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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hello out there
I am new to the model rail environment except for buying an oval of track and basic locos etc for the kids years ago, anyway I recently found the old kit in the loft and decided to find out if i could upgrade to digital. Turns out no go due to type of loco but whilst in the shop decided to buy a pre used hornby digital mixed goods set to start me off.
The question is this after reading some of the comments in the threads on this forum, have I made the right choice? some of you guys are quite disparaging re Hornby and I am now worried about things like compatibility with other makes of decoders, (if I buy other locos) and the way forward with expanding the setup with the use of points decoders etc.
Any advice appreciated.
Regards
Rob
 

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Totally Crazy.......
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Hiya,

I personally dont like anything to do with dcc and hornby. All there older chips were rubbish nothing worked properly and they just dont match up to other systems out there. Saying that they have released new stuff recently but im waiting to find out what sort of response we get in the shop ----- etc people returning chips all the time like the older hornby chips!!

I use Gaugemaster Prodigy two witch is a brilliant handset and does everything and bachmann chips. There is also the dynamis from bachmann witch is good and cheap but the wireless system is a bit rubbish. a lot of people use lenz systems and these are all very good.

So personally i would recommend using Gaugemaster prodigy anf Bachmann or gaugemaster chips , the prodigy also works amasingly with sound !!!!

Hope this helps and other people add some more for you to make your mind up!!!!

Nikki x
 

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You might wish to read the selection of Reviews on this site

http://www.modelrailforum.com/forums/index...amp;#entry25826

The Elite does not score too badly (4 out of 5 stars)

As you will see, DCC Folks get to have their favourites. It all depends what you want out of DCC. I want sound and lighting (I want to show off all these super details now available in cab interiors!) It also comes down to what kind of throttle you are comfortable with. The balance for me comes down to Digitrax, not least because of their proven reliability. But then I drive a Honda - not because it is exciting but simply because it is one of the most reliable cars on the road. Personal choice is great so try to draw up a list of what you want DCC to do for you, do a little reading (DIGITAL CONTROL COMMAND (Aspects of Modelling) by Ian Moreton is good) and then decide what your budget will stretch to. Good luck
 

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Hello and Welcome to the Forum Rob

I have had no personal experience with Hornby's DCC products but I have read about some compatibility issues with the Select and other brands of decoder. But use what you have got and upgrade to something more advanced or expandable when you are comfortable to do so.

Most loco's can be converted to digital (some easily some with more effort) The oldest Loco I have converted was made in 1958

Have a read of the DCC revues
and the other links at the top of the DCC forum page

Hope this helps

Regards Zmil
 

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Just another modeller
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QUOTE (bicyclebob @ 17 Nov 2008, 05:10) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>Hello out there
I am new to the model rail environment except for buying an oval of track and basic locos etc for the kids years ago, anyway I recently found the old kit in the loft and decided to find out if i could upgrade to digital. Turns out no go due to type of loco but whilst in the shop decided to buy a pre used hornby digital mixed goods set to start me off.
The question is this after reading some of the comments in the threads on this forum, have I made the right choice? some of you guys are quite disparaging re Hornby and I am now worried about things like compatibility with other makes of decoders, (if I buy other locos) and the way forward with expanding the setup with the use of points decoders etc.
Any advice appreciated.
Regards
Rob

***Hello Rob

The simple answer is Nay: Its a good start but once the decision is taken to keep on with the hobby, I think you need to consider the future a little more. It will always be easy to upgrade when you are ready - the decoders will work OK with most controller brands.

There are several reasons for the Nay: The Select has a very bad waveform that makes it incompatible with many decoders, although it is better now than it was.... but it has really limited abilities.

On the upside, it got you started and it is cheap at least.

The Elite is now compatible properly (well done H), but operationally it is clumsy to work with compared to other brands and is for example really not as good as most others to operate if you want other than simple train control - it severely frustrates sound owners as it needs more than one button pushed to simply play a whistle.

As always its up to you, but if you have the choice, go for a full feature system like the NCE PowerCab which has excellent features and excellent expansion possibilities whithout breaking the bank.

RIchard
 

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Hi Bicyclebob,
Welcome to the forum


It is horses for courses with DCC but an overall view is Hornby are ok but only that ....... so its a ney for them ......... go for a trusted system that will serve you well and is economical upgradeable when it is available and very easy to use.

The NCE powercab
 

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Bog Snorkeller
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DCC - Yes. Hornby - No. is the very simple answer.

They have about 10years of really bad press to live down in relation to their electronics so, unless you want to be one of those adding to the list of Hornby dissatisfied users, go for something else before you start spending serious money.

My vote - NCE Powercab

Mike
 

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nickb
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Hello there.

hornby - Yes, Hornby Digital Yes.
I am delighted with my set up; started with a Select whilst waiting for the Elite to come out; now have Elite, 3 Selects, booster, and some point decoders. Very simple to use, and great service from Hornby. Whilst there have been many stories on this site of issues, I can only say my system has been very good. The Hornby basic decoder is very small, and can be fitted into anything, and drives motors beautifully. True, the R8215 original one has very limited CVs, but I think most people really only play around with accel and deceleration. Why all the who haa about not being able to read back it's number - just give it a new number and job done in the same timeframe for example. It is true to say the Select has limitations, but it is a basic unit, and farnkly, I think far superior to the EZ Bachmann one, as it absolutely becomes a walkabout to the Elite. I did experience some issues with the Select programming NCE decoders, and of course, you cannot alter CVs for sound locos - but you will also need a higher spec unit for this anyhow.

