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I emailed Bachmann to get a scheduled delivery date for the Dynamis ProBox and got the following response:
My questions:
I bought a Dynamis DCC system a year ago and the release of the Pro box was indicated as 'soon'.
1. Is there any scheduled release date for this box? I wish to connect my DCC system to a PC.
2. What will the price be?


And this was the response:

Thank you for your enquiry. The Dynamis ProBox is nearly completion and will be available soon. The ProBox will not have a computer interface as the suppliers have been unable to develop an appropriate protocol.

This poses 2 problems for Dynamis users:
1. No software upgrades as we still won't have a PC interface.
2. Because it will not be possible to update the software, it will never have a PC interface.
The estimated price is £164!! What are you paying for? A programming track and more controllers at over £100 each and being able to read CVs.

It seems there are much better solutions out there that have more features and cost less. I am now sorry I bought this system and will be looking at Lenz and their LZV100 + LI101F and then running KAM's LOCO Ce software on a PDA wirelessly. But before I do that I will look for some reviews on the system.
 

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Thanks Shumifan
GRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRR
part of the reson i bought it was because of the interface and an even bigger GRRRRRR is the price, £169rrp. WHY didn't they sort out this BEFORE putting it on sale
GRRRR again
Kiwionrails
 

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While the Lenz system is nice option have a look at the NCE Power Cab http://www.ncedcc.com/ncetest/nce2.htm The Power Cab is a basic starter system but is expandable with the addition of a smart booster. Although this is a starter system there is also a computer interface device which allows the connection of a PC. The Power Cab has most of the features available to it's big brother the Powerhouse Pro but there are some limits. The number of recalls available is 2 instead of 6, the power output is 1.2A which limits the number of locos you run at one time and the number of cabs ( throttles) are limited to two. With the addition of a Smart Booster 3 power is increased to 3A and the number of cabs to 4. The best bet is of course a Power House Pro which is full featured 5A system which with the addition of radio means you are longer tethered to one spot.
Companies like Bachmann and Hornby are only just getting their feet wet with DCC having resisted it for so many years, although Hornby Zero 1 was the first big push towards DCC it wasn't well supported. Companies like Lenz, NCE, Digitrax, CVP Easy DCC, have been around for nearly twenty years and know what they are doing. Bachmann and Hornby in an effort to keep it simple and cheap have taken shortcuts in an effort to keep the price down and have in reality produced an inferior product that causes more frustration and will in effect drive people away from model trains.

Sorry about the rant.

Charles Emerson
Queensland
Australia

QUOTE (shumifan50 @ 12 Mar 2009, 02:15) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
I emailed Bachmann to get a scheduled delivery date for the Dynamis ProBox and got the following response:
My questions:
I bought a Dynamis DCC system a year ago and the release of the Pro box was indicated as 'soon'.
1. Is there any scheduled release date for this box? I wish to connect my DCC system to a PC.
2. What will the price be?


And this was the response:

Thank you for your enquiry. The Dynamis ProBox is nearly completion and will be available soon. The ProBox will not have a computer interface as the suppliers have been unable to develop an appropriate protocol.

This poses 2 problems for Dynamis users:
1. No software upgrades as we still won't have a PC interface.
2. Because it will not be possible to update the software, it will never have a PC interface.
The estimated price is £164!! What are you paying for? A programming track and more controllers at over £100 each and being able to read CVs.

It seems there are much better solutions out there that have more features and cost less. I am now sorry I bought this system and will be looking at Lenz and their LZV100 + LI101F and then running KAM's LOCO Ce software on a PDA wirelessly. But before I do that I will look for some reviews on the system.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Hi,
I have now obtained a Lenz set90 at very reasonable price on fleabay and I have built an XnTCP adpater and now looking at JMRI. I will post on the JMRI thread on how that goes. That seems a cost effective route to go and will allow me to do some software development for the system. If all fails I will look at KAM's Ce software.
 

