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Ian Wigglesworth
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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Having read a post on another forum and something similar on here I posted a reply which I have copied and here it is.

I can understand why lots of Bachmann Dynamis owners are a bit miffed with the price of the Pro-Box, but hopefully by looking at the following list of systems and prices it shows that it will actually be inline with all of the other systems with similar sorts of specs.

Lets be right, to get a fully featured system you would be paying over £200 for any of the systems.

Hornby Elite £125
Digitrax Zephyr £100 + £25 for transformer.
Gaugemaster prodigy advance squared £225
Lenz set 90 £275 inc transformer
Lenz set 100 £310 inc transformer
NCE Power Pro 5amp £265+ transformer
Power Cab £92
Power pro system box, to upgrade the PowerCab to a full 5amp power pro £175+ cost of 5amp tranformer.
Dynamis £95(RRP 119.95)
Pro box £164.95(RRP) so this will probably be available from shops at what £150?

These prices were all taken from a range of DCC suppliers, so you can go either way up or down £20 I would say.
Yes I know I've missed some out as well, such as the Roco multimaus, Lenz compact, but it was just to give an idea of the prices.
I've not gone near the ESU ECoS, Viesmann Commander or ZTC offerings, starting to get into big money then!

As can be seen to get up to these sort of specs you are looking at a minimum of £225
Unless you go for theDigitrax Zephyr or PowerCab which are fully featured but only 2amp supply(on the PowerCab) and no PC interface built in, although that is now available for the NCE at £26
The Dynamis and Pro box come in at approx £250 could be a little more or a little less depends on what you manage to buy the Dynamis for and what the retailers will let the Pro-box go for if the RRP is £164.95
It does seem strange though that they have changed their mind and are not doing the FUll PRO SYSTEM or shall I say it's been removed. I'm sure that buying the Dyanmis and Pro-box as a complete system would be cheaper.
Then again if you go to a retailer and buy the Dynamis and Pro-box together I reckon you would probably get a good deal on buying them both.
Thats just a waiting game now.

So in the grand scheme of things for a DCC system with all those functions available it's actually priced about the same as the others.
When you look at all of the systems together like above the prices all seem to come in line with one another, the exception believe it or not is the Hornby Elite at £125 for an almost fully featured 3amp system!
(To bring the PowerCab upto 3amps takes the price way up above that of the Elite!)
And when the Access 1 infra red controller is released at £64 that would give a total cost of £190 for what is actually quite a good system, with wire free control!
Hornby just need to get the function control working better, which I believe they will.
Why?
Most other systems are now able to operate 28 functions so Hornby will have to follow suit, that makes me believe they will release another firmware update, which hopefully will make function operation not only much easier but also give access to the 28 functions that are becoming available. Time will tell on that one!

Oh, and I have a NCE PowerCab and I've bought the Smart Booster for it as well at £55. The only reason for this was I already had a 3amp power supply so it made sense to use that instead of going up to the power house pro box and then buy another 5amp power supply, this is just to show I'm already sorted!

Everybody, will, I'm sure own one of the above systems and be very happy with it!
I'm not saying which is best or which has the most features, it was just a rough guide to show the price range of these systems and to show that the Dynamis with Pro-box is really not that far from all the rest.
I accept that each will do or have something the others don't have. Also each will be easier or harder to operate OWNER DEPENDANT that is, but thats for the individual to look into and choose what they prefer to use and if it will meet the needs for their own layout.

Cheers
 

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Hi Ian

I'm not sure the thread title is appropriate..... but I agree with your conclusion - this whole Dynamis pricing thing was a wish and a hope from consumers, not a pricing indication change from Bachmann, and common sense would have said that an ESU made product is was never going to be cheap. I think the price that its ended up is at the high end of correct for the market.... with the usual dsicounts it'll be OK value.

My take on the above selection.

You need to separate console and handheld - the user preference structure and layout type is usually very different....

