Controller idea

For Those Doing It Digital Style!

Controller idea

Postby Czar » Wed Jan 25, 2017 8:13 am

While responding to Rich's thread about the Carrera wireless controllers I started thinking about what could be done to improve them. A lot of racers have asked about trigger type controllers, and they never materialize, so maybe this is too far beyond the realm of possible (at this time). How about a controller with LED readout to show the fuel level? A series of four or five LED's (green to red) would light to give you an idea of how much "fuel" is left in the tank, and when to pit. An array of LED's on the top plate of the controller would only take a quick glance away from the track to see your fuel level. When you pit, they would light back to green as the tank is filled. Of course this has to be in a wireless controller. Just like your phone, no one is going back to a wired controller after using wireless.
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Re: Controller idea

Postby Burrell » Wed Jan 25, 2017 1:57 pm

I love this idea. I think it could even be taken further. What about sound effects, maybe a warning when they feel is getting low, race position, etc. How about a small vibration feedback from the car, similar to video game controllers. You could really add to an immersive experience.
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Re: Controller idea

Postby R/TRandy » Wed Jan 25, 2017 8:14 pm

Fraken-slot in Gremany does make trigger type wireless controllers, they are on the pricey side, but are available.
I would like to get one to try, but the price with shipping is holding me back.
https://www.slotcar-factory.de/shop/REGLER-BAHNANSCHLUSS/FS-Speedflow-Wireless-2-4ghz-fuer-Car-Digital-m-Ein-u-Zweifinger-Triggerhebel-blau::4871.html

SCX's WOS digital systems controllers have LED's on the top of them. I think there's a switch on them to toggle between different modes, like braking, fuel and speed. They also have a sound function of some type.
They do look kind of cool.
http://www.pendleslotracing.co.uk/scx-wos-wireless-hand-controller.html

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Re: Controller idea

Postby Mebrown » Wed Jan 25, 2017 8:15 pm

The trigger styles exist but I like the ideas mentioned here much more.


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Re: Controller idea

Postby b.yingling » Thu Jan 26, 2017 7:07 am

Scorpius and oXigen both, I think, offer some feedback options. For Carrera digital, such a device would need either a new powerbase, or new car chips, or a way to tie to a separate, connected device, as the existing devices have no way to communicate that information to the controller. And no, the Bluetooth LE dongle could not be adapted very easily for this task. They could create a new, super powered version of the dongle, I suppose, that could connect to multiple devices.

And a new power base isn't such a big deal. Probably the cheapest part of the equation.
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Re: Controller idea

Postby Czar » Fri Jan 27, 2017 7:22 am

Thanks for the information about the Carrera system. It is very disappointing to see digital slot racing defined by its limitations, rather than possibilities. Is lane changing and pretend fuel going to be the zenith of digital slot racing? Look at how digital technology has totally changed photography. Digital photography has opened new possibilities that were only fantasies for traditional, silver based photographers. The Nuremberg toy show is coming up; let's hope there will be some announcements of new and dazzling advancements in digital slot racing.
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Re: Controller idea

Postby Drewbert34 » Fri Jan 27, 2017 7:49 am

To your point, one thing I find counterproductive; albeit a bit off topic of wireless controllers, but still apolicable to your sentiments.

In reading on another forum where I've made possible suggestions to a Android / Apple only race app (which requires a phone or tablet for use, mind you) there is always someone that replies with the insinuation of "what do you want that for?...most people don't use what Carrera offers natively!" (my words not theirs...paraphrasing here)...okay?...thank you, point taken, but I'm not "most people" and I would enjoy the functionality.

It is this exact thing that stunts growth in digital. If it's a feature that can be implimented, theres no reason why you can't make it user selectible. If a toy confuses someone, maybe digital slot cars aren't their sandbox.

I can understand why Carrera wishes to "keep it simple / stupid" but there is no reason why a 3rd party developer shouldn't hear ideas without someone poo pooing the suggestion as "too complicated".

To me, it seems that it's some of the users of some digital platforms that are keeping digital from growing in the hobby segment of the market.

Take a look at all the digital development going on with the hobby segment of Scalextric. Several wireless controllers to choose from and digital racing development that's quite a bit more advanced than Carrera using Race Control 64.

I love Carrera...I just want more selection in controllers and racing features. It appears the only way to make this happen is with Scorpious.
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Re: Controller idea

Postby b.yingling » Fri Jan 27, 2017 5:01 pm

Czar wrote:Thanks for the information about the Carrera system. It is very disappointing to see digital slot racing defined by its limitations, rather than possibilities...


Hmm. I wasn't defining digital slot racing by it's limitations. At least that was not my intent. I thought I was pointing out the minimum requirements needed to make your suggested possibility an actual reality. That is, it would take more than a new controller on Carrera digital to achieve this communication between track and controller. This doesn't mean it isn't possible. In fact I suggested two possible ways it could be done. A new power base or a new dongle capable of communicating with multiple devices, at a higher throughput rate than the current Bluetooth LE dongle is currently capable of achieving. Just like their current wireless controllers required a charging station be inserted into the track, and a new wireless dongle attached to the Control Unit. Both of these suggestions are more than possible. They could sell a kit with the dongle or new power base and one or two controllers, and then sell the controllers separately.
Last edited by b.yingling on Tue Jan 31, 2017 9:19 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Controller idea

Postby Czar » Sat Jan 28, 2017 9:28 am

Yes, I agree, Carrera could certainly make a more sophisticated control, unit, controllers, dongle. But they seem very resistant to ideas from outside. They apparently have a clear vision of their product and market. They are doing well enough financially that there is no real incentive for them to change anything. It is the same reason that they do not support a universal digital system. I am not putting Carrera down, just stating my observations.
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Re: Controller idea

Postby kidvoltage » Sat Jan 28, 2017 9:49 am

Maybe ya'll should do like we do at Digital Racing Solutions.

