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Super Modulator
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Well, since everything else seems to be compared to the new TE, it's time to compare another flexible, standards-oriented product to the new TE.

I have printed a document I received from QSI here in jpg form because I cannot figure out how to do a good job inserting tables.

I have reviewed this document and it's my opinion that it is all completely factual and it is moreover a fair comparison.




 

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Hi Greg,

I wasn't aware there was a standard for NMRA DCC wireless receivers and/or transmitters. Is that something new? I can understand that the DCC output from a wireless receiver would be to a DCC standard so any decoder would work, but I didn't realize there was a standard NMRA wireless transmitter to receiver protocol.

Keith
 

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Greg - The statement about "2.4GHZ being more crowded and subject to interference" than 900 MHZ leaves me a little puzzled. While I am sure 2.4 GHZ is more crowded, since most 900MHZ cell phones and other electronics are now obsolete, I question the interference part. Does the 900MHZ system use DSSS (Spread Spectrum) or Frequecy Hopping technologies? (I really don't know). My only experience with 900MHZ has been AirWire, and I have personally seen several AirWire installations lose speed control at less than 20 feet (not to mention sound control, which is another issue altogether I think). It appears to me that the 900 MHZ is still susceptible to motor noise, whereas the 2.4GHZ is not (at least in my experience so far).

And since you didn't specify that your post has to follow Aristo-Craft Forum Rules (never mention the competition!) I will add this.


As to cost, the RailBoss ($107), Hobby King Radio ($30), P5+P5T($210): Total cost $347. Each follow on system would be RailBoss ($107) + Receiver ($15) + Sound ($210) = $332
 

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It's interesting--I had range issues with QSI/Airwire, not that often but sometimes, but I've not yet had any range issues with the NCE radio throttle. Not sure why this is. They both operate on 900 hz. The NCE has more range than I need. I can operate trains from inside the house or anywhere in the yard.


I can believe that 2.5 gigs is an advantage, I've seen it described that way many times. If I had a really big layout it would feature more in my consideration. But I doubt it would matter that much--I'm really impressed by the NCE DCC system. Yes, the initial price is a shock, but now it's extremely easy to run and cheap to install decoders. The consisting is easy and a lot of fun, I can control switches from the handled wireless throttle with no additonal wiring. There's a lot of tweaking to do, which is fun as well. I'll someday add a wye or reversing loop and that will trip automatically


The real advatage for me has been the decoders that combine sound and power in one board. I've got 7 locos running QSI now, and it's really a good system. The sound is just better, no way around it, because of the BEMF response and the way it varies under load. I have a RS-3 with QSI, and a USAT S4 with a Phoenix 2k2 in it, and although the Phoenix sounds are really high quality, they tend to get irritating because they don't vary with load. QSI's sound implementation is much more realistic and much less fatiguing. Sometimes soon I'll make a recording that shows this. It's really a clear advantage


And wiring is a pain with the REVO--QSI you wire the decoder, wire a speaker and you're done. Then you can monkey with the sounds using CV values in real time, on the fly. One board, minimal wires. Do I really want to wire the REVO decoder, then the accesssory board to trigger the sounds, then the sound board, then the speaker, then add the capacitor board? I don't think so. Maybe if I was running batteries


I was scared of DC for a long time. It's partly the fault of the people who make and sell DCC equipment. It all seems more complicated than it is. Once I figured out a few things it was easy, and there's still a lot more I can do. It's relaible and I've had virtually no track cleaning problems.


I'm pretty convinced that the raves about the REVO come partly from people who've never never tried DCC operating outisde. Aristo will probably improve the REVO, and I'm sure its a great system. But after investong a lot in the 75 mhz system, which never quite did what was advertised and which they discontinued, I'm happy to be into a non-proprietary solution
 

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Super Modulator
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Discussion Starter #5
Keith, I did not write the document, but it's a starting point, so there is no DCC wireless standard, but what is transmitted over the air is DCC, people have actually taken the Gwire output and run another standard DCC decoder with it (Stan Ames did).

So, you are right, that statement could be clarified, but this is missing the main point... the communication follows an industry standard, ANY DCC decoder manufacturer could easily put a socket on their card and hook to the Gwire, and run from an AirWire or NCE throttle. That is standards at work.

Regards, Greg
 

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Super Modulator
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Del, first, please do QSI and I the honor that is being afforded the same courtesy the other 2 threads on manufacturer specific hardware are enjoying, leave everything else out, this is QSI vs. TE, no one is bringing QSI into your thread, and no one is bringing other stuff into Jerry's TE thread.

