Model Railway Forum banner
1 - 13 of 13 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,151 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Might be a dumb question but anyway.

Since I am going to convert to DCC am looking for a suitable decoder to fit in tight spots in my FLM loco's.
Hornby decoders were perfect due to its small size but what I have read so far shows me to keep away from it.

Now, can I use decoders designed for N scale to my HO locos?
Is the Amp. value important.
And if the answer is yes, any recommendations?

Still couldn't decide on the DCC command module.


Thanks
Baykal
 

·
DT
Joined
·
4,794 Posts
The normal power rating of the decoder must be more than the normal power consumption of the loco. You can test the power consumption of the loco by adding an ammeter in series with a DC controller and powering up the loco.

Testing the loco in various conditions gives you an idea as to it's power consupmtion.

- Start-up
- Normal running and at full speed
- Holding the loco but the buffers with slipping wheels - as if it has too many carriages attached
(whatever is the highest of the previous 3 values is the normal consumption)
- Blocking the wheels (for a very short period) with power applied (this will be the maximum consumption)

The newer decoders have protection for a short burst of power consumption over the normal level and some decoders have a cut-out that protects the decoder before it fries.

Normal ammeters will not measure the correct amperage on a DCC track as the signal is not quite AC or DC. There do exist special ammeters for DCC, here is one.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
193 Posts
Dear Baykal,

If you are looking for a really small decoder, you might want to check out the CT Elektronic (TRAN) small decoder DCX74z. This incredibly small decoder is 9 x 7 x 2.6 mm. It is a 4 function 1 amp decoder that can handle a peak of 2 amps (for 3 secs). Unfortunatley, the site is all in German and it is difficult to get service from the owner (Mr. Tran). Some of the documentation is in English, but not all.

If you are interested in CT Elektronik decoders, I would recommend Arnold Huebsch as an Austrian dealer who knows both CT Elektronik and Zimo products well, plus he speaks excellent English. Check out his website here.

In the Zimo range, the MX620 might be suitable. See here for more details. The MX620 is 14 x 9 x 2.5 and handles up to 0.8 amp. As Doug as mentioned above, you need to check the peak consumption of the loco and make sure this peak is covered by the rating of the decoder.

One advantage of buying from German or Austian suppliers is that they will be able to deal with any questions you have regarding Fleischmann locos (I am assuming that's what you mean by FLM).

Some manufacturers are now bringing out decoders that plug straight into the NEM 8 pin socket without any wires or harness. They fit into the space taken up by the blanking plug, so these are good if you have restricted space, and you do have a socket already fitted. The latest steam locos from Hornby are like this (M7 and King Arthur, for example). Lenz have the Silver Direct and ZTC have something similar, but I am not quite sure of the product code (ZTC 4007?). I have a feeling that these plug-and-play decoders will soon become the standard option for DCC ready locos. The only problem is that the locos with many functions (e.g. sound and lights) may demand 21 pins instead of the 8, so we will need 21 pin plug-and-play!
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
2,650 Posts
QUOTE Hornby decoders were perfect due to its small size but what I have read so far shows me to keep away from it.

If it gets you out of a tight spot and all you want to do is move forwards and backwards at around £8 ts worth trying one and then you can make up your own mind. If you find its not for you then you can always resell the decoder.

Happy modelling
Gary
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
5,592 Posts
Virtually all the manufactures of decoders now produce micro decoders with excellent peak amp and running amps. From Digitrax to Zimo and ZTC it's simply a question of looking up the features that you want and selecting the best possible product at the best price. Why choose a decoder like that from Hornby which although cheap has a reputation not being able to communicate with their own and others command stations. At £8 it might be cheap, but it simply reflects the quality of the product. If you've ever bought cheap tools and regretted the decision to buy them, then you'll know why you you shouldn't consider the Hornby product.

