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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
hey folks ...

as posted elsewhere, my baseboards are ready! ... track planning is in full swing just now to see whats possible in the space i have ...

however over the past year, iv been busy acquiring equipment so i have most of the things i need to start building and running my railway!

i knew from the start that i wanted dcc to run the layout and switch points. i knew i liked the console type controller too and i always liked german equipment!.

so i bought the fleischmann twin center and the twin control. i also have a profil boss to use as a handheld/walkabout unit which im told works very well with the twin centre.

but at the scottish model rail show, talking to experts on the brand, they tell me that fleischmann are dropping the twin centre and control and adopting the roco - maus system. the problem is - they are not compatible with each other ... one uses loco-net, the other uses express net for the components to talk to each other!. grrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr.

the main difference for me as a user is that the roco-maus is capable of operating up to about 20 digital functions, the twin centre is limited to 8. but for n-scale, 8 seems to be sufficient given that there isnt many sound equipped locos in n gauge like there is in 00.

so do i stick with the fleischmann system now that iv invested in a twin centre, twin control and profi-boss (about £600 of controller lol) or do i switch to another controller now and cut my losses?

problem is that whatever is good today is outdated in 6-12months time and so any system bought today will be ousted in 12 months time by something else!.

do i just be happy with what iv got? ... thoughts / advice pls!
 

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depending on your plans for the future, you could keep what you have and use it, other compatable stuff will be around new or second hand on ebay etc for years to come ( look at hornby duplo and even zero 1, still used today by some folks ). it isn't going to vanish overnight. no matter what system you get there is a chance ( small chance ) that it will be out dated/not available next year. digitrax stuff is all compatable back to the beginning except for one item the CT4 throttle. if you want to switch systems the likes of digitrax or lenz have been around for ages. you could sell what you have on , perhaps even px it, and change systems, but you may still be in the same boat down the line.
 

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I am sure that you will not be the only disgruntled Twin Center owner. The decision to drop it seems odd in many ways. In particular FMZ compatibility will be lost. The almost brand new Profi-Boss controller will be abandoned, as will the Train Navigation system.

I think that you should stay with the Twin Center. It is a good piece of equipment. Apart from the number of functions, it is in some respects superior to the Roco system. You have spent a lot of money on a system that should serve you well for a long time, so why change unless you have to have all the latest gadgets?

The Loconet is a good bus system for every day use. There are accessories from other manufacturers that you can use with the Twin Center. The TC is a version of the Uhlenbrock Intellibox; look at www.uhlenbrock.de for a wide range of Loconet devices. You can use Digitrax controllers. Other firms offer a variety of electronic items for block detection etc.

So I suggest that you do not jettison the Twin Center without at least careful thought.
 

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hi twg,

i made a decision! - im sticking with the twin centre! ... i like it. i have always liked the "console" type controller, the expandibility of it - i have 1 twin control to plug into one side of the centre and ill buy another one soon to go onto the other side to make up a "control panel" .... this might sound silly and it probably is, but i even like the colours of it all - they grey casings, the red control knobs and red and green buttons and the green and black displays - its kind of retro and 80s! ... but its all part of the appeal for some odd reason!.

i bought a profi-boss from germany last year and this year i bought a great value fleischmann start set with the 218 diesel lok, 3 x double decker passenger carriages one of which is a driving trailer, an oval of track with curved points with metal frogs (the expensive ones!) and a profi boss controller for £260.

so i have 2 x profi boss now to use as walkabouts ... ill use the twin centre and one twin control for train driving and the 2nd twin control purely as a signals and points controller. i want the control panel to look as good as the layout itsself lol ...

i am very interested in the train navigation system, do you think i need to start buying the components up quickly in case the disappear soon? - i hope not - i think every loco needs the navigation transmitter and then the sensors around the layout thats not even near the final stages of planning!!!. does anyone else make a train navigation system that wud work with the loco-net / fleischmann system?

the roco multi maus does have more functions - but for n gauge i feel 8 functions for the time being is sufficient! the only controller i wud consider that i wud like better than the fleischmann twin centre is the new console controller from marklin - central station 2 in dcc mode ... but then 2 or 3 of them on a panel starts to become very serious money - all for a train speed controller lol. nice to dream tho!
 

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Is the Fleischmann train navigation the same thing as Digitrax transponding? I'm not a user of either but I do know that Digitrax do detectors that connect to Loconet, and an add-on decoder that provides the transponding function if the main decoder doesn't have it. The system can identify the number of the loco that is occupying a particular section.

The other systems I'm aware of are Railcomm and the Zimo one, but neither will work without a command station that supports it.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
hi edwin - im really not sure on that one - maybe someone else on here knows more about the navigation system - i dont even know how it works, but i luv the idea!.

maybe as u say if its loco-net it might be that fleischmann have bought the digitrax system and re-badged it and selling it under the fleischmann name - at a fleischmann price lol ... i dont know but id be very interested to find out.

one way i suppose it to buy the digitrax system and try it out on the twin centre and see if it works. - maybe if any retailers read this and are inquisitive ... they cud try it out and let us know?
 

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***Fleischmann are not rebadged Digitrax - the loconet is an under license issue.

AFAIK train navigation is totally in-house and not supported outside FL - if you want it, buy it now as its no longer eitherproduced or supported by FL. Littfinski daten technik MAY have items which are compatible though.

If the core of the system was FMZ I'd advise dumping it - that really is a "dead duck" .... but the current/just dropped FLM system is OK DCC wise, if a little less than state of the art... basically I think you are right to continue with the controllers as they are. For a time ebay many be a source of other items you need, but prices will probably grow with rarity.

