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have been in model railways for 3 years ,when the ez dcc system came out i bought a bachmans goods set complete with 2 engines to see if dcc was the way to go ,after a week the advantages over dc in my opinion were worth the cost i then converted 12 locos by fitting bachman decoders .
never had any problems, what i can't understand is why hornby are having all the problems, all the forums are full of it ,decoders which can't be progammed by other systems easily, my local dealer has had problems .
hornby select would appear to have a problem. local dealer had a hornby dcc day last month hornby were showing the elite unit which appeared to work ok i asked the rep if hornby decoders could be reprogammed by other dcc systems was told that it should not be a problem .
when the gaugemaster dcc system came out i upgraded to that and have been very happy with it ,my point is if i had started with problems with dcc i would have gone back to dc, most people are not technical they just want to plug the system in and run it with out any technical problems .
 

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QUOTE my point is if i had started with problems with dcc i would have gone back to dc, most people are not technical they just want to plug the system in and run it with out any technical problems . This is exactly the issue that was raised previously in regards to Hornbys select. If people have a bad experience of DCC then they will be put off. This is why it is best to go with a tried and tested system.

Hornbys system has the attraction of being a very cheap introduction to DCC but there is still a lot of debate about how functional (or not) it actually is. No other system seems to have had as many issues as the Hornby one. By comparison I can only remember hearing about one problem with the Bachmann system.

You might want to have a read through the previous DCC threads as regards forum members thoughts on Dynamis and select.
 

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I think Bachmann bought in all the components of their system from existing DCC manufacturers. Given that, the lack of compatibility problems isn't surprising.

Who designed Hornby's system and what is their previous experience of DCC?
 

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It goes back to the Hornby attitude that they know everything about model railways. Also they make lots more money by doing it themselves and not paying for proven bought in components or royalties for their use.

This attitude and lack of compatibility is very worrying given that Hornby have announced future models will come DCC fitted (DCC imposed)! Should alarm DCer and DCCer alike

Russell
 

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Bachmann got into DCC using Lenz equipment and made no secret of the fact.

I don't think Hornby have ever publicly said who designed their DCC system. However the designers have not been so coy about it. I previously posted this link which spills the beans on who did the deed. The company's name is "Product Resolutions Limited".

David
 

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You just have to look at the Cyber Chat Forum on Hornby's site to see the problems faced by new DCC users.

It seems that the decoders, both loco and stationary have big problems. Hornby are getting plenty sent back.
 

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There does seem to be a fair amount of items being sent back. I wonder however, if half the problem is the people buying it do not really understand what they are playing with.

I would say the hornby Select is a bit quirky, and there are a few compatibility problems - but perhaps not as many as there are made out to be. Unless the puchasers have an idea of what to do to try to correct problems, things like poor track joints, connections, dirty rails, capacitor interference etc, they probably don't stand much chance with any DCC system - they will give up and send it back! All railway modelling needs a bit of patience to get everything working correctly, and in my experience a lot of 'train set' purchasers will not have the patience to get the best out of a unit such as the Select.

I have been playing with the Select now for about a month and to be honest, it does what is says on the tin - as long as you use Hornby parts. I think they may have been wiser to hold back on the launch - rushing it through before Xmas probably was not the best idea.

My problem with the Bachmann E-Z system was the limit of 10 locos, but then maybe this is a true starter system and the select was trying to be something more than it is capable of being?

Could we create a list of 'known' compatibility problems on this site somewhere? I think it would help lots of new comers make a good decision on purchasing the right system for their 'longer term' needs?

With the Select, the only way we are going to conclude on its compatibility issues is for all Select users to experiment with it and feedback with hard facts. Yes, perhaps there should not be any issues, but there are, so lets make a defined list to clarify it and make the best of what is out there.
 

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QUOTE (Doug @ 7 Jan 2007, 11:00) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>You just have to look at the Cyber Chat Forum on Hornby's site to see the problems faced by new DCC users.

It seems that the decoders, both loco and stationary have big problems. Hornby are getting plenty sent back.

Just had a quick look at the forum and ;

First thing - don't think much at all of the format. MRF is much better set up.

and (Taking a humoungous breath of air) - judging by the type of posts it seems to sum up perfectly the difference between the "train set people" & the "model railway people".
 

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QUOTE (dbclass50 @ 7 Jan 2007, 13:45) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>Just had a quick look at the forum and ;

First thing - don't think much at all of the format. MRF is much better set up.

and (Taking a humoungous breath of air) - judging by the type of posts it seems to sum up perfectly the difference between the "train set people" & the "model railway people".

I think a far bigger problem is that Hornby aren't responding via the Forums either. When the vast majority of buyers buy their sets they will automatically go the Hornby Website for advice and help and Hornby aren't providing this.

The select is designed to be easy to use, so if it isn't doing what people expect it to they aren't getting that involved in trying to get it to work. Easy to use must mean easy to fix. There isn't a help page on the website and most people have no choice but to return items.

One of the big problems is that it doesn't read back CV's so people can't check that it has programmed properly which would be the first thing to check by reading CV1.

