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Ashley,

Consider the MRC Prodigy Advanced 2.

It has 19 Functions, complete CV programming, and full read-back program.

I have had one for 6 months, and I think it is great.

tonystrains.com in the States is selling it at the moment for $199 - that is £100 at to-days exchange rate on a credit card. Even if you paid the maximum £30 customs duty, you will still be quids in.

Full details available on Tonys website. (I bought mine from there, but it was £25 more then).

AlanB
 

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Brian,

I feel I must reply to your negative comment re my post regarding the MRC Prodigy bought from the States.

Firstly, what is different ? I see no difference in the specification from both sides. One obvious change is the front panel of the handheld of the U.K. model which is a horrible antique brown colour. I prefer the black and white of the original. The buttons and controls are all exactly the same.
And what is wrong with the power supply. It is identical in input and output power, the only difference being that it is 110v-240v automatic selection - no switches.
The plug is an american one, but this can be cut off and a 13a plug put on. Alternatively, the plug that goes into the power supply is identical to the standard plug that went into most video and DVD players. I soon found one in my spares box, and I am sure a lot can. So why is it horrid?.

In May last year, someone asked on Rails of Sheffield forum if anyone had bought one from the States. Here are two of the replies:

'Isn't the Prodigy set up the one Gaugemaster have put their name to for the U.K. market to avoid having to get off their a**e and develop a system of their own, also typically U.K. twice the price as well.'

Reply: 'Yes that's the one SB, I can't believe that some mugs are paying £60-£80 more for the same system.'

Prices in the U.K. to-day - Gaugemaster £225 - Craven Models £212 - Hattons £199 - On Tracks £180. States £100.50. Need I say more.

I and many others who source from the States are well aware of returns if there is a problem. When I had an operator error problem (i.e. me) an email to MRC in the states was replied to in two days. Which is more than I can say for some U.K. suppliers and importers I have written to. The Vi-Train importer didn't even reply.
Also with MRC, all returns are made direct to them, so you have the factory dealing with your problem. And the postal service is efficient and swift.

By the way Ashley, the number of Functions is actually 28. Best of luck in your hunt for a system that suits you.

AlanB
 

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Brian,

I really believe you have gone into the realms of 'scaremongering' with regard to the U.S. version of the Prodigy.

The whole system as supplied to the U.K. is exactly the same as the U.S. version

In order to put their mark on it, Gaugemaster decided to have different colour panels. It looks like a white that has been left in the sun to discolour.

In fact, when deciding to purchase a new DCC controller, having got over a disastrous experience with Hornby DCC - (I couldn't face trying the experience again for over three months), I personally visited Gaugemaster at Ford to have a look, and a demonstration of the Prodigy. I was impressed with the working of it, but was totally against the colour - it put me off completely.

It was shortly after my visit that I saw the U.S. version, and it was black and white. That was one reason why I bought it. It sounds stupid I know, but have you ever refused to buy a car because of the colour? The other most important thing to me and a lot of other people was also the difference in the price.

Now you obviously have not seen the the U.S. version power supply, otherwise you would know that it is exactly the same unit in physical size, colour of box, complete with squiggly line and green light as the U.K. version. It also has exactly the same quality marks, i.e. CE, Indoor only house, and double square box indicating double insulation. So sorry Brian, am I missing something?

Oh!, and they are both made in China, as are both controllers.

With regards to saving money by purchasing abroad, I see from two answers on your post regarding purchases from the U.S. that two posters from Australia admit that they purchase from the U.K. and Germany because model railway items are cheaper abroad than from shops in Australia due to import duties - sound familiar?
They are also not worried about problems if it goes faulty.

You see Brian, the bottom line really is cost. It is called competition, and with the internet, the world is now included. If you can't compete, you can't survive, as a lot of U.K. industries have found to their cost.

AlanB
 

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Brian,

I do apologise that I missed the question.

Firstly, I am one of those people who do an enormous amount of research into anything I buy. I once drove three different car salemen potty when it took me a month to decide on which car I wanted. I kept going back into each showroom over that period.
If I am buying a new television, I don't just decide on the size, I will look at the full specification of the ones in the range I am looking for before I decide. It drives the family mad, but the main thing is that I finish up with exactly what I am looking for and therefore very rarely have a problem.
Hornby DCC was the latest one as I had no idea what I was looking for, and therefore just went for the 'trusted' brand name - big mistake.

As I have never needed to 'send something back that I did not like', I have no idea whether Tonys Trains or any other U.S. company would do this.
I do remember seeing something on one website, that as long as the item had not been used, and we pay the postage, it would not be a problem.
I shall have to pay more attention to this when I am on their websites about returns.

As to phoning someone in the evening, I would not do this, as I respect peoples privacy at this time, as I would expect them to respect mine.

AlanB

STOP PRESS:

On Tony's website: Satisfaction guaranteed - whatever you buy from us if you do not like it, send it back for your refund or exchange (subject to restocking charges at the discretion of Tony's). STOP.

It should also be remembered that in the U.K. it is the law, not the dealer, that states that items can be returned within 14 days when purchased over the phone or internet.
The customer must pay postage unless the item is damaged.
 
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