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Pat Hammond, the editor of MRE has made the following comment today following on from an email from a reader:-

QUOTE Hornby are seriously considering supplying locos with chips ready fitted - Ed.

Any thoughts?

My own view is that if Hornby are going to do a DCC system then it would be logical to offer a range of locomotives with chips already installed.

It is my belief that Hornby customers generally want locomotives that are ready to run out of the box.

Happy modelling
Gary

Click link below to visit MRE:-

http://www.mremag.demon.co.uk/hpsite/index.htm
 

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I reckon it would be a good decision for the DCC people of this world - no fitting, less hassle etc., but I don't think the analogue people should not have to pay more for a loco with a decoder...especially when Hornby don't have a DCC controller as yet.
 

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If Hornby were to fit all new loco's with DCC chips as standard then as long as the model is the same price without the chip i wouldn't complain about it.

In fact it migfht acutally convert me to make a DCC layout as they'll be less cost involved in buying the decoders (Which is what puts me off at the moment)
 

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The more recent models are quite fragile.

Most modellers who use DCC are older guys like us with stumpy fingers.

I honestly wouldn't mind paying £10 for a chip fitted at the factory in China. As long as it had full programming spec. I wouldn't want to have to pull it out because it was junk and then replace it with another.

My Flying Scotsman is still with Hornby getting repaired. I'm sure they wouldn't want to do that all day long.
 

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Most companies that I'm familiar with offer two models, one with DCC and one without. Why couldn't Hornby do this as well?

Jennings,

Have you had a chance to try a layout with DCC? If not you should because the price of admission compared with the benefits is relativly small. I'm in the same boat as I have a lot of locomotives that still need to be chipped.
 

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I have one of the Bachmann DCC sets which i got when it came and got a decoder for my Bachmann 37as well at the same time - So i could see more of the potential that DCC offered.

In terms of a continuous layout it was miles better to use a DCC controller as it does offer more control over various locomotives running at the same time - I had one running continuosly and one doing some shunting.

HOWEVER that was some time ago now, and space is rather limited these days to a few sidings with a hidden siding - As there can only be one engine running at a time, DCC becomes a little expensive for what it offers.
 

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It would be brilliant as "DCC Ready" would really mean that then.
As for paying extra then I see the point of giving customers the option of chip or no chip.As a DCC beginner I like the idea of it being fitted and as I have committed to buying chips at anything from £10 upwards anyway ,then an extra £10+ on the cost of a loco seems OK to me and we might have a cost benefit from"economies of scale" if Hornby buy in bulk.
I suppose we will have the purists who would question the quality or functionality of any pre-fitted chip , but is that something that causes a problem in US/Europe where it is already happening ?
I have to say though if I was not DCC I would not expect to pay as much for my loco's.
Can't wait to see what Hornby have for us DCC wise in the New Year.
 

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While prefitted decoders are fine, I suspect manufactures for the British market may take the "El Cheapo route" and fit "El low specification decoders". I hope not there' nothing like the thrill of getting stuck in with something hot, when the covers are off!!!
 

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A couple of thing occur to me
  1. Didn't Zero 1 die something of an ignominious death?
    On that basis, it might be thought unwise to associate a new system with the old.
    A difficult judgement which I am pleased I do not have to make myself!
  2. Zero 2 would imply that it used a ternary number system, which is ever so slightly unorthodox!
On the other hand, I must admit that the name rolls off the tongue rather pleasantly.
 

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Just backing up to the original post.

It seems to me inevitable that both digital and 'digital ready' locos will be offered by all companies before long. 'Digital' defined as already chipped and 'digital ready' defined as socketed for a chip, but with no chip supplied.

I don't believe there is any chance of both versions being supplied at the same price! Nor do I believe there would be very many customers prepared to pay extra for a chip they had no desire to use. Free chips - I don't think so.


To my mind, a loco that CAN be chipped (allegedly almost all of them), but contains no socket to facilitate that, is most definitely not 'digital ready', but could be reasonable described as 'digital compatible'. I think that clear, agreed definitions are essential if we want to avoid consumer confusion and resultant annoyance that always translates into sales resistance.
 

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On the other hand supplying decoder fitted loco's for the same price as non-fitted would be an excellent way of getting people to buy a DCC system, if Hornby are going to produce their own DCC system then selling fitted loco's for the same price as non fitted would help them with sales of their new system!
 

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Just a thought. If manufacturers start fitting decoders from the factory will they be like D5322 in the Bachmann freight set ie integral with the PCB rather than a seperate decoder on an NMRA plug? My first idea for breaking into DCC involved buying the 2 loco starter set and nicking the decoders for my other stuff. Presumably these are also part of the PCB so its not possible.
 

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I have two Bachmann DCC ready chipped locos, both Bo Bo config, whilst they both run reasonably well they are very noisy. If run on DC the noise diminishes quite a lot. I presume that they are fitted with 3 pole motors and cheap decoders. I would like to change the decoders to find out but as has been pointed out, I would have to remove or bypass the large fitted circuit board, one of which has the lights attached. It appears that there are 'decoders' and 'decoders'.

Brian
 

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Hi all,

Personally I would not want to buy a loco with a decoder already fitted - my favourite decoders are/were ;
Lenz 1024/5 until the 1035 came out with the constant braking distance feature.
Then my favourite became the Lenz Gold series until I tried the ESU LokPilot 2. So like many people I suspect our favourites change over time.
I would not want to be subjected to a decoder chosen by a bean counter !
The only locomotive I have with factory fitted decoders are both Fleischmann - a Class218 diesel & a Class103 OHE & they both have excellent ESU Sound decoders.
If, however the decoder fitted loco still had the NEM socket & space for an alternative decoder then I would probably be OK with the idea.

best regards
Brian
 

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Hornby and Bachmann would really be shooting themselves in the foot if the pre-fitted decoders are rubbish.
They are both basing their future plans on the widespread uptake of DCC, and such a debacle would create loads of negative publicity setting back their plans very badly.

I hope they realize this?

ARE YOU LISTENING ?
 

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QUOTE Hornby and Bachmann would really be shooting themselves in the foot if the pre-fitted decoders are rubbish.

Going by the standards of the decoders that Bachmann are currently selling I wouldn't set my hopes too high.
It will be interesting to see where they source their sound decoders from though. If they use Loksound they should be great.
If the use QSI they're in trouble.
 
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