Elite - Sorry, but to me looks and feels like a cheap knockoff of a 1990 fisher price toy. clumsy in use and hard to access functions and well overpriced even at under GBP100.

Zephyr - competent and I like it but not really a good choice compared to the NCE PowerCab really. Expensive to upgrade system power. Much easier to use than Digitrax handset systems though.

Handhelds:
Gaugemaster - Don't, buy the much lower cost MRC which is the same unit but it also has much later software than the GM branded one. Actually not bad value but ONLY with the latest software.

Lenz 90 - horribly limited in real usability - not a good system at all - not the black box which is good, but the handset with is poor. I will not sell this system as its just not recommendable unless a "sprog" or an LH100 is also bought.. not good for sound lovers as function acces is very clumsy.

Lenz 100 - Quite a good system but not worth even close to that price - its actually cheaper than NCE in most other markets, which is what it should be as its "old", comparatively limited and hard to use. (I sell it about 20% cheaper than the NCE PowerPro or digitrax super chief for example, which is about what its worth)

NCE Power pro - I think it is cheap at the price... it has the greatest functionality of all of them and is also the most usable by far.

NCE Power cab - by far the best start set made by a country mile. Clear upgrade path to a full PowerPro which is excellent.

Dynamis - very good in many ways and very young and new in design.... but I think its a weakness that its a 2 handed controller. ANY handheld should be a one handed operation design - Personally...the Dynamis is too much like a playstation controller for me, I guess.

The PRO box + dynamis makes it a very competent system at I think an OK price, but you should up the price as I'd definately want to add a couple more of the IR receivers as its VERY frustrating as a handheld as it loses communication with the layout too often!

regards

Richard
DCCconcepts
 

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Ian Wigglesworth
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Hi Richard,

I do agree with what you've said, I just put that list together as other people just didn't seem to get it!

I purposely didn't want to go into the merits of each system, all I wanted to do was show the prices of the individual systems.

I have now seen that Lenz are upgrading the systems, one of the upgrades includes the ability to operate the 28 functions! which I think could be quite a chore!

Believe it or not, the reason for my comments on the Hornby Elite was a reply on the other forum, he has basically binned the idea of a PowerCab because of it being from the States and so called lack of support!!!!!
My explanation of just how good the system is and the support I've had even though I've not actually had any issues with it didn't seem to matter at all!
I still think the Elite is a fairly good controller IMHO yes it's plastic, but I didn't find it too bad when actually using it. The real nightmare was the function operation! that is just rubbish!

Another reason why I've just about given up replying to those that ask about which DCC system.
I looked for a long time on all of the different forums and then lucky for me went upto Digitrains and was able to try all that was available at that time.
Just strikes me as odd that when I actually give my opinion of systems it seems to fall on deaf ears.
I've owned the Hornby Elite, Digitrax Zephyr, EZ-command and the PowerCab.
All have been sold on apart from the EZ-command and PowerCab.

I put them prices together and thats it. It's now upto the potential purchaser to delve into the specs and see what system they prefer and actually try them!
It does make me smile when you get a reply stating that money is tight and I need to make the right choice, but when I recommend they actually go somewhere to try all of these systems, they can't do it!

Hey ho.

It really is getting to the point where when I see the post "which DCC system to get" I avoid it big time!!
It's such a personal thing, I would hate for someone to go and buy a system on my recommendation, then they really hate the controller and that puts them off DCC.

I wonder if it will ever change?

Cheers
 

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QUOTE I wonder if it will ever change?

I doubt it. There's more than one make of car.

I think the problem with the Dynamis Pro pricing thing is that I, and a lot of others as well, somehow got it into our heads that the ball park pricing for the Pro would be about the £100 - £120 mark. When the price comes in at 50% more than expectation, no matter how that expected figure was arrived at, it's a bit of shock to the system.

Now I don't have a Dynamis and never will because it became clear to me by late summer of last year that there was no way Bachmann would have a complete system on the market in the foreseable future and it really was time I got my self a controller, so I bought an ECoS. This leads to a rather interesting situation since now I am waiting for the Dynamis style wireless handheld to come on the market....

