Archive for the 'Research' Category

Video: Data Retrieval


Day 3 – A box arrives…

Unfortunately it must soon leave.

It contains an SCX “Pit Box” racing set, complete with a whole track and 3 cars. However, it does not interface with the Scalextric set (The one I have been researching) that is on its way here.

Today, I also purchased the KeySpan USB to Serial adapter from – free 2-day shipping. I also secured a couple of FREE sample MAX233A Serial Driver IC’s from the manufacturer’s website – also free shipping. I love free stuff, and free shipping is awesome too.

The MAX233 IC is the piece of hardware that converts the +5 Volt TTL signal from the Scalextric PowerBase to +10 Volt RS-232 signal that a computer can understand. I also acquired a nice little wiring diagram for hooking this up:

MAX233 to AUX Port Diagram

MAX233 to AUX Port Diagram

Still on the list of materials to buy:
-Serial DB9 Cable (Standard 9pin for computer)
-4 Lead RJ-11 Cable (Looks like a standard phone cable – for Powerbase)
-Other various electronics

Day 1 – Initial Research

Met with Steve and Kathleen about the initial project overview and schedule… A particularly interesting requirement of the project:

Frankly, I can’t wait for those fun and interesting times.

Been surfing around the web for any evidence of previous hacks done to Scalextrics Digital systems. From what I gather, it is possible to receive information off of the AUX port on the Digital PowerBase.

This is a serial bit stream (5 Volts TTL) that needs to get up-converted to normal computer levels (10 Volts RS-232). I can either make this cable myself (possible) or order one from some guy who makes them. [More about this here –]

I’m also looking into a USB to Serial adapter so that I can test software on my MacBook (which is sans-serial port) I’m particularly interested in the much hailed and Mac Supported Keyspan USB Adapter

The fun part begins when I get this all up and running and I get to stare at the 100 character long byte strings of 101010101000010101001010’s and try to decode what it all means. Fortunately there may be help in this area as well with this somewhat promising looking SSD to PC Dataprotocol Guide

According to this info it is possible to decipher:

  • Current Race Mode
  • Lap Time / Elapsed Time
  • False Start
  • Hand Throttle Position
  • Brake Button & Lane Change Button

Steve also informed me he has ordered “The Track”
I’m happily awaiting its arrival.