Forums like DCCUK have been full of Hornby decoder problems. More complaints in the last week than I've seen since the launch of Hornby DCC. Sad but true.

If your starting in DCC buy dependable products, with a reputation for quality. The last thing you need are decoders that simply don't perform as they should. It's like throwing £8 away with every purchase.

 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,151 Posts
Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Thanks guys for all the references.

I am going thru all of them bit by bit.

John, I will get in touch with mr. Tran and bore him with my questions on the Fleischmanns.
The Lenz Direct seems a good choice. A plug and play decoder.

Gary, to be honest, all our loco's in our club layout are fitted with the hornby decoders run by the Select.

the Hornby R2641 BR Class 50
R2656 BR Class 73 and
Stanier 8F
Liliput DB Br 86 fitted with loksound decoder.

Now we took this layout on an exhibition in one of the biggest malls in Istanbul.
The layout was there for exactly 1 month. These poor souls started running at 9 am till 10 pm a total of 13 hrs non stop /day.
Total of 390 hours! Non of them let us down in performance and are still kicking except the liliput Br 85 who threw in the towel 3rd week.

Now I am in the brink of going DCC and do you see my dilemna? Anyway still have time think till May.

Thanks

Baykal
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,151 Posts
Discussion Starter · #7 ·
MMD,

I completely agree with you.
It eventually comes to the saying that " I am not rich enough to buy cheap things."

The left lobe of my brain says: ESU command control+Lenz silver or Direct+ loksound V3.5 decoders, while the right lobe says
(Wife+kids+.....) settle with the Elite when it arrives.


But you never know, the devil works in mysterious ways.


Cheers
Baykal
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
2,650 Posts
QUOTE Gary, to be honest, all our loco's in our club layout are fitted with the hornby decoders run by the Select.

the Hornby R2641 BR Class 50
R2656 BR Class 73 and
Stanier 8F
Liliput DB Br 86 fitted with loksound decoder.

Now we took this layout on an exhibition in one of the biggest malls in Istanbul.
The layout was there for exactly 1 month. These poor souls started running at 9 am till 10 pm a total of 13 hrs non stop /day.
Total of 390 hours! Non of them let us down in performance and are still kicking except the liliput Br 85 who threw in the towel 3rd week.

Thank you for your honesty eBaykal. Really given that you have had the experience that you have had its a question of what do you think will work best for you. You would have to question some of the comments offered here based on your own experience. I know I would!

Happy modelling
Gary
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
7,397 Posts
QUOTE (ebaykal @ 18 Apr 2007, 06:12) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>MMD,

I completely agree with you.
It eventually comes to the saying that " I am not rich enough to buy cheap things."

The left lobe of my brain says: ESU command control+Lenz silver or Direct+ loksound V3.5 decoders, while the right lobe says
(Wife+kids+.....) settle with the Elite when it arrives.


But you never know, the devil works in mysterious ways.


Cheers
Baykal
Baykal, I have one DCC fitted Hornby loco which has a Hornby decoder and it really sucks. It is simply the worst decoder I have ever encountered yet. To be fair I think the type of motor does contribute to the poor performance. That is my limited experience of Hornby decoders. This decoder will be coming out and getting replaced. It does sound like these decoders can function with some motors from what you say though. It would be good to see what motors they are compatible with.

