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Following Chris's suggestion in the main Display-Pro thread I have decided to start a new thread to discuss and obtain input on the wireless throttles.

Please us this thread for discussion on Display-Pro Wireless Throtttles & the original Thread for Display-Pro VGA.


First thing to make clear is that in their first incarnation, these require a Display-Pro VGA Box to function. The wireless throttles communicate with Display-Pro, which then inserts the wireless throttle readings into the data being sent on the Aux connection to the C7042 Powerbase. There is no need for a PC & no need for any wires going to the throttle connectors, you are however free to plug up wired throttles in combination. So now a couple of cut and pastes from the Display-Pro thread to get this one started.

As well as being able to work with a RichG wireless throttle Display-Pro can also take data from a Scorpius or oXigen SCP-01 throttle with a wireless cartridge.

My working assumption is that anyone who has a number of oXigen or Scorpius wireless throttles will be running Scorpius or oXigen in their cars. So my solution is primarily aimed at people that may have access to 1 or 2 Sc. or oX. throttles and want to use them in combination with some lower function, lower cost RichG or wired throttles on their SSD track.

My target is actually set higher than this and I would like to be able to run any mix of RichG & Scorpius or RichG and oXigen throttles. However it will only be testing that will prove if this is possible. The minimum target I have set is for obviously 6 RichG throttles, which is now proven, or 4 RichG throttles and either 2 Scorpius or 2 oXigen throttles.

I would welcome inputs on the functional side of the wireless throttle So keeping in mind that this is meant to be an easy to set up, easy to use system what are the adjustments that are the most important, and how might they be adjusted? If you want comprehensive and complex then go get a Scorpius or oXigen throttle.

So remembering that there is a processor in there, which means that a control can have more than one function dependant on when, in what combination and for how long it is pressed. What if there were just the two buttons, the throttle and a single additional rotary pot, what would you use them for?

The other factor to throw into the mix at this point is that the bulk of users will have standard and not MIH chips, the enhancements cannot be expected to be there.

So just as an example and to stimulate thinking. Throttle curve is a pretty standard function. In my limited use of the SCP-1 I found the Linear with step function brilliant at taming faster motors on a small track, however people also like a variety of curves. So suppose with the pot set in the middle you get a linear curve. Then rotating in one direction you get Linear with an increasing step. The in the other direction it introduces a curve. I am not certain which is the most useful way to have the curve bend?

If people have pictures of their favourite curves and why and when they use them, then post them up.

Final example is the brake button, not used by many but loved by some, so perhaps we need a way of changing its function? However also remember there is a processor so whatever its function you can add a second function, as oXigen does, where a brief tap on the brake button toggles the lights on and off. Although as a reminder this function would only be available with the MIH chip.

So what's important to you, and how would you propose setting it?

Finally an update on progress. Here is prototype #2. Not much different than the earlier pictures, but everything is tidied up, there is a smaller wireless board ( in the top of the controller, processor is the larger board below it) The "Curve Control" is now functional in that it sends 0 to FF to Display-Pro, however what is done with that depends on what we decide are the best uses?



I have now had RichG throttles working with Scorpius & separately with oXigen throttles, however still a long way to go to move this from the bench to the track.

I have also just started on the code to send the throttles to sleep when they are not being used. When in use the throttle draws 7mA & when asleep it draws ½ mA. I may be able to improve on this, but not top of the priority list at the moment. They shut down after 2 minutes of throttle zero and brought back to life by a quick push on the Brake button.

Doing the maths on this with the 3V Lithium 1.5AH battery this should give a Weeks continuous use, which I think is acceptable, however when sleeping the battery would only last 100 Days which is a concern. I was hoping to not fit an On-Off switch but as this would mean 3 batteries a Year then probably one is needed. The alternative would be removing the battery if you were not going to use the throttle for a while? What do people think?

Rich
 

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My vote is for an on-off switch on the controller I hate changing batteries in everything.
How about an option for a throttle docking station so that rechargeables batteries can be used or does that cause more issues than its worth?

I have no preferred option what throttle curves you adopt as it something you just get used to.

Rarely use the brake but I guess you will upset other racers if you remove it.

How about an led on the top of the throttle, not sure it will help your battery life but it could be used for low fuel warning, or flash when you have beaten your fastest lap time, I am sure others can think of alternative uses.

Brian
 

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I use the brake button for brakes - I find it faster to use and can keep on the same power when hitting a corner, than using trigger based control.

While the light is a good idea, I'm focussed on my car, so a vibrator would be better.

