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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I have just moved my railway space from a very cramped spare room out into a purpose built shed and completed my baseboard construction.

My track plans are progressing well, with one side of the layout a scaled down version of WMRC Ward Road, another being a large terminus station and the remainder working in a similar fashion to a C J Freezer plan from his brilliant model railway design manual. I will produce a track plan and post it in due time, probably in a layout construction thread.

Up until now, I have been using a Lenz Set 100. However, I feel it is showing its age sadly and that it may be time to move on. I plan on incorporating some level of computer control eventually into the layout, and for this reason I realise it will be easier if I add the necessary block sections to the wiring at this stage so that I can add the track occupancy detectors easily later.

I may be able to achieve the level of control I want using the new ESU ECoS system without a PC by utilising the shuttle facility. However, after watching the "You have to watch this..., McKinley railway" thread by ebaykal, I realised that if I was to go down the ECoS route, I don't know what modules I require for computer control. I realise that S88 (probably LDT on cost grounds) feedback modules would be used, that the new ESU switchpilots might be best for point control and that the PC interface is built in, but what would I need to use so that I could produce a mimic panel?

I realise that the ECoS is probably the best system around for this type of control but am surprised that I can't seem to find anyone running a large, complicated layout with one!

So, would it be easier/cheaper to sell the set 100 and go down the ECoS route for increased levels of computer control?

Thanks,

Rob
 

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Hi Rob,

Should I say welcome on board. Guess I should, just go for the ECos. Wonderful piece of control unit. No need to say much just follow the Ecos threads in the forum, they say it all.

As for it handling a large layout, I do not know if you have seen the " Maerklin" thread that I have posted, the chaps layout is a massive 250 sq.meters. 85 points god knows how many S88 modules, occupancy detectors ...and so forth all controlled by 1 ECos + 1 Booster coupled to a PC. Thats it. He is running 20-25 trains at one go.

Await anxiously to see your layout progress. Good luck.

Cheers
Baykal
 

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Ian Wigglesworth
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Ive just been into Digitrains and spoke to Chris the owner.......

He has on order the new Veismann commander and a starter kit for which the commander can plug into to give a full layout plan on a rather large nice display. Although you can program the commander on it's own to show the layout!


It's not been released yet, but that should be an incredible system.

Can you wait that long though, how ever long that maybe?

Ian
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Thanks Baykal, I tihnk I will go for the ECoS. Just had a look at your Maerklin thread, very impressive! Just wondering, would it be possible for you to go over roughly how the layout is set up for computer control? I'm sure there are a few of us interested in this.

How about a mimic plannel? I would quite like to have one as part of my layout so that I can see the position of all my points at a glance. Does anyone know what extra components I would need for this?

Re the Veismann commander, I had wondered what hah happened this! I had looked into it a year or so ago and it seemed to vanish. Is there any sort of planned release date or price for it yet?

Rob
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Ah, a quick search for prices shows that the Veissmann commander costs about the same as ECoS. Anyone know of a good english preview of this bit of kit?

Rob
 

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I took delivery of an ECoS on Monday and I'm still grinning
.

Connecting it to my PC was literally plug it into the spare network socket on my BT Home hub, switch it on, read the IP address from the ECoS info panel and connect to that using this browser.

I have already realised that I desperately need some signals to control my trains because keeping on eye on more than two running on two independent tracks is beyond me at the moment.

The PC connection was so simple, I am quite tempted to try Train Controller from Railroad & Co. I am just a little afraid that I will need a 2560 x 1600 display to show the layout plan.

Now that I've actually got a system and RailCom is about to appear in available products, I am wondering how long before independent feedback buses like S88 will actually be needed - that's probably a topic for a separate thread.

David
 

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Ian Wigglesworth
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QUOTE (80class @ 19 Sep 2007, 17:28) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>Ah, a quick search for prices shows that the Veissmann commander costs about the same as ECoS. Anyone know of a good english preview of this bit of kit?

