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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Port

The port used for the new C7042 display also doubles up for PC communication.
Note: You can't have both display connected and PC at this point in time (and don't try a doubler as they won't work!
).

Effectively there are three modes controlled by this port, display attached, PC attached or nothing attached.

With nothing attached the PB reverts back to mode similar to the 4PB, but of course for 6 cars.

In display attached mode the protocol used for display information is Scalextric specific (it sends discrete display LCD bar info rather than real data).

In PC attached mode the PB becomes a total slave to the PC, the data is transmitted on a corruption of the RS485 standard. That standard is good as the differential signal lines can support cables of up to 1.5km (a mile to you and me). The PB is completely driven by the PC, for example the throttle positions are sent up to the PC and then that throttle position information has to come back down the line to drive the cars.

PC cables

Well I've been sat on cable parts for a year, so the good news is that they are instantly available! The other good news is I'm already forgetting the pain of getting something to work
.
The corruption of RS485 is that the 5V rail is actually 15V (needed for the display). Bad news is they used the same connector as the C7030 and plugging in an old style RichG cable is an obvious thing to do but can be fatal to cable or the PB (I toasted 2 C7042 so I know!). You have been warned!


Standard 232/485 converters will not work (or will only work for a short time) plus then about half of the dozen or so I tried after stepping the volts down to 5V still failed to work, so beware! I've settled on two particular types that I could get working that would also support USB to serial converters. Finding a combination of converters 485/232 and then 232/USB that work was difficult but I finally got to a position which works (tested XP, Vista and Windows 7). Buying bits in bulk will allow a price similar to the C7030 cables for slotforum members.



There is a more expensive single chip USB to 485 option which will be approaching double the old cost. Note not all converters work (I have a few for sale going cheap!), that goes for 485/USB, 232/485 and 232/USB.

Cables will be colour coded purple to show the difference to a red C7030 cable.

I have a few serial only cables that wont work with a USB adaptor but do work from a PC serial connector that I will be selling off at a bargain price.

Riko
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
QUOTE (RikoRocket @ 3 Aug 2010, 21:45) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>Well I've been sat on cable parts for a year, so the good news is that they are instantly available!

The queue has already started - expect to start shipping some before the end of the week.
 

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Congrats on the excellent amount of back ground work you have done!
This shows how development of this product is rocketing out of the gate rather than playing catch-up.

I think we all look forward to future developments.

Cheers!
 

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So is it a single pair RS485, or dual pair? And are you saying the differential voltage is 0v - 15v on those pair(s)?

Or is the 15v you talk about using the same pin as the original 5v line on the RJ?

Ian
 

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Thanks deadpedal for sorting a Win7 64bit driver solution to the USB cables I am making. Serial ones don't need this.
QUOTE (deadpedal @ 17 Sep 2010, 19:56) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>WINDOWS 7 64 BIT DRIVER

Ok... here is the Windows 7 64 bit driver I am using with Riko's cable. It is working great for me, however this is certainly a "use at your own risk" situation. I accept no resposibility for anything bad happening to your computer and I would only do this if the drivers on Riko's disk do not work for you (or until he puts out another official driver). I've only tested on Win 7 64bit, but believe it would probably work for Vista 64bit as well.

Here is the Techspot thread where I found the driver:
http://www.techspot.com/vb/topic112380.html

Here is the link to the actual driver:
http://www.winchiphead.com/download/CH341/CH341SER.ZIP

To install:

- Create a folder on your desktop to store the driver (or some other place that you like)
- Download the driver from the above link (actual driver)
- Unzip the downloaded zip file and move its contents to the folder you created
- Plug in your RikoRocket cable and allow it to try to be recognized. You'll get a "Device not successfully installed" error.
- Go into Control Panel -> Device Manager
- You will see under "Other devices", USB2.0-Ser!
- That is the cable with failed install
- Right click it and select "Update Driver Software"
- Select "Browse my computer for driver"
- Browse to the folder you created on your desktop and open the inner "DRIVER" folder
- The path will be something like C:\Users\Yourname\Desktop\DRIVER (with your user account name in place of "Yourname"
- Click Next
- You will get a warning saying "Windows can't verify the publisher..."
- Click "Install this driver anyway" (more on this below)
- The driver will begin installing
- Now Windows will tell you that it encountered a problem. Close the window with that message.
- You will now see the device in Device Manager in the proper place under "Ports (COM & LPT)", but it will have an exclamation point indicating an error

What's happening is the driver is indeed installed, but Windows 7 doesn't like it! That is because it is an "unsigned" driver. I'll be glad to explain what that means if you are curious.