The fact you have seen installations fail at 20 feet is the same as the fact as I have seen other installations of other products at 20 feet.

The comment is about the airspace, not the interference issues of motor to decoder, it's 900 MHz vs. 2.4 Ghz.... that fact is true... I know all the EXTRA stuff that 2.4 gig has to do to avoid the interference in a very crowded band.

2.4 has many things in it, cordless phones, Bluetooth, your wireless laptop, and even your microwave has significant emissions here (Try talking on a bluetooth headset near a microwave oven).

You can get motor noise to interfere with ANYTHING, also the PWM power supplies that some manufacturers use for their smoke units and lighting systems.

The 900 MHz band used to be crowded, lots of cordless phones, with all different kinds of protocols and channelizations. Now, everyone is buying 2.4 GHz stuff... and it seems EVERYONE has a 2.4 Ghz wireless access point for their computers in their house.

No where was it stated one was superior to another... but on the Aristo side, it it touted as being better because it is higher frequency, or less interference. It is just not true todays.

Regards, Greg
 

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So if I understand it correctly, Greg, the Gwire receiver is basically a 'repeater', that accepts the DCC wireless signal, then mirrors it to the decoder? That would make sense...nice and simple.

@Del: As for motor noise interfering more with 900, I've never had any sign of motor interference with my Massoth gear and the range is several hundred feet. I suspect it's a engineering design and hardware issue more than anything else.

Keith
 

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I for one having been into QSI/G-wire for approx. 2yrs feel that as of the moment of writing this message, that it is the finest, least expensive, and simplest setup to use in any situation. It's ease of install and operation, are up to my expectations, and I don't see myself doing anything different in the future, although there is always something coming down the pike I suppose unknown of at this time that may change my mind, but for now QSI/G-wire is for me. I read about all the wiring, and other problems encountered with other systems and it just re-enforces my thoughts about being glad I chose this system. So if you are looking for a good, economical, easy to install system this is for you!!! I have used or tried several other systems and makes and models and this is for me with my limited knowledge of electronics, and such. Thanks to Noel and Greg E. out in California, and Ray M. and J.C. in Kansas, so far with they're help have surmounted any problems that I have had and I am enjoying running my trains both indoors and outdoors.The Regal


Oh and my range problems with my t-9000's have disappeared, I am now getting upwards of 80ft+ on them both???????? unknown what changed or disappeared but are both working fine now, and I have yet to try the Procab yet, but from comments on here I believe there will be NO problem, and maybe even better range with that. Hope to get out and try towards the weekend again. been 20-30's here in temperature, and rainy and drizzly since Sat when it was 70 out and I ran trains all afternoon 6hrs and broadcast it live from my backyard Sat. The Regal
 

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The real advatage for me has been the decoders that combine sound and power in one board. I've got 7 locos running QSI now, and it's really a good system. The sound is just better, no way around it, because of the BEMF response and the way it varies under load. I have a RS-3 with QSI, and a USAT S4 with a Phoenix 2k2 in it, and although the Phoenix sounds are really high quality, they tend to get irritating because they don't vary with load. QSI's sound implementation is much more realistic and much less fatiguing. Sometimes soon I'll make a recording that shows this. It's really a clear advantage


Lownote, by turning on the "Rev Wandering" feature in the Phoenix sound file, you can simulate the effect of work load variations.
 

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I don't have either the ProCab or the TE Revo but it seems to me that the decoder configurations stored on the TX is a bad deal. That approach would be a true PITA.

- gws
 

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I'm not going to argue with the side-by-side comparison of cost, features, etc. It's a very thorough comparison.

The crux of the whole matter comes down to this paragraph:

"Both systems are relatively easy to set up and program. Some feel the Aristo-Craft TE system is easier to program because you don't have to know the CV values, i.e., Engine # is entered into CV1. However, with simplicity comes trade-offs. The Aristo-Craft TE system does have a convenient menu-driven set-up procedure for configuring a locomotive, however, if you walk through the number of steps required for setting up a new locomotive, it is substantially more time consuming and complex than setting the engine number CV in the QSI decoder."

