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Pioneers made for Carrera Digital?

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  • Pioneers made for Carrera Digital?

    Like many on SCI, I'm impressed with Pioneer's cars -- not to mention the responsive attitude of the company to discussions on this forum. Many (if not most) recent Pioneer models come with a chassis that is digital-plug-ready for Scalextric. In another thread, I asked Jules about the possibility of making a Carrera-digital-ready chassis. He responded asking for a discussion:

    "Hello Phil,

    An interesting and timely request. It might not surprise you to learn that, by far and away, the most often asked question refers to running the Pioneer models on Carrera Digital. This request mainly comes from Germany and France where sales of Pioneer are solid in a market that is dominated by Carrera.

    I guess it all comes down to economics with the practical side of how to do it a close second. To be honest, after I made the decision back in May '09 to run with the Scaley DPR, I have not looked any further into the matter.

    You mentioned in your post a Carrera 'plug'. Is that available? Without looking into this too deeply I would imagine that the only way to do the job successfully, and easily for the user would be for a plug that carries the Carrera PCB chipset that would plug into the loom already in place for Scalextric DPR.

    Maybe start a post in the digital section on this forum to see if some of the knowledgeable folks on this forum have any suggestions. I will follow them up and investigate. The resulting answer (if any) would require the cooperation of Carrera, which might be any entirely different problem altogether.

    Jules"

    So I'm starting this thread to discuss what it would require to make Carrera-ready Pioneer cars.

    Discuss!!

  • #2
    Initial thoughts

    My first impression is that a Carrera-ready chassis would be very similar to a Scaley-DPR chassis. The wiring loom would need to terminate in a plug set that accepts the plugs from Carrera chips. Also the chassis would need openings in the floor to allow the lane-change LED and directional switch to operate properly.

    Carrera's own analog cars that are digitally-upgradable have a screw hole for securing the chip in place. This would be best, but a flat spot on which to glue the chip or attach it with double-sided foam tape could also be an option.

    Finally, the car's interior would need to allow space (usually around the driver's feet area) for the appropriate model of Carrera chip.

    Those of you who have chipped cars for Carrera, please add anything that I've missed.

    It does not seem to me that these mods would violate any Carrera patents or proprietary technology, unless Carrera is using a proprietary wiring connector. But to advertise the functionality, Pioneer would probably need Carrera's permission, right? I'm not knowledgeable on these legal issues; surely the two companies would need to talk it through.

    Comment


    • #3
      Let's see... retool every DPR car so that it can fit a standard Carrera digital chip, or make a new Carrera digital chip that can work in a DPR car?

      Seems like a no brainer to me. The main question is, is the DPR door wide enough for the offset LED to fit within the door frame? If so, then a lightless Carrera chip could be designed to fit DPR cars.

      The problem is, no way in heck would Carrera be smart enough to do this. They would probably sell an S-Ton of these chips, but that's going to be low-margin compared to cars, especially since they'd have to recover R&D and tooling, etc to make them. Why would they bother doing that when the end result is the cannibalization of their own car sales?

      The only way I see it happening is if Carrera were to AGREE to allow another company to make said chips. A company like... Pioneer? Nah. Slot.it? Maybe. Who else? I dunno.

      I think it's a great idea, though. I'd love to snag a DPR format Carrera digital chip so that I could race Carrera digital with my own cars (DPR, of course) at a friend's track (once one pops up.

      Maybe Slot.it will consider designing an HRS chassis, or adapter or something, for Carrera digital chips, like they have for SCX Digital.

      Comment


      • #4
        Some of the early Carrera cars that were 'Digital' upgradable were not just plug and play. They had openings in the chassis for the selection switch and the I/R LED but that was it. You had to solder the wires hanging off the digital decoder board.

