G Scale Model Train Forum banner

21 - 40 of 222 Posts

·
Super Moderator
Joined
·
4,960 Posts
... 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. ...]

The flexibility and complexity go hand in hand. It's not a bad thing, just the inherent nature of the beast. Take your digital SLR camera for example. It's got what's commonly called "idiot mode" in which it does all the thinking for you. It's a very simple mode in which to operate, and I use it a lot when I'm out and about shooting photos of the kids, etc. However, it is capable of being customized to the Nth degree--allowing the photographer a great amount of creative flexibility. I use that mode when shooting photos in the garden for publication. To get the most out of that level of customization, you have to know (a) what the controls you're altering affect the resulting photograph, and (b) how to alter those controls. The first requires a fair understanding of photography and lenses--something the basic user may not have. The second requires an understanding of how to program those variables on the specific camera.

That's a very strong parallel to DCC. There seems to be the basic mode in which you simply select an address, hit the throttle button, and the train moves. That's probably adequate for 75% of the users out there. However, to get more out of the system, you've got to (a) understand what variables are there and how they affect operations, and (b) how to specifically program them with your particular system. That definitely takes a higher level of understanding than just "the basics." I keep getting DCC-compatible toys to review for the magazines, so I've been trying to indoctrinate myself into the world of DCC so I can really see the full potential of these various products. There's definitely a learning curve to it.

To go back to the camera analogy, the Aristo-Craft system is more like a higher-end point-and-shoot camera. It gives you functionality far beyond the "basics," but still not what you can get with a good DSLR. But if you don't need that high level of functionality, you're never going to notice it's not there. At that level (and since cost is nominally equal), you can choose your system based on your personal preference of user interface.

Later,

K
 

·
Super Modulator
Joined
·
20,517 Posts
Discussion Starter #22
Actually Kevin, you need to learn DCC to review a DCC product. I saw the recent review of the QSI in GR and it was reviewed as a sound card by someone who really has just the barest understanding of DCC.

I think your analogy can be improved on though... It has been shown that the TE system takes MORE steps to get a loco configured to run, push button, enter names, link, now assign to a cab, then select cab... etc.

Way more than: (out of the box QSI) push "select loco", push 3, push enter. That's 3 button presses, maybe 20 on the Aristo to navigate menus, enter names, select cab, etc.

So, in basic operation, the QSI system is point and shoot, and the TE is a manual SLR....

When you go to more advanced things, like the next level, I think the TE is simpler, because there are fewer choices, and they are all menu items. The QSI/NCE combination is simpler for a few of these things, more steps for others.

Example: setting momentum on the QSI is fewer steps, and simpler, there is a single "MOMENTUM" button on the NCE throttle.... more steps to do this on the TE

But the TE is simpler if you want to set the "starting voltage", it has a menu item, but the NCE/QSI needs you to program CV2. It's easy, but you have to know that it's CV2 you want.

When you get to all the bells and whistles, then it's no longer a comparision, there is just way more functionality in DCC, so there is no corresponding function in the TE.

So, to recap, I think it is a mistake to try to make an "overall" which is better, or which is easier.

Some things the QSI does easier, some things the TE does easier.

It's not the "night and day" that seems to be what many people want to make the comparison "come out as".

Regards, Greg
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
2,910 Posts
I'm close to a total novice with DCC--I had never even tried a DCC system in any scale until I got some QSI-Airwire rigs maybe a year and a half ago.


To speak to Kevin's point, DCC works fine "out of the box"--speed control, direction control--they all work in a familiar way. The gofast makes it go fast, the goslow makes it go slow, reverse works, etc. The default address is three, but setting the address to something else isnt hard. Both the QSI decoders and the NCE decoders have preset momentum which you can tweak all day long. It runs just fine in simple mode. The tweaking is optional, but it's fun.

The QSI/Airwire system is very good--you can progam a loco on the fly, while it's running. it takes a little bit of manual reading if you are usng the airwire throttle. It's much easier wth the NCE setup. It's not DCC per se, but the interface that accounts for a lot of the difference.


I'll happily admit that it took me a long time to go to DCC, because I found it initially intimidating and hard to understand. As a guy who makes part of his living writing, I blame a lot of that on the way DCC is described by manufacturers and retailers.


It's still really odd that aristo's REVO needs that cap board to work with track power. I suspect Lewis figures battery is the way the hobby is going/will go and they just didn't bother much with track power when they were testing.


