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ParrotGod
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9,429 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I am sure that has been done/proposed before but I have not found any reference so far. What I am going to describe here is how I am planning to use my Carrera track with oXigen.

Motivations: I want to use oXigen chipped car (1/32 and 1/24) on my Carrera track. oXigen chips can work on stock Carrera lane changers. However, because of the Carrera protocol, the Carrera power base (CPB) needs to be also plugged in the layout. Basically, when the user presses the LC button on a Carrera controller the command "lane change" is transmitted through the rails not to the cars/chips but to the lane changers. The chips will just keep emitting their ids, so when the lane changer "sees" the chip with id that should change lane (because the user pressed the LC button on the corresponding controller) the flipper moves to the "change lane" position.

In principle, nothing stops you from operating oXigen cars on a Carrera track with the CPB plugged in. The only thing that you need is to have the controllers plugged in and the lane changer buttons all the time pressed.

The Problem: the CPB (as all the power bases from home systems) has a limited number of Amps that can push. No issues for running 6 x 1/32 cars at the same time but with more cars or with the 1/24 this can be a limitation. Besides, I like the idea of being able to set the voltage of the track through my regulated PSU.

The solution: what I want really is the track, I do not care about the CPB. Same like when I run oXigen on my SSD system: I simple unplug the APB and attach the PSU directly to the rails of the track.

The ideal solution would be to get rid of the Carrera boards in the LC and get oXigen LC boards. Eventually I will go for this route. But for now I have found a compromise.

The Solution: The idea I got (while awake at night because of my jetlag) is the following. To be able to "listen" to commands through the rails, the board of the LC is connected to the rails (this also to take power to activate the solenoid). So what if I disconnect the power leads of the board from the rails and connect them "directly" to a CPB? In other words, the CPB will be running separately from the layout and all the boards of the LCs will be connected directly to it. While on the layout the power will be provided by my PSU.

I hope that the idea is clear. If not, I believe that the following pics will help you understand it.

First let's have a look inside a LC: the red and black wires are the power/comm wires. These are attached to the rails. By the way, the digital Carrera system uses DC but the positive is on the left rail in the direction of the travel. The LCs also need to get the correct polarity: they are not designed like the SSD ones that can operate on AC. The yellow and blue are for the IR sensor.

20170425_103645%20(800x450).jpg


The next pic shows the wires disconnected from the rails.

20170425_104452%20(800x450).jpg


What I want to do is to connect each LC to a couple of wires coming from the CPB through a plug. The plug should be accessible from the side of the LC and easy to spot.

What I did in the end is to use a pair of plug/socket that you find inside the Carrera cars. I removed the brass clips from the wires and connected the male to them. Then I routed the wires so that it pokes nicely on the side.

20170425_105711%20(800x450).jpg


Here is another picture with the cover on: Neat, ah?

20170425_105845%20(800x450).jpg


And here another view from the side:

20170425_105921%20(800x450).jpg


So now the moment of the truth. Below you can see the setup.

The LC is connected to a normal piece of straight where the power on the rail is coming from my PSU (not shown in the pic). On the other hand, the LC board is directly connected to the CPB through its own connector attached to the black wires. The car is linked to the oXigen controller and the OP mode is "d". Car is programmed on id 1 and the CPB I have plugged a controller to port 1 (you cannot see it) Now with the IR LED of the chip positioned over the LC sensor, if I press the LC buttons on both the Carrera and oXigen controller the flipper "POP" open!

20170425_112121%20(800x450).jpg


The main downside I see is that there will be lots of wires going around (I am a mess at making the wiring neat under the table). But it should be no worse than what some of the SSD users do when they power up the LCs independently from the track.

As I said, I might have reinvented the toilet paper here (or the boiling water or the wheel or whatever you prefer). But at least I have a nice way of power my track without being limited to the fixed output of the CPB.
 

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Greg Gaub
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15,407 Posts
Nice work!

So, the track itself will have variable DC power right from the PSU, right?

The lane changers are only connected to the CPB through those links to the LC electronics. The CPB never actually powers the rails or controls the cars. It's only there to tell the lane changers to listen for a lane change.

Very clever. :)
 

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Premium Member
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788 Posts
Are there some limitations in this ?

How many controllers do you have to have active on the CPB for the oxigenchipped cars to work ?

How many oxigen cars will be able to run at the same time ?

You have to have an offset LED in the cars, right ?

I think you, maybe, may be better served with oxigen chips in your lanechangers, especially if you want to be able to drive on other tracks to.

But it is a good idea, if this is the only track you will be using certain cars for.
 

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Greg Gaub
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15,407 Posts
Are there some limitations in this ?

How many controllers do you have to have active on the CPB for the oxigenchipped cars to work ?

