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Thread: Parma Electronic controller - any info?

  1. #1
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    Feb 2005
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    Parma Electronic controller - any info?

    Hi,

    As par to fmy growing collection of vintage controllers, I acquired a Parma Electronic controller. it looks like a nice unit, with a fine wirewound resistor like a 3rd Eye (but smaller) and some switches and knobs protruding from an otherwise stock Parma handle.

    One swich is a 3-position rotary that is labelled for sensitivity, it's the other one that is puzzling me. It is a little black slider and the sticker on the controller has worn off right where it would have told me what it does. All I can see right now is "On" and "Off".

    I guess I will work out eventually what it does, but does anyone out there remember this piece, and does anyone perhaps still have whatever instructions may have come with it?

    I would also appreciate any other info, such as year of manufacture, how long it was available etc. I seem to remember that it had reliability issues, so I will probably only use it for playing with 1/32 plastic cars and perhaps a retro car or two for fun.

    Thanks!
    Dennis Samson

    Scratchbuilding is life
    Life is scratchbuilt

    Samson Classics

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Sep 2011
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    34
    Larry Kelley Would probably be your best source for info on this particular controller.

    IIRC, these were from the way early 2000's. Good enough for a spicy S16d, and that's about it, unfortunately.
    2013 USRA Division 1 Bathroom Scrubbing Champion
    2013 USRA Division 1 Track Cleaning Champion
    International Brotherhood of Turn Marshals, Local 0
    Race Director of Champions.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jun 2002
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    NorthWesterner now in Philippines
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    8,833



    Yes - the Parma Turbo E.C. Electronic Controllers were out around 2002, and were used exclusively at the 2002 Parma Challenge Cup Nats, just prior to launching.

    They worked great at the Challenge Cup. Paul Ciccerello had personally dialed them all in, and then cut off the dial, so that they could not be adjusted by the racers (this was also to avoid the racers accidentally or intentionally "undialing" the controllers after each heat... since the controllers stayed with each lane, like the cars, and not moved with the driver). I do not recall if there were any controller failures during the Challenge Cup, but I know there were spares already dialed in and ready to replace if needed.

    At the raceway I managed at the time, we sold several of the controllers, but did have a few that "blew up" for no apparent reason. Others were also having similar problems, and Parma promptly replaced the controllers, and was working on finding a cure. They decided to take the controller off the market, at least until a reliable solution to the reliability could be found. The controllers never went back on the market.

    But... with them not being 100% reliable, I'm sure it was just not practical to keep them on the market, with the possibility of continued problems.

    It's too bad, because they really were a nice controller... and at just $99.99, filled in a gap between the inexpensive resistor controllers, and the much more expensive transistor controllers on the market. There still has not been a real suitable adjustable controller on the market in that mid-price range.

    Paul K @ OWH
    Attached Images Attached Images
    Last edited by oldweirdherald; 11-27-2017 at 11:51 PM. Reason: pasted images
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    Paul Kassens
    OWH Slot Car Talk "Mom"
    The Old Weird Herald
    email: paulk@oldweirdherald.com

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  4. #4
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    Brakes or no brakes

  5. #5
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    Thanks to all for the information!

    Quote Originally Posted by dante View Post
    Brakes or no brakes
    For the black slide switch? Thanks - that is a help. Might be nice for a GT12 or a Conternder that has too much brake just because of the magnets.

    Paul, thanks for the photos. The controller I have looks a little different in that it has a shorter PCB (only about halfway down the handle) and that small red dial up top is missing. Is that a brake sensitivity setting? That might be nice to add if I can find info on how to do it. I need to contact Larry Kelley.
    Dennis Samson

    Scratchbuilding is life
    Life is scratchbuilt

    Samson Classics

  6. #6
    Join Date
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    Parma had announced releasing a $79.99 basic model and the $99.99 Plus model.

    I got to take a tour of the Parma factory in 2002, and the pics I took were of the prototypes prior to release.
    We used the E.C. controllers exclusively at the Challenge Cup that weekend.

