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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Decisions.. Decisions.. I just cannot make my mind up as to what Controller to go for to use on my Fleischmann layout? I have narrowed it down to two.. as they both look to be very smart pieces of kit..

Should it be the ECoS or the new Viessmann 5300???

I would be most interested to see your comments on these two controllers.

Regards
Puzzler..
Suffolk
England
 

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I have owned an ECoS and can confirm that it is a really good controller. There are a lot of us on this forum that own and use one. It is tried and tested and receives regular updates from ESU.

The commander looks similar to the ECoS. I have heard unconfirmed reports that ESU were involved with the design. As yet it is not proven and I haven't heard of anyone that has used one (is it even out yet? It was meant to be released over a year ago).

All in, I would either go for the ECoS right now, or wait 6-12 months and see how the commander pans out. The other option would be to buy the cheap but excellent NCE powercab and use it until you are certain what system you really want.

Rob
 

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Hi Puzzler,

As another ECos owner I would second Rob's advice except that I would (and have done) go straight for the ECos. It's a known quantity with a very high spec and is currently 'the' state of the art controller.

Cheers,

Expat.
 

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If you want a full blown controller the ECoS is your best option at the moment. There is a good range of accessories building up to go with it, it is easily updated with new features over the net and is easy and intuitive to use. It's also substantialy cheaper than the Commander. I have had mine for a year and half and haven't had a problem with it.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
I have to admit, I like the idea of having my layout on the actual control panel as in the Viessmann 5300, but the ECoS looks to be the business in control, I am wondering if it would be possible to connect up the Viessmann GBS 5380 layout panel to the ECoS, then you could have the best of both worlds then.
Puzzler..
[

quote name='80class' date='4 Jun 2008, 17:33' post='54451']
I have owned an ECoS and can confirm that it is a really good controller. There are a lot of us on this forum that own and use one. It is tried and tested and receives regular updates from ESU.

The commander looks similar to the ECoS. I have heard unconfirmed reports that ESU were involved with the design. As yet it is not proven and I haven't heard of anyone that has used one (is it even out yet? It was meant to be released over a year ago).

All in, I would either go for the ECoS right now, or wait 6-12 months and see how the commander pans out. The other option would be to buy the cheap but excellent NCE powercab and use it until you are certain what system you really want.

Rob
[/quote]
 

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Just another modeller
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QUOTE (Puzzler @ 4 Jun 2008, 23:37) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>Decisions.. Decisions.. I just cannot make my mind up as to what Controller to go for to use on my Fleischmann layout? I have narrowed it down to two.. as they both look to be very smart pieces of kit..

Should it be the ECoS or the new Viessmann 5300???

I would be most interested to see your comments on these two controllers.

Regards
Puzzler..
Suffolk
England

***Ecos is reaching maturity and is a stable and well designed system. The veismann still has some way to go and is coming into some criticism from owners at the moment. Certainly there will be a mimic panel developed that will go the ECOS soon - its a common wish from ECOS owners and the V model has stimulated this area.

Remember too that you can brobably buy a competent laptop computer to do a mimic panel on anyway for the same price as the Veismann - all it is is a dedicated PC device after all.

My general advice: Most respected brands will do all you need, so don't just look at the fancy stuff for a controller before you have decided on the basics - walk around or panel type system etc etc etc... sure you can always add things but the core choice will make or break the pleasure you get from DCC.

Richard
DCCconcepts
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Hi Richard

That's very interesting, where did you hear about a mimic panel for the ECoS? That would be fantastic if they were to bring one out, or maybe they would just go along with the Viessmann Panel???

Puzzler..

QUOTE (Richard Johnson @ 5 Jun 2008, 13:03) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>***Ecos is reaching maturity and is a stable and well designed system. The veismann still has some way to go and is coming into some criticism from owners at the moment. Certainly there will be a mimic panel developed that will go the ECOS soon - its a common wish from ECOS owners and the V model has stimulated this area.

Remember too that you can probably buy a competent laptop computer to do a mimic panel on anyway for the same price as the Viessmann - all it is is a dedicated PC device after all.

My general advice: Most respected brands will do all you need, so don't just look at the fancy stuff for a controller before you have decided on the basics - walk around or panel type system etc etc etc... sure you can always add things but the core choice will make or break the pleasure you get from DCC.

Richard
DCCconcepts
 

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QUOTE Remember too that you can brobably buy a competent laptop computer to do a mimic panel on anyway for the same price as the Veismann - all it is is a dedicated PC device after all.

My guess is that the Viesmann commander is designed to appeal to a different market, those who don't want to use a computer. There is a lot to be said for the idea of producing a "tray" like device into which you plug different "bricks" representing the control elements. The result is that the panel design is a purely physical activity rather than moving stuff about on a computer screen with a mouse.