        I haven't tried any of the Pioneer cars yet but they look nice. I'd be happy if they just had a place to mount the boards with the openings already in the chassis. I'm fine with cutting the end off the Carrera digital board and soldering the wires like the early cars. If they want to make it easier they could use the same color codes as the Carrera decoders so you can just match them up when soldering.

        Robert

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        • #5
          Greg - You're right; another option would be to design a Carrera digital chip that fits in a Scaley DPR car. And I agree with you that this will likely not happen. (Though it would be cool!) So back to the original idea...

          Robert - Hobbyists will always customize what they want and make it work. But to make something for the mass market, it needs to be plug and play. And there's no reason why this can't be made simple.

          My original question is based on the fact that Pioneer already makes cars that are plug-and-play ready for a Scaley digital chip. The idea is to offer an alternate chassis for the same car models -- a chassis that is plug-and-play ready for a Carrera chip. It sounds like a simple concept, and could potentially be a great benefit to both Pioneer and Carrera.

          If Carrera is the first or second largest digital slot set producer, (are they?) then this would open a major market opportunity for Pioneer.

          If the largest knock against digital tracks is the proprietary nature of cars and chips, then allowing third-party car producers to make chip-ready cars would further position Carrera as a leader in the fast-growing digital slot car segment. And I don't think it would cost Carrera anything. The price point of their digital cars is already lower than many other companies' analog cars, so the majority of Carrera "toy" owners will continue to purchase Carrera cars for their Carrera tracks. Rather, this would be a move to reach deeper into the hobbyist market.

          Comment


          • #6
            Originally posted by DrumPhil View Post
            My original question is based on the fact that Pioneer already makes cars that are plug-and-play ready for a Scaley digital chip. The idea is to offer an alternate chassis for the same car models -- a chassis that is plug-and-play ready for a Carrera chip. It sounds like a simple concept, and could potentially be a great benefit to both Pioneer and Carrera.
            I just don't see it as being a market of any size. Certainly not large enough to justify the production of two chassis. If you really wanted a Pioneer car, you could buy and chip one now. There can't be that many people out there who want a Pioneer, but won't buy one because it's not Carrera digital ready.

            To tell the truth, I doubt being DPR ready has sold that many cars for them. While digital may be approaching (surpassing?) analog in total number of users, I would think the market for third party cars from small manufacturers has to still be dominated by analog racers. Just as this forum (and others like it) is. And out of the small slice who are digital users, many of them are not deterred in the least by the lack of DPR or D132 readiness.

            Comment


            • #7
              So I'm starting this thread to discuss what it would require to make Carrera-ready Pioneer cars.

              Discuss!!
              Timely thread Phil. I received a Pioneer Charger for my birthday Friday and I am in the process of installing a chip in to it. It would be nice to be able to just plug a chip in and go. The problem with Pioneer making a Carrera-ready car is the chip size. None of the chips that Carrera has made are even close to fitting in without cutting the cars interior.
              The "new" chip would have to be alot smaller than the current ones, seems like our chips have more stuff built into them than other brands. The cost for Carrera to redesign the chip could only be recovered if they used the chip in their cars. Its a great Idea though, maybe in the future.

              Here's what mine looks like so far. I need to get the interior lower yet, more cutting.

              Randy





              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by b.yingling View Post
                To tell the truth, I doubt being DPR ready has sold that many cars for them. While digital may be approaching (surpassing?) analog in total number of users, I would think the market for third party cars from small manufacturers has to still be dominated by analog racers. Just as this forum (and others like it) is. And out of the small slice who are digital users, many of them are not deterred in the least by the lack of DPR or D132 readiness.
                It's one of the main reasons I buy Pioneer cars. The fact that they look great and run so well is an added bonus. I've bought every car they have released so far.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Carrera license their digital technology from Wany Robotics so it might be possible for other manufacturers to license the system aswell.