Rob

I think you can get some info from the Loksound shop, with a link to Veismann web page, which I think has an English section.

Don't know when Chris at Digitrains will have it, nor does he for that matter!

Ian
 

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QUOTE (80class @ 19 Sep 2007, 17:28) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>Ah, a quick search for prices shows that the Veissmann commander costs about the same as ECoS. Anyone know of a good english preview of this bit of kit?

Rob

Hi Rob,

I was looking into this myself it does look great, I came across this information "in english!" on the Veissmann Commander... Quite the coup!

Hope its of interest, let me know what you think.

Stu

www.viessmann-modell.com/pdf/Commander-GBS_InfoFlyer_112006_GB-monitor.pdf
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
QUOTE (modelysruli @ 19 Sep 2007, 19:31) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>Hi Rob,

I was looking into this myself it does look great, I came across this information "in english!" on the Veissmann Commander... Quite the coup!

Hope its of interest, let me know what you think.

Stu

www.viessmann-modell.com/pdf/Commander-GBS_InfoFlyer_112006_GB-monitor.pdf

Brilliant thanks Stu.

It does looks like a very impressive bit of kit. It appears to do everything the ECoS can do with the added built in layout plan, optional mimic panel and the colour screen.

I am still probably leaning towards the ECoS however as I have used one and feel its fantastic and will do everything I want, but if I had more time perhaps in a year or so when their are plenty of reviews about then maybe I would go for the Commander. For me, unlike ESU, Viessmann are a bit of an unknown! Time will tell.
 

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The Veissmann Commander does have a few more features but costs more so its really down to preference which you choose. I thought it looked a bit Fisher Price and if I was going to spend that money I would want it to look a bit better.

I have had my ECoS for some time now and think its great. LDT have a useful diagram which shows how to use their s-dec-44 in combination with s-88 feedback modules which tell you the position of your points. Down load the data sheet under turnout feedbackzip.

The rest of your questions seem to have been answered already.

I beleive that the next update 1.0.6 will have Railcom features so that it can get feedback from the LokPilot and SwitchPilot decoders.
 

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QUOTE (80class @ 19 Sep 2007, 23:13) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>Viessmann are a bit of an unknown! Time will tell.

All the Viessmann products we have used (& sold) so far have been more than excellent - am going to look very closely at the Commander for use on St.Laurent.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
QUOTE (neil_s_wood @ 19 Sep 2007, 23:31) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>I thought it looked a bit Fisher Price

I must agree that the pictures I have seen do make the commander look aesthetically inferier when compared to the ECoS despite colour screen!

I will watch what happens with the Commander, but it seems to me that the ECoS will be better suited for my needs. It seems that the extra features of the commander would be better achieved with computer control by Railroad and Co. by Freiwald.

Thanks,

Rob
 

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QUOTE (dwb @ 19 Sep 2007, 19:15) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>Now that I've actually got a system and RailCom is about to appear in available products,
David

RailCom is already available on all new Zimo decoders. If you have older ones, you can easily upgrade them, which I have just done using firmware downloaded from the Zimo website, the MXDECUPU gadget from Zimo and some free s/w from Zimo (ZST=Zimo Sercvice Tool).
 

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QUOTE (80class @ 19 Sep 2007, 13:58) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>I realise that S88 (probably LDT on cost grounds) feedback modules would be used, ...
It is also possible to connect certain MERG modules to S88, as was demonstrated recently at a group meeting. These are available as kits to members, and will be somewhat less expensive than commercial alternatives. The DTC module in particular, incorporates 8 independent detectors, and unlike the LDT equivalent which employs diode voltage drop as the means of detection, the DTC uses a current transformer arrangement, which means you simply pass the track feed wire through a hole in the transformer and thus no breaks or losses result.
You can see a picture (and more info) here: http://www.merg.org.uk/resources/dcc.htm
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
QUOTE (Gordon H @ 21 Sep 2007, 12:58) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>It is also possible to connect certain MERG modules to S88, as was demonstrated recently at a group meeting. These are available as kits to members, and will be somewhat less expensive than commercial alternatives. The DTC module in particular, incorporates 8 independent detectors, and unlike the LDT equivalent which employs diode voltage drop as the means of detection, the DTC uses a current transformer arrangement, which means you simply pass the track feed wire through a hole in the transformer and thus no breaks or losses result.
You can see a picture (and more info) here: http://www.merg.org.uk/resources/dcc.htm

