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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
After visiting my local model shop and talking to one of the owners about various bits and bobs he mentioned that the Prodigy had been withdrawn from sale as they had found an issue between it and the Hornby Decoders (issue not fault). Apparently the Hornby decoder frequency is out of the range of the prodigy and they are having to change a chip in the controllers to expand the frequency range of the dcc signal they use to enable it to work with the hornby chips.

Can anybody also in the trade confirm this as he has tried ordering one for a customer and they have been given a lead time of 2-3 weeks before they will be available again.

Maybe this could explain other issues we have seen with controllers and Hornby chips?

They are very well up on DCC by the way.

Thanks Darren
 

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Are Hornby the first to deliberately design a DCC system to be non standard, non interchangeable, non compatible, ?. I remember Gary stating to me specifically we should trust Hornby, well on the current evidence there are several types of venomous reptile I'd trust more than Hornby with DCC specifications. The whole concept of DCC and standards it appears, have deliberately flouted . I hope the NMRA publicly condemn the system.

 

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I don't recall Hornby saying their decodersd are not NMRA compliant, just that they are designed to be NMRA compliant. That fact that as a cheapy decoder they don't do all the things others do then as long as the things they do are NMRA compliant I don't see a problem.
 

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Recently, on MRE Mag, a contributor asked:

"My question is - does Hornby have the NMRA Conformance Warranty?"

Hornby replied:

"Not at this time, the term of 'work with any Command Station' is very wide. Our decoder's functions are addressable warranted NMRA Command Stations. We have many customers using other manufacturers Control Equipment. Lenz, etc."

So they admit that their decoder doe not have NMRA conformance. Perhaps it will one day - with or without some tweaks, who knows. There have been some modifications to the decoder since it's initial release to the press (see my review). Perhaps releasing it to the public is a good way to find all the other bugs. Fix them, then go for NMRA compliance.

I have used the decoder with my Lenz system with mixed success, but without any full NMRA compliance/conformity, who can say if it will work with other DCC systems?
 

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There are a many decoders which do not have an NMRA conformance warrant. It is the Prodigy set up that appears to have the issue and this appears to have been recognised. There have been issues with other decoders and Prodigy in the USA and so this should come as nothing of a surprise to DCC experts. Gaugemaster know that if their console will not function with a Hornby decoder then they will reduce their potential UK sales considerably and they only have a licence for the UK.

I would guess that every console supplier to the UK market has by now tested the Hornby decoder with their system and as we have not heard from nearly any of them then it has functioned. Any console supplier who offers a console that will not drive a Hornby decoder is at a serious commercial disadvantage in the UK.

Therefore I am puzzled by the tone of one or two Model Rail Forum members but what is new.

Model Rail Forum has Digitrax console users yet none of them have yet tried out the Hornby decoder. How about trying out a Hornby decoder with your Digitrax consoles to give us all first hand experience with Digitrax?


Considering Digitrax users claim it is a fantastic system and one of the worlds top selling systems (and I have no doubt that this is the case) then it does seem a little odd that we have yet to have feedback from a UK Digitrax user!

QUOTE I have used the decoder with my Lenz system with mixed success, but without any full NMRA compliance/conformity, who can say if it will work with other DCC systems?

Hornby decoders do work with other DCC consoles. They work with my Bachmann console which has a conformance warrant and they work with ZTC and Lenz consoles and others as has been reported here and elesewhere. If a DCC console has a conformance warrant then the Hornby decoder will work as Hornby have indicated it has been designed with this in mind and apparently has been benchtested against the Lenz system.

Hornby have said their decoder has been designed to be NMRA compliant. Hornby have said it has yet to receive a conformance warrant.

Do you have to submit your decoder to the NMRA to be NMRA compliant?


Happy modelling
Gary
 

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QUOTE (Gary @ 14 Jan 2007, 12:36) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>Hornby have said their decoder has been designed to be NMRA compliant. Hornby have said it has yet to receive a conformance warrant.

Do you have to submit your decoder to the NMRA to be NMRA compliant?

You need to submit the decoder if you want a conformance warrant. The DCC specification is in two parts, (a) the standard, and (
recommended practices (RP). To get the warrant you have to comply with the standard AND meet all applicable RPs. The standard covers only the very minimum functionality required to have something work. Practical interworking will usually require that many of the RPs are followed as well.

From the information available at the moment it appears that the Hornby decoder may satisfy the standard, but does not conform to the relevant RPs.

All that is in the 'standard' are speed and direction packets, idle packet, reset and emergency stop. All methods of programming are part of RPs.

I don't think the Guagemaster/Prodigy product has a conformance warrant either. So perhaps they too have implemented some subset of the RPs.
 

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QUOTE (darobi @ 13 Jan 2007, 21:55) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>Apparently the Hornby decoder frequency is out of the range of the prodigy and they are having to change a chip in the controllers to expand the frequency range of the dcc signal they use to enable it to work with the hornby chips.
That sounds like pure bull****.
 

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as a owner of the gaugemaster system since oct 2005 i have never had any trouble reading decoders or progamming from other manufactures , last night i e mailed gaugemaster about the statements made by a dealer to a member on the forum regarding their system and when i have a reply i will post it on this site.
before xmas i purchased a bachman loco with a decoder fitted no problems , if the hornby system was ok why have they put back the launch of the elite till march i suspect it is because of the problems they have had with the select ,just look at hornby forum ,
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
I was hoping for some confirmation from Dealers on this forum as I know there are some. Maybe they will be able to clarify Gaugemaster's postion if any is required.

