Model Railway Forum banner
21 - 40 of 41 Posts

·
No Longer Active.
Joined
·
13,319 Posts
QUOTE (alanb @ 11 Mar 2008, 18:46) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>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.

Despite what many people think the US version is a little different from the UK one & not just the horrid US power supply.

If you have any problems with the unit it will have to go back to the US - the UK importers only support the UK badged one.

We sell the GM version for a very competative price with full warranty, support & the chance to return the unit to us for a full refund in 7 days if you don't like it. The bottom line is not always everything.
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
7,397 Posts
QUOTE (ashleyh @ 12 Mar 2008, 04:56) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>Currently thinking seriously about getting the ESU Ecos, who are the UK importers and what is wrong with them please? i.e. should I just buy from Germany?

My DCC is a complete mess really, ZTC 505 which is going on Ebay shortly, mainly because it only does 8 functions, and I already have 12 function sound decoders.......
Roco Multimaus - Brilliant, intuitive system, 20 functions, but CANT read CVs
Bachmann Dynamis - Another brilliant system, which would be perfect, apart from it CANT read CVs
Hornby Select ina starter set...cough....cough....going on Ebay shortly!

Many Thanks
Ashley
Hi Ashley, as an ECoS user I would defintely recommend it. Have you read the user reviews?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
266 Posts
QUOTE (neil_s_wood @ 11 Mar 2008, 21:41) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>Hi Ashley, as an ECoS user I would defintely recommend it. Have you read the user reviews?

Hi group, I too am an Ecos user (since nov 06) and agree with Neil.
The Ecos does not have to be upgraded all the time, only if the owner wants the available upgrades as they are released.
The upgrades cost nothing, only a matter of connecting to computer or modem and the latest version is downloaded in minutes.
I operated Lenz for years which I still use through the Ecos sniffer port mainly for walk arround throtles. This can be done with any NMRA compliant DCC system.

Ian sa
 

·
Just another modeller
Joined
·
9,983 Posts
QUOTE (iansa @ 12 Mar 2008, 08:13) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>Hi group, I too am an Ecos user (since nov 06) and agree with Neil.
The Ecos does not have to be upgraded all the time, only if the owner wants the available upgrades as they are released.
The upgrades cost nothing, only a matter of connecting to computer or modem and the latest version is downloaded in minutes.
I operated Lenz for years which I still use through the Ecos sniffer port mainly for walk arround throtles. This can be done with any NMRA compliant DCC system.

Ian sa

We are all evangelists for our own choices and I don't disagree with the positive comments above BUT we should be aware that DCC systems are like cars - very personal in preference. What you love I may not etc....

We have to qualify needs before we recommend. The same system is not the same to everyone, as layout types, operational styles and layout sizes vary wildly.

If a console type full feature system is wanted, then ECOS is truly an excellent choice.

If you like sound and want to interact with the decoder, like to be with your trains, be close for shunting, like to interact with visitors at op sessions, ever have casual visitors that might want to operate shows or follow the trains around the layout then as a personal preference I'd strongly recommend the NCE PowerHouse Pro. Very, very up to date and regularly updatable, 28 functions, NMRA compliant/conformant and so easy to understand and use that its OK for 7 to 70

Cost wise they are about equal.
ECOS is complete out of the box
Powerhouse Pro + a second handset + a quality power supply is about the same as ECOS

I find programming and adjustment of loco CV's better with NCE as it has a very good programming track ability compared to other brands and will do ANYTHING on the main without the danger of programming the wrong loco

BOTH can read CV's.

I use both systems often and both are totally competent products.

Richard
DCCconcepts
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
7,397 Posts
QUOTE (Richard Johnson @ 12 Mar 2008, 13:23) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>If you like sound and want to interact with the decoder, like to be with your trains, be close for shunting, like to interact with visitors at op sessions, ever have casual visitors that might want to operate shows or follow the trains around the layout Richard
DCCconcepts
There is also the Mobile Control for ECoS and the forthcoming Radio Control for EcoS as walkaround cordless controls. See the user reviews for more info.

Richard is right, we all like to plug our own controllers. This is something that should be taken into consideration. Try and see if you can use some of these controllers mentioned before buying to see what suits your needs best..
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,611 Posts
Hi Brian,

If you want the ultimate controller, see if you can find a Uhlenbrock Profi control. It is a cool toy, unfortunately Uhlenbrock only made 500 of them.

www.uhlenbrock.de/3/1/I40C6D97-003.apd/Pro6021e.pdf

Nothing beats sitting at the desk watching a tv screen as the locomotive you are driving on the layout shows the view out of the cab. It is a great bit of kit. However it is a bit of an animal to program, but once done. . . . . . .

