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Bachmann showcased their new Dynamis DCC console at the London Toy Fair 2007. Much has already been said about Dynamis so it was interesting to see it first hand. A pre-production prototype sample had been produced for the show and not all functions were operating however it gave you a very good idea of what it was all about. The presentation allowed you to control a small shunting layout complete with a Bachmann digital sound Class 66 Loco, a Class 20 shunter, a Class 08 and two steam locomotives. The sound loco was clearly getting the most use by those having a play as it could be heard on and off whilst browsing around the Bachmann stand. I thought to myself that I would sneek in and have a go when things got quieter as I did not want to embaress myself and wreck the stand with a runaway train!

Dennis Lovett from Bachmann spotted me and walked over and invited me over to to have a look.

There was a lady visitor present and all she went on about was the nice colour. I suggested to Dennis that if Bachmann made a pink version then they might encourage more female railway modellers into the hobby. The lady laughed. Dennis then indicated that silver was not the final colour which was going to be the same gunmetal colour of the signal receiver box. There was some discussion about this and then Dennis lifted the control pad up, pushed the lever forward with his right thumb, and the Class 66 motor started to chug and the engine note rose as it pulled away. He then pushed the lever back and the loco ground to a halt and the engine sound stopped. The lever was flicked to the left and this enbabled a different loco to be selected. We went for the Class 20 and a similar manouvre was carried out. The lady was very impressed and walked off talking about nothing but Dynamis.

Dennis then invited me to have a go and left me to my own devices as he had a customer to go and see.

The control pad has been designed as a two handed device with function buttons pressed using the left thumb and control functions using the right thumb. The buttons along the bottom are used to assign locomotive addresses and create locomotive speed profiles and other such criteria to give the locomotive its unique identity. There is an emergency stop button to the lower right. There are further pictures in the gallery which will help you judge the size for yourself. Its about the size of a Nintendo DS.

The screen is backlite and will be a lot brighter on the production version. If you look at the screen below it will give you a very good idea of how things are displayed:-



The batteries lasted the whole duration of the show and reliability of the demo pre-production prototype was faultless over the 4 days.

I then spoke with Tony Lowe who is on the Dynamis project team and he indicated that rumours that the product had been produced by Bachmann USA were unfounded and that the product was actually an initiative of Bachmann Europe with Barwell being the project sponsors. Bachmann USA do want to offer the product to American customers. Development started 18 months ago and Dynamis is due for launch in the Summer. Dynamis supports all programming modes, the Pro unit will link it all to a PC and you can operate a maximum of 128 cabs.

Model Rail Forum are going to the German show and Tony invited Doug to meet him for a technical chat. In terms of the technology I will leave that in Doug's capable hands.

The link below takes you to the gallery with further Dynamis pictures. I have some answers to questions and I will provide those later.

More Dynamis Pictures is London Toy Show Gallery

Bachmann have had a lot of positive feedback about Dynamis at the show and sense that they have a winner and my own reaction after my brief roadtest was that they may be right!

Happy modelling
Gary
 

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Looks good.

Why such a large paddle of a throttle button? At least it looks large. It doesn't look easy to get your thumb around the left and perhaps over the top to bring the speed down. How did it feel?

I would have gone with a 4-way cross-like thumb pad like you see on a Wii or a Playstation controller.
 

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Its not that big. Its height is about 2/3 of the height of your thumb. Its a plastic paddle moulded onto a metal frame and shaft so it is pretty resistant to a bang.

The final design will have a clip in one corner to enable you to fix the control pad to a strap which you can hang from your kneck. This will permit you to let go of the control pad and let it hang on your person freeing you to have the use of both arms and hands to put your loco that has derailed back on the track.

The feel of the paddle was comfortable and there was some light resistance but just enough to make it feel engineered.

In terms of the Infra Red signal the range is enough for the typical room in a house and if you want to run a garden layout the Pro unit provides you with a longer range and the ability to use the control pad at some distance in the garden.

