Difference Between DCC Chips

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Gronk
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Difference Between DCC Chips

Postby Gronk » Fri Mar 04, 2011 5:36 pm

Hi,

I'm new to the site but have been planning a DCC layout for some time now. I have been wondering, though, what the difference is between a £12 Bachmann chip and a £35 Lenz purely in terms of basic function, e.g. start, stop, lights, etc.

Thanks,

Gronk

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Flashbang
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Re: Difference Between DCC Chips

Postby Flashbang » Fri Mar 04, 2011 5:43 pm

Hi
The best I can say is what is the difference between a basic mini and a BMW?
Both stop start, they get you from A to B and both have lights.

With decoders its the technology used, the improved componenets used and the ability to fine tune the deocder to the loco. Both in motor operation and function output controls.
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Broken? It was working correctly when I left it.

m8internet
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Re: Difference Between DCC Chips

Postby m8internet » Fri Mar 04, 2011 6:17 pm

Obtain copies of the manuals, then compare
It really depends on what you want and what your system is capable of

At the moment I prefer manual control, no acceleration / deceleration curves
However, in due course I will need to apply starting voltages so that the trains move off from the lower speed ratings, as some don't move off until a higher speed setting
Glasgow Queen Street Model Railway layout : modern image N gauge using DCC

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Peterm
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Re: Difference Between DCC Chips

Postby Peterm » Sat Mar 05, 2011 7:58 am

Continuing on from what Flashbang has said: try downloading a copy of a Bachmann decoder manual and one for a Lenz and / or Zimo, or TCS, etc. You'll see that the list of CV's (configuration variables) is considerably longer for all of them compared to a Bachmann or Hornby.

I've got a fair few Lenz chips, and some Zimo. These run really nicely and are reliable. A lot of people like TCS, but I don't get on with them.

On the same subject really. The same thing goes for DCC controllers too. The train set brands tend to be what a lot of people start with and then get fed up with as they get more knowledgeable about things DCC, (not everyone does this.)

I did my homework and started out with a Lenz set 100, which has been bullet proof, but others start with NCE, Digitrax, etc.

So basically, you get what you pay for.
Pete.

Gronk
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Re: Difference Between DCC Chips

Postby Gronk » Sun Mar 06, 2011 9:09 pm

Thanks All.

I haven't seen the manuals for the different decoders (does anyone have any links?!) so what sort of CVs does a Lenz support that a Bachmann doesn't?

Regards,

Gronk the Confused

m8internet
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Re: Difference Between DCC Chips

Postby m8internet » Sun Mar 06, 2011 9:44 pm

Glasgow Queen Street Model Railway layout : modern image N gauge using DCC

senorsenales
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Re: Difference Between DCC Chips

Postby senorsenales » Sun Mar 06, 2011 10:07 pm

It seems there is a difference between decoders. Being new to DCC, but using kit I bought over the years, I found an elderly Lenz decoder will operate the lights in both directions on one loco, but a TCS M2 won't when I swop the decoder over.

The Lenz came with all the paperwork, but the TCS one didn't and I was buying it on the recommendation of a dealer, and by a friend who swears by them.

Why should that be, the wiring is common to both ?

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Re: Difference Between DCC Chips

Postby BromsMods » Sun Mar 06, 2011 11:07 pm

If you bought a new TCS decoder then the paperwork is in the packet. Lighting will work in exactly the same way provided you haven't made any modifications to the wiring. I assume you've enabled the lighting using the command system, normally with F0.

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K9-70
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Re: Difference Between DCC Chips

Postby K9-70 » Mon Mar 07, 2011 5:57 am

No manual for your decoder ? there's plenty of manuals for the TCS decoder at the link below.
Funny, but I don't see one for the M2 decoder.

http://www.tcsdcc.com/public_html/Custo ... ecific.htm

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Re: Difference Between DCC Chips

Postby Bigmet » Mon Mar 07, 2011 9:01 am

Gronk wrote:... what the difference is between a £12 Bachmann chip and a £35 Lenz purely in terms of basic function, e.g. start, stop, lights, etc.

