Compatibility Between DCC Systems.

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Mountain
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Compatibility Between DCC Systems.

Postby Mountain » Wed Oct 31, 2018 12:48 pm

I know Lenz and Roco work together so one can use a Roco handset on a Lenz command station and vice versa. My Lenz system has something called "ExpressNet" which is a communication link between the throttle (Handset) and the command station.
As I understand, there are other similar ideas with other makes and some are compatible with others and some are not.
While I was told "If you are not sure, don't try it", out of interest, does anyone know what can be used with what as a general guide as it intrigued me recently at a club layout, they indicated that a lot more can be used with each other then I had previously thought.

I will say to anyone who may want to explore this concept, don't jump straight in. Always doubly check before trying as there is a possibility that getting it wrong will wreck your DCC control system. Perhaps contact the manufacturer for advice if you don't know would be the best idea.

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Re: Compatibility Between DCC Systems.

Postby End2end » Wed Oct 31, 2018 2:55 pm

Interesting thread Mountain.
I'd like to see any results from any controller experiments conducted.

Just by the by, with my Bachmann EZ command controller I use Bachmann, Lens, DCC concepts and TCS decoders.
Not exactly on your point Mountain, more a view from the opposite end of DCC, just to show what works with my budget controller and which are not the same make as the controller.
Thanks
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Mountain
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Re: Compatibility Between DCC Systems.

Postby Mountain » Wed Oct 31, 2018 3:28 pm

The older pre DCC forms of command control where some worked well and a few didn't, the only two makes that used the same communication language between the controller and the decoder were Hornby (Zero1) and H&M (H&M 5000). Hornby had for seen the issues and invited others to adopt their communication system for free and only H&M did. The other systems flopped, but Zero1 and H&M 5000 were to last a little longer.
Bernard Lenz (He wasn't the only one) decided that if the command control concept was to survive with model railways, then there has to be a way for all control systems to share a compatible communication method between the command station and the decoders in the locomotives.

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Re: Compatibility Between DCC Systems.

Postby Suzie » Wed Oct 31, 2018 8:06 pm

You have

ExpressNet/XBUS (RS485 based transport):-
Lenz
Roco/Fleishmann (Lokmaus/Multimaus/Z21)
ZTC
Hornby
Digikeijs
Bachmann E-Z Command (has a different connector and I cannot get it to work with the others. It is XBUS so should work)

NCE bus (RS485 based transport):-
NCE

Loconet bus:-
Digitrax
Uhlenbrock
Digikeijs
Roco/Fleishmann (Z21)
Fleishmann (Twincentre)
Piko

MRC bus:-
MRC/Gaugemaster

ECoSlink bus:-
ESU Ecos

CAN bus (CAN buses are mostly proprietary - plug-compatible but use different protocols) :-
Zimo
Roco/Fleishmann (Z21)
MERG
NMRA - LCC

Expressnet and NCE are electrically compatible, but use different protocols so cannot be interconnected. I have no doubt missed a few, but Expressnet and Loconet systems are the most widely adopted currently among manufacturers, but going forward expect to see a few more CAN bus based systems and probably some consolidation in the protocols to make them more compatible.

Suzie x
Last edited by Suzie on Wed Oct 31, 2018 9:38 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Mountain
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Re: Compatibility Between DCC Systems.

Postby Mountain » Wed Oct 31, 2018 8:33 pm

Thanks Suzie. A comprehensive list. This is all new to me.
One thing I am surprised about is Gaugemaster and NCE being different as didn't Gaugemaster buy NCE controllers and rebadge them under licence?
I remember phone Gaugemaster before they ventured into DCC and I asked them if they were going to make DCC controllers. I was told that they had no such plans and were staying with DC. Then I bought my Lenz system and about six months later Gaugemaster announced their new DCC controller.

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Re: Compatibility Between DCC Systems.

Postby Roger (RJ) » Wed Oct 31, 2018 8:53 pm

Mountain wrote:Thanks Suzie. A comprehensive list. This is all new to me.
One thing I am surprised about is Gaugemaster and NCE being different as didn't Gaugemaster buy NCE controllers and rebadge them under licence?


Gaugmaster's DCC controllers are rebadged MRC controllers.

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Re: Compatibility Between DCC Systems.

Postby Mountain » Wed Oct 31, 2018 11:10 pm

Thanks for making things clear. :)

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Re: Compatibility Between DCC Systems.

