dcc controller

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paulwhalley
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dcc controller

Postby paulwhalley » Tue Nov 13, 2012 5:58 pm

hi guys
im just after a bit of advice on what to go for
been looking at getting the hornby elite but a bit unsure as there are a few different makers out there
im in no rush to get 1 as i have just ripped up my oval layout so got some penny's to spend on that side of things first :D

thanks
paul

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TheOne
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Re: dcc controller

Postby TheOne » Tue Nov 13, 2012 6:05 pm

I'm also looking for some advice on this. The Hornby one doesn't look too bad if you can find it for a reasonable price. I'm wondering about the Bachmann one, although it does look a bit 'toy-like' but I guess its not what they look like but how well the work. I can't possibly afford a Lenz or anything like that.

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Roger (RJ)
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Re: dcc controller

Postby Roger (RJ) » Tue Nov 13, 2012 6:46 pm

Have a look at the NCE powercab. A hand-held unit rather than a console type. Very nice to use and can be expanded easily to cope with larger layouts and multiple operators. About £135 if you shop around.

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paulwhalley
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Re: dcc controller

Postby paulwhalley » Tue Nov 13, 2012 7:05 pm

i like the idea of being able to hook up to the laptop and control from that
is it just hornby that offer this or is there another make that dose the same

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Roger (RJ)
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Re: dcc controller

Postby Roger (RJ) » Tue Nov 13, 2012 7:40 pm

There are lots of systems that can be connected to a PC. Some (most maybe?) need an add on adaptor to enable connection instead of the Elite's built in interface.

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Essex2Visuvesi
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Re: dcc controller

Postby Essex2Visuvesi » Wed Nov 14, 2012 6:23 am

This is a difficult question as there is no definative answer
Ask 5 people and you will get 7 answers

At the end of the day it's all down to your personal preference. Each system has it's benefits and it's disadvantages.
Ones I would say to steer clear of tho would be:-
Hornby Select (not completely NMRA compliant and has issues with certain non hornby decoders, also cannot do more than basic decoder programming)
Bachmann EZ command (cannot do more than very basic decoder programming)

The best thing you can do is research research research.... Decide what you want to be able to do with the controller and look for the system that best suits your needs, then if at all possible try them for yourself.
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Bigmet
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Re: dcc controller

Postby Bigmet » Wed Nov 14, 2012 9:04 am

Worth going to a major show where a specialist retailer can demonstrate, if you are not conveniently near a shop with a good range of DCC systems on offer. The last line of the previous post is the important one; get hands on to see how it works for you. All the technical capability in the world goes for nothing if it isn't easy, natural, even fun to actually use.

Since you specifically mention an interface to a laptop as the driving console there is a real alternative to a conventional DCC system plus USB connector, from the 'SPROG' range of products. These offer the command station to be operated by the PC; a route which offers considerable economy as you don't buy the control interface, since that will be handled by whatever PC you choose to use. http://www.sprog-dcc.co.uk/downloads/Sp ... rGuide.pdf

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Essex2Visuvesi
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Re: dcc controller

Postby Essex2Visuvesi » Wed Nov 14, 2012 9:53 am

Bigmet wrote:Worth going to a major show where a specialist retailer can demonstrate, if you are not conveniently near a shop with a good range of DCC systems on offer. The last line of the previous post is the important one; get hands on to see how it works for you. All the technical capability in the world goes for nothing if it isn't easy, natural, even fun to actually use.

Since you specifically mention an interface to a laptop as the driving console there is a real alternative to a conventional DCC system plus USB connector, from the 'SPROG' range of products. These offer the command station to be operated by the PC; a route which offers considerable economy as you don't buy the control interface, since that will be handled by whatever PC you choose to use. http://www.sprog-dcc.co.uk/downloads/Sp ... rGuide.pdf


And the control software can be got for free from here
http://jmri.sourceforge.net/
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pete12345
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Re: dcc controller

Postby pete12345 » Wed Nov 14, 2012 8:27 pm

I'd avoid the Bachmann E-Z Command. It fulfilled its purpose of waking up a DCC-phobic market to alternatives to DC control, but nowadays is redundant. I wouldn't buy a Hornby select either due to compatibility issues and limited functionality.

