The old chestnut -- DCC

I'm pretty ambivalent about DCC, but the Elite looks like the best bet for my purposes, the only significant drawback, for some, I can see is that operation of the functions ( particualrly for sound locos) would be a pain.
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Have got sound Duchess and when playing just press function, enter number, press button. After few goes with different sounds, done that so now what. Normally just leave base chugging sound on and let run.
Cheers, Simon
Reply to
simon
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Graham,
I started off with a Dynamis but I didn't really take to the speed control - i.e. flicking a small lever up and down to adjust the speed. I also found that it wasn't too easy to work the controller single handed. And it was not easy to program CVs since the basic Dynamis would not read CV values. But otherwise, it did what it said on the tin and I shall keep the unit around as a standby system.
I then got the NCE PowerCab after seeing it demonstrated at the model railway dealer I frequent. It allows one handed control and is quite an inexpensive system. It also reads CVs, so CV programming is a bit easier. I also added a slave cab which allows the independent operation of two locos. Funnily enough, I prefer the slave cab for operation since it is smaller than the main PowerCab controller, and very similar to the AGW and Gaugemaster DC handhelds which I've been used to operating over the years. I've since added a USB interface which allows the use of programs like JMRI, which makes CV programming a lot easier.
The PowerCab works well and I've had no problems with it. It is quite easy to operate and program and there is good support on the Yahoo NCE-DCC group if you run into any problems. It is fine for small to medium layouts and the 1.8A capacity should handle a reasonable number of locomotives in the smaller scales, although I'm not sure about dozens of diesels with sound chips ticking over in a depot :-)
Jim.
Reply to
Jim Guthrie
Yeah, they'll no doubt sell it with a realism angle just like with Hornby's Live Steam system. "Watch your train run out fuel/steam inbetween stations, just like the real thing!" :)
Fred X
Reply to
Fred X
I think they announce a new loco about once every two years; but it does seem to me that it is the technological dead end / executive toy several of us predicted, by and large. An impressive achievement that they ( OK their Chinese subcontractor) could actually turn a hand crafted prototype into a manufacturable CE approved product though, IMHO.
Reply to
airsmoothed
I think the Elite is poor; poor user interface and computer Xpressnet implementation has flaws which makes it chronically slow to program a loco from a computer (I've been helping debug this for JMRI, and though the new code is more than twice as fast, its still "very slow". With the new code, an Elite takes over 20 minutes to perform the test operation of reading a standard decoder's full set of CV's, a Sprog takes under 4 minutes. ).
I'd rate several alternatives much more highly.
So that's two opinions, one for the Elite, one against. My recommendation is to try out a lot of different systems before making any decisions.
Reply to
Nigel Cliffe
of controlling locos excellent with the two rotary controls.
Suprised at the 20 mins timing, but then am suprised at 4 mins for the sprog as well, however, i only looked at point setting so cannot comment.
Cheers, Simon
Reply to
simon
For ease of use we have the Hornby SELECT but it has only a 'small' ( 1 amp ) power output. I have heard very good reports of the latest ELITE.
The problem of DCC is how far you want to go.
A simple basic set up like the 36-500 EZ Command controller, developed by Bachmann in partnership with Lenz, can be bought for about =A360 new. The Hornby Elite for about =A3160.
Once you start adding control units for points etc. then the =A3's start to climb onto your basic set up. You also have the cost of decoders ( and fitting ) which range from about =A38 upwards. Some older loco's are harder to fit an encoder to than others.
Battery power, I agree with John, but again it's going to be costly when it's 'new'.
G scale garden railroad layouts are quite common with battery power but OO / HO is another matter. In the water industry we have battery powered meters that run for 10 years on the same battery. The battery technology is almost there but it needs to be developed with motor technology.
The problem with fast charging a battery is the life of the battery. You can recharge a standard AA nickel cadmium battery in only one hour but don't expect it to last for the quoted 500 recharges.
Chris
Reply to
Dragon Heart
Its down to the way the Elite doesn't signal on Xpressnet that its completed an operation on the programming track (it should signal that it has finished). There is no way any external software (JMRI in this case) can know whether the operation has finished. If another instruction is sent, it might get executed, or it might fail because the Elite is busy, the software doesn't know. So, JMRI has to guess how long to wait before assuming the Elite has actually completed a programming step. We tried various wait times, and arrived at one which executed the test in 20 minutes; attempts to go faster just got tangled in a vast number of failures and actually took longer to complete the reading of all the CV's in the loco.
The turnout setting aspect isn't affected by this issue, its purely programming track.
- Nigel
Reply to
Nigel Cliffe
If it were that simple !
For any Xpressnet system, JMRI sends the command station a request to read values from the decoder and later JMRI has to ask for the results from that operation.
On most XPressNet systems, the time between these two events is controlled by the reply to the request for the operation, which tells JMRI that the command station has acknowledged receipt of the message. Unfortunately, the Elite doesn't send any reply to these messages, so JMRI has a timer in the code to prevent making both the operation request and the result request at the same time.
- Nigel
Reply to
Nigel Cliffe
That sounds like it'd be Paul from my local club. He's Dutch. He's an electronics bloke and adapts the models himself. Saves a fortune compared to the Faller models.
-- Rod
Reply to
Benny
As I've said before, I'm of the opinion that it was used to open new markets. I live in NL and I know that there was absolutely no Hornby presence in the shops before the advent of this system. Now there is. I'm pretty convinced that the novelty aspect forced people to want one and so the shops had to take up the rest of the range. The Hornby stuff arrived before the Bachman stuff and there's still note Hornby stuff than Bachman stuff in the big towns. -- Rod
Reply to
Benny
Yes, I imagine that the Live Steam range has probably been cost effective in terms of publicity generated for Hornby, there were features here on the TV news, BBC website etc.
Reply to
airsmoothed
protocols and network architectures but Xpressnet lost me in many places. The manual is probably one of the worst have ever seen. Cannot remember for certain but think there was lttle in the way of error recovery or notification of commands received and any expected responses defined. So although Hornby may not have done a great implementation, they may well have completed it to the defined standards - as opposed to what other systems have implemented. Have you paased the info back to them ? Know that originally they defined the first decoder group as address 1 instead of the defined address 0, but this was changed in a later revision of the software.
Cheers, Simon
Reply to
simon
I thought live steam was a great product but with limited market - to me it required a long layout (eg in garden) and wouldnt be of so much interest to collectors. Had an LMS Pacific been developed then may well have bought one and built a basic garden layout just for the fun of it.
Cheers, Simon
Reply to
simon
I think that is accurate.
No, I've not contacted Hornby. Its not my code in this bit of JMRI, I was acting as the intermediary between someone I know with an Elite which was hopeless for doing the programming he wanted to do, and the chap who writes the Xpressnet bits of JMRI.
- Nigel
Reply to
Nigel Cliffe

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