Lenz DCC decoders - new releases.

We've just been notified by the importers of some interesting changes to the
Lenz range of DCC decoders.
21-PIN SILVER DECODER
A new 21-pin Silver decoder is to be introduced in the immediate future -
these with have exactly the same specification as the existing HO Silver
chips, but will have a 21-pin plug which will be a direct fit into those
Bachmann locos which have been modified to accept sound decoders. RRP will
be £20.50
New STANDARD DECODER
These are now available and are a 3-function version of the (4-function)
Silver decoder. Otherwise (apart from the fact that they do not have the
ABC facility) they have all the other features of the HO Silver decoders.
These are MUCH higher spec than the cheaper decoders offered by other
manufacturers, and should be ideal for use in steam locos as well as those
diesel models which do not require a large number of function options. RRP
is £13.75.
POWER 3 ENERGY MODULE FOR MAXI GOLD
Expected late August/early September - similar to the Power 1 module, but
for use with the Maxi Gold decoder used by larger scale modellers.
Best wishes,
John,
53A Models, Hull.
Reply to
John Turner
Loading thread data ...
John Turner said the following on 27/07/2007 13:47:
I'm going to stick my head above the parapet here and ask if anyone has actually tried Lenz decoders with the Hornby Elite controller. Not the theory of whether it is or is not compatible, but the practise!
I'm thinking about DCC, and I like my controllers to look like controllers and not TV remotes, so the Elite seems to fit my criteria. I will need some tiny, tiny decoders though which Hornby don't do - nothing fancy, just motor control.
Reply to
Paul Boyd
"Paul Boyd" wrote
Hornby's DCC system only seems to work reliably when used with Hornby products. In my book that fails the basic 'compatibility' test essential with DCC.
John.
Reply to
John Turner
"kim" wrote
8-pin is NMRA standard - I've never heard of any manufacturer using a 9-pin plug/socket, although Hornby in their wisdom have introduced a 4-pin decoder in some of their cheaper 'DCC Fitted' items.
John.
Reply to
John Turner
Ah, apparently I was looking at the socket on a controller board. It's all bloody confusing.
(kim)
Reply to
kim
Paul, if you want to discuss DCC controllers which look like controllers, drop me a line. There are some alternatives to the Hornby which don't cost the earth, but not so obvious in the UK market, such as Uhlenbrock. Its also possible to use an (or two) existing analogue controller(s) as the speed control device on a Digitrax Zepher base unit.
For chips, the CTElectroniks DCX74 seems to be the smallest quality chip going according to my Fremo contacts.
- Nigel
Reply to
Nigel Cliffe
The Elite John - the Elite !
Would happily test a few makes but dont have any except Hornby ones cos theyre good enough for what I want to do. Also someone nearby supplies them. Oh and theyre cheap.
Cheers, Simon
Reply to
simon
Greg Procter said the following on 28/07/2007 05:16:
Ah - this is one of those cases where standards are a wonderful thing because there's so many to choose from.
(Think about it...)
Reply to
Paul Boyd
Nigel Cliffe said the following on 27/07/2007 17:28:
Hi Nigel
Thanks for this info. I have some googling and reading to do first! I didn't know that the possibility of using an analogue controller with DCC even existed - I do like that idea!
Reply to
Paul Boyd
"simon" wrote
As I've said before Simon, cheap or not it should work with other DCC products. My Lenz Compact does.
No-one's saying don't use them, just that *I* wouldn't.
John.
Reply to
John Turner
Its a feature only on the Zepher (as far as I know). The Zepher has two sets of auxillary connectors. To those you connect a variable 0-12v DC supply (ie. old controller). Then, on the Zepher base unit, request the loco number, and allocate it to one of the two auxillary controllers for speed and direction. The Zepher monitors the 0-12v supplied on auxillary, and translates those to DCC instructions sent out to the loco. About £140 for a Zepher, a good UK importer, so decent UK support.
However, to throw more confusion into the mess, my favourite to hold DCC handset is the Uhlenbrock Daisy. It feels like a quality model train controller, not a cheap VCR handset, or something assembled by the electronics prototyping department. As a complete system they cost around £140. Or handset alone is under £100. As a complete system, depending which socket the handset is connected to, a Daisy can be either analogue (and its good, some evidence its better than a Pentroller), or DCC. As a controller, its a simple handheld, with a knob for speed. Tap the knob inwards for direction changes. Very few buttons. Because the Daisy uses LocoNet for protocols, a Daisy handset can be added to a Digitrax Zepher base unit. Uhlenbrock do have a UK distributer, but seems very low profile. Some manuals available in English, including the Daisy.
