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DT
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There have been topics raised about the subject of model companies selling DCC decoder with the loco.

We have seen Hornby and Bachmann release locos with low-end decoders, presumably to keep the price down.

We're also worried that if more locos are supplied with DCC On Board, the decoder may not be up to our standards and then we'll have to remove the supplied decoder and add our one. We'll then end up with an unwanted decoder and perhaps have a damaged loco.

So here is my idea:
As these locos are made on a production line, supply locos with and without decoders pre-installed. A simple sticker on the loco and another on the box is all that is needed to differentiate them.
You may ask, what if they make too many of one or the other:
Well this can be solved by a couple of guys in the service department or by an outside company like Jadlamracing until the marketing and sales departments can sort out orders and refine production numbers.
What about the quality of the decoders:
This is where it gets interesting. I say - install the top of the line decoders. Say, Lenz Gold. A Lenz Gold is about £23 retail (£13 in the US). Their normal wholesale price for large orders must be about £8 to £10, perhaps less. A large company like Hornby or Bachmann could order thousands of these and drive the price right down. This would add less that £10 to the price of the loco. I'd pay that for an installed Lenz Gold!
Coming back to over production:
This is one fear of manufacturers. If there were too many DCC On Board locos made, someone like Jadlam could buy it wholesale from the manufacturer, remove the decoder from the loco, sell the loco for it's DCC Ready price, and then sell the decoder for a good decoder price - say £15 to £20. This margin could pay for their work and give them some motivation for doing it.
Does this sound logical...?
 

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QUOTE I say - install the top of the line decoders. Say, Lenz Gold. A Lenz Gold is about £23 retail (£13 in the US). Their normal wholesale price for large orders must be about £8 to £10, perhaps less. A large company like Hornby or Bachmann could order thousands of these and drive the price right down. This would add less that £10 to the price of the loco. I'd pay that for an installed Lenz Gold!

I hear where you're coming from Doug, I would ideally like what you have recommended but I feel we are in a minority here. On another thread where there has been discussion on whether it is worth buying good decoders instead of the bottom end ones used by Hornby and Bachmann it is quite apparent that many people do not see the need for quality decoders. QUOTE I personally would find it very hard to condemn a budget decoder because, put simply, it does its job for me!

As Hornbys DCC effort is the first DCC experience for many modellers they have nothing else to compare it with and quite simply do not know any better. They are still discovering DCC and what it can do. Until a majority of modellers gain sufficient knowledge of DCC to understand it's potential and capabilities, I think we are stuck with the present situation. Hopefully time will change this situation as the UK moves into the DCC age.

To be honest from the discusion of DCC on this forum it is also evident that many people do not want to spend money on a decent DCC set up so I really don't see this extra expense going down well in the UK. If they don't understand or appreciate what a better decoder offers then they aren't going to pay for it.
From the discusion on DCC and Hornby/ Bachmann it is clear that budget is the main consideration for a majority of UK modellers.

QUOTE As these locos are made on a production line, supply locos with and without decoders pre-installed. A simple sticker on the loco and another on the box is all that is needed to differentiate them. This is the best we can hope for I fear. I'm with you on this one but I believe we are in a minority.
 

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I'd be interested in your jusification that the Hornby decoders are 'low end'? What is wrong with them?

Why would you damage the loco removing the decoder? They are plugged in to standard NMRA 8-pin sockets.
 

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DT
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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
QUOTE (Beerhunter @ 16 Nov 2006, 10:17) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>I'd be interested in your justification that the Hornby decoders are 'low end'? What is wrong with them?I'm not slating the Hornby decoder. It is good value for money and if it has good speed control then I'll be getting some for my locos. There is little documentation on these decoders and for the moment, we have had no technical feedback from users.

There is a marked difference between certain 'cheap' decoder and some higher-end decoders. These differences are in the control of the loco, the slow running and the excess noises produced.