David
 

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Dear All,

I have always fancied one of these Lever Frames. linked to DCC decoders to operate the points and signals behind the frame. Although, you can have a wire-in-tube system and be almost completely prototypical in operation and much cheaper. Then this lever frame is the signal box and the DCC controller is the driver. On the other hand, I have so many old PCs knocking around, it would just be easier to build a control panel using JMRI and PanelPro. Then, I don't have to order a new frame every time I change the layout.

I think we often confuse these 2 major roles (driver and signaller) in DCC without even thinking about it. Even if you are a one-person operational team, the roles ought to be divided, in my way of thinking and not combined into one. In a club situation, there is even more reason to have these roles separated with perhaps a 3rd role of a dispatcher (district controller?) for running the fiddle yard and deciding on the make-up and route of the next train (or you run to a pre-determined timetable). I really don't see the point (ho, ho) of pushing lots of butons just to change a point or signal, and perhaps losing control of the loco while you are doing it. Some DCC controllers support this dual role better than others, but should we be combining them at all?

If you accept this division of roles, then you need 2 different control systems which suit the different requirements. Get the best DCC controller for operating locos, probably a wireless (radio or infra-red for large layouts), or a hand-held throttle type on a long cord (for smaller set-ups), with a slider or rotary knob. Then you need to decide separately on the best system for the points and signals, which might be a mimic board, lever frame, control panel on a screen, just like the real signal box.

I come from an IT background and I was always taught that you should build the user-interface (UI) to suit the task to be performed and not try to build one UI for all possible tasks. That's always more difficult can easily end up as a compromise between the best UI for each task.

Sorry for the long email which digresses from the original question, but this difference in thinking about our actual role, when we step-up to the model railway, may be why we get some people who really like these Viessman style panels versus some who are quite happy with a Hornby Select, and everything in between. Some people want to be a driver and some want be in the signal box. Probably most of us want to be both, as we are a one-person team at home, but not necessarily with the same control interface.
 

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QUOTE (Puzzler @ 6 Jun 2008, 03:29) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>Hi Richard

That's very interesting, where did you hear about a mimic panel for the ECoS? That would be fantastic if they were to bring one out, or maybe they would just go along with the Viessmann Panel???

Puzzler..
Yes, can you tell us any more about this Richard?
 

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Ian Wigglesworth
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What a tricky question to ask!!

Having actually spent 5mins playing with both, they are both such an advanced bit of kit, it really is hard to choose.
But in the grand scheme of things every DCC controller thats been released has had problems and needed either to be sent back or "emergency" firmware updates have had to be released.

From that point of view I would go for the ECoS, it's been out for quite a while now and I believe most of the initial hicups if there were any have mainly been ironed out.
As it's also been out a while there seems to be a much bigger user base to get help if required.
You also have the luxury of all the new goodies that are being developed for it which will no doubt become available just in time for Christmas....like always!

Just my thoughts mind you, the mainly obvious thing that makes the commander stick out more is the colour screen!
Everything else looks about the same.

Cheers
 

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QUOTE (wiggy25 @ 6 Jun 2008, 10:28) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>But in the grand scheme of things every DCC controller thats been released has had problems and needed either to be sent back or "emergency" firmware updates have had to be released.
Not all of them - at least not those that I have experience of - FLM Twin-Centre (AKA Uhlenbrok Intellibox), Lenz LH90/100, Roco Multimaus & the GM Prodigy Advance.
Admitted, there was a software update for the latter but this was only so that it would work with the early Hornby "decoder".
 

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QUOTE (Brian Considine @ 6 Jun 2008, 17:51) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>Not all of them - at least not those that I have experience of - FLM Twin-Centre (AKA Uhlenbrok Intellibox), Lenz LH90/100, Roco Multimaus & the GM Prodigy Advance.
Admitted, there was a software update for the latter but this was only so that it would work with the early Hornby "decoder".

***Actually: I'd prefer brands to be like ESU and NCE - produce excellent products and be prompt and responsive in adding or changing features to better suit owners...

Sorry to contradict you Brian on your examples....
*The Lenx 90 needed s software change that took Lenz 3 years to do, and it costs the owners quite a lot to haveit done even though its to fix a problem that should never have been there. The LH100 has a problem with cable anchoring that creates fractured wires that Lenz still see no need to fix after 5 years....

* Uhlenbrock has has several software upgrades - not for anything catastrophic but to improve various issues.

*Roco has always had shortcomings that need addreesing + some serious compatibility problems with compliant NMRA products that need fixing - this has been in common with all maus product ever released. but they do nothing about it... these problems crop up often on E lists and here on MRF.