                  Another consideration is that single numbers (regardless of size) such as those transmitted or received by a microchip cannot be owned by copyright, so in theory another manufacturer could make a chip that transmits or receives the same car i.d. number or transmits a number to the lane change without infringing on someone elses copyright or patent. It's only when a series of numbers are used in succession that things become more complicated...

                  "..a single numerical value can never be copyrighted..."
                  http://www.techdirt.com/articles/200...03275568.shtml

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Instead of an alternate chassis, what about an alternate "DPR plate" with mounting post and sensor hole for D132?

                    I've pulled off the plastic box from the DPR plate on a COT, drilled a hole for the sensor, and glued on some plastic to mount the chip. I took the D132 connectors off and just jammed the wires into the DPR connector, but an adapter between should be easy. The D132 connectors are fairly common power connectors, I think (batteries in phones, etc).

                    In fact, this could make a nice separate 3rd party product, for easily adapting Scaley cars to D132.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Randy -

                      How far behind the front edge of the guide flag do you have the LED mounted? It looks to me that you have it quite a ways back. I'm a bit worried that, at high speed, the flipper will not have moved across in time. Have you tested the chassis on a track?

                      (Apologies if this question is insulting. I just wouldn't want you to do a ton of work and then discover a problem.)

                      - J.T.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        I have the Carrera digital Charger Daytona, and the LED is mounted in roughly the same place from the factory as Randy's and it has not given me any problems. I thought the same thing when I got it.

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                        • #13
                          Randy, I'm interested in how you are fitting that chip under the cockpit tub. I would like to know how much of the floor you have to trim away to get that pcb to fit nicely.

                          In future, if all that's needed is an extra 1/8" clearance it might be worth putting it into our design rules right from the start.

                          I couldn't help noticing that the gunman looks kinda mad sitting there waiting.

                          Monty Zoomer. Nice bit of info, thanks.

                          Is that a current Carrera pcb Randy? looks different to one I have seen elsewhere. If you can make the exact measurements and placement of the switch and LED hole available, I would think that the chassis could be marked on the inside (via the tool mold) so that it was easier for folks to chisel out the plastic.

                          Jules

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by Monty Zoomer View Post
                            Carrera license their digital technology from Wany Robotics so it might be possible for other manufacturers to license the system aswell.

                            Another consideration is that single numbers (regardless of size) such as those transmitted or received by a microchip cannot be owned by copyright, so in theory another manufacturer could make a chip that transmits or receives the same car i.d. number or transmits a number to the lane change without infringing on someone elses copyright or patent. It's only when a series of numbers are used in succession that things become more complicated...
                            I thought the Pro-X system was developed by Wany Robotics and the new D132 was Carrera's own attempt at Digital to get away from them so they don't need to license the technology from Wany any longer.

                            Carrera sells just the digital decoder boards that can be installed in ANY car someone chooses to install the board in. If someone makes a direct copy of their decoder board/microcontroller board that would be a problem but if you buy their board then there should be no issues.

                            I think it would be nice if the Pioneer cars just had the holes in the chassis for the switch and LED and a chassis that can accept one of the several different boards that Carrera makes. It probably doesn't make sense to go back and make a Carrera compatible chassis for cars that are already done. I don't see why the new ones couldn't be made to accept either one. Just add the extra holes and a place to mount the Carrera boards. Just leave the wiring up to us. Soldering is easy.

                            Robert

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              How far behind the front edge of the guide flag do you have the LED mounted? It looks to me that you have it quite a ways back. I'm a bit worried that, at high speed, the flipper will not have moved across in time. Have you tested the chassis on a track?
                              J.T. it is aways back and I was worried about lane changing at speed. So I did do a few test laps with just the chassis and it did change lanes every time. But setting the car up for racing may change the way it runs, but for now it does change lanes.

                              (Apologies if this question is insulting. I just wouldn't want you to do a ton of work and then discover a problem.)
                              No Apologies needed. Sometimes we get too into projects and into one line of thinking that we can not see something that is easily seen by others.

                              Randy

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