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Alan Paterson
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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi guys,

Although this is specifically for me to understand the product better, considering all you PRO X specialists out there, I thought I'd put it live so others get a better idea as well.

I'm on my way to building a 2 lane Digital replica of the old Kyalami circuit, and by my trackplans and available space, I would like to clarify Carrera's limits on these items..

1) "Out the Box" the way I understand it, can have up to 4 drivers on a 2 lane track, correct?

2) How do you hadd more drivers to a two lane track? Can you connect another "black Box" into the circuit, and would there be any complications in that with coding between black box 1 and black box 2??

3) I'm trying to understand that, the basic set, again "OTB" can have 4 ghost cars, and two drivers. Does this mean Carrera only supports 6 cars on a track, or is is it 6 cars PER BLACK BOX??

Answers here will then tell me, for example, if I have 6 friends round, and all six want to race, and a black box only supports 4 controllers, then what???

Thanks in advance for the answers..

Best Regards

Big Al
 

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If you want 6 racers on 2 lanes, go for scalextric or SCX.

It is still unclear whether 4 ghost cars means 4 discrete cars altogether (ie 2 driven + 2 ghost) - this is what most people think the info from Carrera means - or 8 discrete cars (4 driven + 4 ghost). But definately the max number of drivers is 4, full stop.

If you have already bought Carrera, don't sell up straight away; marshalls would be useful, and you probably need 2 people to try to keep track of how many laps everyone has done!
 

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I will try to answer this based on my understanding of the system and my experiments with it so far. However, given that I have already demonstrated an outstanding level of stupidity in at least one of my posts on PRO X, please treat with caution until confirmed by others.

The answers to all of your questions are dependent on understanding the two constraints on the number of cars that PRO X can support. These are power and number of control channels.

Taking the simplest one first, power: Carrera states that the standard power supply will support a maximum of 4 cars and that the black box will trip out if you try to run more. As you would expect, they are being conservative here. My own experiments with a standard power supply have shown that you can run 5 cars without too bad a drop off in performance. I have also run 6, but there was then a noticeable slow down by the ghost cars. darainbow has experimented with aftermarket power supplies, which potentially could raise the number supported. However sooner or later a point will be reached where the current either trips out or fries the black box, if you are really lucky, setting fire to the house as well! It is a question of who will be brave enough to push the limits far enough to find out just how over-engineered the black box is (and of course there could be substantial variation between units).

Moving on to control channels. The initial product supports eight control channels, four for driver controllers, 3 speeds of ghost car and a pace car. Perhaps in time, someone will find a way to reprogram the onboard chips and/or the black box to support additional control channels, or Carrera may release a new version of the product with additional control channels. For now however this limit of eight channels is absolute, no matter how many cars or black boxes you have.

Subject to power constraints, you can have as many cars running on one control channel as you like, so if the black box could take the current, you could have 10 or 20 ghost cars all running on the same channel.

So for practical purposes, the present product limits you to 4 driven cars, a pace car, plus as many ghost cars as you have the power for.

I will now sit back and wait for my horrendous mistakes to be corrected!
 

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Interesting post westbys


As regards control channels, have you run 4 driven cars plus 1 ghost car simultaneously? I haven't heard reports of this being confirmed yet, and would love a definitive answer. (Ie the black box allowing MORE than 4 individually controlled cars)

3 driven plus 2 different speed ghost cars (ie the 2 ghosts not on the same channel) would also be a good test of this
 

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westbys,
Well said. If you have had 5 ghost cars on the standard supply, then I have no doubt a track could have on the order of 10-12 ghost cars with aftermarket power and proper power taps. Ghost cars consumer very little power when cruising the track.

Based on acceleration tests with four Pro-X cars coded to the same channel and held against the track (grunting under load), they consumed about 6-7 amps. The black box did not complain. (Aside: In shorting tests where I was testing the robustness of the black box, I held a keyring across the rails, the amps shot up to 10Amps before shorting. I was using the 10amp outputs of the power supply, so it must be fuse protected. My guess is that 8Amps is probably the safe maximum instantaneous current draw )

I think it would be very reasonable to run four user cars with four ghost cars. However, with that much traffic, the track would need to be very large. For modelling demos, 10-12 ghost cars is reasonable.

The black box currently supports 4 user cars. Its not possible to have more than one black box, so if someone hacks the system for more user cars, they would probably have to borrow the pace car and ghost car channels for user data. Of course carrera could release a new black box if they felt more user cars was desirable. Despite the scx system offering six, the Germans thought four was enough. At this point I agree with them.
 

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Alan Paterson
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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Thanks guys,

I was hoping you'd have more clarity having already experimented so much. Chris, your site and posts have been most helpful, but, without having had "on-hand" experience, I can't get my head around the "channels" story.
The way I understand you Chris, there are 8 channels. you can ONLY have 4 individual drivers correct? But with enough power, you could have 4 drivers, AND 4 Ghost Cars yes?