Darren
 

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Why would I want to waste £10 on a decoder with no feed back just to prove a point, I was hoping you would donate one Gary ! Then we can do the Digitrax test. MRC decoders have had a bit of reputation in the past
I recall a batch which were impossible to program with a Digtrax chef and with an Atlas Commander (lenz) Compak and with a computer setup using the old PR1. I cannot comment on the current quality of MRC decoders but I haven't read too many negatives since the launch of the Prodogy in the UK.
 

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had a word with gaugemaster they have had problems with the hornby decoder it also has been a problem when checked with a digitrax system and other makes . mrc have also checked and have tweked the cpu used in the prodigy so it can work with with the hornby decoder .one thing i will not purchase a hornby loco fitted with one of their decoders, just look at the hornby forum, today they appear to have a major problem as the common factor is hornby and untill it is sorted out sales will suffer. one thing i did find out is that the decoders sold under the gaugemaster label are made by digitrax .why should other makers have to change to suit hornby. i have fitted 3 types of decoders to my loco's and prodigy could read them and programme ok
 

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QUOTE why should other makers have to change to suit hornby

They don't.

Why should other makers have to change to suit Marklin and German DCC?


Germany is the 3rd biggest economy in the world and the UK the 4th so the answer may be linked to this.

Hornby have implied during conversation that they have benchtested their products with Lenz who created the standard and that the Elite will function with Railroad software.

How do TCS, Digitrax, MRC. NCE and others get on with Lenz?


Is there a devide between European product and American product?


What we don't know is how many systems and decoders Hornby have sold relative to online feedback. It is human nature to report issues and to keep quiet if there are none. Also a large number of Hornby digital users may not be members of any forum and this is very likely. Yes there is a lot of forum chit chat about Hornby Digital and is this because they have sold a very large number of digital bits and bobs before Xmas? After all there are a lot of "sold out" messages.

Happy modelling
Gary
 

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I wonder if this move is a response to this:

QUOTE You have to program the decoder on the main track.please note everone don't try to program the train on the program track of the gauge master prodigy it will knacker your chip,I've gone though 3 up to now!

Taken from the Hornby forum , posting 12/1

Given that neither system has NMRA certification, and the issue has not been reported using systems other than Gaugemaster, it would be premature to speculate which side of the fence responsibility lies here

I'm also puzzled by the comment that Gaugemaster decoders are Digitrax rebadged- ZTC seem to be the people with a licence to rebadge Digitrax , and frankly the Guagemaster decoders are both significantly cheaper than Digitrax/ZTC, and a very much narrower range. I'd have expected Gaugemaster to be offering more than just 2 decoders if they had access to the Digitrax range - especially as ZTC seem to promote the idea that different decoders are required for different locos
 

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German DCC works

British DCC is imposed by Hornby as a device to increase its profits. It seems that its decoders are not NMRA compliant but are Hornby profit margin compliant

Russell
 

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QUOTE Germany is the 3rd biggest economy in the world and the UK the 4th so the answer may be linked to this. Britain was overtaken by China lst year as the worlds fourth biggest economy. However that gdp in China will have to go that little bit further to cover it's larger population.

I'm interested to know what you mean by German DCC too. Would you care to elaborate?
 

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QUOTE How do TCS, Digitrax, MRC. NCE and others get on with Lenz? question
Is there a devide between European product and American product? question

Excluding MRC I've used decoders from the other manufacturers with no problems, this isn't going to save the day by trying to imagine all decoders are as incompatible as Hornby's. Further read this:
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From Adrian Hall as posted yesterday on the DCC-UK forum Nothing yet from Hornby although Simon did promise to get back to me when his technical chaps had looked at the issue. I understand that Phil Grainger is trying to arrange to get a couple of MC2's to Simon for him to test with. I await a reply in eager anticipation.

In the meantime, the word on the grapevine is that at least one major retailer has removed all their Select units from the shelves and returned them to Hornby. Several others are refusing to stock them until the problems are sorted.

In general terms it seems as though many people have found many problems with the units. This seems to boil down to the fact that the DCC output from the Select is both erratic and suffers badly from signal spikes.

It has got to the stage that a couple of my friends in the trade are now more confused about DCC than ever before. With no help or advice coming from Hornby and with the inability of the Select to operate other decoder makes they can now only sell Hornby decoders to the customers who have already bought the Hornby Digital sets. But then we come to the problem that their decoders will not take the current draw
of some of their models e.g. the Duchess. When Hornby were asked that question they did not seem to be aware that they needed more powerful decoders for some of their models. So, some customers who have purchased Hornby equipment cannot then use other Hornby equipment with it. See what I mean about confusion. What can the poor retailer, who is very unlikely to be a DCC expert, do!

To my mind until these problems are sorted, the Select is only good enough to be a trainset power unit and, like the old Lima trainsets, you would not run even a small layout with such a power unit.

Hardly a successful product launch when retailers are removing the product from sale


I think the important observation is Folks are more confused about DCC than before and this is really sad. Here was the golden opportunity and it's been stuffed by inept opportunism. Hornby simply have to correct these failings and get folks on board with a workable DCC system that is seen to be reliable, compatible and workable. Also decoders that are programmable,and compatible with other systems.
 

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Haven't read anything on the MRC forum - can't see there being a fixable upgrade in the UK as it is MRC policy that all modifications have to be dealt with at their place in New Jersey and it will cost you $50.00.
So far I've only used decoders from Bachmann ( the 3 function cheapy ) Soundtraxx and QSI and I haven't had any problems on my Prodigy Advance
 
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