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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
So, I have been doing laps with my son using brand new ARC Pro Wireless controllers on a couple of occasions, and find that lane changing is much more difficult than on the good old APB.

To get to the bottom of this I set up a small test bench with a power tap connected from the lane rails to the braids on a car using alligator clamps.

I turned off all the lights in the room and notice that the IR led is flickering and not staying on constantly when pressing the lane changer button in. In fact it does not activate at all when the button is pressed quite often.
If I press really hard it seems to be more stable, but far from perfect.

I connected my APB to the test setup and the IR led behaves as expected. On and off as I press and release the button.

I tested with three different ARC Wireless controllers, and experience similar behavior. It is only the lane changer button that seem to have this issue. Batteries are new.

Should I just open up the controller and see if some MX3 sorts out the problem? Has anyone else experienced this? It is a brand new ARC Pro Powerbase, so I hope it is not the cause.
 

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Living the Life!
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Presumably, the infrared LED is a steady on when the throttle is pressed?

Does it do it with another throttle??
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
The LED is constantly on when connected to the powerbase if that is what you are asking? I do not see it change when I press the throttle, but it is lit. When I press the lane changer it will get noticeably more bright. This "more bright" is what's flickering, eg it flickers between more bright and normal lit. I have tested this with three different throttles on three different "channels" on the powerbase.
 

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Greg Gaub
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I think I might know what you're seeing.

Test it again on the APB with wired controller and keep the throttle at least partly pressed while pressing the LC button.

If it looks just like it does with the ARC Pro, then one more test should confirm what I'm thinking.

If you do the same test with the LCD screen connected OR a PC race manager running, I bet it will also look the same as for the ARC Pro.

I'm suspecting you're witnessing a bug in the APB firmware when there's no device communicating with it (such as the LCD, or an active race management program.

And that bug is, the LC command is ignored unless there is greater than zero throttle. It won't matter what kind of controller you use, or which port you're connected to, if the throttle is at zero, the car doesn't get the LC command from the base, so it doesn't change.

The fault is not in ARC Pro, but in the APB. It should be emitting some kind of signal ALL the time, but the signal should change. Depending on the car ID, the flickering will look different, as will the flickering when you press the button. The LED turning off in either case is a fault of the APB.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Interesting, Flippant. I am seeing this issue on the ARC Pro only nor my APB. The ARC pro has this issue with or without the official Scalextric app or Magic app connected. I read from your comment that the issue is with firmware for the APB. I have upgraded my APB to latest firmware 1.09(?), for your reference.

I have done my test with or without the throttle activated, and I did not not much difference, but I did not specifically look for it.

I have tested while racing on a small square track with my 5 lane changers connected one after the other. With the APB my car will activate every lane changer if I just hold the button. With my ARC Pro it will more often than not activate the lane changer. If I press really hard on the wireless line changer button it will work better for a bit. This might be my imagination, but worth mentioning.
tongue.png
 

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Greg Gaub
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I might not have said it well, but run a car on your APB with the lane changer in a braking zone such that you can accelerate, then release the trigger with the LC button pressed for it to coast through the lane changer. If the LCD is not connected, and it's not connected to a PC race management program, the car will go straight. In fact, it's emitting the "no lane change" signal, and will set a flipper straight. If you do the same thing at a low speed so that you can keep the throttle off of zero while holding the LC button, then the LC will work properly. And yes, even with the v1.09 firmware.

Now, I'm merely explaining why you're seeing different things between the ARC Pro and the APB, not why the lane changing isn't reliable on the ARC Pro. You're interpreting what you see on the APB as "correct" because you weren't aware of this issue. In reality, it should be doing something closer to what the ARC Pro is doing, only better. ;-)

If lane changing isn't reliable on the ARC Pro, regardless of what car/chip, lane changer, or controller you use, then that points to an issue with the ARC Pro. Unreliable lane changing is certainly a problem.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 · (Edited by Moderator)
Ah, I see Flippant. Thanks. I will check out this behaviour to confirm. But, while browsing the forum earlier I found this post by Dr_C that talks about my issue. I tried what he suggest and it improved the situation somewhat, but far from making it usable, at least for kids with a weaker grip.

Anyways, the post by Dr_C confirms that my issue is not unique, but possibly an issue with certain batches of controllers? I decided to take one of my wireless controllers apart. I can confirm that when pressing directly on the "pressure plate" on the lane changer circuit board with my fingernail it works perfectly. The LED lights up flawlessly with each press and with no flickering. I tried using the lane changer button without putting the controller back together, and it also works perfectly. As soon as I put the two parts of the controller together the issue returns.

The only thing standing out is that the "pressure plate" is not perfectly centered in the hole used by the lane changer button. I have attached a pic showing that it is not centered. I also made this short video showing how the LED light will light up when I press the button harder or release the pressure slightly while holding the lane changer button in. In fact you hear the click of me pressing the button in the start of the video, but I never release it for the remainder. The light will go on and off as demonstrated. The video is not very exciting, I knowl Don't expect any Oscar winning performances.

So I am considering returning my controllers to the shop I bought them in, unless someone has any ideas?

Gadget Wood Eyewear Automotive design Material property
 

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novice jazz player &
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If the metal contact disk is not perfectly centred then for sure it wont function correctly... if so then the best course of action would be warranty replacement.

c
 

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Greg Gaub
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Or, closely inspect that board and the halves of the controller shell to see if you can find whatever is causing the offset and fix it. Hopefully it's just some flashing somewhere that can be removed, or put some kind of shim material somewhere to force it to the right position. Similarly, check the buttons to remove anything that prevents smooth and complete motion between pressed and not-pressed.
 

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novice jazz player &
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Gregs point is a great one... and asI look back at your photo the two halves of the thettle enclosure dont not appear to fit cleanly. Perhaps the button pcb is not seated correctly or has break-off tab material along its edged?

So as Greg suggests... it might be useful to eye-ball the button pcb... especially since you already took it apart ;)

c
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Thanks for the tips. I will see if I can move the circuit board a little more or there is something obvious with the button. I did try to nudge it and it moved about a millimetre. The pic was taken after I nudged it over. It seemed to me that there is no support behind the circuit board besides where it is slotted in to the one half of the controller, but I was just eyeballing it at the time, so I might have missed the supports in the other half.

I took the pic without the screws screwed in, so that is why it looks like the controller is not completely fitted together. I will inspect all of my controllers. All six were bought in the same shop over a month's time, so I suspect they are all from the same production batch.

Can't be bothered to fix it since they are brand new. Unless It is simply a matter of putting in a shim of some sort.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
After fiddling with the buttons and pushing a little on the button circuit boards I was able to sort out a couple of the controllers. Ended up dropping by the shop where I bought them and got the two controllers I could not get working 100% replaced.

The two new ones are tested and are working flawlessly!
 
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