David
 

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Hi

I think what you have researched is very good re-pricing. It shows the difference to cost concerned modelers, and I was surprised how close some of the systems in price were.

Unfortunately as you pointed out "which dcc system..." is does seem to fall on deaf ears. I am also the same now, why bother. I even went to the trouble of sticking 4 dcc controllers up on a certified oscilloscope to show people the different wave forms and to settle a certain issue related to 1 controller.
In the end decided why? what will it achieve?, there not interested, and 80% will not even know what they are looking at. Dynamis for your info does have a very very clean square waveform.

Good post and my crystal ball tells me March next year for the pro. (Thats a guess only.)

m
 

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QUOTE (wiggy25 @ 28 Jun 2008, 14:50) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>I have now seen that Lenz are upgrading the systems, one of the upgrades includes the ability to operate the 28 functions! which I think could be

Cheers

Hi Wiggy

I see exactly the point you are making, I plumped a while back for Lenz and am happy with it but could have gone a few ways although I remain way inside the 10 year guarantee! Sure I would like to see them keeping pace etc but imho not so far behind that I need to reinvest (available money can go elsewhere) and I got a good deal on my Set 100.

So as a Lenz owner what else do you know about, or where are the details of, Lenz upgrading?


Cheers

Geoff
 

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Ian Wigglesworth
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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Geoff,

I don't own any Lenz equipment, but from what I have read you need to send your stuff back to Lenz in Germany and for a small charge they will update it to version 3.6.

Or you can contact A&H models and send the items to them for upgrading I don't know how much they will charge.

This is the post on the other forum:

I am pleased to say A&H models are now offering upgrades done here at their shop in the UK as from the 1STJULY the prices are as follows

Dear ,Lenz user
the update is availble for all LZ 100 version 3.x and all LZV 100 and
all LH 100/ LH90.
The new update will cost them the following:

LZ100 Version 3.x => 3.6 : --
LH100 Version 3.x => 3.6 : 30,- Euro
LH100 Version 2.x => 3.6 : 50,- Euro
LH90 Version 3.4/3.5 => 3.6 : --
LH90 Version < 3.4/3.5 => 3.6 : 15,- Euro

TURNAROUND TIME 5 DAYS

Please contact A&H models at 95 high street, Brackley, Northamptonshire. NN13 7BW
PHONE 01280 701410

Hope that helps

As a little side note off topic slightly, why have Lenz started going to A&H models and it seems like they have stopped using Mackays Models?
Seems a little odd to me.

Cheers
 

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QUOTE (Richard Johnson @ 28 Jun 2008, 22:25) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>Hi Ian

I'm not sure the thread title is appropriate..... but I agree with your conclusion - this whole Dynamis pricing thing was a wish and a hope from consumers, not a pricing indication change from Bachmann, and common sense would have said that an ESU made product is was never going to be cheap. I think the price that its ended up is at the high end of correct for the market.... with the usual dsicounts it'll be OK value.
regards

Richard
DCCconcepts
This is my assessment too. When I saw the speculation on this and other forums about how the Dynamis was going to be a cheapy ECoS I noticed there was no substantiation to accompany the fantasy. It was always going to end in tears as many people may have believed the speculation rather than looking at the facts.

QUOTE Now I don't have a Dynamis and never will because it became clear to me by late summer of last year that there was no way Bachmann would have a complete system on the market in the foreseable future and it really was time I got my self a controller, so I bought an ECoS. This leads to a rather interesting situation since now I am waiting for the Dynamis style wireless handheld to come on the market....
Unfortunately you may be waiting a little longer David as according to the ESU Forum the new radio control has been put back till August.
 