Thanks Gordon, I sent off my membership application to MERG last week so hopefully will be a member shortly and will look closely at the available kits. I have a lot of experience with electronics so may well do down that road for occupancy detection! Thanks for pointing me in that direction.

Its looking like I will be placing my ECoS order over the weekend.


Rob
 

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QUOTE RailCom is already available on all new Zimo decoders.
There is a Zimo MX63R sitting in my local sorting office waiting for me to pick it up tomorrow morning.
I bought it for my Hornby A3 as it is the smallest of the RailCom equipped decoders I know of - Lenz Gold and LokPilot 3.0 being the other two. I'm running one of each at the moment to see how they compare. At this early stage of "vanilla" operation, I haven't noticed anything apart from the Zimo being smaller.

David
 

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Dear David,

Don't forget the Zimo MX620, which I have used in the Hornby King Arthur, due to space restrictions. The size is 14 x 9 x 2.5 mm, compare with the MX63 at 20 x 12 x 4 mm. This is Zimo's N scale decoder (officially), but has a rating of 0.8 amp continuous current, so it will handle the modern low current motors in Hornby locos. All the Zimo decoders are now RailCom enabled. The MX620 was only done in September 2007.

See the Zimo Website MX620 Page for more details.

Make sure you have firmware version 5 on the MX620, as RailCom was added only this month and some of those in stock may well have older (non-RailCom) firmware versions. If you have a RailCom enabled decoder, you need a RailCom enabled controller to take advantage of the feedback. As far as I know, Zimo will be first to market next month with the MX31ZL.

The MX31ZL is about to be released (October 2007) and I have read some comments already from one of the test users.. This is a hand-held controller with slider throttle control and RailCom capabilities. It's the one I intend to buy as soon as it is released. As this controller (with command station built-in) will also have a USB port, it will be possible to use the MX31ZL to upload firmware to the decoders, which saves the purchase of the MXDECUPU (about 100 euros or 70 GBP). The MX31ZL is listed at 398 euros (260 GBP), on the Zimo website, and this is not that expensive when you take into account the functionality. It has a 3 amp limit, but that should be good enough for most modest home layouts.

The ESU ECos supports RailCom, but are there any other RailCom enabled controllers on the market? The MX31ZL might be the first hand-held.
 

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QUOTE Don't forget the Zimo MX620, which I have used in the Hornby King Arthur, due to space restrictions. The size is 14 x 9 x 2.5 mm, compare with the MX63 at 20 x 12 x 4 mm. This is Zimo's N scale decoder (officially), but has a rating of 0.8 amp continuous current, so it will handle the modern low current motors in Hornby locos. All the Zimo decoders are now RailCom enabled. The MX620 was only done in September 2007.

That's certainly worth considering. I have an ECoS so the RailCom hardware is already built it, it just needs a firmware upgrade. The MX63 I already have was purchased in December last year which is after the first officially announced date for RailCom firmware support - September 2006 I believe. I will be a bit miffed if I have to buy the decoder thing to upgrade it, but I might not have a choice.

The Hornby Elite has RailCom support as one of its features. It probably needs a firmware update but as many will testify that's an easy job on the Hornby.

David
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
Well, I order my ECoS today from Andy at Dccsupplies along with a few other things. Can't wait till friday! Also my MERG membership came through today so il have to start with a good look at their DTC kit and how to connect it to the S88 bus.

Thanks everyone,

Rob
 
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