Happy modelling
Gary
 

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>In terms of the Infra Red signal the range is enough for the typical room in a house and if you want to run a garden layout the Pro unit provides you with a longer range and the ability to use the control pad at some distance in the garden.

Are you saying that in the base model the controller is not physically attached to the command station?

David
 

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One thing that would be interesting if some one could ask next time they speak to Bachmann is:

Say your at a modelrail show and you have an exhibition layout and you control it by means of Dynamis your one of the first ones there your set up and everything is working great.

You notice on the other side of the hall another display group has just set up and they too are using a Dynamis system.

What will happen with the control of the models can the Dynamis coupe with two different layouts or will they conflict?

Pete
 

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One would assume it is the command station that sets the different codes within the IR spectrum as you can have upto 4 handhelds working at the same time. The problem if any will come when you have 2 command stations in close proximity, as these will have to be different.

A very interesting point for Bachmann to clear up. Maybe they haven't thought about it!!

Darren
 

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QUOTE Are you saying that in the base model the controller is not physically attached to the command station?

It is not. There is some interesting feedback appearing. We do not know the full specification of the Pro unit yet. The base Dynamis is really for the use of one person and one layout.

I cannot remember if anything was mentioned about an option to hardwire.

Might not the same conditions apply to a wireless system in similar circumstances?

Happy modelling
Gary
 

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>It is not. There is some interesting feedback appearing. We do not know the full specification of the Pro unit yet. The base Dynamis is really for the use of one person and one layout.

This is becoming intriguing. Here's the impression I have at present:-

The basic(?) Dynamis unit has a separate hand held controller with no strings attached and uses IR to talk to the central station.

One of the mentioned benefits of the "Pro" is that it has wireless and Gary has also mentioned that it gives increased range in the garden.

Now, if I have got the right end of the stick, I take these two statements to mean that on the Pro, wireless replaces IR, which moves my interest up a notch or two.

David
 

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So there's some confusion here.
Is it just a case of loose terminology?

Does "Wireless" simply mean..."No Wires"
or does it mean...."Wireless Radio Communication"?

I assume everything is Infra-red and there's no radio involved?
 

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>So there's some confusion here.
Certainly for me.

>Is it just a case of loose terminology?
I don't think so. When the "Pro" unit is announced as having a "wireless" option, the automatic assumption is that the base unit is tethered or permanently attached in some way. Then we get pictures of a free standing controller and learn that this is for the base unit and it uses IR, I think this may be a "first" in the DCC world where the base unit has an untethered controller as standard and not a cost option. If this is the case, it would explain why Bachmann are so offended by the idea that the Dynamis is just a retooled, dumbed down ECoS. So now we have to step back, re-assess and ask "If the base unit is already un-tethered, how is the Pro better?" It looks like the answer may be wireless replacing IR.

David
 

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That would suggest the handheld is both IR and wireless or am I getting more confused as well? There is only one handheld being shown and is mentioned in both configs. Seems a strange way to go being both IR and wireless?

Darren
 

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The details that Bachmann have on their site show a wireless signal strength indicator in the top right of the screen. It could be that the prototype at the show was using IR but the final version will be wireless. The clear plastic will be the same colour as the rest of the body on the final version. Check out the new PDF download from the Bachmann website giving you full details:-

Bachmann Dynamis Information PDF

Happy modelling
Gary
 

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>Seems a strange way to go being both IR and wireless?
It makes sense to me for the following reasons:-

1) IR is cheaper to implement than wireless

2) There is little to change in the software since the difference between handling IR and Wireless takes place a long way away from the application (as in DCC command station software). Remember that early PDAs used IR to communicate with PCs, so established IR communication protocols have been around for some time.

>Check out the new PDF download from the Bachmann website giving you full details:-
I've read it carefully and to tell the truth I'm none the wiser on the specifics on the comm link between the controller and its base station.

