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Maybe interesting? ARC BLE protocol released...

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  • Maybe interesting? ARC BLE protocol released...

    I wasn't sure whether this should be in the Scalextric forum or this one but I figured since it is about figuring out how ARC works it might be worth it here...
    https://www.scalextric.com/uk-en/for...-protocol/?p=1

  • #2
    That's fantastic! Scalextric has taken a very hobby friendly stance towards digital racing for a number of years now- glad to see it continue!

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    • #3
      Alas, another opportunity to wait. This time, for someone with enough passion for digital racing (in SSD), and the knowledge of programming (for mobile devices) to step forward and begin programming an app for that. I hope it's not too long. If we're lucky, the protocol will enable an existing PC app to be updated to include support for the ARC Pro. If that's the case, my money is on PCLC to be the first.

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      • #4
        Originally posted by MrFlippant View Post
        Alas, another opportunity to wait. This time, for someone with enough passion for digital racing (in SSD), and the knowledge of programming (for mobile devices) to step forward and begin programming an app for that. I hope it's not too long. If we're lucky, the protocol will enable an existing PC app to be updated to include support for the ARC Pro. If that's the case, my money is on PCLC to be the first.
        I sent them an email to get a copy of the protocol- not that I am going to enter the already excellent and heated SSD software market!- I just want to get a look at it. It may give me something new to play with if I decide to expand my language skills. Of course I may have to buy a tiny SSD set with the ARC base...have to turn all my ninja wheedling skills loose on the assistant family finance director to pull that one off...

        I'll be surprised to see many PC versions. BLE works on Windows- but it's definitely not mainstream and the older PCs and laptops that generally get relegated to track duty likely won't have a BLE capable radio. I also am not convinced the lag and throughput of BLE will make anything like the simulation found on SSDC, RCS, etc. even possible. (I may be wrong on that- we'll have to wait and see.) So the demand for a PC version is going to be very slim. Dedicated hobbyists only. And at that it may be less capable than the existing wired solutions.

        But darn near everyone with a digital slot car has a BLE capable phone and/or tablet. So it's very easy to get your app into the hands of someone who may find it useful.
        Last edited by b.yingling; 02-02-2018, 07:53 AM.

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        • #5
          I agree that BLE probably isn't up to the throughput needed for full control like we have with the APB, but even that is just serial. That said, I meant just for basic race controls and managing things that the ARC Pro base already handles, like changing throttle profiles and max speed due to fuel or weather. It should be more or less capable of the same level of control we had with the original 6 car base C7030 with the PB-Pro upgrade. The base does the actual management, but the computing device tells the base what settings to use for each car on a regular basis.

          Essentially what I'm hoping for is the likes of SmartRace for SSD.

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          • #6
            Oh I'm certain you'll have more than one choice in apps for phone/tablet. And for many people, that will be all they'll ever want or need. I just don't see much demand for a PC version that would be less capable than the existing PC solutions. For machines that will likely need additional hardware.

            So the question down the road: will existing APB users who use software to get the most out of their APB (which is, in many ways, the best simulation of 'real' racing available in digital slots) stick with the APB after it is NLA, or will they move to the less capable but trendier and available ARC base?
            Last edited by b.yingling; 02-02-2018, 09:09 AM.

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            • #7
              OK. Got a look at the protocol. Straightforward, simple (both good things!). While not allowing as much freedom as the APB, it does have some surprises (at least, for me) and some subtlety.

              The doc is reasonably complete and easy to understand: at least enough so that I bet there will be some enterprising SSD using android programmer playing with a simple home made app on his Galaxy tablet within a couple of days.
              Last edited by b.yingling; 02-02-2018, 11:16 AM.

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              • #8
                Now you have me interested. Exactly what "surprises" have you seen and where or where is that enterprising mind wandering off to?

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by Z28Racing View Post
                  Now you have me interested. Exactly what "surprises" have you seen and where or where is that enterprising mind wandering off to?
                  Well, truthfully, they probably aren't surprising for anyone who is an SSD user that's kept up with the ARC PRO features prior to release. For me, reading the protocol spec was the first I knew much other than that the ARC PRO base used BLE to communicate, supported wireless controllers, and that those controllers were fairly inexpensive and had a 'rumble' feature.

