Inside the Vehicles

The long road to flawless flashing, braking and shining vehicles in Wonderland.

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Nowadays our vehicles are equipped with so much technology, that building a vehicle takes 15 to 45 working hours each. The base of our cars is the chassis of the Faller Car-system or an unique self constructions. We can’t use regular infrared transmission for sending the commands to the cars, because it is very unreliable. We therefore have developed and trademarked our own system, which also uses infrared for communicating with the vehicles, but is far more reliable. In addition to the infrared we use radio transmission and the inductance method. All systems work very reliable and are not as fragile. Relying on infrared alone is complicated because visual contact needs to be maintained throughout.

Initially, the infrared system alone worked okay on the first tests. It is a good solution for smaller model railways and for controlling only a few vehicles, but not for a site as big as 7,000 m². After a longer phase of running tests, we developed our own concept which runs almost without fault. We have an error rate of 1:20,000, when relying solely on infrared our error rate was 1:100 (on level land with shallow buildings) and for radio transmission the error rate was 1:2,500. Our specially developed system allows us to transmit a close to innumerous amount of commands to our vehicles. The commands can be altered with different parameters as well. These commands can for instance be to set the (hazard warning) signal flasher, the brake lights, different versions of flashing lights and vehicle illumination, sound and control of speed (this also needs to be altered according to conditions, e.g. wear of the engine and gearing or turning off an engine in case of an accident).

The vehicles monitor their own battery charges and transmit the results back to the controlling computer by driving at a certain speed.  The cars also transmit the quality and temperature of their charge to the docking station where they are being charged via their wing mirrors by breaking the connection and sending a coded message. The docking station then evaluates this information and passes it on to the controlling station.

The technology of the vehicles

Knuffingen Schloss Feuerweh
On a plateau above Knuffingen is the Castle Löwenstein with a wide-spread park. Small, but frequent fires get reported, but they get extinguished fast by the Knuffinger fire brigade.

The heart of our vehicles is the micro processor which is responsible for all sequences. It is located on a circuit board with the measurements 15 x 35 mm. All switching elements are located inside of it and it can be divided into two units should need be. The batteries can be charged via the outside wing mirrors, since charging through the bottom of the car is impossible due to different models.

In the beginning we used rechargeable nickel-metal hydrid batteries by GP, but by now we have switched and purchase most of our batteries from Varta. At the moment we are testing new lithium-polymer-batteries. All lights on the vehicles are being realized with SMD LEDs (the Coca Cola truck also has additional electronics to power its 142 lights).

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