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DCC Command Stations & Controllers

118650 Views 10 Replies 7 Participants Last post by  Jim S
ashleyh made a good suggestion of putting together a users review / guide of the different DCC systems around. In this day and age of word-of-mouth marketing, this could be good if it is honest and positive. I'll pin this and make an index on this first Post, linking it to the various systems that members are using.

Lets keep the information specific to the systems that we are using. Give info honestly and list features that you use. A resume with positive and negative points could round off the post. Give an overall rating too if you like. Use these images:

Problems that let the system down and limit usage
Does what it says on the box, but could be better
Good, with one or two small issues that could be addressed

DCC Command stations & Controllers

Lenz Set 100 by Doug
Arnold DCC Controllers by Doug
Digitrax Super Chief by Makemineadouble
ESU Ecos 50000 by neil_s_wood
Bachmann Dynamis by ashleyh
NCE Powercab by wiggy25
Hornby Elite by wiggy25
ESU Mobile Control for ECoS 50100 by neil_s_wood
Roco Multimaus Pro Review by Moonraker

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I received my Dynamis a couple of hours ago from The Signal Box. Ordered yesterday for £80 + p&p, so very impressed with their service, and obviously struck lucky on availability.

My layout is currenlty non-existant due to a recent house move, but I will set up a test cicuit shortly. However, I have already powered it up to have a 'play', and these are my first impressions.

I have owned/tried out a fairly large number of DCC systems, currently I have a ZTC 505, and a Roco Multimaus which is feeling a bit poorly so is on its way back to Germany shortly. I also used to have an Intelllibox, and briefly owned an EZ-Command (too basic for my needs), and a Select (VERY briefly, nuff said). Anyway, back to the Dynamis...

The Dynamis is nicely presented and packaged in a window-style box giving view of both the handheld unit and the command station. The main headline on the front of the box states 'Full NMRA DCC conformance', complete with the appropriate logos.

Opening the shrink wrapped box reveals an ESU branded power supply rated at 2.3 amps. The 3 pin plug can be unclipped and replaced with the supplied Euro 2 pin plug if required. The handheld controller has multiple branding printed on the back, including Bachmann Branch Line, Spectrum, and Liliput, so it is cleary designed to be distributed within the Bachmann Industries group as a whole.

The build quality appears good, the plastic has almost a slight rubber feel to it, and the unit feels comfortable to hold. there are 2 battery compartments held in place by clips on the top rear. It was a slightly nerve racking moment for me, as the first cover sprung open. If there is a weak point to the design, it may well be these clip fit covers, as there is some force placed on them by the battery springs once the batteries are loaded. I would have preferred screw fixed covers, but time will tell.

Powering up the unit, the first thing that grabs you is the quality of the display, which has backlighting and everything appears in dark blue on a grey background. My eyesight is not the best, but I find the display very clear and bright. The text font is a little unusual and takes a bit of getting used to, very small 'Y's for example, I can see some people taking a dislike to it. I think it is a compromise to fit as much information in as possible. The backlighting goes off after a preset amount of time without a keypress (This can be altered).

By default the unit powers up ready to control loco 3, but the unit defaults to STOP mode, and a green LED flashes on the base station, becoming constant once the stop button is pressed to allow power to the track. The default speed steps are 28, I quickly changed this to 128 and was impressed to find that a gentle up or down nudge of the joystick gives precise single step control over the speed settings, something I was not able to achieve with the ZTC lever. Holding the joystick either in the up or down position allows much more rapid change to the speed of travel.

The manual makes no mention as to whether it is possible to READ CV values. This question has already been raised in another thread, no definitive answer has yet been given. The packaging and manual make great play of the fact that the Dynamis offers full CV programming, but if the device cannot read back the values many will see it as a dealbreaker.

I stress that I do not yet know the answer to this, I will have a play tonight and then post back. If the unit can read CVs then the value for money for £80 is almost unbelievable, if it cannot read CVs then it places the unit in the same category as the Roco Multimaus to be honest. I.e. full loco programming and accessory control, bu no CV reading ability.

Hope this is useful information.


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