The left lobe of my brain won and my preferred decoders and command centre are as you list but I use Lenz Gold instead of Lenz Silver. At the end of the day we all have to make our own choices based on our own priorities.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,275 Posts
The old decoder question. How many times have I heard or read this question on emails or forums over the last 15yrs. It's basically horses for courses, if you buy a cheap horse it'll run okay for a while then the waranty will run out and the damn thing will die and you have to start all over again. With DCC it's the same if you buy cheap it's cheap for a reason, if you buy expensive it's pricey for a reason. Your choce would most likely be based on availability, support and cost as was mine in the beginning. When I started three systems were available here in Oz Digitrax, Lenz, Wangrow System One. Digitrax was the cheapest at A$500 and looked it, Lenz was about A$850 and middle of the road and System One was top of the line at about A$1300. With Digitrax you got a base system that you had to buy extra bits for but was limited in functionality and only two didgit addressing, Lenz was similar but you could run more locos and System One was a full system with 4 didgit addressing and a lot more locos could be run. I went for Lenz although there was a complete lack of support at that time for Lenz. Then after a couple of years I moved up to System One due to the limitations the Lenz system had at this time. Now my Sysytem One is getting old and since the owner passed away support is limited to what bones NCE will toss into the bowl so I'm changing again to the CVP Easy DCC system as it has better radio setup than NCE and I like the idea of the base station type of controller which makes it look like a fancy H&M Duette from way way back. As for decoders well my choices are Lenz Gold and Gold Mini's but you have to carefull with the Mini as it's max current draw is only .6A, Zimo if I can get them and that's only usually at train shows, TCS if I'm not really fussy and Soundtraxx Tsnumai's for sound decoders. I'm not really convinced that the Loksound is a good decoder . It's an OK decoder but I seem to have a bad run with them so I avoid them whereever possible. As for checking current draw on your locos do this on DC first. Check waht it takes to get the loco moving, what it draws at full speed, what it draws with the wheels slipping and what it draws with the motor stalled. Only do the last one for long enough to get a reading so you don't fry the motor. Most HO scale decoders are in the 1A to 1.5A range, N scale in the .5 A to .7A range although there are decoders from the likes of Zimo and NCE that are rated at 1A.
The choice is all up to you depnding on what you want it to do and how much can you pay and can you get one.

Ozzie21

QUOTE (ebaykal @ 17 Apr 2007, 19:41) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>Might be a dumb question but anyway.

Since I am going to convert to DCC am looking for a suitable decoder to fit in tight spots in my FLM loco's.
Hornby decoders were perfect due to its small size but what I have read so far shows me to keep away from it.

Now, can I use decoders designed for N scale to my HO locos?
Is the Amp. value important.
And if the answer is yes, any recommendations?

Still couldn't decide on the DCC command module.


Thanks
Baykal
 

·
No Longer Active.
Joined
·
13,319 Posts
QUOTE (ebaykal @ 17 Apr 2007, 10:41) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>Since I am going to convert to DCC am looking for a suitable decoder to fit in tight spots in my FLM loco's.

Please feel free to send me a private message regarding your FLM loco's - we have fitted 100's of decoders (not only FLM) to them & being FLM dealers have a lot of experience to hand.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,151 Posts
Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Thanks Brian,

Shall do.

By the way I have just read Doug's review on the Hornby decoder. Guess he did that when it was first launched.

Quote :I have compared the Hornby decoder directly to a Lenz Gold - perhaps unfair as the Hornby decoder costs less than £10 and the Lenz costs about £30, but the Lenz was the only other decoder I had at hand so that was the reference.

As it turned out, the Hornby decoder ran very well and had a smoothness comparable to the Lenz and a slow running speed much slower than the Lenz.

I say again that it is small, cheap well mannered decoder. Perfect for fitting into steam locos with limited internal space, perfect if you starting out with DCC on a limited budget and perfect if you need a smooth running simple decoder for a little engine. I'll be using these on my layout for sure. Unquote

Slow running + Steam loco's with limited internal space ! I mean isn't that what I want in the first place?

I am confused
Still have to do alot of research

Baykal
 

·
DT
Joined
·
4,794 Posts
The decoder is basically fine if you are looking for a simple decoder.

The problems are:
- No long addressing
- Tendency to sometimes reset back to default address (3) on a short
- No ability to read back CV values (you can't see what has been programmed before)
- No speed control (max speed, mid speed or speed tables)

Benefits:
- Cheap
- Small
- Slow running speed
 
1 - 13 of 13 Posts
Top