John
 

·
Just another modeller
Joined
·
9,983 Posts
QUOTE (neil_s_wood @ 12 Mar 2008, 13:18) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>There is also the Mobile Control for ECoS and the forthcoming Radio Control for EcoS as walkaround cordless controls. See the user reviews for more info.

**Yes Neil but you reinforce my point again.

I made the point as I have hands on with both and regularly use both and they are not the same in any way, differing a LOT in usability.... so Each os "cool" in its own way but an ECOS with mobile control is not the same as an NCE at all.

Ease of use and "comfort" levels vary between units a lot too - even when the features are the same, the interface is not.

There is a fundamental difference in the usage between any console with a handset added and a system designed to be a handset + black box.

Lastly the cost difference.

(1) NCE with two full feature Procab handsets + power supply = ECOS
BUT
(2) To make the ECOS = the walk around ability of the NCE you need to add 2 mobile control - which basicially doubles the system cost compared to the NCE system.

So... I accept totally the evangelism issue, but the differences are real.

Plus - as a user of both systems in discussion - I'm not saying one is good the other not - both are really very good but differences really ARE important because every USER is also an individual!

Richard
DCCconcepts
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,611 Posts
Hi Richard,

You are correct about people being evangelical about "their" system. Marklinists love the Marklin control gear, Digitaxists are however probably the most evangelical of all. No doubt Hornby are hoping for the Hornbyist to become evangelical about the Hornby system!

I believe that there are really two parts to the whole DCC equation. First part is the control equipment. Without a doubt people have to be comfortable with how they control their trains. If you have a controller that you don't understand, then ultimately you are wasting your time and will get very frustrated with it. There is a big difference between fixed and handheld controllers. Personally I like the ESU handheld that has the wheel. I like the Marlin 6021 over the intellibox.

The second and no less important part is the locomotive chips that you use. IMHO there are two sorts, sound and non-sound. From the reading I have done, some non-sound chips behave better with some locomotives than with others. As long as the locomotive works to your satisfaction then I personally don't think it matters what sort of chip is in it. Of course I expect back EMF and adjustable acceleration and declaration as a standard feature nowadays.

In terms of sound chips my experience is limited. Loksound 3.5 is pretty hard to beat, and the Zimo sound chip is right up there as well. As for others, what I have literally heard is that they are not as well sounding as the loksound and Zimo chips. Again personal preference.

Now that the number of functions has grown there is more need than ever to have controllers that can consist and access lots of functions. Even though I do not double head trains, in the future I hope to put function decoders into wagons so That I can turn lights and sounds on and off etc. Consisting will allow me to put any locomotive on to any train and access all the functions under one address, the loco having some functions and the train having others.

The future is bright.

John
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
5,592 Posts
QUOTE Digitaxists are however probably the most evangelical of all.

Not at all, your generalisations are a disgrace !
It's very rare for me to pump any particular system. There are systems I dislike, but were not going down that route.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
264 Posts
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
 

·
No Longer Active.
Joined
·
13,319 Posts
Alan,

As far as what the UK/US units actually do as regards to controlling train there is no difference.

The US power supply does not AFAIK comply with UK safety standards - that's what is horrid about it. I'm not going to start a discussion on electrical safety standards - bin' there, done that before & got flamed fo my troubles - and being a qualified electrical engineer who spends a lot of time on testing/inspection ......

Quote ;
'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.'

I'm temped to answer this, but will not - some of us are privy to information that has to remain confidential.

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

If the bottom line is all important not really - but could you return it if you don't like it ? Or phone me in the evening for assistance ?

Brian
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
182 Posts
QUOTE (alanb @ 12 Mar 2008, 16:23) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>By the way Ashley, the number of Functions is actually 28. Best of luck in your hunt for a system that suits you.

AlanB

Alan, I appreciate the info on the MRC Prodigy Advance, however the deal breaker for me is that unit does not have any form of PC interface, MRC were mentioning such an interface in the adverts over a year ago, but then they seemed to stop talking about it.

The thing to remember about the price difference between the US and here is that it is not the retailers fault. It is incredibly hard to make a living retailing model trains in this country, believe me I've tried, at best it becomes a little sideline/hooby. The people making the momeny in my opinion are the wholesalers and distributors.

