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DCC Command Stations & Controllers

118646 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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Roco Multimaus Pro Review

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The system is well packaged in a box containing:

The handheld controller
The control box
A USB computer interface
Rocomotion layout control software on CD
A track connection cable
An instruction manual in English, German, French and Italian

There are three extra things needed to use the system:

Three AAA batteries for the hand held controller
A transformer delivering 18-24v DC or 16-18v AC. I used a spare AC plugpack I had.
A second track connection cable for the programming track. The retailer gave me one.

After connecting the control box to the plugpack and loading the AAA batteries, I was able to drive a train immediately using code 3. Adding my remaining locos was a very simple matter of adding a name, an address and the number of speed steps (all 128 in my case). The names are limited to five alpha or numeric characters. My locos are all Great Western so I use the four digit cabside numbers followed by P (for passenger), G (for goods) or R (for railcar).

The list of locos can be reordered any way you wish and locos selected by scrolling through the list. Alternatively, you can just enter the loco address to select a loco.

Operation with one hand, left or right, is easy and tactile using your thumb to turn the speed control wheel forward or back. The function keys are also within easy range of your thumb and their status shows on the screen. Anyone with a small hand would have difficulty operating the controller with one hand due to its shape. In the event of a derailment, etc. the hand controller slips into the pocket very easily when two handed repairs are needed.

The hand controller is true wireless, not IR, and therefore does not need line of sight. I have been able to move around my layout and control was reliable at all times regardless of which way I was pointing.

The function keys work in a very neat way. Most of my locos have sound decoders so I use the function keys a lot to trigger whistles, safety valves, injectors, horns, etc. To turn on a long lasting sound, like a safety valve, I just touch the function key to start it and then again when I want to stop it. This is often called "latch" operation. If I am sounding a short sound, like a whistle or horn, then I press the key and hold it down for at least a second and then release the key to finish. A second key press is then not needed to stop the sound. This is called "momentary" operation.

Double heading (yes, it is called that, not consisting) is easily set up by selecting the locos and pressing the menu and zero keys.

The Multimaus Pro will handle up to 2048 points in the usual manner and has clearly labelled buttons to switch the points. You can also set up a maximum of 64 "routes", each of which can be given an alpha or numeric short name and can contain up to 16 point settings. These routes can be selected by scrolling through the names or by address.

Programming is possible on the main or on a service track, the choice being by menu selection. An internal relay switches over between the main and the service track so no plugging and unplugging is needed. CVs are changed in the usual way by entering a CV number and value. CV 29 settings are just a matter of making some menu selections with no need to be concerned about bit positions and calculating decimal equivalents.

Rocomotion software was included with the Multimaus Pro and contains three modules, all derived from Railroad & Co's products:

Using a personal computer to control a layout including train location
A program which lets you add your own pictures into the layout control software
Using a personal computer to read and write CVs by point and click

I had a little play with these but will probably not get to using them seriously until I have made some more progress on my layout.

A comment was made recently that the "Train Set" DCC systems had issues and were unlikely to survive because DCC is a sideline for those manufacturers whereas for specialists like NCE and Lenz it is their entire business. I agree but think that Roco is the exception. The Multimaus Pro is the equal, if not better, than any of the specialised systems I have tried out and/or investigated in choosing my new DCC controller.

Reliable wireless
One hand control with reversing, thumb operated speed control
Very easy to use and configure using English menu selections
Worked immediately with my Hornby, Bachmann, Loksound, Lenz and TCS decoders
Neat ability to use function keys on a "latching" or "momentary" basis
Comes with all the PC software I am ever going to want
Does everything I can think of
Very good value for money
More expensive than non-wireless systems
Service track lead not included in the box
Otherwise nothing that I have found so far

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