For everything other than loco driving forget FLM items - use something from a specialised DCC brand thats likely to stay around!

Things like the demise of FL digital are the reason why I always advise modellers to avoid ANY "train brand DCC" - the train brands busines is selling trains and they ONLY get involved in digital as accessory business to help them sell more locos short term - so when it becomes inconvenient, the digital gets dropped or changed to suit their "train marketing current need"!

Zero one, arnold digital, FL and the Marklin system are good relatively recent examples of train brands dropping proprietary systems after thousands were sold... and it leaves modellers out in the cold: Sometimes they are lucky for a while... for example - where would thousands of modellers be now if ESU had not taken on support for the marklin digital system that was dropped!

Richard
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
hi richard,

thanks for that really quite useful info and advice. having mentioned zero 1 and marklin digital and now fleischmann, your certainly correct about train maufacturers dropping it when it doesnt fit in with a new business model - as i have just found out!.

okay that being the case, im not an expert on fleischmann digital train navigation, but maybe someone on here can explain how it works?

i realise there is a "transponder" required on each loco (each carriage & wagon as well? - or just the locos?) and then there is an l.e.d./infra - red(?) detector fitted into the rails (where on the layout do these get fitted?) .... i see from diagrams that the detectors get wired back to the fleischmann twin centre .... then what happens? how does it run trains automatically?

thanks for yoru help once again folks, this is a steep learning curve for me!
 

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The Train Navigation system is made by Uhlenbrock and is sold by them under the name LISSY, so unless Uhlenbrock go out of business it is likely to be available for the foreseeable future.

The system is clever. You can download the manual in English from the Uhlenbrock website to see what it can do.

It has 2 main disadvantages: it is a bit complicated to set up and it it is expensive. I use it for a shuttle, which works very well; the transmitter sends not only the loco address but also a train category, so that actions are set off either by a particular loco or locos or by categories of trains such as push pull or multiple units.

If I wanted extensive automation I would probably choose computer control.
 

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**TWG, Thanks for that info - I have learned something new - my EU source had misinformed me.

DB ice 3 - sorry to misinform you

Richard

QUOTE (TWG @ 2 Mar 2009, 22:50) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>The Train Navigation system is made by Uhlenbrock and is sold by them under the name LISSY, so unless Uhlenbrock go out of business it is likely to be available for the foreseeable future.

The system is clever. You can download the manual in English from the Uhlenbrock website to see what it can do.

It has 2 main disadvantages: it is a bit complicated to set up and it it is expensive. I use it for a shuttle, which works very well; the transmitter sends not only the loco address but also a train category, so that actions are set off either by a particular loco or locos or by categories of trains such as push pull or multiple units.

If I wanted extensive automation I would probably choose computer control.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
hi richard - no probs - thats the great thing about places like this forum - everyone can learn from it - its amazing and i just luv it. the kids today dont know how good theyve got it!. the web has made the world a small place!.

TWG - thanks for the info - does uhlenbrock then also make the twin centre & twin control & other components also for fleischmann? im grateful for that iinfo about the train navigation because i was getting ready to plan a trip to munich for 3 days simply to go and buy components for my twin control system before they are all sold out!. i still need one more twin control and i might buy the turntable controller so it all co-ordinates together altho im not sure right now that i have space on my layout for a turntable!. the controller looks nice anyways lol
 

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QUOTE TWG - thanks for the info - does uhlenbrock then also make the twin centre & twin control & other components also for fleischmann?

Uhlenbrock make the Twin Center, Train Navigation and Loconet connectors for Fleischmann. Some years ago Fleischmann came (rightly) to the conclusion that the days of their own FMZ digital system were numbered and that they needed to move to Lenz/NMRA DCC. They therefore needed a digital system that could cope with both systems simultaneously. I believe that at that time the Uhlenbrock Intellibox was the only multi-system device (DCC, Maerklin and Selectrix) available; anyway Fleischmann got Uhlenbrock to produce a modified version for them. If you look at pictures you will see that the Intellibox and Twin Center are externally identical except for the different coloured plastics. Internally there are some differences. You cannot run Intellibox software on a TC or use Uhlenbrock's excellent IRIS infrared controller, but I think that you can use any Loconet accessory.

The Intellibox came on the market 10 years ago and, as Richard Johnson has pointed out, it and the TC are no longer the latest thing, though they still have many virtues. Uhlenbrock have announced the Intellibox 2, which should be available in the autumn of this year; it will offer a bigger display and much improved facilities.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
hi twg ... thx for more excellent and useful info! - i had a look at the uhlenbrock website and their intellibox sure looks like a different coloured twin centre! ...
i also saw the new intellibox 2 - looks great with bigger screen and ability to control more functions. and i also saw the lissy train detection system that they make! - im so pleased about your posting - i dont need to rush to munich now to buy up fleischmanns train navigation components before they are all sold out!
uhlenbrock dont seem to have a version of the "twin control" add-on unit to the twin centre ... i like the add-on unit - ill be using one set to points control mode to just control points and signals, and use the twin centre and other twin control to drive trains!.

thanks once again for the really uselfull post (well it helped me out!).
 

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Personally, until it no longer has the functions you need I would stick with the TC - we still use them on SL & will upgrade when (& if we grow out of them).

The only reason that FLM have (to their credit) kept with the FMZ system is their policy to support people who have bought their products in the past - how many other manufactures have done likewise ?
 
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