So, there are heaps of systems - do what people recommend on this site and read up on the reviews, but I cannot recommend the Hornby one enough. Note also on this site there are a group of Hornby bashers and nothing is ever good enough. I have over 50 decoder fitted trains on my system from Hornby, Bachmann, TCS and loksound. Everything runs a treat. And at the end of the day, it has to be what you like, what you want/can afford, and know you can get help with in the event of technical support. Good luck and let me know if you want any more Hornby DCC help. regards Nick
 

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Hi
I'm in agreeance with NickB on this issue. I've been running with the Elite for what must be heading on for 2 years now i suppose. It runs all decoders I've come across without any problems, I've used it to run my local clubs large layout with 6 trains running simultaneously for up to 6 hours at a time without fault so I'm a little miffed at the I'll feeling & some misinformation that's been thrown around about the unit. I've currently got Firmware 1.2 installed & upgrading via the PC is very simple & free (at this stage).
You really just need to think about what you want from the system, trains with sound decoders etc, you may find the elite a little clumsy, just want to run trains, it's as good as any in its class/price, plus you can have two loco's dialed up at once, no need to toggle through addresses or recall. If you want a hand held then I guess the NCE is the way to go in the same price bracket.
Like Nick says..beware of some of the postings as they seem to be peddling some kind of agenda. A friend of mine has a Digitrax Empire Builder & that really is better & more powerful but at a different price point too... you pay your money and take your choice, but I think the Elite is a good unit & the price is fair for the features it has.

Cheers
PaulM
 

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Hi All

To be fair , there is a bit of Hornby bashing that goes on
but looking at functionality and Expandability of the Hornby System there are Better choices elsewhere.

there are also other systems that have limitations as well , or are very expensive to expand (Dynamis- when they eventually release the Probox)

It is really up to the user to decide where he wants to go with DCC - Computer control and more or just the basic's

If I had not gone the Roco/Lenz direction I would go for the NCE - very versatile and easy and expandable

Regards Zmil
 

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Hi

As an ex Hornby digital owner I will have to say Nay! Look it was not a bad controller until I discovered dcc. Its not in the running league of NCE for example. My suggestion do some more research and try them all. If you end up liking the Hornby get it but before you do, sit down and put a list together of what you want the controller to do and factor in future expections.

Best of luck.

m
 

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QUOTE (zmil @ 19 Nov 2008, 17:43) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>Hi All

To be fair , there is a bit of Hornby bashing that goes on
but looking at functionality and Expandability of the Hornby System there are Better choices elsewhere.

Regards Zmil

*** Actually I don't think it is bashing at all. Brands earn their brickbats and their bouquets, and are commented on accordingly.

It is important to give honest answers without emotion to members questions. Comment has NO value if it is not frank and to the point. There is no place however for gratuitous or emotional negativity, however I don't see them on this list very often at all.

I have no time for gilding the lilly when anyone is looking at spending hard earned money and tend to give pragmatic answers which are simply true, accurate, and based on real problems I have seen with systems owned by clients and the rate of disappointment/frustration/replacement which is more significant with Hornby than any other brand as it very quickly shows its limitations to many modellers.

Likewise I am supportive of brands and products that universally give instant smiles to their owners.... AND I acknowledge positively when problems are fixed by the brands concerned.

Others likewise simply report their experience.

Those asking advice can draw their own conclusions and make better choices from direct comment. That is simply as it should be.

regards

Richard
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Thanks everybody for taking the time to offer advice and suggestions, I am now going into a quiet corner to mull everything over. My initial thoughts are to stick with the Hornby Select for now as I only have the 2 locos and a simple layout and I think the Select will do the job of controlling the 4 points Iam planning to have.
The next step once I have decided on how to expand the layout will be the decision on the Elite or go for one of the other suggestions bearing in mind my "low end" budget.
A last note, is it me or has this hobby got really expensive since I last bought in the eighties.
regards.
Rob
 

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Rob, re your last comment about expensive. Compare the cost of a loco in the 80's & your salary as a percentage to the same type of loco & salary of today, I think you will find that the percentage is smaller today.
 

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nickb
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Probably worthy of a new thread, but the comment re cost is interesting. For those of us down under, prices have never been close to the full retain prices in the UK than now; though note, we have 10% VAT not 17.5%! I woiuld strongly agree with the comment re 1980s. Here in Oz, a steam engine was £50 in 1980 - 28 years later, they sell for about £100-120 if we use around 0.45 exchange rate. From my perspective, they are about a quarter of the price in economic terms let alone the improvement in quality and features. I also remember paying similar price for a Zero 1 chip as a 4 function decoder! Anyhow, it's true that it is not a cheap hobby - but the beauty is everything you buy lasts forever (basically), and I always say, well, think about the meal you last had at a restaurant. Your trains will still be around for years, whereas your grub is gone in 24 hours!!!
 
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