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QUOTE (wiggy25 @ 28 Jun 2008, 23:11) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>I am pleased to say A&H models are now offering upgrades done here at their shop in the UK as from the 1STJULY the prices are as follows

Dear ,Lenz user
the update is availble for all LZ 100 version 3.x and all LZV 100 and
all LH 100/ LH90.
The new update will cost them the following:

LZ100 Version 3.x => 3.6 : --
LH100 Version 3.x => 3.6 : 30,- Euro
LH100 Version 2.x => 3.6 : 50,- Euro
LH90 Version 3.4/3.5 => 3.6 : --
LH90 Version < 3.4/3.5 => 3.6 : 15,- Euro

TURNAROUND TIME 5 DAYS

Please contact A&H models at 95 high street, Brackley, Northamptonshire. NN13 7BW
PHONE 01280 701410

Hope that helps

As a little side note off topic slightly, why have Lenz started going to A&H models and it seems like they have stopped using Mackays Models?
Seems a little odd to me.

Cheers

Thanks Wiggy,

A quick check shows my command station LZV 100 is Version 3.5 and the LH 100 handset is Version 3.0. I will contact A&H Models this week, thanks.


I had wondered if they were doing anything more than that for example a couple of years back I'm sure there was an LS160 proposed which was going to be a signal version of the LS150 but nothing materialised.

As for A&H versus Mackays they are both still listed as UK distributors on the Lenz website so I don't think they have stopped as such but Mackays have lost their exclusive status. I have a feeling there was some debate about this a few months ago but I haven't gone searching for it!

Cheers

Geoff
 

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QUOTE (wiggy25 @ 28 Jun 2008, 10:30) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>Having read a post on another forum and something similar on here I posted a reply which I have copied and here it is....

Its a pretty comprehensive post by Ian/Wiggy.

It underlines the need to be realistic about ones requirements and then seeking a system which solves those needs. Personally I'll never need 2amps unless I add a lot of sound systems (my locos draw under 100mA each), but can see that others might need the current. However, a generic booster could solve the power requirements for many.

So, if the requirements are 2A or similar, there are a number of options with readback in the circa £100 area, though one needs to watch the expansion options.

Even without knowing the ~£150-160 price, I was advising some friends who were thinking of adding the Bachmann Pro for decoder readback only (ie. not computer or second handset) that other solutions would be cheaper; either a Sprog or a different maker's controller.

- Nigel
 

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QUOTE So, if the requirements are 2A or similar

I think the current value and by implication the power being handled is a key component in product cost. I've noticed that when you get up into the higher power ratings, say 30VA or higher that costs rise substantially, meaning it's a non linear relationship - i.e. a 60VA supply does not cost 2 times a 30VA. If I my perception is correct, then a 4 Amp booster is going to cost a lot more than a 2 Amp one. So the question for people who deal with stuff every day and are more familiar with the costs, is this how it really is?

David
 

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QUOTE (dwb @ 29 Jun 2008, 20:27) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>I think the current value and by implication the power being handled is a key component in product cost. I've noticed that when you get up into the higher power ratings, say 30VA or higher that costs rise substantially, meaning it's a non linear relationship - i.e. a 60VA supply does not cost 2 times a 30VA. If I my perception is correct, then a 4 Amp booster is going to cost a lot more than a 2 Amp one. So the question for people who deal with stuff every day and are more familiar with the costs, is this how it really is?

David

*** Not really David, The full systems generally add more intelligence & features as well as extra power. Adding straight boosters actually won't work with most start sets at all.... The current limit in the existing "booster phase" of the start set is usually the top limit that it can handle directly....

For example the Dynamis Pro Box will actually contain what is in effect a full command station + booster and most of the "active intelligence" in the handset will be largely bypassed when used with the pro box - making the handset to all intents and purposes a display +dumb keyboard. This is necessary as although it may look like the pro box adds "power + readback" what it actually will do is do ALL the programming and command intelligence when its used as you can't have half in the handset and half in the black box.

Same applies to the "full upgrading" of the NCE powercab to a PowerHouse Pro... you can't actually boost the output of a start set so what the "full system" expansion does is turn the powercab into a procab and 100% of the intelligence is then managed via the black box.

