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Oxigen or Scorpius-- can I get some guidance?

I am planning on getting into the hobby and after a lot of deliberating have settled on Carrera digital track because I like the idea of being able to run 1:24 if I choose.

I have been looking at Oxigen and Scorpius for later down the road as options for a more robust home setup and am wondering if any of you have opinions on which system would be a better investment. What interests me is ghost cars, pit lane speeds-- which system is more robust and will give me the least amount of headaches?

An additional question I have: I don't really want to invest in Carrera wireless controllers because I plan on eventually incorporating one of these systems. From this angle, it seems like it's a better option to go wired and add the wireless receiver when I'm ready to buy into either the Oxigen or Scorpius. 

Can any of you seasoned hobbyists weigh in? What's the most cost-effective way of doing this? I hope my questions make sense and am eager to hear your insight.
[+] 1 member Likes DealbreakerJones's post

Welcome  Wavegreen

Having the space to run 1/24 is wonderful! You will need to factor space for the extra border pieces around the layout - 1/24 cars need these added to the inside and outside of standard track pieces. And - of course - you will be able to run 1/32 scale cars. You will need a different voltage power supply plugged into the Control Unit for 1/32, which will also come in handy for other brands of 1/24 cars. D124 cars run at 18.5 volts, D132 and most other slot cars run at around 13.5V.

Carrera, Scaleauto and BRM produce ready-to-run cars in 1/24 scale - and there are plenty of options for kit and scratch-building. Of course, all cars will need to be fitted with a digital decoder that is compatible with the digital system you are using. All current Carrera 1/24 cars come fitted with a Carrera Digital chip.

A Carrera D124 set will give you a great introduction to digital slot cars. It will have pretty much everything you need - including borders and wireless controllers. You’ll be able to run ghost cars using the standard Control Unit. Next steps would be to add a pit lane and to use the superb SmartRace app ( via the Carrera AppConnect dongle, which may be bundled in your set, or can be purchased separately.

Personally, I think the Carrera set with SmartRace gives you massive possibilities. However, if you then decide to go for oXigen or Scorpius, you will be replacing everything in your Carrera system - apart from the track pieces and cars. The digital track pieces (lane changers, pit lanes) will need the electronics replaced and the Carrera decoders in the cars will need to be replaced too. Then you will need new electronics to connect cars/controllers to computer, plus new hand throttles. The price differences are huge - and there is no gradual or economical way of making the transition. OXigen and Scorpius users will swear the extra cost is worth it, but I’m not sure…

Personally, I think SmartRace helps make Carrera probably the best digital slot car system available at the moment - and I say that as a Scalextric digital user. The main focus of SmartRace is racing in groups, but the Ghost Car feature looks pretty decent ( In terms of playability, oXigen nor Scorpius offer anything close, although both are developing new race management software, which may close the gap. 

It’s also worth noting that Carrera also has a much, much larger user-base, especially in North America and Europe, giving a vast reservoir of knowledge, expertise and third-party add-ons. We are talking a hundreds of thousands of Carrera users vs dozens or maybe a couple of hundred for oXigen and Scorpius.

I’d recommend getting stuck into Carrera D124 + SmartRace and see where that journey leads you. My hunch is that it won’t lead to either Scorpius or oXigen.

I hope that helps!
[+] 3 members Like woodcote's post

Thanks for the reply! 

One thing that piqued my interest in those systems, aside from running my own little endurance grid, was the controllers-- such as being able to adjust throttle curves. From what I understand the controller's brake adjustments aren't supported by Carrera and lane selection isn't needed with a two-lane track-- is there a controller option for Carrera digital that can give me some more ways to adjust a car's drivability on the track?

