MRC Prodigy Advance DCC controller.. any good?

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Jubelmo
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MRC Prodigy Advance DCC controller.. any good?

Postby Jubelmo » Sat Mar 31, 2018 3:25 pm

Hi there.

Can anyone help me. I’m new to DCC and have completed wiring up my layout using dropper wires and a bus circuit. I need to get a controller now and have seen an L807 MRC Prodigy Advance on eBay. Although it looks like a gaugemaster Prodigy I don’t think it is. Does anyone have any experience with them? Are they American? Would it recognise uk decoders? If it’s no good can anyone recommend a good, reasonably priced controller.

Thank you in advance

Julian

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Roger (RJ)
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Re: MRC Prodigy Advance DCC controller.. any good?

Postby Roger (RJ) » Sat Mar 31, 2018 3:37 pm

The MRC (Model Rectifier Corporation) Prodigy is an American made controller which Gaugemaster sell under their own brand. Both will work with any make of DCC decoder that is NMRA conformant.

Gaugemaster will not give any support with the MRC controllers if you have trouble, you would need to contact MRC in America.
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Jubelmo
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Re: MRC Prodigy Advance DCC controller.. any good?

Postby Jubelmo » Sat Mar 31, 2018 5:18 pm

Hi.

Thank you. That’s a great help. I’ll keep an eye on it’s price and that will determine if I get it as I’ve noticed now the gaugemaster express is approx £150 with warranty.

Julian

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Re: MRC Prodigy Advance DCC controller.. any good?

Postby TimberSurf » Sat Mar 31, 2018 10:43 pm

I doubt it will stay cheap on Ebay, my preference would be to buy a NCE, rather than a prodigy
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Bigglesof266
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Re: MRC Prodigy Advance DCC controller.. any good?

Postby Bigglesof266 » Sat Mar 31, 2018 11:50 pm

The Prodigy Advance is an American product by MRC. Yes, it works fine with DCC and UK decoders.

The Prodigy "Express" is not the "Advance". Apples with apples.

Gaugemaster sell rebadged versions presumably as MRC's regional licensed single line import distributor in the UK market which is supplied with a UK approved 240v PSU, local warranty and support.

Reality check. While I'm all for saving a quid when I can triaged against all other factors where it makes sense to do so, if that item is new in box, you aren't going to score it for £40 nor anywhere near it. That bid will increase significantly in the last 10 minutes of that 'auction'. Look at the number of bidders as an indication for a start. That bid will go up considerably.

They etail in the US for USD$265~290 (circa GBP£195 plus shipping & import fees? + VAT?) That should offer you some kind of bid expectation. The bidders will be hoping to score it for less than that. All you need is a single idiot or shill bidder to send it higher.

Gaugemaster's listed price is GBP£300ish, so it may be worth your while personally importing from the US. Do the landed to your door arithmetic vs needs triage. OTOH if you have to ask the kind of questions you are here, perhaps you should reconcile whether no hand holding support or local warranty is worth the apparent fiscal saving?

If that controller is second hand? I wouldn't touch a second hand DCC controller of any brand unless I personally knew and trusted the person selling along with the history of the unit and the age (time in service) and price was commensurate. YMMV.

I imported my own (US designed and made) controllers (not MRC Prodigy) into AU on several occasions over past years because of the massive local distribution price disparity at the time, but I neither needed nor wanted in country hand holding from literally thousands of kilometres away and risk assessed the probability of ever requiring warranty and costs involved against the significant saving.

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Re: MRC Prodigy Advance DCC controller.. any good?

Postby Peterm » Sun Apr 01, 2018 12:48 am

Same here with my Lenz kit. It came from Tonys Trains in Vermont in 2004/5 and has been repaired once... because I dropped it one too many times. I'd agree with biggles 266 that the price won't stay the same for the MRC and think you'd be much better off saving up to buy from Gaugemaster. I hear their after sales service is second to none.
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Jubelmo
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Re: MRC Prodigy Advance DCC controller.. any good?

Postby Jubelmo » Sun Apr 01, 2018 1:12 am

Thank you Pete.

I’ve seen a gaugemaster express for £150 new. Think I’ll head for that instead. With warranty.

Thanks for the advice.

Julian

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Bigglesof266
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Re: MRC Prodigy Advance DCC controller.. any good?

Postby Bigglesof266 » Sun Apr 01, 2018 2:42 am

Sounds a solid decision to me.

I expect the Prodigy Express will give you sterling service serving as your first introductory DCC controller at a price fitting your budget. Flashbang sings the praises of Prodigy, so it must be decent.

I kicked off with NCE's Powercab as my first cab style controller, and it was an aeon before I actually needed more functionality. By the time I did I had the advantage of being much better informed and knew what I wanted from hands on experience. I still use the original Powercab regularly both as a convenient test track standalone, and in conjunction on the main as a second guest controller with my NCE PowerHouse.