*the MRC prodigy advance software change (to the MRC Prodigy advance squared) was to fix small issues but PRIMARILY so it no longer directly conflicted with NMRA specifications for use of functions above f8.

To my knowledge unless theres been a significant change in the Gaugemaster version and they've upgraded all their stock, the GM model still doesn't meet the NMRA specs properly (all those I've seen here in Oz so far certainly had the "old" software and can't properly access higher functions). The new software is fine, the old certainly is problemmatic.

Richard
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Richard,

I think you may have misunderstood my context, or maybe I did not explain it properly.

None of the systems I mentioned have had any issues during my use of them or when dealing with any customer issues, although I do appreciate that you see far more systems than us !
 

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QUOTE (neil_s_wood @ 6 Jun 2008, 06:52) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>Yes, can you tell us any more about this Richard?

*** Its just common sense:

The ECOS is a networked product, basically a PC operating system with standard RJ45 network connections. The Veismann panel is a dedicated PC with touch screen that can be linked to another "ecos like" system. There is nothing overly clever or special about the V mimic panel - its just a severely overpriced touch screen.

ESU are currently the largest maker of DCC in the world. ECOS has the lead in screen based control systems. ESU will not allow the lead to be taken without response. My word soon simply meant that I'd bet a lot of money one is on the development benches right now - I'd be very surprised if it wasn't released at next jears toy fair.

Personally I don't see what the excitement about this is - if anyone really wants a touch screen mimic panel, buy a PC with a glass screened / firm screened flat monitor, add a touch screen overlay and make it - its not hard at all, and will be far cheaper and more sophisticated than any branded toy mimic panel.

By the way, I agree a LOT with Johns post: I find it hard to get excited about the current generation of "pretty looking" controllers overall as they are very classy and competent but they add nothing more than more user friendly brands already offered....

We spend too much time looking for the fancy look and wowing at the technobabble - but its train control we are looking for so it should really be all about defining what feels nice and instinctive to use, defining operator roles and control methods properly etc before you get carried away with the techno-toys.

Defining a comfortable operating routine and ergonomically nice controllers is a far better decision process than all the tech specs in the world when it comes to MR operation.

I have access to all the tech toys made at Wholesale prices but will probably never change from the NCE hand controller for exactly the reason above - but I WILL use NON train brand touch screen panels at each station not because its fashionable to do it but because it is also more user friendly than using a DCC system for layout control.

Richard
DCCconcepts
 

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As a complete amateur when it comes to DCC, I bought the Hornby DCC Select. I have not set it up as yet but have heard it is moderately good and probably a good starting point for a complete DCC novice.

In terms of DCC chips, I have a combination of Hornby and Bachmann.

What do you very sophisticated guys (and gals) think of the Hornby DCC system. ? I don't expect it to be top of the range but is it 'fit for purpose' ???

 

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QUOTE (Basil @ 12 Jun 2008, 18:24) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>As a complete amateur when it comes to DCC, I bought the Hornby DCC Select. I have not set it up as yet but have heard it is moderately good and probably a good starting point for a complete DCC novice.

In terms of DCC chips, I have a combination of Hornby and Bachmann.

What do you very sophisticated guys (and gals) think of the Hornby DCC system. ? I don't expect it to be top of the range but is it 'fit for purpose' ???



It is a train set controller, it can program more CV's than the EZ command and can also control accessories such as points using the accessory decoder.
It's not really DCC as you know it as the DCC signal from the Select is.............trying to be PC here not great


The new updated Hornby decoders should be ok, now that they've fixed the software, the originals were just plain shocking.
The Hornby Elite is a much better system but still has it's quirks...horses for courses.
Set it up and see how you get on, sooner the better, if you don't like it send it back!

Can't be too hard on it as I believe Hornby have sold so many of them, and there seems to be many happy owners/users depends on exactly what you want from a layout and controller.

Cheers
 

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QUOTE (wiggy25 @ 12 Jun 2008, 20:19) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>It is a train set controller, it can program more CV's than the EZ command and can also control accessories such as points using the accessory decoder.
It's not really DCC as you know it as the DCC signal from the Select is.............trying to be PC here not great


The new updated Hornby decoders should be ok, now that they've fixed the software, the originals were just plain shocking.
The Hornby Elite is a much better system but still has it's quirks...horses for courses.
Set it up and see how you get on, sooner the better, if you don't like it send it back!

Can't be too hard on it as I believe Hornby have sold so many of them, and there seems to be many happy owners/users depends on exactly what you want from a layout and controller.

Cheers

Many thanks Ian W.

I will set it up and see as soon as possible. I don't want much at this stage as I am only touching the surface. I just want to run a few trains on a bit of track. I do., however, look forawrd to getting into the more serious side of the DCC control and this forum is a good spot to check things out.

regards

Basil
 
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