Having to send things back should be a last resort but Hornby aren't providing the help they require and people have no choice.

There are a few of us trying to help, but as most of us don't have a Select to work from we can only go by what our systems do and this isn't ideal.

I think the vast Majority of DC user's who have brought the set to test the water will work round these issues as they are used to tinkering and getting things to work.

"Little Johnnies" mother isn't going to try and will take it back for another unit or refund, even possibly stopping little Johnnie form getting started in the hobby before he has chance to.

If Hornby don't start offering online support to their forum then people will stop buying the DCC sets and Hornby will see this as "the UK doesn't want DCC" and stop producing it.

The ball is in their court at the moment and the sooner they wake up and start taking notice the better.

It seems to be the DCC mixed goods set that most people have brought and having issues with, whether it's the decoders in the loco's or the Select unit I don't know, but it would be interesting to see what ratio are actually faulty on return.

Darren (Hornby fan by the way)
 

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QUOTE (darobi @ 7 Jan 2007, 14:20) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>If Hornby don't start offering online support to their forum then people will stop buying the DCC sets and Hornby will see this as "the UK doesn't want DCC" and stop producing it.

Hmmmmm........

There does seem to be a sad lack of support for Hornby DCC customers. From what I interpret from the Hornby Forum, most of them seem to be first time DCC'ers. There seems to be more support for them from experienced DCC'ers than from Hornby themselves.

IMHO, if Hornby do not provide the required support & then stop producing DCC, the sooner they stop the better, before untold damage is done to the reputation of DCC. Tough on the purchasers of Hornby DCC unfortunatly, but at least the Select is not too much money.
 

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Phew: the Hornby DCC forum is a bit of a mess isn't it?

At least 25% of the threads have nothing to do with DCC and a lot of the questions are very basic indeed. By the look of it a lot of the p0osters aren't just new to DCC , they're pretty new to model railways. Average age about 14 by the look of it

Someone at Hornby needsto sit down and draft an FAQ section fairly quickly . This is what happens when you take a sophisticated niche product out of its little niche and start selling it to little Johnny and his mum in the run up to Christmas ....

Added to which you have a total mix of people mentioning high end DCC concepts like SPROGs and feedback and people who patently
have only a very hazy grasp of basic DC analogue

The difference between Hornby and Bachmann is that Bachmann don't sell many trainsets, their DCC sets were very low key , and I doubt if many found their way into the mass market.

Added to which , Bachmann are selling products which have already been on sale for some time under another brand, and are made by an established player. Hornby are a new DCC player , launching their first DCC products - straight into the Christmas trainset market

In the normal course of events Hornby would expect the dealer network to provide most of the customer support . The trouble is , a lot of the dealers clearly know nothing about DCC and may end up making misleading comments (I know the owner and staff in my local model shop , though experienced modellers, know precisely zero about DCC and have never ever handled any of the equipment . They will shortly be selling the Select and decoders ) I understand Mackays' , the Lenz importer, insist that anyone selling Lenz goes on a 2 day course with them first - I suspect Hornby may need to start providing some sort of course for their dealers.

In the meantime it looks like one or two folk from here are doing a sterling job in firefighting. At the moment , there is no core of experienced Hornby DCC users out there to guide those taking first steps, which makes the whole thing difficult.

Clearly there is some level of failure of decoders, especially during programing - but we know that happens to all brands , and it's difficult to assess how Hornby's failure rate compares with others, and how far the users are contributing. (And how far stray capacitors are behind some issues)

That said, if the system was in serious technical trouble , I think the Hornby DCC forum would look far far far worse than it does , so presumably most users are coping

0
 

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QUOTE (Ravenser @ 7 Jan 2007, 16:30) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>That said, if the system was in serious technical trouble , I think the Hornby DCC forum would look far far far worse than it does , so presumably most users are coping
People tend to go to a forum like that when they have a problem so it should be no surprise if it is full of messages about problems ...
 

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Dear All,

The Hornby DCC system was built by BDI. If you read the "About BDI", it looks like they are a bunch of innovative designers from UK academic circles. Here is a quote from that part of the BDI website :-

"The membership of strategically-led product, proposition creation, brand, new media, packaging, commercial interior and service/experience design consultants are joined by PhD's, university innovation departments, in-house design and innovation teams, innovation agencies, entrepreneurs, dealmakers and art & design faculties and their graduates".

What Hornby really need is a few DCC experts who really understand the NMRA and NEM standards and can work within them. You can be innovative with certain parts of the design (e.g. the screens on the Select and Elite). What you do not need is too much innovation with the basic DCC standards for communicating between controller and decoders. These standards (if implemented correctly) allow customers to "mix n match" decoders from one manufacturer with control systems from another.

If you deviate too far from the standards, then you become a bit like Maerklin, where you have to buy everything from Maerklin to be sure it will work with the Motorola protocol used by Maerklin. Quite a few of the German and Austrian suppliers of DCC equipment also support the Maerklin protocols, so there is still some competition, but it means that there has to be extra electronics to detect which protocol is in use on the track and switch. Zimo (for example) support DCC and the Maerklin Motorola protocols and the Zimo decoders automatically switch protocols, if necessary.

