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Unpacked my Elite today and as a first time DCC user I can confirm that it's more fun than a barrell of monkeys.But seriously, I found basic programming easy and things happen just the way the instructions say they will.
I have 3 locos DCC fitted so far, 2 of Bachmanns "on board" types and a Rivarossi 4-6-4 fitted with one of Hornby's tiny decoders, all now programmed with appropriate addresses. I also managed to muck around with acceleration & start voltage settings, just out of curiosity.
One thing you can't appreciate until you see it is the performance improvement that DCC seems to provide. My Bachmann 4MT Tank was a bit of a dog when running on DC but under the Elite's control it performs faultlessly, the obvious tight spot when running on DC has vanished and I can now make it crawl along smoothly, the Rivarossi 4-6-4 has been similarly revitalised.
Apparantly you can have 10 loco's on the go at once with this system, all I can say is good luck, I had 3 moving at once and the Elite may have been happy but I was a bit nervous, 2 loco's under control is fine but the 3rd is running around doing it's own thing until you call it up & tell it otherwise, it'll take a bit of getting used to.
The two types of decoder I have so far seem to have their pros & cons. The Bachmann decoders are able to accept a 4 digit address and appear to be a bit more advanced in the programming department, the Hornby decoder will only accept a 3-digit address and doesn't seem to do some of the tricks the Bachmann chip can.
On the other hand the motor output from the Hornby decoder seems to be a lot quieter than Bachmann's, I'm not sure if it's the Rivarossi motor helping Hornby's cause but the Bachmann locos emit quite a hum at low speed, it's not awful but it's there.
One thing, the Elite unit makes a fair bit of noise as well, I think it may be coming from the AC inverter, if your familiar with those 12v DC to 110/230v AC inverters used for powertools and so on ,you'll know the noise I on about. It may be just a DCC thing, or it could be Budget unit specific, Maybe someone with a more upmarket unit could shed some light on that point.
So, in sumary, if your thinking of going DCC, stop thinking and go and buy one. A couple of years ago I was a sceptic, now after only a few hours of playing with my new toy I'm wholeheartedly converted, it's better than I imagined it would be.
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