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Discussion Starter #1
What Wireless DCC control do you use?

I use Lenz DCC in HO and love the product. Now that I’m starting to venture in to Garden railways I want to think a head before I get to involved.

With Lenz you have three wireless options, the device which allows you to use a cordless phone as a controller, wireless PDA via a computer interface connection, or CVP Products wireless base station.

CVP will not sell to Australia, I’m not to keen on using a phone, so it leaves me with the PDA option.

Has anyone here used this? I’m sure it will give good coverage especially with a good wireless router.

Or should I be considering another system? Don’t worry if you tell me to get another brand, as I plan to get a separate system for the garden railway.

Thanks
 

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Hello steam5-

There is also a fourth option - using a wireless Massoth Navigator.

Dimax Navigator:
http://www.massoth.com/en/produkte/produkte.dimaxnavigator.php

DiMAX Multi-Receiver for Lenz Expressnet bus:
http://www.massoth.com/en/produkte/8130001.en.php

I have a demo Navigator and it is quite nice. Perhaps you can find someone running one nearby? It's always nice to 'try before you buy.' The Navigator can select between US and European frequency bands.

In the States, NCE and Digtrax also make wireless systems. I run NCE, but indoors. Greg Elmassian and a few others run NCE wireless outdoors. Bob Grosh and a few others run Digitrax outdoors. Perhaps you can get some feedback from them...

Zimo makes a wireless unit for EU frequencies. The NA version is due any day...oh, never mind. They've been promising the NA version for about seven years. :D

Best regards,
Bob
 

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I started with LGB, MTS and have switched to Massoth for my own use. It hase some nice features and great raido range outside, my Central Station and reciever are inside the house with steel siding. I have sold and set up NCE, it is user freindly when programing NCE decoders. I have also set up Digitrax for coustomers, I find it not user freindly, but Iam a little dense. Of these three the Massoth has the most power to the track, 12 AMPS, NCE 10 AMPS. Massoth is also the most money, made in Germany with the weak dollar.
 

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I am using Digitrax wireless.
I have a couple of the big DT400r throttles for programming and such, and several of the smaller utility throttles for operators.

Range? Depends on how you measure it. I can go two blocks away and still hear the whistle blow on a phoenix equipped loco at full volume. It might work farther if I could get a louder sound card.

However, At that distance, one must hold the throttle high and get it oriented just right.

With one receiver, located inside my metal garden shed, It works 95% of the time anywhere on my property if standing up, and holding the throttle in a comfortable position. When the throttle has the house between it and the shed, It many take a second or third try, and repositioning or orienting the throttle. Also, There are a lot of locations where you can not lay the throttle on the ground and press buttons. It definitely will not work while laid on a metal patio table.

By adding a second receiver, the throttles work 100% of the time regardless of orientation, even on the ground or on the metal table from anywhere the layout can be seen, including inside the house. I put the second receiver about ten feet form the first receiver and in a water tight plastic box outside the metal shed.

I also have a PDA, and a wireless laptop that can act as throttles. My Sony Cell phone has blue-tooth, and in conjunction with the laptop can also be used as a throttle. The maximum range I have gotten from it is 480 miles.

While Digitrax has announced a bidirectional throttle, I am not sure what advantage it would have for most users. Since DCC is a one way (to the trains) technology, there is little that is gained by having two way communications. You still won't get any information form the train unless you have a decoder feedback technology in place. As soon as the new throttle gets here, I'll let you know how it works.

Some systems use a polling type networks, (Like IBM Token Ring) so a two way radio is required in order to do anything. Digitrax uses a Ethernet type of network, So two way communications is not required unless you want to a add bi-directional DCC capabilities to read back information from the decoders. In general, you get twice range for a given radio type by going single directional.



BoB
 

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Steam,

I use NCE. They recently released a change to their radio that greatly improves performance, both in terms of response time and range. They also support repeaters if your layout is really large. They are also full duplex so commands are acknowledged. Most NCE systems will put not more than 19.5 volts on the rail, even with a 24 volt power supply, but you can request a special mod from NCE that will boost the voltage somewhat.

I think most of the DCC manufacturers are making very good wireless systems, so you should be good with any of them.

Mike
 

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I use NCE wireless outside and really like the ease of use and range. If you are already using Lenz for your HO layout you wouldn't have to learn a new system? Digitrax seems to have some nice options worth looking at like transponding. If you have mainly LGB then Massoth would be worth a look. Zimo seems to have some capabilities too.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
480 miles isn’t bad!