Anyway, it's a really central point--you can't beat the simplicty and low cost of adding sound and remote control once you've got DCC. Buy a QSI decoder and a [email protected] bucks. Wire the decoder (or drop it in the socket) and plug in the speaker, and you're done. It's really that easy. No cap board, no accessory switch, no extra sound board needing to be powered, no manual volume switch, no chuff sensor/reed switch/magnet rig-up, no programming socket.
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
208 Posts
I do not have any experience with the Revolution so I cannot make an apples-to-apples comparison. I run with a QSI / Gwire / NCE ProCab combination. At Marty's, I was able to run my RGS #455 over the entire layout from one spot with full control over speed, lights and sound. No drop-outs ... no dead spots ... and no interferrence from the multitude of others who were simultaneously running. Needless to say, I'm quite happy with the combination and am presently installing QSI and GWire into two more locomotives.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
64 Posts
Having used both the QSI and Airwire 9000 throttle combo and now the revolution, I prefer the Aristo product. Both systems have their pros and cons and neither system is perfect. I only wish they had come out with the new throttle for use with the Airwire before I sold all my equipment. In particular, I grew frustrated with the inconsistent operation (range, bell, horn) and occasional complete loss of memory between the receiver and transmitter when using the Airwire 9000 throttle and QSI card. As others have mentioned, the Aristo system is easier to program (and understand without reference books), however issues like the need for capacitors and inability to easily add a plug & play sound card are definate drawbacks.
 

·
Super Modulator
Joined
·
20,517 Posts
Discussion Starter #26
I have a Revo TE and the cap board. It has been observed that the TE decoder/receiver is reset by very short term interruptions in power. Aristo says you must use the cap board when running track power. Not giving the TE a hard time, but this was a problem with DCC about 10-15 years ago.

It's no longer a problem with DCC, all modern decoders handle this. Aristo should be able to solve this problem, but as of now, there are no hardware or firmware updates.

I will also say that with AirWire operation, when your installation does not have good range (installation problem) then the first things to stop working well are the bell and horn (and of course are 99% of the functions used typically after speed and direction).

You are probably having range issues all the time, and you are noticing missed commands on the bell and horn, but are undoubtedly missing speed commands. Since the loco does not stop or change speed, a missed speed command is often unnoticed.

Since both the AirWire system and the TE system are wireless, they can both have range and installation issues.

In my experience, it's usually easy to fix a poor range issue, almost always installation-related, or electrical noise that can be suppressed, really an installation issue also. When I say "easy" I mean when there is a problem, ask an expert.

Regards, Greg
 

·
Super Moderator
Joined
·
4,960 Posts
... I think your analogy can be improved on though... It has been shown that the TE system takes MORE steps to get a loco configured to run, push button, enter names, link, now assign to a cab, then select cab... etc.

Way more than: (out of the box QSI) push "select loco", push 3, push enter. That's 3 button presses, maybe 20 on the Aristo to navigate menus, enter names, select cab, etc. ...
How realistic is it for a DCC user to have every locomotive have ID #3? Yes, it's the default, and you don't "need" to set it to get going. Still, 99% of the time the DCC user is going to change that to the loco's road number or some other identifiable number during the initial programming. The TE doesn't have a default ID to fall back upon, so the user "has" to set up its unique ID to get going. I think from a practical standpoint, both systems are pretty much a wash in that regard. In either case, we're not talking about hours on end to program, we're looking at 10 minutes per loco to give each one its own unique ID, give it a start voltage, top end, tell it which way is forward so the headlight matches the direction, etc. I meant to say this in my earlier post, but I'm glad to see more DCC systems become more transparent in terms of programming. (i.e, "plain english" menus where they're setting CV values but don't have to know they're doing so.)

... So, in basic operation, the QSI system is point and shoot, and the TE is a manual SLR....
Try this - in basic operation, the QSI is a point and shoot, the TE is a point and shoot that requires you to set the clock before you can take a picture. (I shot with manual SLRs for years. Using your analogy, it'd be like comparing the QSI to a bag of electronic components you have to assemble yourself.)