My question to the DCC folks--because I simply do not know the answer--is setting CV1 all you have to do to get a locomotive to operate under DCC? (i.e,. if I were to plug a brand-new DCC decoder into a locomotive, would my only "required" step to get the thing to move be to give it an address via CV1?) If that's the case, is that like giving someone a Porsche, and saying "you have 6 speeds, but to get moving, you only need first gear." While accurate, you're selling the experience considerably short. The value of the DCC-based systems lies in the advanced functionality that's over and above what the Aristo TE can is capable of--functions the table outlines quite well. To access the higher-end functions that DCC offers, you need to know the CV codes and programming--something that is not as straightforward as Aristo's menu-driven approach. It is, as they say, a trade-off. You trade simplicity for functionality. The "significantly more time consuming" aspect of their statement is a bit over the top, but show me advertising literature that isn't. Certainly some of Aristo's claims for the TE are equally shrouded in spin.

...the decoder configurations stored on the TX is a bad deal. That approach would be a true PITA. ...

Depends on the operating environment. The beauty of DCC is that it's an open protocol, so I can take my DCC-equipped loco over to a friend's railroad and use his throttles to run it. It's built with the receiver as the constant. The R/C model has always been transmitter-centric because it's built on the premise of being self-contained. In a complex operating environment where you're handing your train off from one operator to the next, it can get a bit problematic, but how many people in large scale operate that way? For the vast majority of large scalers, there's only one operator, so only one transmitter is needed. Even roads that do prototype operations tend to gravitate towards one transmitter per locomotive model.

(I thought I had read that Aristo's working on being able to clone transmitters, too. Not sure where that stands.)

Later,

K
 

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At Marty Cozad's Thingy two weeks ago, I tested the range, end to end of his layout, with my M-190, using QSI/Gwire w/Procab TX. I had to have an observer watching the train at the north end since there was not direct line-of-sight.



Gwire antenna can be seen taped to window ledge at bottom left of picture.



There was full control of motor, lights, and sound at approximately 260ft. My expectations were exceeded and I was very pleased.

Jim Carter
 

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I use both QSI/gwire/NCE Cab Throttle and the REVOLUTION and like both very much. The QSI system was installed 18 months ago and was upgraded to the NCE Throttle this June. The NCE throttle is a very nice upgrade and much easier to program CV's. I've had a mental block with programming but Greg has been a great heip in steering me in the right direction.

Range on the REVOLUTION is quite a bit better but for my layout, it's not a factor. I ran both systems running at Marty's with equal ease of handling and success.

I do find the MUing capabilities of the REVOLUTION much easier to do. As well as ease of installation. For me that is......

I think it's wonderful that we have soooooooooooo many excellent systems to choose from and operate.


Find one(s) we like and are comfortable with and "play with our toys".


With all the operators and operations at Marty's this past year, there was complete compatibility and "harmony". The only difficulty was when some of the 27 mHz TE folks were on the same frequency. However, is was not a big issue as the frequencies were quickly changed and trains ran under the control of it's own operator.


I wonder if there could be a way to remote control the older, windup clock mechanism concept in train propulsion.
 

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When a new DCC decoder is installed, it comes set to address 03. There is NO configuration required to run it. However, the address should not be left that way, it should be changed to something easy to remember, like the engine number on the loco.

Setting the address varies by system, but it is really easy on any of them.

If the loco is on the main and running at address 03, then on Digitrax

Press the program button until Po appears (4 presses max)
Dial the left knob all the way down, it'll stop at the address CV.
If you want a 2 digit address, dial it on the right knob
Press Enter
Press Exit
Reselect the loco at the new address

If you want a 4 digit address, after the address CV is selected as above
Click on the right knob, this will change the address setting to 4 digit
Dial the new address with the knobs, left knob for hundreds, right knob for ones OR key in the new address on the keypad
Press Enter
Then it will ask to change CV29 to use a 4 digit address, key Y
Press Exit
Reselect the loco at the new address

Once you've done this a couple of times, it takes about 3 seconds.

Other CV's are set the same way, dial the CV number on the left knob, dial or key the value on the right knob.

When QSI decoders are programmed on the main, they will speak both the CV selected AND the value that you put into the CV so that you get feedback about what happened. With other decoders, and the QSI, the contents of any CV can be read back while the engine is sitting on a special programming track.

NCE has their own way of setting CV's that is different but equally easy as Digitrax.

About the location of the stored data.... on the decoder is the obvious place to put it. The data pertains to the loco, it should stay with the loco so that any throttle can connect to that loco and ALL of the special stuff that is needed is already there. The loco configuration only needs to be set up once.

Even consists can be easily set up and remembered by the decoders involved so that the consist can be taken to another DCC layout and it will still run no matter who made the DCC system.

