might work fine for an hour or more, or it may flare up in the first few minutes of use. The same software was still working fine with the lap counter. I had tried many changes within the software, but couldn't find a fix. I had gotten very tired of reading log and trace files that delivered no discernible pattern.

After reading the FTDI documents, I began to experiment with the latency and packet size settings. What I read at FTDI led me to believe I should turn the latency down, rather than up. It didn't help, and seemed to make things worse. My first moderately successful change was by bumping the latency to 32ms. This worked with no errors one day, and worked better than the original- but not 100%- the next day of testing. I then changed the packet size and bumped the latency to 48 (I know, I should have changed one or the other, not both), and for two days I haven't had a drop or a need to unplug the cable. The CU even went into suspend for several hours: I picked up a controller, activated the CU, crossed the start/finish and everything was working fine.
 

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I suspect this is one of those tricky times where all the theory is not as good as the practical solution.
I guess also to some degree the tuning of the parameters is compensating for a flaw in the CU firmware, as in all honesty it should not matter within reason what these variables are set to, and the unit should definitely not hang?

Do we know if the CU has the same problems with the Carrera PC Unit or just with the FTDI cable?

Rich
 

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Bruce Yingling
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I've been using the PC Unit on the CU most of the time. I still have your FTDI cable plugged into the lap counter. I have switched them back and forth and can see no difference.

I'm still not 100% convinced that my software isn't a mutual culprit here as well. But if all continues to work together with the above changes, I'm at the point where I'll shrug and call it fixed
. One big plus: I've found many other flaws in the software by trying to find a cure for this.
 

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Hi yu Bruce

Currently I have no issues to report - User error (ME) or any other - The software is behaving nicely.
Currently we are all just getting use to the real mode and your software changes for the new CU, so much play and testing will be done.

The other guys in the group did request that I ask.
Is it possible to increase the size of the on-screen fuel gauge?
Plus we always use to run with your software set to End Race on Chekered flag - We realised this was not fare for 2nd and 3rd placing so we unticked that option. The only problem with this is that EG. Driver 2's car crashes and burns (wont run anymore) so he can't complete the race (our thoughts are bad luck) so is it possible that all others can finish the race and save the results without drive 2 completing the allocated number of laps?

A huge thanks from us in AUS
 

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Bruce Yingling
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QUOTE (Scootcar50 @ 9 Jan 2011, 01:05) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>Is it possible to increase the size of the on-screen fuel gauge?

Only by increasing the size of your screen
. There really isn't a lot I can do here. There's only so much room for information. There's nothing else I'm willing to give up to increase the size.

QUOTE (Scootcar50 @ 9 Jan 2011, 01:05) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>Plus we always use to run with your software set to End Race on Chekered flag - We realised this was not fare for 2nd and 3rd placing so we unticked that option. The only problem with this is that EG. Driver 2's car crashes and burns (wont run anymore) so he can't complete the race (our thoughts are bad luck) so is it possible that all others can finish the race and save the results without drive 2 completing the allocated number of laps?

A huge thanks from us in AUS

You can already do exactly as you requested. Hold the CTRL key down and press 'Enter'. You'll be asked whether you want to end the race. Click 'Yes'. The escape key lets you restart a race, as it doesn't record the results or advance through a rotation. The 'CTRL-Enter' combination treats the race as if it were completed. The results are recorded with the current running order treated as the finishing order, and, if you're running a rotation, it is advanced to the next heat.

But I always thought the 'Checkered Flag' was more fair. It gives the winner credit for her accomplishment, especially if you're running a series of races. I think it more closely represents a real world result, as well. Just because a race is say, 75 laps, that doesn't mean every car gets to run 75 laps. If you're a lap down when the winner wins the race, you're a lap down in the results.

You do realize that second and third place can still change position after the checkered flag, right? It's not until the next time they cross the Start/Finish that their positions are sealed. Again more like a real world result. But I'm sure you already knew that.
 

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QUOTE (b.yingling @ 10 Jan 2011, 01:34) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>Only by increasing the size of your screen

I think it more closely represents a real world result

Thanks Bruce

I figured that there would be no room to increase the size of the fuel gauge.
and
I agree that ending on checked flag is more real life racing - but had to ask.

Cheers
 

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Bruce Yingling
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v1.34 is on the website. This version makes use of the information provided by Stephan Hess, aka slotbaer, aka brumbaer, to enable the use of position towers (PT) and driver displays (DD) with the software. (To see all of Stephan's remarkable work, go to http://eng.slotbaer.de/index.html). The DDs now reset at the start of a new race, and the racers have the oppurtunity to adjust their car's fuel level at race start. The PT will now display the current running order and the race lap count. The PT will not report the same running order as the race screen when in Practice mode. This may be fixed in a future release.

The PT sync is not 100%. The PT can become confused by conflicting reports from the CU and software. I've also seen 'phantom' IDs show up on the tower. This is more frequent as more and more races are run. I haven't used it enough w/o the software running to know whether this is typical or not?

PLEASE MAKE A BACKUP OF YOUR INSTALLATION BEFORE ATTEMPTING TO USE THIS BETA SOFTWARE!!

At least copy the existing hssrms.exe executable file to a safe location, or rename it to old_hssrms.exe, or both, before attempting to use this beta software. Better to backup the entire contents of your RMS folder.
 

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Bruce Yingling
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Discussion Starter · #620 ·
v1.35 Greatly improves the PT synchronization. Cars are far less frequently out of position on the tower. When they are, the offending car displays a . after it's ID on the tower. It will generally right itself the next time it crosses the start/finish.

Syncing practice mode with the PT may prove to be un-doable. It appears the 'Start' button and my software have to work in concert, and in exactly the right order to reset the tower properly. Practice mode is also complicated by the fact that the software ranks the cars according to their best lap time, not their lap total.
 
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