QUOTE Why would you damage the loco removing the decoder? They are plugged in to standard NMRA 8-pin sockets.I don't want to open up any loco. Opening up the loco to remove the standard decoder and fitting another increases the chances of damage. Looking at readers' experiences with the Hornby Britannia, M7 and the Bachmann 9F, you can see that these issues are shared by others.
 

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The reason that I replied to this post isthat I seem to be be of the few people that actually own any of the Hornby kit but it doesn't stop people with out any from commenting on it.

I have two of the Hornby decoders and, to me, they seem to work extemely well: good slow speed control and no detectable noise. Additionally, the amount of coding the user can do and the number of functions seems on a par with anything else that I have seen.

I haven't seen any Hornby locos with factory fitted decoders except those that come in sets. In fact I haven't seen them advertise any locos with DCC fittted and the problems that you envisage hasn't arrived with Hornby yet. They are still all 'DCC Ready'.

Having two models (one with chip and one without) will not be taken on lightly by a manufacturer. It will cause extra cost on the production line and for what pay off?

BTW I notice that some one else called the Hornby 'bottom end' and others brands 'good decoders'. Any jusitication would be welcome here too.
 

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DT
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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
I have about 10 Hornby decoders on pre-order - so I do hope they are quite good. I don't expect them to be RailCom ready or anything like that, but I will use them to digitise my fleet little by little. I can't afford to do that with Lenz Gold decoders.

As soon as the decoders are available separately, I'll be looking at them in detail and testing them against others on the market.
 

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QUOTE BTW I notice that some one else called the Hornby 'bottom end' and others brands 'good decoders'. Any jusitication would be welcome here too.
Is Hornby DCC your only experience of DCC? Maybe you might like to try other DCC systems and decoders to see the difference for yourself. What is bottom end and good are obviously subjective and what is acceptable to some is not acceptable to others. You buy what suits you and your requirements. But at the end of the day you get what you pay for. If a decoder is cheaper it is because there it is lowered spec'ed and missing some functions.

There is a discussion on the relative merits of Hornby Bachmann decoders versus dearer higher spec decoders on another thread. A decoder is a decoder, isn't it?

You'll find someone with identical views to yourself has been asking the same questions.
 

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QUOTE You'll find someone with identical views to yourself has been asking the same questions.

It would be better to say I have no views one way or the other. The Hornby decoders in the set locos seem to work for me and my limited requirements as a budget DCC user. The purpose of the other thread is to establish the value within a higher specification decoder given that Hornby and Bachmann offer the de facto standard in the UK for budget decoders.

In terms of DCC Ready/DCC On Board it has already been said that two production lines lead to overall increased costs and its not just a sticker on a box but instructions in multiple languages and additional packaging and protection and other overhead. And stockists in the UK don't have the space to carry two lines of the same loco.

The only realistic option is to install decoders as standard in every Hornby loco as there is resistance from shop owners for anything else. To effectively have to stock twice as many loco lines than they already do would be impossible. Remember 6 years ago Hornby offered some 60-70 locomotives in their catalogue. Now its over 120 and stockists complain about this! You are now asking stockists to provide the space for 250 Hornby locos! And all the associated admin that goes with this in terms of cataloging etc.

And for Hornby read Bachmann too. They are both in the same boat with this one.

You can understand this would be a very big step for Hornby to take. And one that the British public may not be ready for just yet.

Happy modelling
Gary
 

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QUOTE The only realistic option is to install decoders as standard in every Hornby loco as there is resistance from shop owners for anything else.

You can understand this would be a very big step for Hornby to take. And one that the British public may not be ready for just yet.
I was just thinking that similarly DCC ready would also be an option and the more probable as the majority of UK modellers are analogue DC. However if they were ready installed, given the hassle of installing decoders in some of the Hornby steam I would probably just accept what ever decoder was given me rather than put myself through the White Knight experience again.


BTW I have just this minute installed a Lenz Gold into my Duchess of Gloucester and am very impressed with the motion. I'm well pleased with them.
 