Using JMRI, that stored data in the decoder can be read and recorded on a computer so that if you mess with the programming and get it totally screwed up, you can reload a configuration that worked. This works with ANY decoder.

- gws
 

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For me the ease of the NCE system and the range I have far out exceeds any other system I had used before. Later RJD
 

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At this time I am going with the Revolution. My reason is ease of use to non-technical people and I run Track Power. With an icon driven controller it make easier for for someone like my wife to use it. I was using MTS but that is all going to be sold. Having to sit there and program CV's is a bit of a pain. I have also seen DCC boards blow out the 5V lights in LGB locomorives beffore you got a chance to program the light voltage.
I know this will set off a ton of postings.
 

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Super Modulator
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Discussion Starter #19
Larry, the point of the thread was to contrast the QSI vs the TE, not to take one DCC, CV's and hard to use DCC systems.

You can find hard to program DCC systems, in fact you own one, and you are getting rid of it. Good idea. Congratulations.

Without the experience of a good user interface, ANY system sucks. The user interface on the MTS units you have sucks a lot.

Using either throttle (Airwire or NCE), you do NOT have to program CV's to get a loco to run, and when you do desire to set or change the address using the NCE cab, you NEVER even "see" a CV.

Since you have chosen the Revolution, it's a moot point, but if you had taken the time to try the NCE cab with the QSI, you would have seen how simple it is to do, and how many FEWER steps it is to "connect" a loco and run it. Out of the box, the QSI and NCE need NO programming at all. The TE MUST be linked and a cab assigned. I figured this out before my Revo arrived, and confirmed when ti got here, it's really more work to "connect" and run on the TE, no question.

Yes, I have seen people connect full track power to 5v lights and blow them up. You can do this with ANY system you choose, try it with your TE, the "function outputs" are EXACTLY THE SAME with a Revo, it's NO different than a DCC decoder on it's function "outputs". These are all "pull to ground", DCC and TE... Whatever you experienced would have happened with a TE, sounds like the person did not know at all what they were doing, and it was not a PNP install.

Larry, you have brought up several things you have experienced, but these experiences do not apply to the comparison at hand, they just appear anti-DCC in general.

Regards, Greg
 

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Posted By East Broad Top on 06 Oct 2009 01:32 PM


My question to the DCC folks--because I simply do not know the answer--is setting CV1 all you have to do to get a locomotive to operate under DCC? (i.e,. if I were to plug a brand-new DCC decoder into a locomotive, would my only "required" step to get the thing to move be to give it an address via CV1?) K

Kevin

I wish to stay out of the debate of which product is better but do think it appropriate to respond as this is clearly a confusion some have with DCC. Because DCC is normally done with microprocessors, it is relaively easy to have vast number of customizable features. A shorcut to facilitate communication and to provide some common definitions was to use the term CV. Most modern electronics have vast number of featurers the user can customize. MY HDTV for example has hundreds. But for the most part I plugged it in and turned it on. Over time I have altered some defaults to make it work the way I wanted a feature to work but I did not have to.

In the old days of DCC. it was often necessary to customize a lot of features to get good operation but as more experience has been had by the manufacturers, more and more excellent default values are becomming the norm. Many manufacturers now take pride in the fact that few if any individual options need to be set by the user for good operations.

When you get a new locomotive with a DCC decoder, as pointed out by others, normally you have to addign the address it defaults to address 3. This address is storred in the decoder so the locomotive will work on any railroad with address you provide. For locomotives with pre installed DCC decoders often the address is preset at the factory to be the locomotive number so no addrerss assignment is necessary.

A good DCC system hides the common CVs from the user and it is now common to simply tell the sistem which address you want the locomotive to have and system configures the CVs for you automatically. For example I tell the system I want the locomotive with number 463 on the cab to have its DCC address set to 463. The system then does what it needs to do to accomplish that task.

A new feature being designed as part of the bi-directional effort is for each decoder to have a unique ID so you can place the locomotive on the track and operate it from your handheld without knowing its address.

Providing a lot of options to allow customization equates to flexibility and does not equate to complexity. Why? Because these are options and not requirements. These options can be altered if desired but do not need to be altered unless you desire.

Myself the most common options I alter have to do with sound to get the bell and whistle the way I want it. I also now have a set of local railroad function assignments so often I have to remap the default assignment to become the function numbers I desire. This makes it easier for my operators as most locomotives on my railroad now operate the same way.

Hope that helps

Stan Ames
 
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