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?
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
I have had the odd occasion when decoders had to be reset using an
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 A two line black lettering on green display is really out of date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
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
The personal opinion by a well DCC component supplier down under as
stated near the bottom of this page
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
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.
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.