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Doug

With Bachmann's current DDC on-board locos you can run them on a DC layout and they seam to perform better than non DCC version will it be possable to run the DCC Sound on-board locos in the same way?

Pete
 

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DT
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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
QUOTE (Peter_Harvey @ 17 Nov 2006, 08:14) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>...will it be possable to run the DCC Sound on-board locos in the same way?I'm not sure about this. I'm sure MMaD could perhaps answer as he has a better knowledge of sound decoders. What I do know is that sound decoders rely on DCC functions to control the various aspects of the sound effects. This won't obviously work with DC.
 

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QUOTE This is where it gets interesting. I say - install the top of the line decoders. Say, Lenz Gold. A Lenz Gold is about £23 retail (£13 in the US). Their normal wholesale price for large orders must be about £8 to £10, perhaps less. A large company like Hornby or Bachmann could order thousands of these and drive the price right down. This would add less that £10 to the price of the loco. I'd pay that for an installed Lenz Gold!

I am in favour of this, but over here in europe people tend to be quite fussy about which decoder they use. Some only use Zimo, others only use Lenz. Others even make their own! Zimo decoders have about 8 functions that you can only use with the Zimo console. Similarly Lenz have some proprietary features. I am finding that the ESU ones are perfeclty integrated with the ECOS console.
 

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QUOTE I'm not sure about this. I'm sure MMaD could perhaps answer as he has a better knowledge of sound decoders. What I do know is that sound decoders rely on DCC functions to control the various aspects of the sound effects. This won't obviously work with DC.

I have no experience of dual function sound decoders that work on DC as well as DCC. I think most of us have seen Broadway or Proto 2000 adverts or examples, and they do manage sound in both formats so it can be done. I think ESU have or will introduce this as well. I'm also aware that programming such installations takes a bit more power on the programing track.
I have some stock with ESU sound and drive decoders. My main installation of sound has been with the Soundtraxx DSX sound only decoder, and as I've stated previously i like this decoder but it won't run on DC unless Soundtraxx have provide a recent change.
to Quote Soundtraxx:

SoundTraxx's DSX digital Sound System provides the same state-of-the-art sound effects you've come to expect from our other premium Digital Sound decoders in a small package which can be installed in any locomotive or piece of rolling stock. Add sound to your already decoder-equipped locomotives or install the DSX in a dummy locomotive . . .no motor required. The DSX will behave just like our Digital Sound Decoders, with all the same prototypes and features. Their tiny size (1.45" x 0.625" x 0.32") makes installing them in some cramped diesels and small narrow gauge steam engines a piece of cake!

SoundTraxx DSX Sound Systems are available in both Steam and Diesel versions, each featuring a full spectrum of sound effect for each prototype. The superb sound quality will bring your models to life with such realism as you have never dreamed!

I would'nt call the footprint of this decoder small. I tried to get one inside a Fowler tank - and for the first time I failed to find a solution. Great for mainline loco's though.
 

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QUOTE (neil_s_wood @ 16 Nov 2006, 21:22) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>Is Hornby DCC your only experience of DCC?

If a decoder is cheaper it is because there it is lowered spec'ed and missing some functions.
Yes Hornby is my only experience so far - and it's been a good one. I really can't see what else I would get for my money by buying a more expensive decoder and no one has come up with an answer yet.

I have to completely discgree with that last sentence. I have seen much more expensive decoders advertised compared to the Hornby ones with exactly the same spec.

BTW. You don't get what you pay for in a Market Lead Economy - you pay what the market will bear.
 

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QUOTE (oazman @ 17 Nov 2006, 12:58) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>I am in favour of this, but over here in europe people tend to be quite fussy about which decoder they use. Some only use Zimo, others only use Lenz. Others even make their own!

This statement hits the nail firmly on the head !

I simply do not want someone else's choice (usually bean counter driven) installed in my purchase & many other people feel the same way.