It is Gaugemaster that set the UK price for their Prodigy, they then give a certain discount to 'trade' customers on that price. If the retailer then chooses to discount the suggested retail price they are eating into a very small profit margin. If a unit then goes faulty and has to be returned, the costs of this can then remove any removing profit on the deal. Yes, retail margins really are that tight.

Many Thanks
Ashley
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
5,592 Posts
I don't care that I'm in a minority as a Digitrax user - in this country
. I've been using Digitrax for the last 8 years with complete satisfaction
. I've used DCC for a grand total of 15 years or there about. I've just never had the need to change because of obsolence, or that my DCC setup won't do the things I ask of it. It's always horses for courses, and apart from my occasional dig at Hornby during the lengthy hop skip and jump into their version of DCC, I try to avoid getting involved in my water pistol is bigger than yours type arguments. There are some fine systems out there, and a few dogs as well, as with any purchase, decisions vary for person to person, but there is no doubt that the momentum in model train control has now finally swung in favor of DCC. I can remember when I was in a complete and total minority.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
264 Posts
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
 

·
No Longer Active.
Joined
·
13,319 Posts
Alan,

It's possible that later US versions of the Prodigy have a better/similar/same power supply as the UK one. Certainly, the ones I have seen in the flesh & on fleabay have been different, if it is indeed the case that later units have a CE marked PSU then I apologise.

Yes, there is a difference in prices & the personal preference for the colour of the handset is a factor to some, as is cars. I would be the first to admit that appearance is important - it's one of the reasons I would not consider Digitrax for me - I just don't like the look of it - to me it looks like it was built from a Maplins Kit.

I don't mind competition when the playing field is level, but of course it is not, even without the issue of what is cheaper in the US as far as overheads go. There is the question of evading VAT - take the chance if you want to, but if your goods are caught by the system, by the time you have paid import duty, VAT & the Postal "Service" for processing the paperwork.............. This is exactly one of the reasons why model railway items are cheaper for Australian purchasers direct from Europe than purchasing in Australia - evasion of import duty and/or VAT. Again, people can take their chances here as well as the possible problem is it goes pear shaped.

Now, please give me the courtesy of answering the question I have asked "Can you send it back after a week or so for a full refund (refund, not credit) if you don't like it ?" like we offer - you see Alan bottom line is cost, middle line is service & support.

Brian
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
264 Posts
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.
 

·
No Longer Active.
Joined
·
13,319 Posts
Alan,

We could go round in circles for ever bringing up this point & that point. For example I could point out that Tony's may have conditions & we don't, "face to face" sales included. As a trader I am fully aware of our obligations as to the law.

Best we agree to differ I think & leave it at that.

Brian
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
7,397 Posts
QUOTE (Makemineadouble @ 13 Mar 2008, 21:29) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>I don't care that I'm in a minority as a Digitrax user - in this country
. I've been using Digitrax for the last 8 years with complete satisfaction
. I've used DCC for a grand total of 15 years or there about. I've just never had the need to change because of obsolence, or that my DCC setup won't do the things I ask of it. It's always horses for courses, and apart from my occasional dig at Hornby during the lengthy hop skip and jump into their version of DCC, I try to avoid getting involved in my water pistol is bigger than yours type arguments. There are some fine systems out there, and a few dogs as well, as with any purchase, decisions vary for person to person, but there is no doubt that the momentum in model train control has now finally swung in favor of DCC. I can remember when I was in a complete and total minority.

Digitrax would have to be the most popular system in Aus, with by far the most support. At least in Melbourne anyway. Perth and Brisbane would appear to have more options.
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
1,309 Posts
A couple of comments
In Aust, NCE & Esy DCC appears to be the way in NSW.

The comment from one poster - "evasion of import duty and/or VAT "we are allowed by law to import goods & upto $1000 does not attract Customs or VAT/GST here. We also do not have our mail system adding additional charges.
The drawback is if it blows up, we have to post it back overseas whereas purchasing locally, one can return it here.

Bachmann/Heljan locos come from O/S due to at least 1/3 price savings; DCC command station & controllers - I obtained within Aust for any possible return & it makes it easier my me to discuss DCC with the supplier ( I won't mention names - he lives a couple of 1000kms away to the west from me) ; decoders - well from both locally & O/S.

As usual, this has departed from the topic concerning Hornby decoders.
 
21 - 40 of 41 Posts
Top