SlotForum banner
1 - 20 of 880 Posts

· Premium Member
4,847 Posts
If you cast your minds back to Xmas 2005 we started a project called the Aux Box. A small group of us set out to come up with an add on for the Powerbase which amongst other features would enable a PC to control the throttles.

In the early days of the project I proposed we drop the Aux Box and instead look into reprogramming the Powerbase, as that would give us that functionality and a lot more besides with no additional hardware cost.

I established that contrary to popular belief that reprogramming was possible and then set about writing a specification that would enable our code to run on the Powerbase.

The initial team reduced in size leaving myself and AndyS. Andy took on the huge task of writing the very large amount of code with me just answering the occasional question as to the hardware it would run on.

In September 2006 I played with first working version of the code and a couple of months ago RikoRocket joined the team to help with the testing. Riko has done the bulk of the testing and playing. Andy has been adding features. I have been tracking down problems and making measurements. One particularly difficult bug threatened the whole project as it was blowing Powerbases faster than even Riko could mend them.

The upgrade is a one way trip, we cannot return your Powerbase to its original Scalextric form. It will need to be sent to one of us for the initial upgrade but subsequently you will be able to upload new versions of the code yourself with an Aux lead and a PC.

So what does it do, how much will it cost and how do I get one you ask? This is the big one,
it will take a few posts, questions and answers to convey what we have done and what will be possible in the future. I will hand over to AndyS and Riko to begin answering those questions.


· Registered
149 Posts
Powerbase Pro - The Features

Following on from Rich's introduction to PB Pro I'll run through a list of the key features:

Advanced and basic modes of operation - Advanced mode has the full feature set whilst basic mode is much simpler with quicker selection of primary race mode parameters

Structured menus for setup and races

Quick Car ID programming with minimal key presses - each hand controller brake button can be used to initiate programming for the corresponding ID

Automatic car detection during the first lap of a race - no need to pre-select which hand controllers are being used

Car Power Selection - 1/2, 3/4, 7/8 and full power can be specified for each individual car. Ideal for novices and young uns!

Each hand controller can be individually fine tuned to prevent humming/creep at minimum throttle, to ensure maximum speed at full throttle and to improve response

Alternatively a predefined throttle map giving a responsive S-shaped profile can be selected (future releases will allow alternative throttle maps to be downloaded from a PC)

Each hand controller brake button can be defined to initiate a track call, bringing all cars to a halt or reduced to half speed

Up to 6 cars can be defined as a pace car running at a single fixed speed, setup for either no lane change or random lane change

Grand Prix race mode - during the race line 1 displays laps remaining, line 2 displays total time elapsed for lead car or time/laps behind for any other car. At race end line 1 displays the finish order, line 2 displays total race time or time/laps behind for each car

Endurance race mode - during the race line 1 displays time remaining, line 2 displays laps completed for lead car or time/laps behind for any other car. At race end line 1 displays the finish order, line 2 displays laps completed or time/laps behind for each car

Pursuit race mode can be set for unlimited or limited duration where cars are eliminated (stop or run at half speed) when they fall more than a lap behind the lead car. For a limited duration pursuit race any remaining cars will stop when the race duration expires. During the race line 1 displays time remaining (limited duration) or lead car (unlimited), line 2 display and race finish information is the same as for Endurance race mode

The PB Pro software can be upgraded from a PC using an Aux lead

I'll now hand over to Riko to describe his experiences as a user of PB Pro...


· Administrator
10,974 Posts
Well what can I say? This is THE best modification since sliced bread. Nobody is going to want to keep a standard 6PB any more!

How do you get one?
Well to start with you need to have a V1.5 6PB fully functioning. Once we have officially launched this, you will send the 6PB to one of a number of us that are equipped to reprogram the processor. There will be a small charge for the hardware/firmware changes, a charge for return postage and a small charge for the software (which will also include upgrades and revisions to functionality until end 2008). Future upgrades are accomplished by a download with the modified PBs being capable of uploading via a fully connected Aux lead (RichG's cables are fully connected).