Doesn't just depend on the decoder. I have been using Lenz Silver and more recently Standards from my start in DCC some years ago. Lovely refined control with really smooth starts and stops and prolonged acceleration and braking come as standard. This decoder can extract this perfomance (by the operator using a choice of the many available CV settings) even from relatively crude older mechanism designs. But this decoder standard is effectively 'overkill' for a mechanically sweet running chassis: any halfway decent decoder will get good performance from a good chassis. I have tried out the Bachmann 3 function decoders (36-553 / 554) , and on the heavy and smooth running chassis in Bachmann diesel models this produces a first rate performance. Now that's a great saving, and the Lenz Silvers and Standards can go into chassis that need the help a more sophisticated decoder can provide. A few really stubborn chassis get a yet more expensive Zimo decoder, which offers the widest adjustment capability I know of. Which brings us to:
Peterm wrote:...basically, you get what you pay for...

...there's no denying this is the general picture, but it may be that not all of your models need all the adjustments an expensive decoder can provide to get the performance you want. Worth trying out for yourself.

senorsenales
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Re: Difference Between DCC Chips

Postby senorsenales » Mon Mar 07, 2011 9:11 am

Two TCS decoders, no paperwork other than a piece of paper telling me to make sure I use needle nose pliers when removing the plug.

Yes, F0 on my control unit has a light sign by it so I know that works. The Lenz decoder works the lights regardless of direction, the TCS one works going forward only. I have used both decoders on locos I have converted myself and on ones that come fitted with the plug, same result.

Possibly something I haven't programmed in with the TCS decoder, but I don't know how to, so I will have a look at the site mentioned. Excellent control with both decoders, its just the light issue that is frustrating.

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Roger (RJ)
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Re: Difference Between DCC Chips

Postby Roger (RJ) » Mon Mar 07, 2011 9:39 am

I'd try resetting the decoders. Many decoders have CVs for changing the way the white and yellow function outputs operate. Resetting the decoder should return it to the default setting where the lights operate as you would expect.
I'm not sure what the reset process is on the M2 but try writing 2 to CV8 or CV30.

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Re: Difference Between DCC Chips

Postby BromsMods » Mon Mar 07, 2011 3:35 pm

senorsenales wrote:Two TCS decoders, no paperwork other than a piece of paper telling me to make sure I use needle nose pliers when removing the plug.

Yes, F0 on my control unit has a light sign by it so I know that works. The Lenz decoder works the lights regardless of direction, the TCS one works going forward only. I have used both decoders on locos I have converted myself and on ones that come fitted with the plug, same result.

Possibly something I haven't programmed in with the TCS decoder, but I don't know how to, so I will have a look at the site mentioned. Excellent control with both decoders, its just the light issue that is frustrating.


Were these bought as new? If so, where from? These decoders haven't been available for some time now (we sold our last ones in 2006) so I doubt they are covered by the goof-proof warranty.

Try resetting the decoder by putting 2 into CV8.

senorsenales
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Re: Difference Between DCC Chips

Postby senorsenales » Mon Mar 07, 2011 9:36 pm

Time to cough up to finding the instruction sheet that came with one of the decoders, so I should be able to get what I want now. The paperwork was hidden amongst other stuff at the bottom of my DCC box.

BromsMods asks
Were these bought as new? - Yes
If so, where from? - a dealer located near the Lickey incline.
These decoders haven't been available for some time now (we sold our last ones in 2006) - 16th May 2010
I doubt they are covered by the goof-proof warranty. - operator error by the looks of it, so not required. As a last resort if it doesn't work read the instructions, if you can find them!

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Re: Difference Between DCC Chips

Postby BromsMods » Mon Mar 07, 2011 11:06 pm

senorsenales wrote:Time to cough up to finding the instruction sheet that came with one of the decoders, so I should be able to get what I want now. The paperwork was hidden amongst other stuff at the bottom of my DCC box.

BromsMods asks
Were these bought as new? - Yes
If so, where from? - a dealer located near the Lickey incline.
These decoders haven't been available for some time now (we sold our last ones in 2006) - 16th May 2010
I doubt they are covered by the goof-proof warranty. - operator error by the looks of it, so not required. As a last resort if it doesn't work read the instructions, if you can find them!


Is the decoder you are using actually the MC2 rather than the M2, i.e. the decoder is separate from the harness?


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