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Re: MRC Prodigy Advance DCC controller.. any good?

Postby mjb1961 » Sun Apr 01, 2018 8:22 am

Hi ,,,,I have the MRC prodigy advance2 ,,,,,,bought off eBay 2nd hand a couple of months ago for £165 ,,,,,and would say it is an excellent CONTROLER ,,,prior to that I had the NCE powercab ,again an excellent CONTROLER ,you can get the powercab new for. @ £155 from coastal dcc ,,either one of these would give you years of service ,,,mjb

Jubelmo
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Re: MRC Prodigy Advance DCC controller.. any good?

Postby Jubelmo » Sun Apr 01, 2018 10:20 am

That’s useful to know it’s a good controller mjb. I’ll keep going with it on eBay until it passes the price of a new Prodigy Express, As, although it doesn’t have the features the MRC has it will at least be new. But i get the feeling as no one has mentioned them the hornby entry level dcc controllers are not a good option.
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Flashbang
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Re: MRC Prodigy Advance DCC controller.. any good?

Postby Flashbang » Sun Apr 01, 2018 11:13 am

Note; the one shown in the sales picture in your post is not the latest Squared (2) version so it will not be to the same specification as those available today. The PA2 version offers far more features than the former old model. So be aware of this if bidding on it.

MRC (Model Rectifier Corporation) link to MRC manufacture the Prodigy DCC system. Its imported into the UK by Gaugemaster who re badge it with their own labels. The systems are identical except the GM one has a yellow front label! Plus Gaugemaster are their own service agents and will repair or replace any Gaugemaster Prodigy system in their West Sussex shop in Ford.

Gaugemaster though when I asked them several years ago said they will not service the imported MRC Prodigy systems if it ever goes wrong. So you would have to return it to MRC in the USA.

I have a MRC Imported Prodigy Advanced and never had any problems with it.

A word of caution if you're in the UK and thinking of importing one from the USA. It can attract import duty, VAT and a charge for collection of the fee by the post office. I was lucky as mine came into the UK marked as 'toys' which didn't attract any charges.
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Re: MRC Prodigy Advance DCC controller.. any good?

Postby Bufferstop » Sun Apr 01, 2018 4:42 pm

If you are in the habit of buying relatively cheap items from abroad it's easy to forget the import duty, as HMRC can't be bothered with what they see as trivial amounts. Watch out for forwarding companies who automatically present goods for HMRC assessment, they'll cost you £10 inspection fee. Best simply to let HMRC decide which packages they want to check. It will help if the sender completes the declaration label saying what the goods are and their value.
If you buy goods online from outside the EU for delivery to the UK, you'll have to pay Customs Duty (if over £120 value) and Import VAT (if over £18) on top of the purchase price (including duties), though Customs Duty is waived if the amount of the calculated duty payable is £7 or less.
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Jubelmo
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Re: MRC Prodigy Advance DCC controller.. any good?

Postby Jubelmo » Sun Apr 01, 2018 6:00 pm

Thank you flashbang and bufferstop, good advice on both accounts. I’m certainly not going to import anything from abroad and privet won’t now bid on the one on eBay. I think it’s probably best to get as new as you can for the Indy it can afford and as I said before I think £150 is my limit for now.

Julian

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Re: MRC Prodigy Advance DCC controller.. any good?

Postby Bramshot » Mon Apr 02, 2018 8:52 am

For what it’s worth, I have had three Prodigies through my hands in the past two years and all have suffered from a control knob fault. The knob has a sort of click action when you turn it, and when new you get a speed increment or decrement at each click. Mine stopped doing this and you sometimes had to spin the knob furiously to get the speed to change. Having had three units with the same issue, and other faults from new, I gave up and changed to a different controller entirely.

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Re: MRC Prodigy Advance DCC controller.. any good?

Postby Flashbang » Mon Apr 02, 2018 11:18 am

Shame you've had bad experiences with Prodigy DCC systems. I've had mine for several years and actually imported it from the USA before Gaugemaster started rebadging them. To date I've not had any issues and it works extremely well.

Assuming most of those in the UK are Gaugemaster rebadged units, Express or Advanced, then they should be returned to GM for repair or replacement. They offer an exceptional service and often don't change for this either. (Note; GM DCC items are not part of their lifetime warranty, which their DC items enjoy) the faulty units owner often only having to pay the postal cost to GM. They normally return repaired items inside a week too to UK customers.

Rotary Encoders are the problem and even the NCE PowerCab can suffer Encoder issues, as too can any continuously turning control knob operated system! To have three DCC identical systems all fail in exactly the same fashion is either a production batch issue or just plain exceptional bad luck IMO.
Broken? It was working correctly when I left it.


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