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SARC PRO IR sensor extension?

Say I want 4 lanes of racing and say I happen to have an extra 1/4 straight from a turn lane changer, say C7007, which has IR sensors in it.  Could I just wire those IR sensors into the existing two on the ARC PRO base so that when a car transverses any lane an IR sensor triggers and a lap is counted?

Does the ARC PRO care which IR sensor activated or just that an IR sensor activated?

Andy P.

1707 posts


Community Moderator

DR_C has dissected quite a few ARC PROs (I have nightmares of zombie powerbases rising up in anarchy) and can answer definitely but my guess is that the sensors are different.

There are, if I remember, actually 2 different sensors in the powerbase and only one counts laps. It also has to trigger this to the APP, whether this is in the APP itself or in the powerbase I don't know as it is all a bit of black magic to me.

The 4-lane digital topic has been discussed but some very capable people to if I recall no one has found an easy solution, yet....

 

Dr_C

297 posts

Hi chris_bomicino and Andy P,

 

As you say Andy lots of discussion to date on this topic re 4 lane ARC PRO but not aware that anyone has done it as yet.

 

My view is that the simple doubling-up approach is unlikely to work as the ARC PRO puts the signal line low until the blade detector sensor is interupted. Its only when the blade detect sensor is interupted that the signal from the IR LED on the underside of the car is passed through to the powerbase electronics.

 

Hence there are three issues in attempting to use a lane changer sensor paralled up...

 

1/ the sensor design is different and does not incorporate a blade sensor.

2/ you would have to find a suitable signal point on the sensor board as the standard output jack is designed to power a solenoid rather than couple into a circuit as a pull-down transistor.

3/ the main blade detect signal in the ARC PRO blocks all signals anyway until it itself detects a blade, so n signals would get through if paralled up..

 

All of the above makes the challenge difficult but not impossible...

 

I, with others, am currently developing a small circuit board which will use a microcontroller to interface to all the necessary sensors for a four lane start/finish line (and up to two pit lanes). The microcontroller will then output signals correctly onto the main circuit board of the ARC PRO.

 

This is quite a complex project involving new hardware and new embedded software. Not easy!

 

I hope all of the above is helpful... and, of course, if there is any easier way to do all of this... I would love to hear from others...

 

C

 

Hammertime

6 posts

Dr C-

What about two adjacent Arc Pro tracks joined into a single power base?  Can the single power base handle input from 4 lanes?  I am running 4 lane digital and we love it.  I just need a race managemen program for 4 lane digital.  Arc Pro will be fine for us if I can get all 4 lane sensors working. 

I read the method how to join the old 7042 powerbases to run 4 lane, but I assume ARC Pro would require something different?

 

Thanks,

Chris

Andy P.

1707 posts


Community Moderator

Dr_C will have to chime in but this sort of thing would have to handle the communication with the app which isn't set up for this as well.

It isn't impossible just more work..

 

Dr_C

297 posts

Hi Hammertime,

 

Great questions... but I am sorry to report I believe It is not as straightforward as was the case for thefour lane APB (C7042)...

 

I am working on a microcontroller interface which reads eight sensors across four lanes and sends the correct signals to the ARC PRO sensor input channels... of which there are four.

 

Design considerations include:

 

1/ sensors cannot be simply connected in parallel as was the case for APB. This is because the ARC PRO sensors include a blade detect feature which would in this case permanently block all signals.

2/ the pit exit sensors are integral to the lap measurement algorithm for the Scalextric ARC app... with the app needing to know the sequence by which cars pass the S/F sensors for a given lane. Running two lanes through the same sensor channel is likely to confuse this sensor reading algorithm. Here interestingly the Magic app uses a different method/algorithm which uses a timer delay instead of the exit sensors to avoid double counting of laps. So technically the Magic app is easier to adapt for 4 lane applications than the Scalextric app.

3/ the simple APB approach can of course miss laps if two cars pass the S/F line neck-to-neck. This can be corrected if careful sequencing of the sensor pulse streams is implemented.

4/ many users also want a pit lane which straddles the S/F lane too.

 

The design I am working on uses a microcontroller interface to address all four above considerations... in particular I am keen to provide a solution which will work with both Scalextric ARC and Magic apps.

While I am working on a robust full system solution... there is a potential short cut... a few logic gates as interface between the sensors and the powerbase and then... use the Magic app only.

 

I hope this helps....

 

C

gorp

611 posts

It would be far easier to do the riko arc pro mod pinned at top of sf scaly digital forum, to make a true digital powerbase out of the arc pro.

Then use a pair of pitlanes to go from 2 to 4 lanes.

Did this long ago with the powerbase pro and found most people really wanted only 3 racing lanes,

which was a lot less expensive when adding track.

Dr_C

297 posts

@gorp

It would be far easier to do the riko arc pro mod pinned at top of sf scaly digital forum, to make a true digital powerbase out of the arc pro.

Then use a pair of pitlanes to go from 2 to 4 lanes.

Did this long ago with the powerbase pro and found most people really wanted only 3 racing lanes,

which was a lot less expensive when adding track.

Interesting approach... but I guess it depends what solution is being sought... for anyone wanting a three or four lane digital track, and who is happy with a two lane start-finish chicane... the above is an innovative and practical approach. However, if you want a four lane start-finish with options for pit lanes to straddle the start-finish line... which is probably more of a club-type set-up rather than a small home setup... then a more advanced solution is needed... that is what I am looking into :)

 

So perhaps a case of horses for courses...?

 

C

Hammertime

6 posts

 Dr. C-

My 4 lane digital layout is up and running (7.5' x 14' table).  Power taps installed, full borders, etc.  Absolutely happy with the layout.  We had tried to use the pit lane in, pit lane out approach so that the start finish lane was only 2 lanes wide.  That worked for race management purposes, but it was unpopular with racers for two reasons:  (1) high speed de-slotting when the lane compressed from 4 to 2 lanes and (2) missed lap counting when the controller's lane change button was occasiuonally depressed as the car passed over the start finish line.  So, the 4 lane to 2 lane to 4 lane corrected the race management problem, but created its own unique problems.

I noticed that the Carrera system can use 4 full digital lanes for race management.  I realize that it is a completely different system, but it looks like Carrera owners simply add additional track pieces with sensors for lanes #3 and #4.  I can be patient with my Scalextric ARC system until 4 lane is available, but -naturally- I am eager to host digital race nights again!  For now, it looks like 4-lane analoig is my only option with race management.

If you are looking for any "testers" on your new system, please let me know!  I have 2 working ARC Pro power bases. My soldering iron is ready!  Thanks.

            

Dr_C

297 posts

Hey Hammerline, big thanks for your support for this project idea and your interest in wanting to build and test your own ARC based 4 lane system. I will share progress on this project either here or on slotforum.com but whichever site I use I will cross-reference with hyperlinks.

 

In terms of system development, I have the support of fellow slotracers in Scandinavia... and I have committed to share a first version for testing. I am working on this hardware/firmware solution at present. Later in the summer I hope to have upgrade parts designed. Perhaps that would be the time to bringyour soldering iron into play.

 

And just to add... the hardware/firmware requirements I am working on are:

1/ Additional power regular (5V) which is integral to the ARC PRO and which draws on the 15V dc input and which has its own overload protection circuits.

2/ A PIC16F1619 microcontroller which combines all the lane sensor signals and  re-times these signals to avoid data collisions or ambiguities.

 

Again, many thanks for your interest and please keep in touch, your 4 lane digital race evenings sound great :)

 

C

 

 

 

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