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*** You might want to look at the recent problems the excellent open source software from JMRI/decoder pro/panel pro had because of KAM before you support them.

KAM took some of JMRI's code and integrated it into his won software, patented it as his own and then tried to force JMRI to pay him a royalty - he then tried to sue Bob Jacobsen and the open source developers of JMRI for a huge amount.

He lost thanks to a good legal team which was in part paid for my modeler donations.

personally I'd rather go back to pushing my rains along the track than buy KAM software - there are beter options out there anyway.

Richard
 

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Just proves 'collective wisdom correct' Buy DCC from company making only DCC - not one having finger in every pie.....

This makes the NCE very competitively priced now;-

Dynamis £120 + Probox £169 = £289 (with no computer interface)

NCE PowerCab £132 + 5amp power booster £85 + USB interface £37 = £254 (includes EPROM).

I considered both systems when I went DCC and the only reason I eliminated the Dynamis was due to it being infra-red as I have my own horror story of using IR. Buying half a product also seemed unwise at the time with availability of the other half being promised later, and I wondered what the delay was. Seems they can't live up to their promises but this is very often the case when a company is relying on third party support.

Can't tell you how glad I am that I went down the NCE Route.

Mike
 

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Hi,
I am now committed to Lenz LZV100, so I hope it was not a bad choice - note that the choice was mostly based on good JMRI software support and a possible LAN/Wireless interface(PDAs). I also did not particularly want to buy an American system. The NCE Pro Cab is more like £500+ so it is still significantly more expensive than the comparitive Lenz system.
We shall see how JMRI goes.

Richard, Thanks I read about the law suit and I think in principle I will NOT support KAM, it will be a very last resort and I will give as much support as posible to JMRI. I very much believe in open source projects. Not least because you can adapt them to your needs and hopefully somebody else will also use your changes.

Well the controller only got mailed today - the ebayer was not so prompt. Will keep you posted on how I get on.

As a footnote: I tried the XnTCP interface to a Hornby Select controller and it does not seem to be able to connect. This might be a problem with my XnTCP adapter or the Select - I will only know once I have the LZV100 to try it. Wish I knew more about electronics!!!!!!
 

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*** No, you did OK as the lenz box will work fine if you have the interface sorted - the lenz brand computer interface is exxy though, so hopefully your options mentioned previously will do the job.

BTW NCE is basically an RS485 bus - so is Lenz I think when you burrow down to the core of it.... both brands are good stable bus structures for DCC & computer interface...

Richard
 

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QUOTE Richard, Thanks I read about the law suit and I think in principle I will NOT support KAM, it will be a very last resort and I will give as much support as posible to JMRI. I very much believe in open source projects. Not least because you can adapt them to your needs and hopefully somebody else will also use your changes.

( Minor one for Richard; an old page on your website is still providing links to KAM products - http://www.dccconcepts.com/automation.htm )

There are numerous software packages which will support the Lenz system which avoid going near the KAM empire.

JMRI - opensource, good for decoder programming, though some find layout automation a bit cryptic (read the tutorials!!).
RocRail - free, european based, focused on layout operation
ZugDCC - I know little about it, but believe its cheap, offers a try-before-buy option and focused on operation
CTI - again I know little about it, other than fairly cheap.
GBBkolejka - Polish, though support in English. Free restricted demo copy, Euro25-100 for full-featured versions.
RailRoad&Co - Commercial package, can look expensive, but most users report that it really does the automation properly. Worth considering for larger layouts or those who don't have the inclination to hack the cheaper options around.

I think there are a few others, I'm sure there is another free one I have forgotten...

- Nigel
 

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*** Arghhh - I'd specifically asked that it be removed long ago and never checked - thank you. Can't kill the web person either - it was my daughter!

However the whole website will be changed to a totally new look very soon, so it will definately be removed then.