There is one thing where Daisy is bad: is programming locomotive chips. That said, all standard DCC base units are bad at this (Daisy just doesn't do most of it); typing hex codes for CV values into a DCC control panel is bonkers(*). Instead, invest in either a computer interface to the DCC system you buy, or get a stand-alone computer interface (the Sprog, £50). If buying maker's interface, ensure it is supported by DecoderPro (free software to setup DCC chips).
One argument in favour of the Hornby DCC unit (back around the thread) is that it has a computer interface, whereas other makers can charge a very high price for a simple connection. However, I've no idea if DecoderPro works with it. Nor do I know anyone using one.
(*
Bonkers = My professional opinion; day job is user interface design / ergonomics. )
- Nigel
Reply to
Nigel Cliffe
IIRC, Lenz allows use of decimal values as against hex?
I'm always glad I went for Lenz with the LI-USB - it has the software necessary with it, and it allows me to directly code all aspects of a chip simply. However, I must admit at present I don't use any chips other than Lenz (shortly to change when I get my sound equipped Bachmann Class 20)
IMHO the thing that Lenz need to do now is move their system to the next level. We need controllers/handsets that can deal with more than 4 digits for identifying locos (even if the actual DCC address is 4 digit). They could also do with innovating more with their decoder options. 1 amp Gold Mini with 8pin NEM plug, please!
Ian J.
Reply to
Ian J.
Oh dear.
I've just gone and checked the Lenz manual for the LH100. To set up CV values you type various cryptic numeric commands into the handset, navigate various menus, then set various cryptic numbers. Its not significantly different to any other maker's system, and it is an insane way to tune a chip in a locomotives.
Or, you get a computer interface and use something like DecoderPro and adjust a few sliders, set values in labelled fields, have the interface label the fields appropriately for the chip in the locomotive, etc. etc. .
Doing exactly what I suggested ?
You're happy with Lenz. I have nothing against them, I think their products are fine, and their backup for occaisional decoder failures seems excellent.
- Nigel
Reply to
Nigel Cliffe
I think there is little space on a handset to include fully all the definitions and buttons as might be found in a computer interface, so they're bound to be cryptic to some degree. That's not to say they couldn't be better though.
Have done for some while, just with the supplied Lenz software rather than DecoderPro, and wasn't tyring to say that controllers are better than computers. It is easier programming with the PC than via controller though, that I have to agree with, but when I haven't got the PC connected I do use the LH100 handset. Changing points on it is murder though. Eventually I'm intending to get layout control software, probably Railroad & Co, so that I can use that to control the layout (or let the layout control itself :-)
Ian J.
Reply to
Ian J.
Which is the point I'm making. Nobody makes a handset/base unit which is good for programming locos, so new users should be cautioned about the issue, and recommended to buy a computer interface of one sort or another. Once you have jumped over the hurdle of buying a computer interface, you no longer have to select a base unit for its ability to program locos. So, simpler handsets start to come back into the equation.
I know one exhibition layout which now takes a cheap s/hand laptop to shows, with a Sprog and Decoder Pro. At the end of each day they reset all their locos back to their initial configurations. It takes a few minutes to do the entire fleet. They do it because they've found the odd occurance of decoders changing values at random during shows (specs say this shouldn't happen, but reality seems different).
Have you considered the Roco turnout control box ? Part number 10772. It used to be about euro150, and think its Lenz Express-Net. Not sure if its been discontinued, Roco stuff seems to come and go, but I guess Ebay would have some, certainly if you search Germany rather than UK.
I think full automation requires a few more steps in technology to get stable. Perhaps RailCom will be that step ? However, automation of simpler sequences and movements seems OK at the moment.
- Nigel
Reply to
Nigel Cliffe
So do we know of some 'in common use' standard products with which it it doesnt work ?
Cheers, Simon
Reply to
simon

Site Timeline

PolyTech Forum website is not affiliated with any of the manufacturers or service providers discussed here. All logos and trade names are the property of their respective owners.