As I run 2-handed, I'd prefer the knob on the top of the throttle, if it can be used for in-race adjustments.

TT
 

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Thanks for the inputs Guys. If I was just going to make 6 of these for myself, it would be very easy.
I'd just bung on all the bits I can think of. A couple of knobs, on-off switch, couple of LED's, display showing the throttle curve, vibrator, charging socket, reprogramming socket, etc. However the big problem if you want to make a few to sell at a half sensible price, is partially the cost of the components, but far more than that the time to put it all together on the kitchen table as opposed to a production line in the Far East...

So that is why I am desparately trying to keep the components needed to a minimum while maximising the functionality. Take the on-off switch as an example, simple enough in itself, obvious that it needs one and probably quite cheap, 50P. But it then needs a hole drilled somewhere and the wires to connect it up. Wheras if I can reduce the current in powerdown mode so the battery lasts a Year, then although it's a lot of head scratching and software, once it's done it's done, and does not have any on cost on every throttle.


I am not a lover of rechargeable batteries, voltage is always different than a standard cell, and despite what the spec claims, battery life always seems the less than expeceted. However I will test with some rechargeables. Question then is do I fit a charging socket, or do you remove the batteries for charging?

LED, same story, but I know people like some visual feedback. In practice I am not sure it would get looked at during the race, but handy to help in knowing the throttle is working, and useful for helping in the setup. So I will build one into the next prototype and see what I think?

Vibrator I have bought some of to try, at least they don't need a hole for mounting and you dont need to look at the throttle to get a benefit. So also on the list to try. Do remember however that an LED or Vibrator that is going to convey race related information as opposed to throttle related data requires reception of data from the Powerbase / Display-Pro.

The knob probably has to go down the bottom, not necessarily because it's the best position, but because it's the only place there is room.
In practice I have found it falls to hand quite well, but have not written any code yet to allow it to be used in anger.

Keep the ideas coming, even if I don't reply positively, does not mean it is'nt being considered. I much prefer to have ideas that are rejected than not thougt of in the first place.

In particular, any thoughts on throttle curves that work for you, would be appreciated?

Rich
 

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QUOTE Thanks for the inputs Guys. If I was just going to make 6 of these for myself, it would be very easy. I'd just bung on all the bits I can think of. A couple of knobs, on-off switch, couple of LED's, display showing the throttle curve, vibrator, charging socket, reprogramming socket, etc.

Can I have one now please sounds good to me.

Brian
 

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I would like to see an S curve that can be tweaked ..... this is the best setting for the pesky F1 cars and some of the big Avant & Slot.It monsters.
 

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Have you got a picture(s) of the shapes max & min that you would like it to adjust between?


Rich
 

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Hi Richard,

In an ideal world it would have to be rechargeable batteries with a socket for recharging.

I am quite happy to have adjustable throttle curves, vibrate alerts etc.

HOWEVER I would like to be able to use the throttles very simply as wireless throttles in conjunction with displaypro for easy and simple use for kids and non competent racers.

The last thing I need is people who don't know what they're doing fiddling with knobs.

Simplicity is key!
 

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The battery issue is probably a larger one than it might seem.

The rechargeable route (whether removable or recharged via plug in charger) will probably be more popular than having to open the hand set every week, given our "societal mentality" of plug-and-charge for personal electronics.
However, the degradation of the rechargeable battery will require a warning LED I think when it reaches a LOW state.

Just my 2c/p worth.
Cheers!
 

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I'm not a rechargeable fan but if you decide to go that route one option is induction chargers where there is no need to take the batteries out.

I've been using them on my Wiimotes & tooth cleaner for a couple of years now - the batteries have deteriorated of course but they still charge up enough for a few sessions. For the Wii you just store the units as-is laying them on the contactless chargers which are powered by piggy-backing on the Wii power socket - nothing to think about. It works even through the silicon sleeve but it probably wouldn't be practical with the shape of a stock Scaley controller.

But my vote goes for an on/off switch ... with a nice blue LED.

Chris
 

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Looks like we could have a whole thread on batteries.
So thinking aloud here....

The 3V lithium batteries are £1 GBP and with the current software they should give 200 Hours of continuous use or 100 Days in standby. I think that 200 Hours of use is acceptable? So it's the standby time that is the problem. I will look to see if I can reduce the standby current further, but am not that hopeful and even if I could halve it, thats still only 200 Days, however if I could get it to a Year I think that would be ok?