I hope that we do not have to go that route with Hornby. It's very disappointing that they did not follow the route Bachmann took and get some of the basic equipment from a well-known (NMRA compliant) supplier. Then they could have built up on this, gradually moving to in-house designed equipment once the system is running well and accepted by the customers.
 

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QUOTE IMHO, if Hornby do not provide the required support & then stop producing DCC, the sooner they stop the better, before untold damage is done to the reputation of DCC. Tough on the purchasers of Hornby DCC unfortunatly, but at least the Select is not too much money. Absolutely

QUOTE Clearly there is some level of failure of decoders, especially during programing - but we know that happens to all brands , and it's difficult to assess how Hornby's failure rate compares with others, and how far the users are contributing. I have never had any problems with any ESU decoder or Lenz gold.

QUOTE If you deviate too far from the standards, then you become a bit like Maerklin, where you have to buy everything from Maerklin to be sure it will work with the Motorola protocol used by Maerklin. This was a concern as Hornby are the UK's equivelant in terms of market share. They may be using the same tactic to lock customers in.
 

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QUOTE Phew: the Hornby DCC forum is a bit of a mess isn't it?

At least 25% of the threads have nothing to do with DCC and a lot of the questions are very basic indeed. By the look of it a lot of the p0osters aren't just new to DCC , they're pretty new to model railways. Average age about 14 by the look of it

Someone at Hornby needsto sit down and draft an FAQ section fairly quickly . This is what happens when you take a sophisticated niche product out of its little niche and start selling it to little Johnny and his mum in the run up to Christmas ....

Added to which you have a total mix of people mentioning high end DCC concepts like SPROGs and feedback and people who patently
have only a very hazy grasp of basic DC analogue

The difference between Hornby and Bachmann is that Bachmann don't sell many trainsets, their DCC sets were very low key , and I doubt if many found their way into the mass market.

Added to which , Bachmann are selling products which have already been on sale for some time under another brand, and are made by an established player. Hornby are a new DCC player , launching their first DCC products - straight into the Christmas trainset market

In the normal course of events Hornby would expect the dealer network to provide most of the customer support . The trouble is , a lot of the dealers clearly know nothing about DCC and may end up making misleading comments (I know the owner and staff in my local model shop , though experienced modellers, know precisely zero about DCC and have never ever handled any of the equipment . They will shortly be selling the Select and decoders ) I understand Mackays' , the Lenz importer, insist that anyone selling Lenz goes on a 2 day course with them first - I suspect Hornby may need to start providing some sort of course for their dealers.

In the meantime it looks like one or two folk from here are doing a sterling job in firefighting. At the moment , there is no core of experienced Hornby DCC users out there to guide those taking first steps, which makes the whole thing difficult.

Clearly there is some level of failure of decoders, especially during programing - but we know that happens to all brands , and it's difficult to assess how Hornby's failure rate compares with others, and how far the users are contributing. (And how far stray capacitors are behind some issues)

That said, if the system was in serious technical trouble , I think the Hornby DCC forum would look far far far worse than it does , so presumably most users are coping

Totally agree with that 100%. It seems a bit silly refering to the high end stuff which some members are doing when all Hornby users want to do is get their Hornby system that they have bought running smoothly. Most of the users do appear to be in the junior age group and stockists do seem hopeless at answering questions.

There is a lot of confusion between "DCC Ready" and DCC Fitted" so this is the level that the forum is at.

Best to keep it totally simple on the Hornby forum and not use any jargon whatsoever. I do have a suspicion that capacitors are a contributory factor in a number of cases.

Those Model Rail Forum members from outside the UK really had no appreciation how DCC backward the UK really is. Maybe now they do!

Happy modelling
Gary

PS Bachmann will no doubt be taking a sneeky peek with trepidation and may have some concerns as to whether they have a big enough level of customer support in the UK to cope with any mass market digital offering. They may well prefer the low key approach with sales to mature modellers only from a limited number of outlets.
 

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QUOTE Those Model Rail Forum members from outside the UK really had no appreciation how DCC backward the UK really is. Maybe now they do! That is fair comment. I had realised that it was a bit of a niche but there does seem to be a huge gulf between train set world and DCC as I know it. Hornbys attempt to bridge that seems to be even too much for the train set crew. This surprised me as I thought they had dumbed it down enough that anyone could understand. Someone said something about little Johnnys mum not knowing anything and that says it all. That is the level to which a lot of these train sets have been sold. Maybe DCC is better off as a niche for enthusiasts?
Can it be taken to a level which is simple enough for kids with little or no support?
 

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reading the Bachmann UK site gives their aspects on DDC

"Branchline 'DCC On Board' and 'DCC Sound' fitted locomotives are designed for use with NMRA compliant controllers such as E-Z Command. NMRA compliant items clearly display this symbol.

Certain locomotive or sound functions may not function when used with non NMRA compliant DCC controllers or systems described as NMRA compatible"

Symbol did not copy across so check here to see it http://www.bachmann.co.uk/ half way down the page.

At least they say something, not like its main competitor in UK.


Ron
 
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