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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi,

I have been looking at the guagemaster prodigy advance system for £225. There is a system on ebay called the MRC prodigy advance for £139. They both look identicle, apart from one is creamy grey and one is black.

The MRC is apparently shopped from america and you have to change the plug to make it run on 240v which is no problem, but what I wnated to know is if they are both the same? Is it simply a differnt colour or are they any differnt? is it worth buying the guagemaster for 90ish quid more, or is it easier to buy the MRC and just change the plug?

Also, I notice the guagemaster bits and peices are much more expensive than the hornby stuff. Can i use the hornby decoders and the point decoders/motors with the guagemaster or MRC system? Is it all universal?

Also, how does the DCC system know where the train is on the track? How does it know to stop at stations and when it gets near to sidings and stuff....?

Thnks for any help,

Pete.
 

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Hi Pete,

Basically they are one and the same company, same product different colour. The only problem with buying stuff in from the states is that you have to send it back there if anything goes wrong with it. which could build up the costs to over what you would have payed for it in the UK.

The Hornby Decoders and point motors should work with this system. however if you shop around I found the lenz Point decoders which control 6 points for £28.50 from £33 (Hattons price) even at £6 more than a hornby one is still good value.

With DCC you drive the train not the track. Which means the track is always live (dont touch tracks can get shocks i found this out the hard way). Each loco is given a number so for me, my DRS 47298 the number is 4798 and this is unique to this loco. i call up this loco and increase the speed, meanwhile all other locos are stationary.

If you know anybody who uses DCC, ask if you can have a go and see what you think about it.

if you live anywhere near Kidderminster i can show you.

Alistair
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Hi,

Im told the techonlogy used in DCC is similar to the technology used in DMX lighting systems. I have experience with DMX lighthing from my sfx and tv background so I under stand the science and computation (new word
) i just wasnt sure if all the brands were interchangable, or if i bought an MDS system from america, weahter i would have to import all my decoders and gadgets from america too...

I still dont understand how the DCC system knows where the trains are...
 

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According to Gaugemaster the power supply (units) are different. The UK amplifier uses a DC input from the power unit & the US amplifier uses an AC input from the power unit (or is it the other way round - must double check with them). So if you use the wrong combination you could have problems. The actual handsets (apart from the colour) are interchangeable.

Watch the eBay source though - there is a US version that is not fully spec'ed & of course as alibuchan said it's a long way to send anything back.

If you send me a PM I can let you have details of a UK source of a genuine Gaugemaster unit for £185.00 (The gaugemaster decoders are arounf £15.00 from the same source).

You can use the Hornby decoders with virtually any DCC system.

If you want the DCC system to actually know where the trains are you have to go "high end" to a fully featured system & decoders to match. If you want a fairly simple block system for main line running that quite easy using relays.

From my conversations with a stage lighting "teckkie" the technology between DMX & DCC is similar.
 

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>I have experience with DMX lighthing from my sfx and tv background so I under stand the science and computation

If you want the "raw" details on DCC go to the NMRA standards webpage where you can read all you need to know about the technology behind DCC.

David
 

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Hi hoarp001
Happy New Year to you.
I imported a Prodigy Advance DCC system from ScaledStructures in the US. It cost me £135ish and it is identical in all respects to the Gaugemaster unit. As far as I can see it appears to me that all GM are doing is replacing the plug on the PSU (or possibly replacing it with one of their own units?) and sticking their own cream coloured labels over the MRC printed ones on the hand held and base unit.
My imported one arrived in the UK within 10 days (eBay linked item paid for by PayPal) No import duty was charged as it came into the UK as 'Toys'.
I simply cut off the American two pin plug on the PSUs lead and fitted a standard UK 13 amp plug with a 3 amp fuse inside. The PSU has a 'universal' 110-230 volt input. Wired up the base unit to my DCC bus and switched on. - 100% satisfied.
If you're thinking of buying one then I can only recommend them.
The only draw back could be in the future if the unit were to fail internally. As it would mean returning the item directly to MRC, but this isn't really a serious problem. An example of failed items I have had - I returned a ScaledStructures purchased decoder to the American manufacture and got a replacement back within 12 days! - I blew the decoder, so I couldn't really return to ScaledStructures as it wasn't their fault! But the US manufacture was really good and supplied a free replacement.

Of interest on the MRC web site they are say a new version of the Prodigy Advanced is to be released sometime this year (No actual date as yet) It will be called 'Prodigy Advance 2 (squared)'. This link is to the MRC site http://www.modelrectifier.com/search/searc...SubCategory=DCC You can look at the current Advanced's spec. etc my using this site too.

What ever you chose, enjoy DCC.
 

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A standard DCC system does not "knows where the trains are". The DCC signals are send to all parts of the track that are connected to the command station.

For feedback - to allow a system to know where the train is - you need to divide up the rails of the track into sections (blocks) and then connect the blocks to feedback modules that then connect to the command station.

Depending on the DCC system used, you can then automate your trains and turnouts or indicate their position and state on a panel or use a computer system to manage the whole layout.
 

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QUOTE Also, I notice the guagemaster bits and peices are much more expensive than the hornby stuff. Can i use the hornby decoders and the point decoders/motors with the guagemaster or MRC system? Is it all universal?

Also, how does the DCC system know where the train is on the track? How does it know to stop at stations and when it gets near to sidings and stuff....?

Virtually all DCC decoders made to the NMRA standards will be compatible. Certainly Hornby, Bachmann, Lenz, MRC, NCE etc etc all work happily with the MRC Prodigy and so should all other makes too.

As Doug has stated... Only via cutting the DCC areas up into sections or the rail feeds going via special detection units. Then this information is then sent back to a special computer programme which will itself send back DCC comands and the train would be able to be slowed, stopped and restarted without any manual input via the controller. Normally DCC control is via the supplied controller and you drive the trains. i.e. the same as any DC system
 
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