I just checked I can get the Massoth system here, but the price is crazy! But it does look like a nice product thou.

The guys using the PDA’s as controllers are they easy to use? Or is it a bit strange running trains with one?
 

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Using the PDA is not that different.
The Digitrax PDA adapter cable has a knob on it to control speed. The Knob is just like the knobs on the regular throttles.

PDA's have fallen out of favor. They change the hardware so often that DCC manufacturers find that by the time they get an adapter and software developed the PDA is discontinued in favor of something totally different.

I did pick up a PDA and the adapter for 20 bucks, at that price I could not pass it up. If the price was equal, I'd just get a regular throttle.

I like the way Digitrax has produced a variety of throttles. Very basic low cost, medium featured, and advanced. In addition each has a choice of wired, Infrared, radio and bi-directional radio. And, all throttles can be upgraded to either radio. Even more important to many, especially clubs, is that even the oldest throttles are still compatible with the newest systems. Also, because the throttle network is a true peer to peer network, you can get the newest features like 28 functions without upgrading the command station. All of the old command stations support the newest featured throttles. The command station i bought 10 years ago now supports F0 through F28, playable whistle on Tsunami, and many other features that did not exist 10 years ago. All that without upgrading the command station or downloading new firmware.

I have two of the DT400R throttles, They let me do everything, including stop all train, power the system on or off, or act as a buddy throttle for a young beginner. The UT4 throttle is great for new visitors. One big Knob and a three position switch for forward, stop and back. There are just enough buttons for lights, horn, whistle, cab and smoke. Not enough to allow them to accidental mute the sound, change the volume, shut down the system or take over someone else's train.

EDIT


PS
I just noticed that you are in Australia.

The old radio throttles are not available down there. Wrong frequency.

The new throttles, DT402D or a DT400 upgraded to Duplex, and the UT4D are a new frequency and have been licensed pretty much around the world. I have one on order. They should be shipping in Late November or early December. Digitrax demonstrated 80 of them on a single large "N" scale layout last month. Reports from the N-Track club was that they passed all the test, so presumably, only manuals and production are the reason for the November shipment date. I presume these will be available in Australia.
 

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I am using the Massoth Navigator, along with LGB MTSIII wireless loco remotes for the kids. My wife liked my Navigator so much, she wanted her own...so that tells you something. Like all Massoth products, they are very high quality, well engineered, have user upgradeable software/firmware and the support has been excellent. You definitely pay a premium for them, but I'm willing to pay for the engineering that leaves you free to run trains and not spend half your life troubleshooting hardware or software issues.
Zimo would be my second choice, if they would only come out with a simple, reasonably priced wireless for N/A.

Keith
 

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Write Massoth and ask if they are still discounting to members of Garden Railroad Clubs/Societies? You just might qualify for a fairly good discount price.


Mark
 

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Steam5:
I use the Massoth system. Two interesting things other than usual: 1) My son and I set it up last Christmas; then moved it to the
garden. Used Wireless Remote feature. For months, I was complaining about coverage at about 75 ft. even
called Klaus, the NA rep. That is, until I noticed that we
had never seated the antenna in the base receiver unit. Now I can wander pretty far. I have not found the limit on opposite corners of 1/2 acre.
2) If one puts a scope on the DCC units and related items, the Massoth appears to be the closest to spec on the digital
signal. (Note that this is like snapping a picture of a moving target; these systems are changing all the time)
None of that matters unless it works well, which my system does. It has a lot that helps with LGB stuff.
I think James Shourt in the Los Angeles area might support Australia. Search for "shourtline".
Chip
 

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I use the NCE system, wired throttles for backup and for yard switching, wireless for most running.

My railroad goes around 3 sides of my house now, with the fourth side soon. I have 3 radio base stations (actually one base station and 2 repeaters) and I like the NCE design, the throttle, and the ability to use the wireless as wired. With the 3 base stations, I have great coverage over 50 feet and it's not all line of sight.

The extensibility of the NCE system (up to 32 base stations), multiple cabs, multiple boosters, and the people who run the company definitely are a plus. I have both my NCE boosters wired for 24v output (thanks to NCE) and run 27 volts DC into them.

I do not like the Digitrax controllers, just not as user friendly, although if you are going to use transponding, they are the best choice.

I've not had first hand-experience with Massoth, many people like it, but apparently even more expensive than NCE, and would like more experience.

Bottom line, the NCE team and their responsiveness to problems, solutions, willingness to modify things, and their agressiveness in fixing any problems and adding new features won me over.

They also have the best forum and helpful forum members.