Richard

QUOTE (Nigel2001 @ 24 Mar 2009, 02:31) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>( Minor one for Richard; an old page on your website is still providing links to KAM products - http://www.dccconcepts.com/automation.htm )

- Nigel
 

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Bachmann's reply in the OP about it not being possible to develop a suitable interface is curious, and I can't think of any reason why Bachmann would say that if it wasn't true.

However, the newly announced ESU Navigator looks to me to all intents & purposes to be a Dynamis but in a white box and carrying the ESU logo. The ESU web site says this about the Navigator:

"PC connection
Of course you are able to connect the Navigator to your PC and control your model railway layout - appropriate software is a must."

So does that mean that when the Navigator arrives it won't have its USB-PC Interface, or has someone in Bachmann got it wrong? is the problem a design flaw in the Dynamis architecture making the interface impossible, but which ESU have corrected in the Navigator? It will be interesting to see what the differences are when the Dynamis Pro-Box and Navigator finally go on sale.

Keith.
 

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I'm glad I got fed up of waiting for the Pro Box and got myself a Zephyr instead now. The main reason for getting the Dynamis was to dip my toe in DCC to see if I liked it as there was the upgrade route to get PC Control, which has now disappeared.
 

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QUOTE (GoingUnderground @ 27 Mar 2009, 08:04) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>Bachmann's reply in the OP about it not being possible to develop a suitable interface is curious, and I can't think of any reason why Bachmann would say that if it wasn't true.

However, the newly announced ESU Navigator looks to me to all intents & purposes to be a Dynamis but in a white box and carrying the ESU logo. The ESU web site says this about the Navigator:

"PC connection
Of course you are able to connect the Navigator to your PC and control your model railway layout - appropriate software is a must."

So does that mean that when the Navigator arrives it won't have its USB-PC Interface, or has someone in Bachmann got it wrong? is the problem a design flaw in the Dynamis architecture making the interface impossible, but which ESU have corrected in the Navigator? It will be interesting to see what the differences are when the Dynamis Pro-Box and Navigator finally go on sale.

Keith.

Curious is certainly the word. The Navigator appears to combine the Dynamis base station and a Probox, as suggested by the price of €300. The word on the website used to describe the ability to connect a computer is selbstverstaendlich which means that it goes without saying; that is surely correct for any new device. It is very hard to believe that the Navigator will appear without the computer interface; if it was impossible to incorporate one ESU would have realised before now! The picture of the base unit shows an USB socket. If ESU have corrected an earlier design fault, why is this correction not to be incorporated in the Dynamis? Curiouser and curiouser.
 

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QUOTE The Navigator appears to combine the Dynamis base station and a Probox...
The Navigator does appear to be Dynamis Pro system combined in one box, but with the addition of Märklin Motorola control as well as DCC.
The only other difference I can see, is the specification says that up to 4 extra IR receivers can be added to make a total of 5. Dynamis information says that the Pro Box allows one additional IR receiver to be connected, making a total of 2.

It's rather strange that the Navigator has the PC interface, but Bachmann are reported to be saying one couldn't be developed? Is there something fishy going on here?
 

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QUOTE but Bachmann are reported to be saying one couldn't be developed

All that's required is the hardware - eg USB / Ethernet module + external connectors and firmware added to the box. USB / Ethernet modules are common options in the type of single chip microcontroller that's at the heart of this kind of system, so availability on that score is not an issue. The firmware even less so as this is usually designed to be reusable with relatively small changes at the final interface to the circuits being used and I would expect ESU to have this kind of stuff on the shelf.

What seems more likely to me is that the cost of building the Pro box with the PC Interface in it became too high, so Bachmann dropped it as a requirement. The reason why ESU's combined box can have the interface is that the PC interface parts are a smaller proportion of the build cost and so can be accommodated more easily. ESU will also have a different marketing outlook to Bachmann and are probably less inclined to ditch the PC side, particularly in the German speaking market which is the home of Freiwald's Railroad & Co software.