Regards

Richard
 

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Hi!
I splashed out on a Dynamis at Christmas and bought a couple of basic decoders (Lenz standard). The Dynamis is quite impressive to this DCC newbie and does everything expected of it.
The only thing I really want now (like many others) is the ability to read CV's.
I don't yet have a layout-just a loft full of stuff, most of which will probably never be used!
I intend chipping the more recent locos that I have, which will probably end up being about 20. Some of these I'll be putting Loksound decoders in when I've learned more about DCC. I'm really not sure whether I'm going to need the 5amps of the Pro. The layout I ultimately end up with (rather than the one I dream of!) is likely to mean 3 or 4 locos running at once at the most.
I'm tempted to buy a Sprog 2 rather than wait for the Dynamis Pro, both on a cost basis and because I'm impatient to move on.
Bearing in mind that I can use a computer but I'm no expert, can anybody recommend Sprog 2, or should I wait for a (presumably) "idiot-proof" Dynamis Pro? The online user guide for the Sprog looks good to me. Is there something I've missed?
 

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Go for the Sprog & install DecoderPro (it's a free programme).

It's a cost effective, very useful bit of kit.

You will be able to read/write & keep a complete record of your installs (even use it as an basic inventory).
 

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QUOTE &#8230;this whole Dynamis pricing thing was a wish and a hope from consumers, not a pricing indication change from Bachmann, and common sense would have said that an ESU made product is was never going to be cheap.
QUOTE I think the problem with the Dynamis Pro pricing thing is that I, and a lot of others as well, somehow got it into our heads that the ball park pricing for the Pro would be about the £100 - £120 mark. When the price comes in at 50% more than expectation, no matter how that expected figure was arrived at, it's a bit of shock to the system.
QUOTE When I saw the speculation on this and other forums about how the Dynamis was going to be a cheapy ECoS I noticed there was no substantiation to accompany the fantasy. It was always going to end in tears as many people may have believed the speculation rather than looking at the facts.
Hi
Just for the record, I think it's fair to point out that the expectations on Pro Box pricing were based on what Bachmann representatives were saying last year and not on wild assumption or wishful thinking.

I was told on two different occasions that they expected the Pro Box to cost in the region of £50 to £60 (which initially surprised me) and have been present when others were given the same information.
I'm also aware of members of another forum being told exactly the same.
Far from being a "fantasy", the speculation was based on the best available information at the time; i.e. from Bachmann employees..

If the recommended price shown on the Bachmann website turns out to be correct, then you cannot blame Dynamis owners to be a little disappointed.

However, it may not be all bad news.
Although the basic specification for the Pro Box was clear from the beginning; the same Bachmann reps said that the spec hadn't been set in stone and that other functions/capability were being considered. It may be possible that the price hike has come about as a result of the Pro Box containing more than originally thought?
 

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Dear Ian W (Wiggy),

You might add to your list of DCC Controllers the Zimo MX31ZL. This is a very nice fully featured hand-held DCC controller with RailCom built-in (which may be interesting for some more advanced DCC users). The controller is limited to 4 amps, so it's not for a large layout, but probably OK for most small to medium size layouts. See the DCC Supplies Description for more details. The price has gone up due to the decline of the pound against the euro this year. It used to be around 260 quid last year, but is now 320, so it would be the most expensive on your list and perhaps not in the medium-price range as you have defined it.

Zimo supply frequent updates to the s/w for the controller, which can easily be installed using the built-in USB port. In fact the same USB port can be used to update Zimo decoders and load new sound projects to Zimo sound decoders, so this is a very flexible future-proof piece of kit, especially if you are using Zimo decoders. The RailCom Global Detector will find all the RailCom enabled decoders on the layout (Lenz, ESU and Zimo, for example) and quickly build a table of what it sees. This is nice as the "stack" for active locos gets built automatically during start-up. You can also see the real speed as well as the set speed (still being attained by acceleration or decceleration) for the loco under control, as well as the actual power consumption in volts and amps on the display.