Regards, Greg
 

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Discussion Starter #14
The Digitrax PDA adaptor is interesting, but I can see the hardware issues with ever changing technologies. The KAM software Lenz endorse does not require any hardware on the PDA, it all done with software, so no knob, but easily upgradable because it done in software.

The importer of massoth in Australia is in another state, but I plan to head over there for another reason, but I should really pop past and see him. But it’s very expensive compared to the CVP equivalent!

I do have a have a soft spot for German engineered products, why do you think I run Lenz! ;)

Mike I think your right, it really seems like there is no bad option! I should probably take a word of my own advice I give to people looking to get into DCC, look at a system, you like how it works, stop and buy it! Wireless DCC is not very big here so I don’t see the systems in action.

I normally purchase 95% of my railroading items including DCC from shops in the USA, I get great service at a better price then here and it comes to my door!

Greg, I agree I haven’t been a fan of Digitrax controllers, the Lenz hand held’s a very simple, but that’s our personal preference.

Chip, I think if I go down the massoth track I will get it here, as I met the Australian importer and he has looked after to me on a couple of occasions.

Looking at NCE website, there wireless systems it approved hear in Australia, so that is another option which does not require smuggling, like CVP!
 

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I use the MDC Prodigy with the Wireless add on adapter and their 8 amp booster.

I've been very happy with the features (ease of use and range) and the price.
 

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I use the NCE 10 amp system with wireless. The range is fantastic and even better after the cab up grade. I use one base and two repeater stations. I can go any where on the RR and no range issues even around corner. Later RJD
 

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Good Afternoon Gentlemen, and Others, I`ve been quietly lurking here on the side reading all


and digesting very little, In the field of electronics I am a complete "Kluts", Power on, two wires,


a spark, and I think I`m winning!.


Now, my question, I have an ancient DCC System here left over from my Sn30 Days, It is an


"Atlas Commander System", {did I hear a Snigger from over the back there??}, It still works


great once I`ve removed the Dust and Redback Spiders, Can I fit this up to run my gauge1


Garden railway?, and ifso, what would I need to add as a Power Sourse to do so!, while still


using 12 volt 2 to 4 amp Batteries!?.


Any advise amid the roars of laughter would be much appreciated!.


I am a Pensioner and retired and therefore could not afford a Bank Loan to succeed in this


quest, or sell 3 or 4 Grandchildren into Slave Labour Either!.


Thank you for your Time.





Regards,


John.
 

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Yes, you did hear a snigger. And a roar of laughter. OK, I'll stop!

I really would not use it, but I believe the power capacity of the system is not really appropriate for large scale.

I think your control system is pretty important, and should be less costly than your locos and rolling stock.

Regards, Gre
 

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I am a digitrax man .......

I have even been to the school




I find the dt400 throttle very easy to use plus they also have a ut throttle that even my gramma could use


They have a lot of decoders though mostly HO

and it works right every time I start it


what more could you want ......

the only thing I do not like is the limit of an 8 amp booster ..... even with 4 of them it can be a little sticky at times ......
 

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Again, Good Morning Gentlemen, I think I must have misled you in some manner, My


Loco`s are all Battery Powered with "Sabre 2 Channel R/C inserted", I have used my


DCC Atlas Unit running SN3.5 scale Loco`s and Trains all of which is Scratchbuilt Brass,


{meaning some wieght} I point this out as I use "Digitrax N scale decoders" to run


these Trains, Which I feel is a real pat on the back for "Digitrax Decoders".


Let me give you some "Species" on this worth a Chuckle DCC Unit:





Alltho` it is an "Atlas" It was built by "Lenz" and is refered to as a "Lenz Compact".


Max` Throttles: 5.


Max Loco`s running together:99.


Max Consists: 99.


Max Point/Switches:99


Functions: 5-F0F4.


Address range: 100 2Digit.


Feedback: No.


Computer Interface: Yes.


CV Readback: Yes.


Program On Main: No.


Seperate Programing: No.


Now,


I run 1 Train at a time, usually alone, so there is no chance of overcrowding, or overloading


the System in anyway, The "Atlas/Lenz Unit" is rated at 2 Amps, so are the Moters I have


in Situ, While my loco`s run great on the R/C 2 Channel under Battery Power I`d like to


try DCC on a DEAD Track under Battery Power!, Can this be done???.


Is there some sort of "Gizzmo" or Different receiver I would require to make this happen??.


Buying a Brand New You beaut latest Model DCC is completly out of the question!.





Best Regards,


John Richards.


Western Australia.


 
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