I'm trying to do my due diligence and have been reading forums and poking around the Internet, so I appreciate you taking the time to chime in and spoon-feed me some answers as well. Don't hesitate to post a link to some resources if you don't want to wear your fingers out with a reply to a question that's already been answered elsewhere!  Thankyoublue
[+] 1 member Likes DealbreakerJones's post

I have to say that I am very happy with my experience of standard 'mass-market' equipment with some after-market hardware and software add-ons. There's always peer-pressure to go with 'better and faster' (and more expensive), but I'm not sure that always works with digital. It is true that the direct controller to car connection offered by Scorpius and oXigen (essentially radio-controlled cars running in slots) is a technically superior concept to the digital command via the rails of Carrera and Scalextric (essentially a DCC model railroad with race cars). However, my experience of racing both Scalextric and Carrera in home and club settings has been much more of a blast - because I think it's more important what you do with the gear than the gear itself. For me, it's about simulating real racing on two-lane tracks with overtaking, software simulations, pitstops and strategy - I think Carrera and SmartRace have the edge there.

You made a brief reference to 4-lane digital tracks. My feeling is that they don't look right and the digital gameplay is diminished. If digital is about realism, then I don't know any real tracks with 4 parallel racing lines! Practically, four lanes almost always means you end up only using a couple of lanes to race - or you end up with more of an analogue-style race-track with minimum lane-changing. The only time more lanes can work is if you have a designated 'slow lane' on a big, fast layout (eg an oval) to pit from or for ailing cars. If you stick to two 'realistic' lanes, you'll never need a controller with up/down lane change buttons.

As for controllers... Carrera D132 and D124 - when paired with the SmartRace app - allows you to alter braking force via the Tuning menu, plus a maximum power setting (called 'Speed') that acts like a choke on a high-end analogue controller. Although there's no feature to change the throttle curve in the app or on the Control Unit, you do have that option with the Frankenslot after-market controllers or a more simple and accessible 'adjustable sensitivity' on the Truspeed Carrera-D IV. You can also use most of the functions of the SCP controllers (not brakes), when fitted with a suitable digital module and Carrera connector. The Ramjet-X controller doesn't have any adjustments, but offers a significant upgrade in quality from the standard Carrera controllers. All three have a more familiar trigger layout.

When the focus is on the gameplay (overtaking, strategy, pit stops etc) having a high-end, multi-function, analogue-style controller is much less important. It was that gameplay the won me over to digital racing - and that was using standard set controllers... in my case the awful Scalextric ones! Using Truspeed controllers has certainly refined that experience in recent years, but has never been essential to my enjoyment.  Likewise, we've learned that standard Scalextric and Carrera cars - with magnets removed and racing tyres added - are much more fun to race digitally than any high-performance brand. A little less speed means more time to execute overtaking moves, plan strategy etc - and that means much more realistic racing. 

It's the same with number of cars - six is plenty, even on a massive 150-foot track. More than that and the racing quickly becomes too conjested and less 'real'. Sure, most grids are larger than six - but most real tracks are much bigger than 0.7 of a mile that the 150-foot track scales up to in 1:24 scale (or 0.9 of a mile in 1:32 scale). Our club gets round that limitation by utilising team and pairs race formats - so our regular attendances of 18-24 can race together. If anything, it adds to the realism - the driver concentrates on driving and team mates crunch the data from the screen and plan strategy ready for the next pit stop and driver-change.

I don't know much about digital but I am very happy with my Truspeed analogue contoller. It might be worth investigating their Controller for Carrera Digital?:

Good luck!



Most of what has been written above is accurate, but it IS possible to use oXigen on a stock Carrera track, without replacing all of the lane change electronics. You can even have the Carrera Digital control unit count laps. As such, all you'd really need is the controller(s) and car chip(s) to give it a try. I think I might have seen similar claims from Scorpius, but I can't speak to that with confidence.

Of course, neither will have the full feature set each system offers until you replace the lane change electronics for those dedicated to that system, but it can be made to work. 

To go "full oXigen" you'd need to glue some magnets under the track in the right places for the pit entry/exit and the finish line, replace the LC electronics, and get the USB dongle for your computer to run the race management program.