    I don't remember if I ever saw the $79.99 model, so I had assumed that model was not released...
    I only remembered stocking and selling the Plus model... (my memory ain't what it used to be).
    But it sounds like the basic model must be what you have.

    You could contact Parma and see if they have instructions or more information they might be able to send you.
    tech@parmapse.com or customerservice@parmapse.com

    PK @ OWH
    Last edited by oldweirdherald; 04-21-2015 at 09:30 PM.
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    Paul Kassens
    OWH Slot Car Talk "Mom"
    The Old Weird Herald
    email: paulk@oldweirdherald.com

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  7. #7
    Join Date
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    Ron Hershman sent me some Parma Turbo E.C. ad pics to post:

    11094699_1020566164&.jpg11156975_1020566164&.jpg11158176_1020566164&.jpg11178663_1020566164&.jpg11178436_1020566164&.jpg

    These pics should help you figure out all the dials and switches!

    (To view images in full size, click to get the pop-up view, then right click & select "view image", then hit the + to zoom)

    Thanks Ron!

    Paul K @ OWH
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    Paul Kassens
    OWH Slot Car Talk "Mom"
    The Old Weird Herald
    email: paulk@oldweirdherald.com

    - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jun 2004
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    somewere on the planet Tralfamadore
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    there is a good description on line, just google "update parma electronic controller" and it will describe fixes and some basic updates that can be done. It has a great design but it was a bit short in power handling.

  9. #9
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    Thanks everone - that is great info, especially the tip to Google it. I found a posting in Slot Car Illustrated that had links to a complete circuit diagram that will help me add in the brake adjuster.
    Dennis Samson

    Scratchbuilding is life
    Life is scratchbuilt

    Samson Classics

  10. #10
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    Jun 2002
    Location
    St Charles, Illinois, USA
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    Great info. I THINK the lower cost model did NOT have the red adjustable brakes (Knob and pot). Servicability with 'modern' surface mount electronics is a main downfall. Parts are next to impossible to identify when replacements are needed. The fusing also is rarely enough on controllers to prevent burnouts from crossed wires.

    I know two different boards were made, I have one of each, long and short.
    Last edited by Ramcatlarry; 11-26-2017 at 07:00 PM.
    l.d. kelley, M.A. Ramcatlarry@aol.com

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  11. #11
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    Hornsby Slot Cars Sydney
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    I have the PC board for a Parma electronic controller in my bits draw

  12. #12
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    FYI - The current Professor Motor controller line offers basic and advanced models that seem to have minimal failures based on similar standard transistor technology.
    l.d. kelley, M.A. Ramcatlarry@aol.com

    50 year pin 1959-2009
    Racing slot cars in America
    USRA 2009 member 0028, 2017 #404
    IRRA, ISRA/USA, Hardbodies 1/24 & 1/32
    retired raceway owner(for now)
    Omni/Cidex service center

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ron View Post
    I have the PC board for a Parma electronic controller in my bits draw
    Are you interested in letting that go? I would like to get my example working, if only for light use.

    Let me know here or by PM, thanks.
    Dennis Samson

    Scratchbuilding is life
    Life is scratchbuilt

    Samson Classics

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Jan 2008
    Location
    mechanicsville Virginia
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    I just bought one for curiosity. Since I have been building my own controller, I wanted to check it out and the price was right. It's in perfect condition and seems to work as it should on the bench. But, as I suspected it feels wimpy. The switches and pc mount pot feel like they could break any second. The sensitivity adjustment does nothing. The wiper action is noisy and the small round resistor would probably wear through the wiper button in no time. Clearly it never got the R and D it would need. Oh well. My controller collection is up to a modest 4.
    Anything worth doing is worth overdoing

  15. #15
    Join Date
    Jun 2013
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    Dennis, Jim has a Difalco that has the same slider for brakes and he is having problems with it working right. You might want to talk abpit any fix you come up with.

    John

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