It's feature set is probably as good or better than any hand-held controller on your list (although I have not checked every single feature!). Of course, some of the console type controllers have larger and better displays, capable of showing the layout diagram and other features, but I am only comparing the Zimo MX31ZL with the other hand-helds, with the inevitable screen size restrictions. With the thumb-wheel and the slider on the Zimo MX31ZL, you can actually control 2 locos at the same time, so this is getting close to the capability of some of the larger console type controllers. CV setting is much easier (with menus) than some new controllers which ought to be better.

I just thought that the Zimo MX31ZL should appear on such a comprehensive list, just so advanced users of DCC know the full range of what is available. Of course this is getting into the price range of the high-end systems such as ESU ECoS or Viesmann Commander, so I understand why it might not make the cut you have established, but if it were not for the decrease in the pound, it would be in the 250 pound range, which was about what I paid for it around 7 months ago.
 

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Ian Wigglesworth
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QUOTE (Geoff Booth @ 29 Jun 2008, 07:57) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>Thanks Wiggy,

A quick check shows my command station LZV 100 is Version 3.5 and the LH 100 handset is Version 3.0. I will contact A&H Models this week, thanks.


I had wondered if they were doing anything more than that for example a couple of years back I'm sure there was an LS160 proposed which was going to be a signal version of the LS150 but nothing materialised.

As for A&H versus Mackays they are both still listed as UK distributors on the Lenz website so I don't think they have stopped as such but Mackays have lost their exclusive status. I have a feeling there was some debate about this a few months ago but I haven't gone searching for it!

Cheers

Geoff

Hi Geoff,

Have you managed to contact A&H?
Can you post any information here about the services offered, good or bad.
Just so other Lenz users will have upto date information on where they can get their kit upgraded.
It would also be useful to give prices and how long it takes to have the upgrade done.

John,

I did look at the Zimo and the CT Elektronic, but like you said the price puts it up to the likes of the ESU ECoS, Viessmann Commander, and the ZTC systems.
Hence I didn't include it.
The list was really aimed at those who had bought the Dynamis and were not happy that the Pro-Box was going to cost a RRP of £164.95
It was purley to show that for those range of features it would be more or less the same cost as most of the other systems of a comparable spec.
If the Zimo had still been at £250ish it would have been on there as I think it would have surprised quite a few people!
Saying that it's still almost on a par with the Lenz set 100 so still not too bad.
The problem with anything like this is where do you stop?

A few people will just ignore the price comparisons and then start to comment on the specs and how good one is against the other!
I can't do that as I don't own or have used all of the systems. I have tried alot of them though, but 10mins playing about is not really the same as owning one and really using it to it's full potential.

You have given loads of info on the Zimo starter system, could you do a bit of a review for others and post it in the DCC command stations user reviews section for others to look at?
Its building up as a very good place to compare system specs and prices!
Not only that it's from actual owners as well!

Cheers
 

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QUOTE (wiggy25 @ 4 Jul 2008, 14:13) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>Hi Geoff,

Have you managed to contact A&H?
Can you post any information here about the services offered, good or bad.
Just so other Lenz users will have upto date information on where they can get their kit upgraded.
It would also be useful to give prices and how long it takes to have the upgrade done.

Yes I have, quick answers via e-mail:

The costs are as follows.

LZ/LZV100 Free
LH100 (V3-3.5) £25.00
LH100 (Earlier versions) £41.60
LH90 Free

All postage at post office rate.

They have also said they will turn it round in a day so I intend to send mine Special Delivery on Monday so it should be back with me Wed or Thu depending upon how they send it back.

I will advise next weekend!

Cheers

Geoff
 

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Following up from post above.

Set 100 sent Special Delivery yesterday morning, e-mail received today at 1320 saying upgrade complete!


Quick phone call to pay by credit card so it should get back to me tomorrow Royal Mail willing!

All in all first class service


Geoff
 
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