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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Newby to DCC as the intro post shows - I'm looking for any guidance from the rest on Lenz vs. Digitrak vs. Zimo.

I'm a walk-around controller guy; I'll want to integrate with the computer side of things (probably running the schedule, signals and routing via the laptop); I do care about upgrade and compatibility.

Also I'm in the US and the exchange rate is killing me


Any ideas?
 

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Hi Thats exactly what I have been trying to research
Recently Ive looked at the software available .

1. The RailRoad & Co "Traincontroller" they also sell a package ($279 plus P&P)( with a hand controller, USB interface and software every thing you need to get up and running through your PC or standalone It can also work with a number of other systems (see their Web for details ) http://www.railroadandco.com/ ,with vary degrees of compatibility

2.JMRI Has a number of different programs available Free there are varying compatibility issues with different systems web address
http://jmri.sourceforge.net/

3.ZugDCC for Lenz XpressNet which is what Roco , ZTC and Hornby Elite use.
http://clients.teksavvy.com/~woofer/kentsoftware//zugdcc/

4. Rocomotion for the Roco Lenz based XpressNet software is created for roco by RailRoad and Co
http://www.roco.cc/index.php?id=123 I think you will find this info is in german

we originally started in DCC with a Roco start set LokMaus II and latter upgraded to the MultiMaus Love the control and the ability to put loco descriptions in a library but you cant "read" the Decoder CV values which is why I was going to buy the Rocomotion Set which does.

But Now I'm not so sure ,
Lenz Make some fantastic systems and The Railroad and Co system has features that are very simple (on there hand set) but extremely flexable and come with the software and computer interface

NCE control system have a computer interface(using JMRI software), which is more economic at $49.00 ,to use with their control set ,which every body has good things to say about . USA Made also has wireless handsets as an option and lots of room for expansion . http://www.ncedcc.com/
Also available Locally in Australia through DCCConcepts

I would like to hear from anyone who is using these computer interface systems and see what pitfalls are .
 

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QUOTE (zmil @ 12 Jun 2008, 06:18) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>I would like to hear from anyone who is using these computer interface systems and see what pitfalls are .

Hi Evilzen..,

I'm not sure if its that popular or even sold in the states, but I second Neil on the Esu Ecos controller.

Zmil,

Our club layout ( 200m2) all Maerklin, uses Traincontroller+Esu Ecos + 2 Esu boosters and both work flawlessly.

Baykal
 

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QUOTE (evilzenscientist @ 12 Jun 2008, 03:20) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>Also I'm in the US and the exchange rate is killing me

Much of the equipment & models we use is cheaper in the US than Europe, even with the present exchange rates !

If you use the Multimaus with a Lenz amplifier you can then read CV's.

We have always found Lenz (with the exception of the Compact) to be very reliable (as is Roco, which is made by Lenz). They seem to be a little "old hat" now having been overtaken by other brands with more features - maybe they are planning something..........................

Have a good look at the ECoS, there are quite a few ECoS users here & IMHO well worth considering. The Viessmann Commander may be worth a look but does seem expensive & of course new.

My advice would be to narrow your choice's down ;

Do you want computer control, if not now later ?

Do you want "desk" or "hand" controllers ?

Do you require local support or are OK with distance support ?

That should eliminate a few !

Hope this helps & welcome to MRF.
 

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I think that people underestimate the value of a PC interface. Yes you might not see the need for it today, but who knows what use it will be in the future. IMHO there is a huge misconception that with a PC interface you need to run your trains with it. This is not the case, and although controllers are getting smarter all the time, sometimes it is good to have an easily debugable PC program running things.

In terms of controllers, Zimo is really the Rolls Royce of DCC at the moment, and with the amount of bi directional feedback possibilities that you get with Zimo decoders (both locomotives and accessories) it is well worth a look, but it is by far the most expensive.

ESU and Viessmann are fairly much of a muchness in terms of what they do. The Uhlenbrock Intellibox 2 may be worth a look, but that is not out yet.

The best controllers are those that your friends are using so that if you have problems, you at least have "someone" on call who can give you a hand.

If you can have a play with a few different types then that in my view is the best way to come to a decision. I also think that there is a lot to be said for matching the majority of your locomotive chips with your controller as well.

I have played with a lot of different controllers over the years. I don't like the Digitrax controller (personal choice, but in my view way to may buttons!) and although a few of my friends have Intelliboxes, they just do not do it for me!

Most of all its about having something in your hand or on your control panel that you are comfortable using.

John
 

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QUOTE What are CVs?
At the top of the page in this Forum, there is a section labelled "DCC quick links". The first link "DCC FAQ (Jargon buster) is a good place to try for an explanation of some unfamiliar term. It has a section on "What is a CV". Here's a direct link to it


David
 

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QUOTE (evilzenscientist @ 12 Jun 2008, 11:20) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>Newby to DCC as the intro post shows - I'm looking for any guidance from the rest on Lenz vs. Digitrak vs. Zimo.

I'm a walk-around controller guy; I'll want to integrate with the computer side of things (probably running the schedule, signals and routing via the laptop); I do care about upgrade and compatibility.

Also I'm in the US and the exchange rate is killing me


Any ideas?

***If you are in the USA then definately go with the NCE PowerHouse Pro:

Commonly used with computer control, exceptional features (and can control the max of 28 decoder functions), It is ergonomically excellent, well supported by all major train control software & the most user firendly of all and available with very high quality and reliable bidirectional radio at a reasonable price. Excellent Mfr and E-group support.