... It's not the "night and day" that seems to be what many people want to make the comparison "come out as".
I don't know that the posts in this thread support the position that anyone's trying to declare a "victor" by any means. Truth is, in terms of higher-end capabilities, the difference is night and day, by virtue of the fact that the TE doesn't support those functions. I think if anything, the posts support my position that for the "average" user, either system will work equally well; it comes down to personal preference towards the user interface. It seems to be running around 50/50, which doesn't surprise me. I've used Airwire and Aristo. My choice came down solely to the controller. I like the graphical display of the Aristo system. My ideal system would have that display coupled with the speed control knob of the basic Airwire throttle (the one with definite start and stop limits on travel). The bar showing throttle setting is a close second. Hopefully I'll have a chance to try the NCS system, if only to test drive it. At this point, I've already got two throttle systems. I'm loathe to add a third.

...I suspect Lewis figures battery is the way the hobby is going/will go...
Lewis has stated things to that effect in the past, so one can assume that perspective shapes product development. I don't know how many of the early Beta testers used track power.

Later,

K
 

·
Super Modulator
Joined
·
20,517 Posts
Discussion Starter #28
Kevin, you are unfortunately exposing yourself as not reading or understanding the products enough to make statements like 99% of the time.

In AirWire people often change the frequency channel, not the dcc loco number.

You REALLY need to be more familiar before you start quoting statistics like 99%.

No, it is NOT 99% of the time it will be changed... remember that many people who run AirWire and/or battery often pair just one transmitter to one receiver/loco.

So just on this point I am in great disagreement with what you wrote.

I think you need to speak to more battery people. Call TOC, and ask him. Ask Paul Norton. They will BOTH tell you that most users pair one throttle with one loco. I guarantee it. Paul is a big TE supporter, and is a member of a big battery operated club. TOC does not use the TE, but is a very well respected installer and guru of battery operation, locomotives, etc.


Have you really USED both systems? More than 5 minutes? I'm not trying to pick a fight, but your statements indicate to me that you are not familiar with DCC.

You also need to realize that the TE is constantly touted as being easier to set up, and "beyond DCC" and as I put in my previous post, that is sometimes true and sometimes not, and I gave specific, factual, measurable information, not opinion. (and I gave the TE the edge deservedly in one department)


Any person can take each system and count the keystrokes to "connect" a loco. There is a vast difference in the number of keystrokes. THREE keystrokes on the QSI system, dozens on the TE. Do you contest this? If I changed the address on the QSI loco, it would STILL be way less.


You are also hanging on saying that DCC needs people to pick a start voltage and top end and direction? You are very wrong here, most DCC systems are out of the box "good", in fact the TE has the problem that you have no idea which direction is forward, it's just an arrow.

Again, the comparison is very specific, the QSI/Gwire and the Aristo TE, not the old DCC decoders from 20 years ago, not an ole LGB MTS system, not anything else. The QSI has good default settings right out of the box.


Again, looks like DCC bashing on DCC in general, not sticking to the comparison at hand. How would it be if I bashed the Aristo Revo TE here for the crappy 75 MHz system? Same thing, has NOTHING to do with this thread and this comparison.


But this is what you ARE doing, bashing the QSI because you claim you need to set start and top speed, and that CV's must be involved to setup and run a new loco.


Please get off the "CV bashing bandwagon", where opponents constantly try to scare people away because they have to "learn" CV's.


It has already been mentioned that you can do virtually everything, and for sure get started without even knowing

I'm keeping objective, but it's sounding like someone has an agenda to bash DCC here. Lewis Polk definitely has stated this in his advertisements. what a CV is.

Let's keep this on the subject and objective and factual.

By the way I do not agree with your updated analogy, comparing a point and shoot camera with a bag of parts... I think your analogy went from bad to absurd, really... why are you doing this?



Regards, Greg
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
1,261 Posts
Posted By Greg Elmassian on 07 Oct 2009 05:38 PM
...

Any person can take each system and count the keystrokes to "connect" a loco. There is a vast difference in the number of keystrokes. THREE keystrokes on the QSI system, dozens on the TE. Do you contest this? If I changed the address on the QSI loco, it would STILL be way less.

...









