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DCC Dilemma

2444 Views 11 Replies 7 Participants Last post by  Greg Elmassian
Hi All,
I followed with great interest Jerry's thread on DCC systems and at the time was satisfied with my MTS II central station. Well, that died and now I am in the same position as Jerry. Where do I go next.
I spoke with Massoth USA and they can send the central station to Germany for repair but it takes time and I still have obsolete hardware.
I could switch to Massoth and have no compatibility issues with the 10 MTS equipped engines. An expensive option. I do like the Navigator remote.
I could switch another DCC system but - do I then face compatibility issues with the MTS decoders and sound systems. Less expensive option and I guess I would choose either Digitrax or NCE based on what I read in the previous thread.
Does anyone have first hand experience operating MTS equipped engines with sound on either NCE or Digitrax systems? What are the shortcomings, if any?
Doing on-line research it seems that NCE, Digitrax etc. are focussed on the smaller scales with a lot of emphasis on N-gauge. Massoth seems geared to Garden Railroads.
Where do people locate their central stations? My MTS Central Station II was outdoors all spring, summer and fall inside a closed building (barn) on the layout. The building sits on a piece of cement board topped by an inch of blue foam board that the central station and receiver sit on. Is that advisable with the other systems?
Looking for input to try to make a quick decision so I don't miss out on running trains the rest of the summer and fall.
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I was faced with the same questions that you faced with having a MTS II system. I spend a lot of time looking at different systems and went with Massoth central station and their hand controllers. The price was high but I have had NO problems!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! If you are looking for a system that works with your LGB equipment, then Massoth is the answer. I like the ability to program on the main along with programming on a seperate "PROGRAMMING" track. I also enjoy the hand controllers ability to transmit and receive. In addition, I have found that using the pictures (of the engines) has made things really easy to I.D. engines to control. I know that the cost is up there, but if you want the BEST you have to step up to the plate.
Thanks, Michael

I have been leaning that way but am looking for validation.

Look @ some of the posts by Bob Grosh.. He likes LGB decoders & uses a Digitrax system, the DCS200 Command Station & DB200 Boosters..

I'm running a couple of LGB Moguls with LGB DCC/Sound on my GR using MRC Prodigy Wireless with their 8 amp booster. It's a very cost effective solution and the throttle has connectivty to the receiver everywhere on my layout. Works fine although I did need to buy a programming booster to support programing off the main.
Hi Keith,

I am currently using LGB MTSIII, using two Navigators and LGB loco remotes--all wireless. With the Navigator and Massoth wireless receiver, it can all stay in my house, about 75-100' away from the track. The range and response is excellent. I had one Navigator, and my wife liked it so much she wanted her own so we got a second one and never had any regrets. I run all LGB locos, with either LGB decoders or Massoth XLS sound decoders. As strange as it may sound, what I like best of all is the old MTS programming software. I can program the acceleration & speed curves so that they are almost as smooth (in my opinion) as anything using higher number of speed steps. That aside, in your position I would strongly recommend switching over to the Dimax Massoth system and going with their XLS, LS or newer XXL if you have high current demands. You have great programmability, can run servos etc., and the compatibility and quality is excellent. If you were thinking of any other system I would go Zimo, which is also excellent.
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Keith, how many MTS locos do you have? If just a few, cut the umbilical and go with more mainstream, standardized DCC systems. If you have a bunch, and there are many "serial" decoders, you are pretty much stuck.

(Of course you can push the function button a number of times to make the MTS decoders work, but what a pain)

Regards, Greg
Hi Keith,

Here are some of my experiences, hope they might help?

My father and I decided to go down the Massoth Dimax route almost a year ago and haven't looked back since! Massoth equipment is absolutely fantastic and I wouldn't hesitate to recommend it to anyone, the Navigator handset is very easy to use and a joy to operate with. I love the amount of information that the display can provide, not just the loco address but also short helpful name and a picture in the top left hand corner. It also gives you a readout of the current track voltage, and the total amp draw as a percentage so you can see instantly what you are using. It is incredibly esay to program with too as it automatically calculates the appropriate CV's for long addresses, as well as supporting POM if you want to make adjustments out on the line. The 1200Z central station is fantastic too, with a large amount (12amps) of headroom and built like a tank.

There are loads of really nice features that you discover when you start using the system, like when you operate the handset in teathered mode, it re-charges the batteries for when you next use it wirelessly. Plus the ability to update the unit from the internet is a real bonus as your gear is less likely to become obsolete. Their point decoders are very nicely designed and can also be setup to run lights and stationary motors.

We mostly use NCE mobile decoders as I like the high stall current of the 808, specifically engineered for the current hungry USAT diesels such as the GP9. I don't have much experience with LGB MTS decoders so I can't comment but I know some of our friends use them with very successful results.

All in all it is fantastic system with some great help and support. (We live in Scotland so use the European tech support, but I believe the American centre is just as helpful). My only single complaint is the cost, at £600 for the Central Station and approx £200 for the wireless handset it ain't cheap, but it's an investment we're happy we made!

Hope this helps, all the best,
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Gavin, what frequency does the wireless run on?

Thanks, Greg
Hmmm... thats a good question! I should really know the answer to that one! I think Massoth makes two versions of their wireless stuff, one thats legal for radio use in the UK and Europe, and one thats compatible with the American market. Will check the book and find out.

In the manual it shows the following available frequencies: 433,1 Mhz; 433,6 Mhz; 434,2 Mhz and 434,7 Mhz. Hope that makes sense? It also shows frequency choices for 915Mhz to 918Mhz, I guess thats for use in the US.
Thanks, I believe you cannot use the 433 MHz in the US, and the 900 MHz is a cell phone freq in other countries.

Regards, Greg
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