IMHO modellers fall into two categories here ;

1) The "budget" or general DCC user - he or she will generally be happy with a "bean counters" decoder already installed - don't forget also that factory fitted decoders will probably be hard wired or even part of the PCB making replacement more tricky.

2) The "serious" DCC user (of which I am one) - he or she wants their own choice.

Since being into DCC I have had a number of "favourite" decoders - 1st it was the Lenz 1024/5, then the Lenz 1035, then the Lenz Gold & currently the ESU Lokpilot as my "all round choice"- next year it may very well be a Zimo or whatever. I swop decoders around to get the best performance.

At the end of the day its quite simple - just follow the europeans (maybe here's where the problem for many lies) - with a typical OHE or diesel (such as a Piko) one screw or priese the body off, remove 8-pin plug, plug in decoder, doublesided tape to space already provided, replace body & done - not even 5 minutes.

With a typical steam loco (such as a Trix) unclip tender body, remove 8-pin plug, plug in decoder, doublesided tape to space already provided, replace body & done - again not even 5 minutes.

So, it is not exactly rocket science is it ?

As usual lagging behind the europeans.

best regards
Brian
 

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>Lenz Gold & currently the ESU Lokpilot
Interesting. I have a Lenz Gold and was thinking of getting a Lokpilot 3 DCC.

>With a typical steam loco (such as a Trix) unclip tender body, remove 8-pin plug, plug in decoder, doublesided tape to space already provided, replace body & done - again not even 5 minutes.

Oh how I wish! Please Mr. Hornby and Mr. Bachmann can you introduce this feature soon, pretty please?

David
 

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QUOTE (dwb @ 18 Nov 2006, 10:29) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>>Lenz Gold & currently the ESU Lokpilot
Interesting. I have a Lenz Gold and was thinking of getting a Lokpilot 3 DCC.

>With a typical steam loco (such as a Trix) unclip tender body, remove 8-pin plug, plug in decoder, doublesided tape to space already provided, replace body & done - again not even 5 minutes.

Oh how I wish! Please Mr. Hornby and Mr. Bachmann can you introduce this feature soon, pretty please?

David

Hi David,

Don't get me wrong - the Lenz Gold is a great decoder - it's just, in my experience that it does not like Fleischmann 3-pole motors - it often "sees" a motor short on power up & just sits there flashing the lights in protest until reset. Its great in anything with a "can" type motor.

You won't be disappointed with the Lokpilot 3 (except that the instructions are sometimes in German only - but the full English manual is downloadable from the website).

best regards
Brian
 

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>Don't get me wrong - the Lenz Gold is a great decoder - it's just, in my experience that it does not like Fleischmann 3-pole motors - it often "sees" a motor short on power up & just sits there flashing the lights in protest until reset. Its great in anything with a "can" type motor.

That's an interesting snippet of information. I don't have any Fleischmann motors though I wonder if old Hornby would exhibit the same problems.

My reason for considering a LokPilot is that I am on the brink of getting an ECoS

David
 

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QUOTE (dwb @ 18 Nov 2006, 12:09) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>>Don't get me wrong - the Lenz Gold is a great decoder - it's just, in my experience that it does not like Fleischmann 3-pole motors - it often "sees" a motor short on power up & just sits there flashing the lights in protest until reset. Its great in anything with a "can" type motor.

That's an interesting snippet of information. I don't have any Fleischmann motors though I wonder if old Hornby would exhibit the same problems.

My reason for considering a LokPilot is that I am on the brink of getting an ECoS

David

It's possible that the "ringfield" or "pancake" (as they are also called) type motors may - they are basically the same design.

best regards
Brian
 

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>It's possible that the "ringfield" or "pancake" (as they are also called) type motors may - they are basically the same design.

See my comment re Zimo decoder review here in "Decoder is a decoder" thread

It seems that Zimo do a nice job of controlling Ringfields.

David
 
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