I use a Lenz compact, which is a good basic controller and not too expensive. If you come to upgrade your system, the compact can still be used as a secondary controller. In general you're probably better off buying from a manufacturer that specializes in DCC kit.
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johnco
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Re: dcc controller

Postby johnco » Wed Nov 14, 2012 9:51 pm

I use a Roco Multimause having given up on a Bachmann Dynamis.
The multimause is a hand held unit and is compatible with the Lenz system.
I am quite happy with the Multimause and at £70 it'll do for my layout where only 2 locos will be moving at any time.

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Jonny
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Re: dcc controller

Postby Jonny » Thu Nov 15, 2012 12:38 am

We use a Hornby Elite with Railmaster and I think it's great. I can have all my points on a display before me and just click on them whenever I need to change them. I can't imagine using just an Elite now, to be honest. Controlling locos is pretty straightforward as well: just look for the one you need in the list move the slider and Bob's your uncle.

In terms of flaws, making a track plan can be quite time-consuming though I don't know if this is just a necessary part of the process, really. It'd help if you could select longer sections of straight track, for instance, rather than having to place short lengths individually. Selecting locos may also necessitate shifting the locos around in the list before you start operating. It's not much fun having to start one loco going and then having to scroll down to look for another one, making it tricky to control the first loco offhand. I believe you can also record some of your own sound effects. I know you can record a sequence: say, sending a loco from a siding to the goods yard and then round to the station. You can even programme the points to flip where you need them.

It's expensive, but I suspect most decent model railway-related stuff is. It's been our experience at least. That said, I'm very happy with Railmaster. Once you get past the chore of setting it up it makes controlling everything on the railway much more straightforward.

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paulwhalley
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Re: dcc controller

Postby paulwhalley » Thu Nov 15, 2012 3:36 pm

thanks for the reply's going to have a look in to the sprog system
if i dont get one of them then i think it will be the hornby elite
thanks
paul

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Flashbang
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Re: dcc controller

Postby Flashbang » Thu Nov 15, 2012 7:52 pm

Hi
I would advise you to avoid any UK train set manufactures DCC controllers and go for a DCC system that's not linked to any UK train manufacturer!
Seriously look at the NCE PowerCab. It is one of the best DCC systems available.
Oh and BTW I don't use it. I have MRC Prodigy Advanced.

SPROG II is great for programming and recording CVs etc via the free JMRI software and the SPROG III is good for layout control too as it has a larger power to track output
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mmmbeeer
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Re: dcc controller

Postby mmmbeeer » Fri Nov 16, 2012 2:53 pm

paulwhalley wrote:i like the idea of being able to hook up to the laptop and control from that
is it just hornby that offer this or is there another make that dose the same


JMRI free software hooks up to many DCC systems. I've hooked it up to my Elite. I can now have as many throttles open as I want on screen and control them with the mouse. The one that is active can also be controlled from the laptop keyboard. I haven't had the software long and I'm still getting to grips with it. There is also an Android app which interfaces to the software to control two throttles from your phone. Plus a web interface - put some camaras in and control your layout from work :lol:

Site is here http://jmri.sourceforge.net/

mjb1961
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Re: dcc controller

Postby mjb1961 » Fri Nov 16, 2012 9:18 pm

Hi,I run on a hornby select,it suits me at the moment as my old layout was a 6x4 with two ovals and a bit of a goods yard ,I upgraded to the bigger 4amp transformer and found it handled a couple of locos on the two ovals also another in the goods yard without any problems,I'm not to bothered about adjusting cvs etc but I do intend to upgrade to an elite a bit later on .


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