What is it like?
Flipping incredible. There are just so many things that are worth doing this on their own!
I just modified a 4PB to lower power for a friend of mine. With PB-Pro you can switch power up and down at a whim! Set it for the kids in the morning, increase power to 7/8ths for a fast session in the afternoon, and then when the guys come round in the evening whack it up to full speed and go for it! Finish the evening by setting it back to ½ power ready for the morning and not worry about your cars!

On top of that is the ability to adjust individual car's power, so I can have my two year old racing at ½ power so he never comes off, my 7 year old daughter on ¾ 'cos she can handle that, and still have full power for me. Or I can race against a novice, reduce my power so he has an advantage and effectively even the field so that racing is close.

Those are worthwhile on their own to the majority of people.

Add in the superb new feature of throttle adjustments. I still have early throttles. They creep at zero throttle. They are 2F not 3F so way down on top speed. That all disappears with a couple of clicks in the throttle calibration section. No creep, full top speed. Better than that you can set what is the throttles lowest speed - so when you touch the throttle you can make it at already ½ speed (infinitely variable) so that for a fast circuit you have more control at the top end. Or it can be like SSD with most of the throttle working at the slow speeds. This is just linear at the moment, but I understand Andy has programmed in the possibility of uploading S profiles so we will be able to really play with throttles like an expensive professional analogue equivalent! All serious racers are going to love this.

Pacer cars. PACER CARS PACER CARS YESSSS!!!!!!!! This is worth every penny of the modification. All you people putting elastic bands around throttles or cutting up the insides of a throttle to get an adjustable speed for a drone car, this is miles better.
You can set up all six IDs to be pacer cars. If you plug in a throttle it is an automatic override. No throttle and car with that ID on the track, sits there nicely. Drive a car over the start line and all the pacer cars start! Brilliant! You can set up speed for the pacer cars individually by either throttle position or by incrementing a value on the PB. Its toooo easy!
Now the killer bit that no elastic band can do….. Random lane change! Yes! Selectable so that if you want two pacer cars running in separate lanes without changing lanes you can do so. Now with an MSX5 setup you can have say 20 pacer cars circulating? You can have 5 circulating at different speeds whilst you dodge in and out of them. This is just another world! Even dealers will easily be able to have a demo set running. Mind blowing.
It just blows me away every time I cross the line and they all start up in unison! And for a real race if you use the PB start button they start as the lights change green, so you can have them right up front if you want.

Timing is now really 0.001 second increments. Despite Scalextric showing this level of decimal places the original 6PB actually increment in blocks, and the block size varies with time. Realistically timing is more like 1/100th than 1/1000th of a second. Now Andy has done the timing correctly, and for a small circuit you are working in this region, I often see a lap varying by 0.001 second on my nice big 32” screen with Awallaces or Rubens programs running! A bad lap may be down only 0.005 second. Scalextric were right to aim there, shame they missed. The computer link is fully functional btw so that all the current crop of race management programs work.

The changes to make the interfaces simpler are magic.
From start the PB defaults to GP10. Press one button and you are in program car mode, press menu, put a car on the track press the brake button on the throttle and the car is IDed! Next car, brake button, etc. This is as easy as the 4PB. Now with it that easy you can reprogram all six cars before any race and not worry about which is ID2 or not. Soooo simple, it's brilliant!

Once you have set up your throttles, pacer cars etc you can have the PB start thereafter in Basic mode. This is simple enough for the kids to use - just has program cars, race type select and number of laps. If you want you can set it so it starts in advanced mode always for all you meddlers out there!

No frigging about with HC ERROR anymore.
If you run a race on the old SSD system you had to go deep into the menu for each car and say if it is racing or not. If this is not set correctly and there is not a perfect match with throttles plugged in you get HC ERROR. Andy has got rid of this altogether with a much more intelligent approach, cars that are running when the first car completes lap one are racing, those that are not, are not! So the program is looking to see who is running and it runs the race with those drivers. Automatically. No messing about with menus. Gosh this is bleep good!

And at the end of the race Andy has added another feature, SSD had kill power at end of race, Andy has added “go slow” after finish. So you can circulate around for that lap of honour! Or line up for the next race. But you really know the race is over!