Develop an idea into a plan, get some parts, develop the idea some more, create a product, market it, sell it and deliver it. Nothing to it beyond figuring out the embedded technology which can be quite time consuming, frustrating and difficult.

Perhaps you could offer to sponsor someone else's endeavor.

But to come to an online forum and complain about someone else not doing something does seem a little unrealistic. I'm sure it's been said before but these are toys, the fact that there are enthusiasts among us is merely a coincidence.

Let me give you an example of how this can or can't work.

We originally started our small company to produce controllers for SCX Digital since the originals were so awful. Eventually we expanded to Carrera Digital which is now our main direction.

SCX users pleaded for a start light that would offer some race control which had been totally ignored by SCX along with a few other items. So we did that, we developed one. It works great, the few that have purchased it like it also. However that number is probably close to half a dozen. On the other hand we have sold more than 400 wired controllers and hundreds of USB units for Carrera Digital.

The bottom line, some projects will be successful while others not so. Listening to the loudest voice is not always a profitable solution. We will never recoup our investment in the start light project. Just the way it goes sometimes.

So who wants to invest some development funds?
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Re: Controller idea

Postby BARC 1 » Sat Jan 28, 2017 11:59 am

Good post and especially the point of you developing and selling 6 SCX start lights. There is nothing wrong about the manufacturers, the market is just to small to sustain R&D at a level to fully develop all digital has to offer. In a digital world where most advances are made the sales figures are in the millions of units. Slot cars will never be there

Good news is that being able to interface with a computer for timing and power management unlocks the potential for user groups and shareware to develop and design advances as a hobby.
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Re: Controller idea

Postby Drewbert34 » Sat Jan 28, 2017 1:07 pm

Nothing that I've read or typed appeared as "complaining" to me. It appeared as wanting more of a good thing. I saw them as ideas.

After seeing your post, kidvoltage, I certainly now know where you stand.

I'm sorry you went all in on a product for SCX. I wasn't one of those people.

Lamborghini was started in similar fashion after voicing concern about clutch design to Ferrari.

It's all food for thought!
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Re: Controller idea

Postby Czar » Sun Jan 29, 2017 7:35 am

[quote="kidvoltage"] I'm sure it's been said before but these are toys, the fact that there are enthusiasts among us is merely a coincidence./quote]

This is the all time, classic cop out. It is a very weak, tired argument. Could you (or someone else) please explain the inherent limitations we should expect and accept, because something is labeled as a toy? Why shouldn't we expect more from our toys?
This is a forum dominated by enthusiasts, not children playing with their toys. Dave Kennedy is a valued member of this little circle and does an excellent job of promoting slot racing (and specifically Carrera products) to the enthusiasts that make up this forum. I have never seen a post from him (or Slotus) aimed at children playing with toys. I will ask again, Why shouldn't we expect more from our toys?

[quote-"kidvoltage"] So who wants to invest some development funds?/quote}

What is the name on your Kickstarter account?
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Re: Controller idea

Postby BARC 1 » Sun Jan 29, 2017 8:41 am

I agreed in principle to kid voltages post.

You can call these things whatever you want, but there is not a large market demand for them as toys or model racing cars.

I heard "GO" is the biggest money maker for Carrera. Read into that what you want

If there is something you want you probably need to develop it and fund it yourself. The best development for slotcars has been Shapeways, where designs can be put into low cost production
If only there was a digital electronic equivalent. This would allow development at low cost

If new digital components earn a return of 2% and a new slot car release produces a return of 20% it is pretty hard to get the bean counters to release funds to a low return project.

Carrera has put together a solid digital system. They now have to wait for the digital market to expand to the point there are more consumers who want these great ideas produced

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Re: Controller idea

Postby kidvoltage » Sun Jan 29, 2017 10:35 am

I never thought I'd feel like Jim Bouton but that day has come... (10 bonus points if you understand the obscure reference)

Drewbert34 wrote:I'm sorry you went all in on a product for SCX. I wasn't one of those people.


All in? We developed a product and made a few, we have a few left. I wouldn't exactly call that "all in". Nor would I call it a shining example of the market leading development which may be your goal.

Czar wrote:What is the name on your Kickstarter account?


We don't use Kickstarter, we finance our own projects. That comment was for those that want to find their niche and fill it - ya know - build a team, find an idea, pursue the dream. And hats off to the Shapeways producers that are doing just that - many single-handed.

Despite being lost in the diatribe my point was simply it's a matter for the companies involved to decide if these customer suggestions have any merit. That has to be balanced against the development costs and potential return on investment. If Digital Racing Solutions chooses to invest in a technology/idea/product and it does not pay off we could very well be a former provider of slot car related materials. Take a spin through the LASCM site and view the list of all the former producers of slot related materials - and it's a partial list that does not go into all the losses from the non-1:24 scales (Fly, Artin and Racer would be recent examples). This hobby is littered with the remains of the former producers and the quantity is staggering.

As surely as one good idea can create a company, one bad one can end it.

Do your ideas have merit? Of course. Will they ever reach a production level? That's for someone else to decide and it will not be based on the coolness of the idea but the dollars and sense of business.
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