                  One puzzling thing was an app command for the ARC base to ignore throttle information for an ID, when the car is directly under app control. The example given: 'for calibration or as a ghost car'. There were no further commands listed re: ghost car, so I didn't really get what this meant in real world terms.
                  Last edited by b.yingling; 02-02-2018, 03:19 PM.

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                  • #10
                    It makes sense, but hopefully there is something else in there that makes the car GO regardless of the controller status. Depending on how quickly that speed can be changed, it might be possible for a programmer to include a recorded lap pace car, even if limited to just one at a time.

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                    • #11
                      I was thinking more like Mr F. Also thinking about any possibility of more features, like we had in SSDC. Not the same, and I understand not as complex, but.....

                      Also the idea of wireless communication with more than just the controllers. This could open up starting tower lights, additional displays, etc.

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                      • #12
                        Originally posted by MrFlippant View Post
                        It makes sense, but hopefully there is something else in there that makes the car GO regardless of the controller status. Depending on how quickly that speed can be changed, it might be possible for a programmer to include a recorded lap pace car, even if limited to just one at a time.
                        Well, after a second, more careful read of the protocol (I really should have just left this to those who know what's going on- but it hasn't generated much discussion here and it's the kind of stuff I love)- that is exactly what it entails! The note about ignoring throttle information for the car is actually an optional flag to set within the power command. The power command is, as I read it a second time, a speed value for all 6 cars (and other things, brake value, controller rumble and...KERS?!).

                        It actually makes sense if you don't read it in a hurry - they use throttle to refer to the value found on the controller, and this is reported to the connected device as throttle information. But the value delivered to the car chip is referred to as 'power'. Which a connected device can set directly. The device can also set throttle profiles, to let the base adjust throttle position before determining the power delivered. So easy enough to simulate weather, tire wear, fuel use, etc.

                        There are a lot of things possible in here. And after a further review of the BLE spec, I think much can be done. While the actual real world working throughput of a BLE connection is nowhere near the bare 1mbs spec, and it varies greatly between devices, it is still >2000 bytes per second on smart devices that support it. The worry for me would still be lag and reliability- but that may be far better than I imagine.

                        You guys will see some good stuff! I am now glad this isn't a Carrera digital base that still let you plug in a cable- as I would be sleep starved for many months to come.
                        Last edited by b.yingling; 02-03-2018, 07:42 AM.

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                        • #13
                          Excellent!

                          I'm still curious... serial communications aren't THAT fast, are they? Is BLE really slower than serial, literally one of the earliest comm techs from the advent of home computing?

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                          • #14
                            Originally posted by MrFlippant View Post
                            Excellent!

                            I'm still curious... serial communications aren't THAT fast, are they? Is BLE really slower than serial, literally one of the earliest comm techs from the advent of home computing?
                            No digital base ever really took advantage of the maximum speed available to serial communications. The APB only operated at 19200bps. So also slightly >2000 bytes per second. So the possibility is there for the ARC Pro. I think it depends more on what the base is capable of than it does BLE.
                            Last edited by b.yingling; 02-03-2018, 12:46 PM.

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                            • #15
                              nRF Toolbox Firmware Update problem

                              Those folk that have uploaded the new Firmware version how long did it take to complete? My iPad says uploading after screen goes to sleep, when I go back in it says Connecting... 100% (1/2) but sits there appearing to do nothing.

                              The C8435 simply has the large LED lit up Red which to me means something has gone wrong and yup looks like it failed and the **** thing is bricked... I knew this would happen, the large LED is stuck on Red and is not recognised via Bluetooth.

                              Error: DFU Service not found which would be because it is in bricked mode, been like this now for one hour. ok Wondering if leaving the PB unplugged for an hour would work.



                              Grrr Scalextric need to start producing more in-depth detailed instructions for their products how to reset the unit or return to previous?

                              sorted
                              Last edited by John Clinch; 03-31-2018, 10:19 PM.

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