So… Our First Problem.

Well, opening the box up was pretty fun for the first couple of minutes, before I immediately realized that something was askew…

I coulda sworn something important went there...

I coulda sworn something important went there...

You see… The “power base” that I have been researching which will eventually allow me to extract data has a pretty important piece of hardware that looks like this:

OH LOOK AN AUX PORT!

OH LOOK AN AUX PORT!

Pretty LCD...

Pretty LCD...

Apparently, Scalextric decided to UPDATE their Power Base’s… and by UPDATE they really meant cut out every USEFUL piece of functionality and cut costs…(No AUX Data, No Lap Counting/Timing, No Racing Modes…Nothing) The really bad news is that they even decided to discontinue the older line of feature-packed 6-car bases, making these things extremely rare. One of the only bases I’ve found in the US is here: Part of a Digital Conversion Kit. Buying this may be our last hope.

Another idea..
Being somewhat knowledgeable in electronics, and with the OK from Steve… I cracked open the 4-Car Power Base that came in our kit.

Surgery Prep

Surgery Prep

Under the Hood

Under the Hood

Hmmmm....

Hmmmm....

Wait... This Looks Promising... not..

Wait... This Looks Promising... not..

I studied this thing into the night… the only thing that looked as though it could be hooked up for data (and something that I spent a lot of time trying to figure out) turned out to be something that almost every micro-controlled hardware has: An initial programming port… I confirmed this by looking up the spec sheet for the PIC 16F819 microprocessor that sits on this board. I also checked the rest of the pins on this but didn’t find anything very usable.

The only half-solution I see right now to get any kind of usable data (in this case only from the hand throttles) is to tap directly into the throttles themselves. The throttle lines (which are actually just analog values) could be spliced into another microcontroller (Basic Stamp 2 or Arduino) processed into digital and sent via a serial connection to processing… this is definitely the long way around.

Otherwise we should really look into acquiring an older version 6-car Power Base with built-in Aux Port ASAP.

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