How does the (British!) ZTC product compare to other manufacturers of DCC?
Price? (I suppose I could google that one)
Also, how do slave units communicate back to the master unit, when the
master unit is driving all the power on the bus?
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It looks and feels nice because of the way it is constructed in a metal housing and when first introduced with matching accessories looked to be the basis of a good system. Well known for some issues that affected some while other never had trouble. Loco runaways and damaged decoders have been claimed. Track Isolating switch when powering up regarded by many as essential. I have had the odd occasion when decoders had to be reset using an external programmer.
It is costly for a system that hasn't advanced in years ,much better value out there IMHO. Will be like buying a Morris Thousand for the price of a large German Saloon and finding a Toyota Yaris for half the price is better equipped.
Functions limited by modern standards and you need to be dexterous with fingers and memory of what you are doing to get the best from one. A two line black lettering on green display is really out of date and always prevented me from using the units full potential. The present owner of it is doing his best to bring out a new version but that is late and in my opinion still will not be competitive with other systems for an equivalent price and last year when I asked the simple display was being kept. I have two 511 master controllers and a slave 622 ,one bought new about 6 or 7 years ago and others acquired cheaply around the time that one of the owners of ZTC just abandoned it . I cannot for sure say it was the ZTC unit which last year damaged the sound chips on two Locos from the US supplier BLI but two locos suddenly failing within 3 minutes of each other with the same fault ( short within decoder) but it seemed suspicious. BLI kindly replaced them F.O.C but hinted that if they failed again they could not be so generous so I finally retired the ZTC and got an ESU. The retired ZTC is used for a track cleaning train or some simple locos on the garden line as it lives in a cabinet outside all the time. The other is in the shed where it is used for various things, they actually make very good DC controllers and the easy switch to that is useful if you have something old that you may wish to run occasionally. Slaves are connected by cables terminated with mini DIN plugs.With a hand held that is all you need but if a master desk controller (511)being is used as a slave then it must have power connected to the power supply input otherwise damage may occur, this input can come from the same transformer as the one supplying the master or an additional one depending on what you need in total.
They do have a following,seem popular with G gauge folks as they are fairly powerful with the right transformer,They did a 10 amp one for a while. Others bought the system and have not needed to move on ,others who just feel a loyalty to something that is a bit quirky . Like running an old British Motorbike ,it'll never be perfect ,leak oil,throw a wobbler, but has something about it. Must admit I feel a little sorry for the chap who is attempting to keep it going,Must be over two and half years since I asked him if certain things would get updated but in the end nothing happened and I had to move on. If you haven't come across this thread while researching it's worth a read.
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The personal opinion by a well DCC component supplier down under as stated near the bottom of this page
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is a bit more blunt .
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Please excuse top-posting.
The reply below sums up the situation very well but just to add a little, the ZTC 611, successor to the iconic 511, is due "anyday" and addresses most if not all of the issues which have been criticised. The 611 unit is
I have tried all types of DCC controller and still prefer using the ZTC, within its limitations. Swinging over a chunky metal lever is so much more satisfying than twiddling a knob or sliding a finger over a touchscreen. I will be having my 511 upgraded despite having EcOS, Elite and eLink systems available.
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I like it.
Unfortunately it has been allowed to languish. That means it is well behind the curve.
I'm afraid that led me to ditch mine and move to NCE largely because of the fact that I run American Outline and they regularly use up to 21 functions.
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Graham Harrison
It also up for sale again by all accounts.
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More correctly, Graham, who runs the ZTC Technical Support Service as well as the Owners Club, has persuaded Neil Kinnison to sell the ZTC brand to him. The vehicle for this will be a new company called Taunton Controls Ltd.
Graham has great plans to rejuvenate the company and seems to realise the immensity of his task.
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