It still looks and reads like a great piece of kit. There doesn't seem to be any sign of a "Feedback" bus, so maybe that's where ESU are preserving the market for the ECoS.

David
 

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QUOTE It still looks and reads like a great piece of kit. There doesn't seem to be any sign of a "Feedback" bus, so maybe that's where ESU are preserving the market for the ECoS. There's a vast difference between what the Ecos offers and the Dynamis. There's several functions the Ecos has which the Dynamis doesn't. I see no connection other than ESU made them. They are at opposite ends of the spectrum in that the Ecos is cutting egde and fully featured and the Dynamis is a budget system. Does Dynamis make use of S88's to trigger switches or shuttle locos? Dynamis has one Cab not two. The toggle feature although it looks the same is only a menu navigation or train control feature on the Ecos it can be used to manipulate accessories such as cranes.

Although the Ecos is the only system that ESU have released under their own name they have been involved in the making of systems for other before like Maerklin and Trix. My two cents worth is that this has the same origins as the budget system made by ESU for Trix. It has a similar format but has several extra features including the wireless aspect and more functions. The Ecos has the same format as the Trix central station not the budget system.
 

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>Does Dynamis make use of S88's to trigger switches or shuttle locos?
I covered that when I mentioned I didn't think there was a feedback bus.

>Dynamis has one Cab not two.
Fair comment but for my layout controlling the it from a fixed position is not all that attractive, so it's not a big "must buy" for me. For the ECoS to work for me I would have to buy the wireless add on.

>I see no connection other than ESU made them
EcoSlink - Hey I wonder if you could use the Dynamis as an extra cab on an ECoS?


>on the Ecos it can be used to manipulate accessories such as cranes
So far those accessories have not been cheap; in fact they are probably more expensive than a Dynamis, so it's not really the same ballpark (unless you know different, I am not an authority on this)

It's possible that the Dynamis doesn't do the "dynamic" whistle thing with Loksound decoders.

For me, right now, I'm not sure the ECoS has enough extra features that I could use to make it worthwhile. Provided of course the Dynamis Pro does what I think.

David
 

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QUOTE EcoSlink - Hey I wonder if you could use the Dynamis as an extra cab on an ECoS? Thats what I'm thinking. It would be good as a cheap walkaround controller.

The big attraction with the Ecos for me is the shuttle and s88 triggered switching. I want a lot of automation without having to wire my system up to a computer. The Ecos will give me this. If it wasn't for these features, in all honesty I would by a Multi Mouse. Unless the Dynamis has anything more to offer that is.

QUOTE So far those accessories have not been cheap; in fact they are probably more expensive than a Dynamis, so it's not really the same ballpark (unless you know different, I am not an authority on this Thats true, these items are at least 300 euros.

QUOTE I see no connection other than ESU made them The point I am making is that unlike the Maerklin and Trix Central stations the Ecos does not form the basis of the Dynamis. It is the budget handheld controller which ESU made for Maerklin/Trix which is more likely to.
 

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>The point I am making is that unlike the Maerklin and Trix Central stations the Ecos does not form the basis of the Dynamis.
Ah I see. I'm thinking with my "software" hat on. Apart from less hardware, I don't see a lot of difference in the overall systems at all from a design point of view; or at least there wouldn't be if I had designed them.

David
 

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QUOTE (dwb @ 1 Feb 2007, 09:56) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>>The point I am making is that unlike the Maerklin and Trix Central stations the Ecos does not form the basis of the Dynamis.
Ah I see. I'm thinking with my "software" hat on. Apart from less hardware, I don't see a lot of difference in the overall systems at all from a design point of view; or at least there wouldn't be if I had designed them.

David
That makes it all a bit clearer. I don't really know what the go is from a software aspect. I'm looking at the net result and capabilities. Do you design software then?
 

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>Do you design software then?
Yes. I also have a say in the selection of processor and other hardware components and I'm the one who has to get them to work together. Do that for more than 25 years and you can "second guess" what goes into a product like ECoS.

David
 
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