Many US clubs that were Digitrax are moving or have moved now to NCE.

The NCE Powerhouse pro has direct computer connection from the system command box - no need for any added interface at all.

Zimo is an excellent system but to me is overly expensive even allowing for its quality. EU based products are mostly good but generally desk bound and you specify walkaround being your stryle. Lenz is competent but tired and almost stagnant development wise.... and needs an expensive black box for computer control. Digitrax is competent and well supported but can be confusing to many users compared to NCE which I find anyone 7 to 70 is comfortable with in 5 inutes.

Regards
Richard
DCCconcepts
 

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QUOTE (dwb @ 12 Jun 2008, 18:20) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>At the top of the page in this Forum, there is a section labelled "DCC quick links". The first link "DCC FAQ (Jargon buster) is a good place to try for an explanation of some unfamiliar term. It has a section on "What is a CV". Here's a direct link to it


David
Thanks
 

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QUOTE (Richard Johnson @ 13 Jun 2008, 05:01) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>***If you are in the USA then definately go with the NCE PowerHouse Pro:

Commonly used with computer control, exceptional features (and can control the max of 28 decoder functions), It is ergonomically excellent, well supported by all major train control software & the most user firendly of all and available with very high quality and reliable bidirectional radio at a reasonable price. Excellent Mfr and E-group support.

Many US clubs that were Digitrax are moving or have moved now to NCE.

The NCE Powerhouse pro has direct computer connection from the system command box - no need for any added interface at all.

Zimo is an excellent system but to me is overly expensive even allowing for its quality. EU based products are mostly good but generally desk bound and you specify walkaround being your stryle. Lenz is competent but tired and almost stagnant development wise.... and needs an expensive black box for computer control. Digitrax is competent and well supported but can be confusing to many users compared to NCE which I find anyone 7 to 70 is comfortable with in 5 inutes.

Regards
Richard
DCCconcepts

As a UK based user of NCE (with no connection to either NCE or Richard) I would agree 100% with Richard. Digitrax does have a lot of third party products that support computer control and a large user comminity but the handsets are very fiddly and confusing. There are a number of computer control options for the major DCC systems including some "do it yourself" if you are interested in electronics (see www.merg.org.uk for both kits and low cost / free software)
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
QUOTE (Richard Johnson @ 12 Jun 2008, 22:01) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>***If you are in the USA then definately go with the NCE PowerHouse Pro:

Commonly used with computer control, exceptional features (and can control the max of 28 decoder functions), It is ergonomically excellent, well supported by all major train control software & the most user firendly of all and available with very high quality and reliable bidirectional radio at a reasonable price. Excellent Mfr and E-group support.

Many US clubs that were Digitrax are moving or have moved now to NCE.

The NCE Powerhouse pro has direct computer connection from the system command box - no need for any added interface at all.

Zimo is an excellent system but to me is overly expensive even allowing for its quality. EU based products are mostly good but generally desk bound and you specify walkaround being your stryle. Lenz is competent but tired and almost stagnant development wise.... and needs an expensive black box for computer control. Digitrax is competent and well supported but can be confusing to many users compared to NCE which I find anyone 7 to 70 is comfortable with in 5 inutes.

Regards
Richard
DCCconcepts

Thanks for the info. I'll go look.
 

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QUOTE (Richard Johnson @ 13 Jun 2008, 06:01) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>Zimo is an excellent system but to me is overly expensive even allowing for its quality.

I just compared prices for the NCE Power Pro with the Zimo MX31ZL (at DCC Supplies), and the Zimo controller is slightly cheaper. Zimo supports RailCom, which the NCE controller does not. The Zimo controller has a 4 amp limit wheras the NCE controller goes to 5 amps. I have not had time to compile a full feature by feature comparison, but the Zimo may be worth a 2nd look, based on this small comparison.

From my experience, Zimo provide excellent support. They issue new versions of the software for the controller whenever new features are added or minor bugs fixed. This new software can be downloaded from the website and installed in the controller via a simple USB connection which is built-in with this controller.
 

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QUOTE (John @ 14 Jun 2008, 02:49) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>I just compared prices for the NCE Power Pro with the Zimo MX31ZL (at DCC Supplies), and the Zimo controller is slightly cheaper. Zimo supports RailCom, which the NCE controller does not. The Zimo controller has a 4 amp limit wheras the NCE controller goes to 5 amps. I have not had time to compile a full feature by feature comparison, but the Zimo may be worth a 2nd look, based on this small comparison.

From my experience, Zimo provide excellent support. They issue new versions of the software for the controller whenever new features are added or minor bugs fixed. This new software can be downloaded from the website and installed in the controller via a simple USB connection which is built-in with this controller.

***However the thread starter specified walkaround types and as the primary electronics are in the Zimo handset on the 31ZL model its not in fact a proper walkaround controller as it can't be unplugged without stopping the trains.

Therefore in the context of this enquiry the MX31ZL is directly comparable to the NCE PowerCab at only appx 100 quid, not the NCE PowerHouse Pro.... so the "Zimo is far more expensive" is still correct I am afraid.

Also: The thread starter is in USA not UK, so the Zimo will be much, much dearer than the NCE.

Richard
DCCconcepts
 
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