Anyway, if you want to actually use it you must do the following:

- Restart your computer
- While it is re-booting, press the F8 key repeatedly
- This will bring up a start-up menu
- Use the down arrow key to highlight "DISABLE DRIVER SIGNATURE ENFORCEMENT"
- Press enter

Your computer will now boot up. If you have a look in Device Manager again you will see that Windows is now content with this driver. And most importantly, SSDC will recognize the port!

So if you really want to use Windows 7 64bit (or have no choice), here it is.
Each time you reboot your machine, however, you will have to do the F8 procedure to disable driver signature enforcement to recognize this driver. I have been working on a remedy to that all day without any luck, but I will continue to do so. I'll try to keep a copy of the zipped driver in case that link ever gets removed.

QUOTE (deadpedal @ 18 Sep 2010, 07:14) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>With regard to the previously mentioned 64bit device driver, putting the computer to sleep in your Power Options, rather than shutting it down, will not cause it to forget allowing unsigned drivers. You shouldn't have to go through the F8 power up sequence very often.
 

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Just a quick additional note on the above 64bit driver. It fired right up on a new Windows 7 64bit Home Premium laptop yesterday. I did not have to do the "F8 Key restart" part detailed near the end of the above post. Before you go through that part, check to see if the driver isn't already working (no exclamation point next to it in Device Manager). A very large number of newer computers are selling with Windows 7 64bit Home Premium. I believe the driver will fire up easily on those systems straight away.
 

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Ok guys, I just bought "advanced 6 car power base" and I still don't know how to connect it to PC/lap top with USB. I need your help. I read all the posts, but I find it hard to know exactly what to do. Does cable need to be "home made" or I can buy just the right one on the internet. I would like to have 6 car power base connected to PC via USB .....

Thanks for helping me
 

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Thanks guys for helping.

I just got my cable from RichG (thanks). I downloaded software from ssdc.jackaments.com but I have problems. I manage to install drivers for cable and SSDC program of course, but this thing still doesn't work. Well I must say that I haven't put all my forces into it yet, but still. When I connect Adv. 6 car PB to PC I have only one port to choose and that is COM4. Is that OK? The green light in the bottom left corner is ON, and the red one is OFF. It looks like it is connected correctly, but I am afraid it is not. Nothing is working. Ok maybe somthing is working .... when I put car on the track, without PC, It works normaly (of course;-)) ), but when I connect the cable from PB to PC, the car starts to move with full speed, without hand controller. Weird..... I don't know what is going on. In SSDC program I put all the data in, like in the manual or. video, but when I press green play/start button, the guy starts to count down ..... but than nothing happens. Timer shows 0:00:00 and nothing happens.
I also have pit stop (digital pit lane game), but i can not chose a port for it. Cause I only have port COM4. If I chose it, the program pops out some message, don't know what (like it is occupied or that he can not access it, something like that). It can not sense my pit lane. I only have lower 2 options available.
I am sure I installed drivers properly cause I can find it device manager.

Any idea guys?

Oh, and I also tried to update PB firmware, but I couldn't. Something is still wrong with communication I think.

Thanks guys again for helping me ;-))
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
Sounds like you are connected OK, and that the car is set up as a pace car in SSDC. untick the pacer box in the driver set up screen at the side.
 

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DonLuciano - it does sound like the powerbase is connecting OK to SSDC. Green light on means that the COM port is open. Red light off means that there are no errors. If you want to be sure, send me a trace file and I will be able to confirm that the communications are OK.

When you start SSDC, you don't have to setup a race. Simply put a car on the track and drive it around. It will use default settings, and you should see something on the leaderboard screen (lap times, fuel guage etc).

Your pit lane game needs to be converted to PitPro before it is useful to SSDC. This is something that you will need to arrange with either RickoRocket or RichG. They can do the conversion for you.

When you try and upgrade your powerbase, what error message do you get?
 
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