For starting a race you can disable power temporarily whilst putting on the cars. With lots of people on one lane that really helps in setting up a race. One push of a button to cut power, push again and they are ready to go….

Last but not least is the Track Call feature. I've seen several attempts with wire and relays. This uses nothing! You can select the brake button to be the track call. All players then have the ability to stop play momentarily. Power can be cut or switched to slow the cars to a crawl. The display tells you who has made the track call. One button and power is restored. Yee Haa!

So many things! Its like five Christmases have come at once!
So far 3 race modes (Grand Prix, Endurance and Pursuit) have been implemented and a free running practice mode, with more race modes in the wings.

And we have to look forward to the software guys writing controls into their programs that will give true interaction rather than just displaying info. So fuel stutter, slowing or speeding up cars for fuel load, maybe forcing pit stops for penalties - the world is our oyster!

Summary. Truly inspired, and a giant leap forward. All at negligible cost. Why didn't Scalextric do this in the first place?


· Administrator
10,974 Posts
QUOTE (drummer @ 24 Jul 2007, 11:41) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>AAABSOLUTE %*&(^&)(*&) GENIUS WORK ANDY & RICH & RIKO!

At last I can tell everyone. Riko, apparently your notes on setting up the ICD2 clone would be handy...

Drummer I've PM'ed it to you.


· Alan Tadd
4,044 Posts
Seriously impressive work Gentlemen.....Congratulations.

I just hope Scalex start manufacturing your creation and pay you millions for the priviledge. If they did it would surely see off other digital competition once and for all.

I would love to see your system in operation on a a big four or six lane wood layout with 12 or so cars running a 24 hour event, now that would be an eye opener for many.



· Mike Calcutt
448 Posts
Wow !

Totally and utterly speechless

great work guys, you will have every SSD user dancing in the streets....

Just say where to post it and how much and my PBs will be in the mail.


· Registered
1,087 Posts
WOW................Do you guys EVER SLEEP???

This may be far beyond my requirements, but then again......................So
Question, Do we still need to do Master Slave Mods??( or has this been worked out as well?)
Outside Power source? ( I assume so)
Abilities to recognize Pit lanes/New track pieces if developed etc?

Just a few things off the top of my head

· Premium Member
4,847 Posts
PB-Pro does not include any hardware changes, everything is achieved just with changes to the firmware.

For more power at this stage you will still need the MS mod. Only the Master needs to have it's firmware updated, the Slave can be used unchanged. MS has been tested with the new firmware.

I am separately working on a power stage which will replace the Slave. Rather than clutter up this thread I will start a new one in a few days and describe where I am, what the problems are, and where we are headed.

There is a lot more than has been described above that further firware changes will make possible. The things that cannot be fixed without some additional hardware are.

1) More power.
2) More lanes past the start.
3) Pit detection.

Actually there is a possibility that 2 & 3 could be done with a small hardware change to the Powerbase, but no research done yet.

Most other things you can think of can be done with firmware changes, either to the Powerbase, the in-car controller or the Lane Change. However for the moment let's concentrate on what we have, rather than have not got, also remember we are entirely reliant on Andy's time for these and future firmware changes.

And no there has not been a lot of time for sleep.


· Banned
7,722 Posts

Brilliant work Rich and Andy.
I can see a few Ninco sets going on Ebay tonight!
Lock up ya 6 car PB's boys!
So Rich is there much room left on the chip for more functions?
All we need now is the beefed up output stage to compliment the Powerbase Pro.
This is great inspiration to get my new track completed!
Look foward to using this on race night guys.

· Registered
41 Posts
Well, it seems like you did a fantastic job.

I particularly like the pacer car function, how it's easy to assign car ID, the track call function and like Carrera the random lane change. Now you really will be able to race against 5 other ghost cars !

I hope it wouldn't cost to much.

The bad point is that Scalextric has very good products but how can they waste their time with incompatible products (Sportworld, SSD, 6 car PB, 4 car PB) with different power supply, ...
With PB-Pro i think we will have best of both world (Sportworld and SSD) !

Thank you guys.

And now the price and when will it be available ?
1 - 20 of 880 Posts
This is an older thread, you may not receive a response, and could be reviving an old thread. Please consider creating a new thread.