Postby SRman » Thu Nov 01, 2018 12:14 am

I know that the ESU ECoS has what they call a 'sniffer port' that allows the use of other manufacturers' controllers. A friend of mine has the ESU system but we never actually got around to trying out one of my NCE cabs on it.

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Re: Compatibility Between DCC Systems.

Postby Suzie » Thu Nov 01, 2018 1:46 am

The sniffer port just takes DCC from the track or booster output from another command station.

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Re: Compatibility Between DCC Systems.

Postby Byegad » Sat Jan 12, 2019 1:35 pm

Makes me glad I'm 'stuck' with analogue only. With over 200 locos I will stick to it as most of my locos wouldn't be easily chipped.

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Mountain
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Re: Compatibility Between DCC Systems.

Postby Mountain » Sat Jan 12, 2019 2:46 pm

Can't blame you Bygad. I had about 100 locos back when I went into DCC and any not my intended livery or region etc were put aside for sale and any which would be too difficult to chip were also put aside (Actually very few in this catagory). I ended up with about 80 locos left. I fitted just over half of them but gave up due to outsie circumstances.
DCC is expensive as I spent £1000 on the decoders and the system and still had about 20 decoders left to buy. If I was staying in 00 gauge I would stay with DCC but in 7mm narrow gauge I am using DC. It would be easy for me to use DCC but to be honest I feel DC suits the narrow gauge better.
I will say that where DCC really comes into its own is where one has a large club layout with many operators. Now thats where one can really have fun! Get a panel for the signals and a signalman using conventional control, and use the DCC side for many train drivers who have to obay the signals. Bliss!

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Re: Compatibility Between DCC Systems.

Postby rainynight65 » Wed Jan 30, 2019 2:22 am

Sorry to jump in on this thread. I just bought a Digikeijs DR5000, and am looking for a cab/controller to complement it. Most of the control will happen via software, but I still want to be able to pick up a cab and start a loco.

The DR5000 speaks LocoNet and XpressNet, and I know that cabs like the Piko Smartcontrol and Roco Multimaus are compatible. Does anyone know if the Hornby Select can be used as a cab for XpressNet-based command stations, or did Hornby finagle something so that it only works with other Hornby stuff?

Thanks in advance for any advice.

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Re: Compatibility Between DCC Systems.

Postby Bigmet » Wed Jan 30, 2019 8:44 am

Suzie's list near the top of this thread has Hornby in the Expressnet group. To be brutally frank, with suitable well proven basic handsets from Piko and Roco available I simply wouldn't consider Hornby. (With Lenz offering new product some of their handsets might become available s/h too.)

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Re: Compatibility Between DCC Systems.

Postby Bufferstop » Wed Jan 30, 2019 11:12 am

Mountain wrote:I will say that where DCC really comes into its own is where one has a large club layout with many operators. Now thats where one can really have fun! Get a panel for the signals and a signalman using conventional control, and use the DCC side for many train drivers who have to obay the signals. Bliss!


What you describe is exactly the scenario for which DCC was originally developed. It's quite common in North America for an individual to have a large layout which his friends visit to operate, on just the signalman/dispatcher - driver/engineer split you describe.

Sorry Suzie, when I wrote "his friends" I was thinking and writing about the stereotypical misogynistic North American train buff - not a UK railway modeller of which there have been a significant number of outstanding ladies.
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Mountain
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Re: Compatibility Between DCC Systems.

Postby Mountain » Wed Jan 30, 2019 6:21 pm

Bigmet wrote:Suzie's list near the top of this thread has Hornby in the Expressnet group. To be brutally frank, with suitable well proven basic handsets from Piko and Roco available I simply wouldn't consider Hornby. (With Lenz offering new product some of their handsets might become available s/h too.)

If you get Lenz get the instructions as it can do far more then one will need. They are easy to use if one is used to them. If one is not one does need instructions. (The issue I get is as it can be ages in between the times I get to use my DCC system, I forget how and need to get the manual out!) Lenz are great controllers. and were made with forward and backward compatibility. How far this compatibility goes I can't say, but I do know that the two secondhand handsets I bought to run with my Lenz system were two versions behind mine, and they work fine, asdoes a booster a version ahead of mine. The older Lenz systems were more adaptable in that they had a separate booster and command station. They then put the both into one unit which is OK, but not quite as adaptable. It is something that I would not be so happy with if I bought a different make as many have everything but the handset in a single box. To me this is limiting. Anyway. I can keep typing about the merits etc, and bear in mind my Lenz set 01 can access nearly all the sounds of a modern DCC sound decoder, I think they are more then enough even for today's DCC requirements, and I purchased mine back in 2001.


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