If I can get to a Year or a switch is fitted then I do not think I would make provision for charging in the throttle. Having to open them up once a Year is no great problem, and thinking about it you probably need to give the variable resistor a bit of TLC, so perhaps 6 Months is ok?

Now what I do like the idea of is induction charging.
So I will a take a look at what is available for the various games, which I assume come with charger and an induction chargeable battery? If I could use one of those batteries then we may have an alternative solution.

Functionality is equally tricky. The essence of this project is easy to understand, easy to use, Plug & Race. The more buttons & knobs there are the further we move from that goal. I have considered doing various versions of the throttle to get to a best of both Worlds, however for kitchen table assembly it is far better if they are all identical.

So at the moment I am leaning towards, the addition of a single rotary pot and a single multi coloured LED.

The pot will be used to set controller Mode. RichG, oXigen or Scorpius ( and perhaps a mode that disables the pot?) and to set the controller ID 1-6. These will be remebered when powered down, and in normal use the pot will be used to select the curve, and perhaps if the brake button was pressed adjust the braking level?. As mentioned earlier current plan is that at 12 oclock you are linear. Rotate clockwise and you get linear with an increasing step. Rotate anticlockwise and you get an increasing hollow in the curve. I am going to write something Today to try this out.

The LED would be used to show what mode you are in, and generally help with the setup seleections, and of couse show when the controller was awake or asleep. Mode would be selected with the LC & brake buttons.

Rich
 

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Can I play devils advocate?

Is a year, or 100 days, or whatever, that important? If you are a slotter to the degree that you need RF throttles, then it's likely that you'll actually be using them. Does standby for 3 months really matter???? If they are used, say 2x 4 hour sessions a week, they'll be consumed in normal use in some 2 months anyway - so why sweat the shelf life for a brand-new battery?

We want to use them throttles - not look at them!!!!

TT
 

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I was going to suggest a rotary switch instead of the pot but I am not so sure that it would be as adaptable. An 8 pin DIP switch could handle the handset modes and IDs and still leave you with 2 settings which could be used for selecting the programming mode and possibly as an ?off switch.

Most people have come across these switches when changing the settings for remote door bell chimes, baby monitors and even some games consoles. This would also leave the knob for throttle curves.
 

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TT good point, we are close to what you say being correct. However not everybody is that dedicated throughout the Year and there may well be periods of a Month or two when the throttle is not used. I actually find it very annoying that if I do not use my Wii for a few months that I then have to change the batteries in all the remotes.

Following Chris's input I have just ordered some induction chargers, which will solve that problem and to have a look at what makes them tick.


Greg I think the external control needs to be a pot as opposed to a switch, and once I have that I will use it for everything, because it saves cost & build time, and also taking the unit apart to make settings.

Rich
 

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QUOTE (RichG @ 25 Apr 2012, 01:33) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>So at the moment I am leaning towards, the addition of a single rotary pot and a single multi colored LED.

The pot will be used to set controller Mode. RichG, oXigen or Scorpius ( and perhaps a mode that disables the pot?) and to set the controller ID 1-6. These will be remembered when powered down, and in normal use the pot will be used to select the curve, and perhaps if the brake button was pressed adjust the braking level?. As mentioned earlier current plan is that at 12 o'clock you are linear. Rotate clockwise and you get linear with an increasing step. Rotate anticlockwise and you get an increasing hollow in the curve. I am going to write something Today to try this out.

The LED would be used to show what mode you are in, and generally help with the setup selections, and of course show when the controller was awake or asleep. Mode would be selected with the LC & brake buttons.

I like all of that.
 

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Just made a bit of a breakthrough on sleep. Found a couple more things that can be switched off and current consumption in "deep sleep" fell to an almost unbelievable .001mA or 1uA. So by my calculation that means you could not play with your throttle for over 100 Years and it would still be working.
So goodbye On-Off switch.


Oh and Linear with variable Step is coded & working quite nicely.

Rich
 

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What about one of those 'notched knobs', like on the volume control of my stereo? Could it then be used for both settings selection and driver-time adjustment (Rotate knob to left, then dial up 6 clicks to the right, press button, turn 3 clicks to left, press button... could use it to open the safe holding the 'grown ups' cars...)


TT
 

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I think that as long as we have the option to insert rechargeable batteries... unless the lithium ones do indeed last many years ... that would be fine. Are there special properties to the lithium batteries vs. other types? I know rechargeables are usually a lower voltage (i.e. 1.2v on a AA vs. 1.5v on alkaline battery).

Many thanks for your dedication to this project.
Cheers!
 
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