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Dr_C

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Dr_C

308 posts

Hi dd213, we all do these things... I managed to brick a brand new APB powerbase a few months ago by loading the wrong firmware... I just happened to be very very lucky that a solution came into focus... however the ARC PRO uses more advanced technology for firmware upgraded and so far more difficult to rectify if you go off course... if you are in the US there are some amazing deals online for just the ARC PRO without transformer and without wireless controllers... might be worth investigating...

 

C

Dr_C

308 posts

ok yes... this is more difficult than I had assumed... If you programmed the firmware into thinking it is a different type of device - for example a wireless controller - then the sequence for setting the BLE device into DFU mode for firmware update over air by nRF tools may itself be different. It may therefore be necessary to reflash using the J-link hard wired interface which needs specialist knowledge and interface hardware. Probably best in this situation to ask Hornby customer support whether they could help you by reflashing the main nRF51822 processor with BLE v2.6 firmware.

C

 

 

 

Dr_C

308 posts

Hi MichaelDrago,

I am sorry to report it does seem likely that the brake transistor Q1 or Q3 is damaged and giving a short circuit... which has the effect of holding the brake in the on condition. There is a small chance there is a short circuit elsewhere on the copper tracks but we cant see anything in a position that would cause this type of short circuit. The earlier identified curved marking,.. if it was a short between tracks would have the effect of presenting the brake from turning on... so cant be the problem.

The challenge in replacing Q1or Q3 is that they are surface mount conponents so quite difficult to handle. I could take a look at it for you... but the postage costs times 2 between uk and usa would I think exceed the value of the powerbase. I wonder if Scalextric customer service might be able to help with a replacement?

 

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Dr_C

308 posts

First, the car needs track power to power up the IR LED... so fitting the SICH10 without electrical connection could never be expected to register laps in digital mode. For the test to be valid the car needs track power.

 

Next, if you are comparing with analog cars... sounds like you may have then switched the powerbase from digital to analog mode... for analog the track IR photosensor for ID is not used at all.

 

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Dr_C

308 posts

Hi dd213, did you try loading the BLE v2.6 firmware onto the ARC PRO using nRF tools? If so, what happened?

 

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Dr_C

308 posts

I still believe it would be useful to try the slot.it SICH10 guide blade as a potential interim solution... I agree that Scalextric should offer a solution if ultimately it is proven to be a design issue... but the SICH10 is little more than the cost of a good cup of coffee... so worth a try?

 

C

Dr_C

308 posts

Hi MichaelDrago,

What you have found may be significant... perhaps along the lines of a defect during manufacturing whereby the copper material has not been fully etched away between the tracks on the circuit board. Given these narrow tracks connect with the gate drive of the power MOSFETs... might be the problem... please leave as is for the present and I will get back to you with a test procedure to establish if these are indeed short circuits between the copper tracks... looks promising progress...

 

C

 

Dr_C

308 posts

The small switch on the side of the power base is moved towards the track for ANALOG and away from the track for DIGITAL.

C

Dr_C

308 posts

So we are looking at the possibility of a short somewhere between the pcb copper tracks or a failed Q3. This is the transistor which applies the brake function to one of the lanes when activated, i.e. when its gate electrode is driven positive by a signal from the main microcontroller. The transistor should normally be open circuit. This is a surface mount transistor so a little bit of a challenge to remove. Lets look at the photographs before considering next steps. How are your soldering skills and/or dremel skills?

 

C

Dr_C

308 posts

OK, I suggest the following next steps...

 

1/ please visually inspect the area where you removed the flek... is there any chance the copper track is visibly bridging between pin 3 and pin 4? Another photo would help ifpossible please?

 

2/ with the 15V power supply completed disconnected, and with the four pin track power plug also removed please take five measurements with the meter set to the lowest resistance measurement setting. Please measure resistance between pins 1 and 2 - then again with the probes reversed. The please measure resistance between pins 4 and 3 - then again with the probe pins reversed. Finally measure the resistance of the probe leads by touching the two probe tips together directly.

 

This data should help with final pin-pointing ofthe problem...

 

I still suspect the site of the flek of debris I am sure together we can get this powerbase back into full working order... which continent do you live in?

 

C

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