Both the oXigen and Scorpius controllers are considerably more advanced than other available controllers for the off-the-shelf digital systems, but each have strengths and weaknesses. While Scorpius controllers have lots of buttons and knobs, and a really nice LCD display, navigating the display and making adjustments to the throttle curve and other settings can be quite tedius. The controller has a simpler 7seg LED display, but complete throttle curve control is a simple tweak of a knob or two away. In spite of plenty of feedback and suggestions/request from users, the Scorpius interface has remained unchanged since it's initial public release, with no indication of future improvement. The ergonomics of the two are also quite different, and one may suit you more than the other on that grounds alone.
[+] 1 member Likes MrFlippant's post

It is possible Greg - and the solution is technically very clever. But is it in any way desirable as a real-world set-up to explore and enjoy the potential of digital racing? Both systems have their pros and cons - and this hybrid set-up seems to lumber the user with all the cons. Unless software simulations are of absolutely no interest.

From the oXigen base manual...

Quote:Running with Carrera Digital D132
It is possible to run an oXigen chipped car on Carrera Digital D132. This is done independently of Carrera protocols and technology. Actually, it is the D132 PB that does the job for us. A fully working Carrera D132 system (PB + LCs + controller) is required.

In D132 systems the PB transmits the status of the 'change lane' buttons on the hand controllers, to all the lane change units. Car chips, instead, know nothing about the lane change button: they go around the track transmitting their fixed ID continuosly through the IR LED. The LC thus knows from the PB if a certain car must change lane, and once such car is recognised, the LC mechanism is activated.

An oXigen car in D132 mode sends its ID only when the LC button is pressed: in all other cases (except for lap counting), it goes around undetected. If, at the same time, the PB senses from its own controller that such car wants to change lane, and the oXigen LC button is pressed, any LC can pick up the infrared ID from the car, which can thus change lane at will.

To count laps, though, you must place a oXigen FL magnet right before the Carrera D132 FL sensor to trigger a 200mS transmission of the car's ID, which will be picked up by the FL sensor. Thus, a LC must not be placed right after the FL, or the O2 cars will change lane.

To summarise, how to do? First, with the Bootloader software (0.12 and higher), or controller (2.13 and higher, car 2.09 and higher) put your O2 car in D132 mode. Then, program it with ID ranging between 1 and 6. Last, plug your Carrera controller in the PB slot corresponding to said ID, lock the LC button on the 'ON' position (for example, with a rubber band), make sure magnets are placed under the FL, and you're ready.

Note that the oXigen chipped cars do not read the Carrera digital protocol from rails, hence, they do not respond to start/stop race commands from the Power Base.

It is also possible to run more than 6 cars on the same Carrera track at the same time. Again, you need the magnets under the FL. In this case cars 7-20 must be O2 ones and Carrera ID 4 is reserved for O2 extension. You need a Carrera controller hooked to controller plug n.4 with its LC button locked on. Then, simply, put your cars in D132 mode, set them to ID 7 to 20, and run them. In this case an oXigen dongle is required for lap counting.

Most likely, a standard Carrera PB will not provide enough power to run more than 6 cars. There may be, however, aftermarket parts providing higher power output.

Note that the IR LED must be displaced to match the position of the receiving LED on Carrera track, so a LED on wires is advisable, together with a O201b chip.

As I said, a very clever technical work-around, but not - in my mind - a viable real-world option for enjoying digital racing. However, my perspective is from simulating real-world motorsports and racing as a group - other people may get their kicks from delving deep into the technology. There are many ways to enjoy this hobby :-)
[+] 1 member Likes woodcote's post

I agree, not optimal. Gio had done that with his Carrera track, and ended up converting all the LCs with oXigen electronics. But, it at least provides a path of transition so that an investment in D132 track isn't immediately replaced by an even greater investment in oXigen. It's a way to decide whether that additional investment is worth it to the user, and certainly better than not even being able to test the system without complete conversion.
[+] 1 member Likes MrFlippant's post

Great insights, thank you so much for taking the time to reply. It is invaluable to have some knowledgeable answers.
[+] 2 members Like DealbreakerJones's post

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