I'm just thinking, if someone wanted to put up a biggish 4 lane track, it's still not going to support more than four drivers, no matter what the track configuration is?

I still don't understand what's the difference between Ghost and Pace Car however..

Thanks again Westbys and Chris..
 

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Thats correct, four drivers. While a four lane digitla track is possible, I dont think it would be desirable. One of the big advantages of digital is the abilty to run 2lane tracks. In a given amount of space you can fit alot more driving challenges and greater lane length.

Get four cars running on two lanes an then decide if you need more cars and lanes. If you have six friends youve got four drivers and two marshalls. You can rotate out a driver every 5 minutes. NOTHING beats driving with marshalls.

Im not entirely sure of how the pace car works. Apparently it will pull into the pit lane and stop. Its probably programmed to take every LC so when it gets to the pitlane it will pull in. Im guessing thats how it works but am not sure how it stops. Pitlane will be released shortly so we will see how this works.
 

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Alan Paterson
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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Thanks Chris,

agreed, always require a marshall or two, and, yes, on a 2 laner, four drivers would be fine with say two or three Ghost cars..

I look forward to what happens with the Pace Car, try it out when you get a chance?

Regards

Al
 

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Like most other people, I'm still waiting for my Pit Lane to arrive, but from what I've read so far it has two main functions.

1. You can chose to simulate fuel usage and pit stops are need to "fill up", driving style determines how long between pit stops and length of time stopped in the pits determines how much fuel you take on board.

2. The Pace Car will pull out at random intervals for "Safety Car" periods when it will circulate slowly for a random number of laps before pulling in again.

Until we actually get out hands on it, the details won't be clear, but I find it hard to see how you could use both features in the same race, as the pit lane would be blocked by the pace car.

To clarify some earlier points, although I've got 6 cars running, 2 of them will not work in ghost mode (faulty chips?) and until my next parcel arrives I've only got two hand controllers. So my experiments are limited to 4 ghost cars and 2 driver controlled ones.

Steve
 

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cheers steve - well 2 driven coded cars and 3 different speeds of ghost car would show 5 seperately coded cars just as well
 

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There are 8 separate channels transmitted by the base.

Using ghost cars does not interfere with user cars so theoretically you could have four user cars and multiple ghostcars of each speed switching lanes independently.

While ghost cars of the same speed may share the same channel, they change lanes independently.
 

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I know the theory, but sometimes theory and practice are different. As I asked (out of genuine interest), I wondered when we will hear the first actual proof that it works. Like you darainbow, I think it will, but confirmation is always good in these uncertain times!
 

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QUOTE (astro @ 8 Jan 2005, 01:45)I know the theory, but sometimes theory and practice are different. As I asked (out of genuine interest), I wondered when we will hear the first actual proof that it works. Like you darainbow, I think it will, but confirmation is always good in these uncertain times!
<{POST_SNAPBACK}>
Purely in the interest of science (and as a potential cure for insomnia) I gave it a try.

I found it works fine with 3 or 4 ghost cars on 3 speed settings, plus 2 driver controlled cars.

However, it was forced to be a very short trial, as the car on the slowest ghost car mode doesn't have enough oomph to make it around the R2 banked curves on my test oval.

Once my next pair of lane changes arrives, I'll be rebuilding with my R4 banked curves (you may gather this is not intended as a serious racing layout) and I'll give it another go.

Steve
 

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Thanks for testing it Steve! And great result too


Its safe to say that 4 drivers +3 ghosts and a pacer is a reality then (+more duplicate ghosts, power permitting)
 

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Alan Paterson
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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
Thanks Steve,

us without the goodies arec ertainly relying on you guys with them to clear up any confusion. My allowable space certainly doesn't cater for more than four drivers anyway, however, it's worhtwhile to know exactly what the products capabilities are, and limitations..

For this discussion, I think my answers have been satisfied, but, I DO see a requirement where Carrera would have to release some upgrade, allowing the second powerbase to be added to the same curcuit, and thus allowing up to 8 drivers on each controller.. (Ala Mini Davic racing)

Hoping to be successful on a few bids on eBay, and if all goes to plan, should have a kit and at least two cars to start playing with.

Cheers chaps

Regards

Al
 

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QUOTE (Big Al @ 8 Jan 2005, 07:25)what the products capabilities are, and limitations..

For this discussion, I think my answers have been satisfied, but, I DO see a requirement where Carrera would have to release some upgrade, allowing the second powerbase to be added to the same curcuit, and thus allowing up to 8 drivers on each controller.. (Ala Mini Davic racing)

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>

This is unlikely to be possible with the bandwith and digital coding used. I suspect all 3 systems are fixed to the number of cars.
 
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