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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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