How many oxigen cars will be able to run at the same time ?

You have to have an offset LED in the cars, right ?

I think you, maybe, may be better served with oxigen chips in your lanechangers, especially if you want to be able to drive on other tracks to.

But it is a good idea, if this is the only track you will be using certain cars for.
- No. What limitations would there be?

- Just one. The o2 cars will emit the same signal to the LCs. They only emit it when requesting a lane change.

- All 20. That's the point of doing this, since the track is now to be powered by a DC PSU as recommended by Slot.it.

- Yes. This would be a requirement, not a limitation. The original LED is still there and would still work.

He would not have any problem running these cars on any other track. If you believe this to not be true, please share your reasoning, as I'm not aware of anything above that would preclude the use of those cars on other tracks.
 

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ParrotGod
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9,429 Posts
Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Greg,

yep, you got it: the CPB will be only used to feed data and power only to the controllers on the LCs.

The rails will be used now only for powering the cars (no data transmitted on them) and will be directly connected to my PSU.
 

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ParrotGod
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9,429 Posts
Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Gysse

yes eventually I will go for oXigen lane changers this is more like a temp fix.

As Greg said, you can run up to 20 cars on a stock carrera car as long as you have all the 6 carrera controllers connected to the CPB with the LC button kept pressed.

Basically ID 4 will be shared by oXigen cars with id 4 and 7-20.

In my specific case, the CPB is a black box and only have 4 ports for controllers: so I can only run up to 18 cars which I think is more than enough for my needs at the moment.

As for the LC sensor: I think they could be easily replaced by flat ones that could go under the slot. But again not something that I am really keen to do at the moment.

I have plenty of IR LEDs (Thanks to Mr Modifier ;-)) and soldering them on a chip is really easy.
 

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ParrotGod
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9,429 Posts
Discussion Starter · #12 ·
to be honest, having the controllers attached to the CBP is not a big deal: everything will be tacked away under the tables.
 

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Greg Gaub
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15,407 Posts
And if you don't need more than 15 cars, you could get by with just one Carrera controller on the CPB.

This is something that continues to elude me... I wonder if the oXigen chips can ALL be made to pretend to be car ID 4, rather than just IDs 7-20. Seems silly to force car IDs 1-6 to require their own id controller when the rest just go on ID 4.

Anyway, I don't think it's an issue worth worrying too much about.
 

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ParrotGod
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9,429 Posts
Discussion Starter · #14 ·
I think that for ID 1-6 it is so in the case the user wants to race oXigen cars using the carrera lap counting or along carrera cars.

But I agree with you: it would be much better if all of them just sent out ID 4 (or any between 1 and 4) so that one carrera controller would be enough.
 

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ParrotGod
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9,429 Posts
Discussion Starter · #15 ·
... you can run up to 20 cars on a stock carrera car as long as you have all the 6 carrera controllers connected to the CPB with the LC button kept pressed.
Actually what I mean here is that you can run 20 oXigen cars on stock carrera LCs.
 

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Premium Member
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788 Posts
Do any of the carrera digital RMS/app's support ghost cars ? -- then the software could run the relevant ghostcars, with LC pressed constantly, without any cars on track, and without the need of controller/rubberband solutions.
 

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ParrotGod
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9,429 Posts
Discussion Starter · #17 ·
It might be the case that there is a RMS out there that is able to run pacecar without the controller attached.

However, this would require a different power base that I have and a cable to connect to the PC if I do not want to use the Carrera app.

Having the controller attached to the power base with the LC button pressed is the most practical solution at the moment for me.
 

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Greg Gaub
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15,407 Posts
It's not possible. That's not how Carrera works with computers or how pace/ghost cars work. There is very little control from the computer to the power base. I don't even think the computer can start and stop a race. Everything is done through the power base itself. Pace cars on Carrera are in no way controlled by the computer, or even a controller. They are set up using a controller, but once they are set up, they have a special ID, and remember their own speed setting. If you have more than one pace/ghost car, they all share the same ID (7, I believe) that is not used by anything else. As such, that idea is simply not possible with a Carrera system.

It worth noting that for the above application, the PB can be an old D132 "black box" (BB) or a new D132 Control Unit (CU). This doesn't use or need any of the features of the newer unit, so it would be relatively economical to get a BB off of ebay, or an old D132 that comes with the BB.
 

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ParrotGod
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9,429 Posts
Discussion Starter · #19 ·
It worth noting that for the above application, the PB can be an old D132 "black box" (BB) or a new D132 Control Unit (CU). This doesn't use or need any of the features of the newer unit, so it would be relatively economical to get a BB off of ebay, or an old D132 that comes with the BB.
Exactly: that is why I referred to the power base as a generic Carrera Power Base in my text, although I have a BB.
 
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