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Car Decoder issues

3817 Views 40 Replies 9 Participants Last post by  Profoxcg
Hi Guys,
Just post any car decoder questions or issues here.

Most basic question: Do I need ferrite man? If so where? What happens if I still have issues.

Different motors and tracks have different characteristics. So with some tracks and motors you need various protection.
The most basic is you do need a ferrite asnd capacitor combination on the motor end.

I havent really noticed a lot of benefit from putting a ferritre man on the braids but I wont dismiss this until more testing is done.

Next and last measure of protection is an additional earth wire. Here we allowed 2 large easy to solder to pads on the rear of the csar decoder. Use a file to remove a fraction of paint/dirt etc of motor can. Use say a 25W soldering iron on the motor end and say 15W soldering iron for car decoder end. Always tin all surfaces before "fusing" together. Practice on old stuff before attempting.

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Hey Guys,
Today I found a dud chip. It worked but stuttered around the track and very inconsistant. It must have a dud oscillsator or radio chip. If you get one like this simply return for an exchange.

Also do yourself a favour, install new braid when installing Scorpius car decoder. A good chip needs good clean continuous power and aint no better time than when you install a car chip. I run my braid around 16 mm long when brand new, depending on the type of guide of course.

Use copper braid, soft stuff for non magnet and medium for magnet. Use JP Slot, NSR, Ninco, or any decent brand of braid. Do not use stiff braid. If using nickel coated copper stick to the good stuff like Ninco or SCX Pro, do not use Hornby nickel plated standard braid, as supplied in the snap on braid sets, Scorpius tends not to like it, and they are way too short anyway.

If using SSD snap on guides with braid, learn how to rebraid these using after market gear, much better.


PS DDA Ill get that pic, one day
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...or a cold solder joint. 99.25% from the factory worked on the bench, which is a good result...but then this.... I also noticed some of the antenna wires a wee bit long, Ill double check the length with John and report back.

Yes hotglue is fine. Its quick, and its not permanent. I use it continuously. Make sure the chassis is held flat during the process otherwiuse its possible to warp it. The hotglue should easily peel off the chassis and car chip. Not all hot glues are equal Ive noticed so practice on an old car chassis and old car decoder or similar before going ahead. I once bought a brand and it was sort of hard to get off.

Tip: To get the glue at its coolest, start from cold and as soon as the glue is able to be pumped yiu know it doesnt get any cooler. The only reason I say that is some guns get too hot, and then the glue can actually burn you, warp a chassis or take too long to cool.

By the way I found another dud car decoder so I know they're going to be out there in the wild. Recommend attaching motor and braid wires only, test the car chip, if all ok proceed to fit the phototransistor. Return any duds for in house testing here and swap over.

Whats really important is the position of the antenna. It should be heading away from the board and at 90 degrees. If this cant be done due to positioning of car decoder try another right angle. The antenna should not contact magnets or motor cans.
Over time Ive been sloppy in positioning the antenna and the car will simply not work properly.

Note again also the antenna length should be exactly 28mm. For some reason some of the decoders have 34mm length.

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34mm could easily do the job, if it works just leave it, but keep in mind if cars ever do operate less than 100%.
If it has an effewct on lapcounting? Possibly but unlikely.
QUOTE (Camber @ 10 Jun 2011, 15:48) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>My cars are running fine without them, do I still need to have them for warranty issues?

Hi Camber,
If a motor spikes at the exact moment it sends a lane chane/no lane change command or sending a lapcounting notification, the system could prevent transmission.

Jaycar sell tiny single bead ferrites and 103 ceramic capacitors at a fair price. The ferrites I havent tested so after a few weeks if they prove to be ok Ill post the part number.


PS Intial reports coming out of Spain favourable thus far regarding car decoder. Early days of course.
Hi Guys,
Ok latest on car decoder. Good news on ferrites and capacitors are NOT mandatory. But Im going to be asking Scorpius users to post their findings, as there are so many variations out there.