From an outsiders point of view (because I have never used either system): I don't care how many keystrokes it takes to perform a function. Which one is easier to understand? My limited experience with programming CVs is helping others try to understand a system they bought and can't figure out. Many CVs, in my experience, require the user to understand the binary number system, so they can set certain bits of a byte in the CV to make a programming change without screwing up 7 other functions. This is NOT straight forward! Now it sounds like maybe some of these newer systems have made this process more user friendly. I hope so. Anyway, 10 keystrokes through a readable menu system is nothing, compared to X minutes of math on the sidelines before you make that 1 keystroke. Like I say, I'm not real familiar with the newer systems, and this hopefully isn't the case anymore. My point is, counting keystrokes may not mean a whole lot.
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
1,261 Posts
And come to think of it ... What difference does it make what the experience level of a product reviewer is? As long as they state their degree of familiarity with the subject. A review from a complete novice will be very helpful to the novice considering purchasing the system. A review from a guru may be more helpful for those seasoned users of a similar system. As long as the reviewer doesn't claim to be something they aren't, what is the harm?
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
5,620 Posts
Del: Do not see why you even posted to this thread when you have stated you are not familiar with the system. I can program a QSI in less than 60 seconds with DCC so not a bit of a problem. Later RJD
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
1,261 Posts
I am responding to Greg's questioning the competence of Kevin to review a DCC product unless he is an expert on the subject. Have we now established a new rule on this site, that expressing an opinion that is not 100% on topic requires starting a new thread? Edit: And as to the programming, I'm glad the QSI is easy. I way speaking in general terms about counting keystrokes.
 

·
Super Modulator
Joined
·
20,517 Posts
Discussion Starter #33
Posted By Del Tapparo on 07 Oct 2009 06:57 PM
I am responding to Greg's questioning the competence of Kevin to review a DCC product unless he is an expert on the subject. Have we now established a new rule on this site, that expressing an opinion that is not 100% on topic requires starting a new thread? Edit: And as to the programming, I'm glad the QSI is easy. I way speaking in general terms about counting keystrokes.
Del as you correctly state, you do not need to be an expert to comment. You SHOULD be an expert to do an in depth review, and compare features and quote usability.

If a novice does a review, it MAY be an interesting review, BUT the novice should not be stating demographical data like 99% of the users do this....

That's where I am having heartburn. And I never did state you needed to be an expert to comment.

But continually bringing up the "CV scare tactic" is really just DCC bashing. It's not that complex, but again:

LETS KEEP THIS THREAD TO THE SPECIFIC COMPARISION, NOT DCC AGAINST THE WORLD, BUT QSI/GWIRE COMPARED TO THE ARISTO REVO TE.

I really want you guys to honor this, as I am not invading the Railboss thread on why track power is better than battery power, and not invading the TE thread on why DCC is better than TE.

Many people have an agenda here, and it's really not being helpful or objective.

Why is this specific comparison not afforded the same courtesy as the other topics?


Regards, Greg
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
5,620 Posts
Del: For your info still does not make any sense for you to even to reply. Your comments are totally off the wall. Later RJD
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
1,261 Posts
I expressed an opinion to comments made by others in this thread. 1)Using the number of keystrokes required to perform a function as a benchmark. It may not be the best way, in my opinion. 2)The notion that a reviewer must be an expert on the subject ... Not always necessary, in my opinion. I didn't say anything about any specific brand or system. I guess I did relate my past experience ... sorry for sharing. So now you can clutter up this thread some more by calling me names. I think anything initiated by the poster of the thread, should allow for some comment.
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
2,525 Posts
Greg.
You yourself have discussed the AirWire system above when you talk about range issues and missed commands.

Apart from having the ability to control QSI via a G-Wire, what has referring to the Airiwre system per se got to do with a comparison of QSI and the REVOLUTION?
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
2,910 Posts
The airwire system is an interesting beast and it seems to me it's worth comparing to the REVO because both can operate on straight DC. QSI/Airwire gives you a lot of the options of DCC on track power. It's a relatively cheap way to get into DCC on track or battery.


I thought hard about going to the REVO--I liked DC track power with the aristo 75 mhz, but in the end the Airiwre/ QSI combo looked cheaper if you assumed you'd install sound. And then having been somewhat burned by the 75 mhz system, which never quite did what Aristo said it would do, and which they dumped, I decided against a proprietary system. QSI/Airiwre is really good, but after using it for a while--as a total novice--I concluded in the long rung that DCC is a better option for me.

If I was a battery guy, I'd be very interested in DCC vs other systems, like Tony's new beltrol. But batteries?? No thanks!
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
2,525 Posts
Sure would make an interesting comparison, but, the topic is QSI and REVO powered, I assume, by constant track voltage.
 
21 - 40 of 222 Posts
Top