If my guess is correct, it means that Bachmann's original Dynamis concept either partitioned the design along the wrong fault line, or more likely, the economics behind the original decision have changed to the point where it is no longer commercially viable. In this case, the cost of two separate parts is considerably more than a single whole.

I was very attracted by the original Dynamis concept. I'm glad I lost patience and opted for the ECoS instead.

David
 

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Even more curious is what Bachmann's own web site says about the Dynamis.

The Dynamis Pro Box part number is 36-508, and the description is "To upgrade a Dynamis system (36-505) to Dynamis Pro (36-506) specification." But there is no Dynamis Pro (36-506) shown on the web site. So if youi don't know what the Spec is for the Dynamis Pro System, how can you know what is the spec for the Pro Box itself?

But help is at hand. There is also a german version of the Dynamis pages, and to find the Dynamis Pro 36-506, you have to go to the german version of the web site where you find the same items but as L38xxx instead of as 36-xxx. So the Dynamis 36-505 becomes L38505, and the Dynamis Pro is L38506, and the pro Box becomes L38508. The german site does have the specification for the Dynamis Pro system and the final bullet point is "Systemcomputerschnittstelle". That shrieks PC interface at me, and I don;t speak german. So I put it through Babelfish which translated it as "System Computer Interface". The difference in the two versions of the web site has been there for months now, but nothing has apparently been done about it.

So at face value the German version of the Pro Box will have the interface but the British one won't. I don't believe that they would go to the trouble and expense of making different products for two EU countries. It would be anti-competitive and wouldn't make economic sense.

So it looks like Bachmann are really mixed up with their product offering and are not keeping their web sites in sync or up to date. Not what I think most people would have expected from Barwell. Perhaps Pro Box will have the interface after all, and someone in Barwell doesn't know their Systemcomputerschnittstelle from their PC Interface. If not, you could always order the german Pro Box or buy an ECoS and link the Dynamis to that. The ECoS has it's own RJ45 ethernet port for conecting to your PC via a hub or crossover cable.

As I said previously we can only wait until Bachmann finally release the Pro Box to see what features it actually has.

Keith.
 

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Hi

Yes they really kept us waiting on this one. I have Dynamis (nothing wrong with it...I like it) but it has sat in its box now for nearly 12 months as I couldnt read cv's.

I would be interested to see what the specs are like.

m
 

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I'm really fed up with Bachmann being unable to meet their promises - delivery dates particularly but also specification things like the Dynamis Pro product. Most of my rolling stock is Bachmann because when they do it right it's great. Bit of a paradox here; I'd really like to boycott them but they do make some good stuff eventually.
 

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Oh dear, some folks have asked the question about this to the guys on the Bachmann stand at the Ally Pally exhibtion.

The Pro-Box will not have a PC interface according to the guys from Bachmann, they said it won't need updates as it's been thoroughly tested, to have PC control requires software which they don't want to get into.
Little bit short sighted here me thinks.

Its allegedly on the boat and should be here within 5-6weeks.

So you will get more power to the track 4amps I believe, extra handsets and the ability to readback CV's all for £150.

This doesn't look good value for money IMHO.
I wonder if it will actually change again when it's here and available....taken a very long time coming though.
 

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***Without much doubt given the trials, tribulations and weakenesses of dynamis, without doubt the internal PCBs and other things about ESU navigator will not be the same as Dynamis.

The dynamis was NEVER going to be a competitor for serious DCC systems - I said so on day 1 and this has not changed. ESU or any DCC brand will not ever be silly enough to create a major global competitor by OEM supply.

I suspect that the PC interface issue is in reality a commercial agreement issue variance between ESU and Bachmann - There is no technical reason why it couldn't be developed however now ESU will proceed with the navigator perhaps there has been a change in the adevelopment agreement with Bachmann....

This reinforces strongly my oft repeated consistent recommendation to totally avoid ANY DCC item made by a train brand, and stick with the brands whose real business is DCC, not selling trains.

Richard
 
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