The EARTH LEAD from motor can to car decoder IS mandatory. This has been added to the spec and will be standard on on future production runs.

Remember it should still be included to stop the motor interferring with neighbours radio and television reception if nothing else.

Ferrite man on the braid wires are definetely not required.

This should make life just that little bit more pleasant


Apart from the basics, you know, clean rails and power, nice braids etc. theres really only 3 things to remember for Scorpius at this stage, take shortcuts here and it simply wont work.
Here they are:

a)Antenna must be clear of car decoder, offset decoder to one side of chassis to let antenna extend at 90 degrees to pcb as much as room permits.

b)Discard dongle casing, use heatshrink to protect dongle. Or I can send some out in the mail FOC, just email me.

c)Ensure dongle is in such a position that no humans come between start finish line and dongle. This will mean hanging dongle off ceiling in most cases. Distance is not an issue actually, only positioning.

The only cost here is the USB extension cable. Recommend you buy the 5m one straight up to give you more options. The dongle will run on USB extension cables up to and including 5m, but NEVER over 5m (15ft). Think ahead, where will people be crowding around on race night?

Of course if using a laptop to reconfigure installed Lane Brains of course the extension cable would be best removed:)

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hi Hooch,
Should be ok with all that on, give it a try.
I have everything in stock, albeit limited numbers
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Hi Guys,
Scorpius (car decoder) V3.1 out now. If you hsavent received an email please advise via email.

Fearures: Improved re-initialisation after radio transmission breaks eg under wide low bridges.

Hi Profoxcg,
I was referring to the capacitor across the motor terminals.

Yes sounds a bit hot.
I use the cheapies from the super market, very small and good for getting in tight spots.

Even then if the gun has been on for a while I turn it off to let it cool a bit, otherwise it takes too long to cool and risk warping chassis. Once chassis warped its useless and car wont handle.

Im now recommending hot glue only for phototransistor install and Blutac to hold chip in place.

Hi Dreamop,
Im sure its an easy fix, but first I need to know the following from you?
Do you have the latest firmware, throttle 6.0 and car decoder 4.0?
Have you tried another car chip or controller? Was the controller curve reconfigured by PC? Have you checked throttle using diagnostic tool "Throttle Test"?
Cap and ferrite no longer required on motor or braids, however earth lead is.

Im glad

Just letting everyone know 95% of problems can be solved by readinf the manuals and threads

So far only 3 confirmed issues of hardware breakdowns, a couple of car chips, and 1 LB, which is way above my expectations.

Oh and the dongle re-tune up required.

However you will need to upgrade that car decoder.

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Hi Hooch,
Yup just close it and start over. Make sure dongle case is removed and laptop up of the floor. USB extension cable helps. Make sure car antenna is clear of other wires. Ive got a few stubborn chips here that wont reflash. Maybe yours is the same? Let me know.

Grat stuff, thanks for the feedback
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Hi Arndt,
Nop longer do LBs need to have seperate power, in fact its not recommended now since live flipper (powered from Lane Brain) needs to be identical voltage to track. So Im recommending a 25A power supply for your requirements. This saves money and install time.

Hi Guys.

I just chipped n NSR 997 GT Porsche and noticed the car chassis steps up from the front axle area to the front bumper a few milimetres putiing the phototransistor way above its recommended position.

Out of curosity I wondered if the phototransistor could still read the track LED so I did an install 12mm offset to left as per normal adjacent guide. Results only achieved 60% lane changing and lapcounting. Reinstalled phototransistor behind front axle and bingo 100%. So just be aware.

You dont need a pic, just look at the 997 chassis you can see easily what I mean

Sorry Im not into trucks. Im into racing.
Hot motors for digital are too fast to change lanes anyway, but Ive tested 30K Sharks no problems.
Sorry digital chips whatever brand wont suit whatever car you buy.
Try hitting any brand LC at completely flat out speed and it will deslot regardless. Especially your Ninco track where 18K Scaley or 20K Sharkds etc motors are best suited.

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