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Questions from a returning convert

1755 Views 12 Replies 8 Participants Last post by  ME 26-06
Hello all

After long regretting the decision to sell my old OO gauge equipment in my early twenties (I presume had more important things to think about, such as Monday nights at the Student Union!), I am hoping to start a new layout.

I was lucky enough to visit Munich and Interlaken last summer (riding an ICE and the GoldenPass panaromic train), so I was thinking of baseing my layout very loosely on SBB and DB equipment. Of course all this brings many millions of questions, especially as I can't believe the variety of makes and models that are available - the amount of items in the Walthers catalogue makes the mind boggle.

So, I'd be most grateful if anyone could offer any advice or opinions on the following questions.

1. For starters I've been dithering between buying a Roco starter set (like this one) or seperately getting a DCC system such as the Dynamis and adding on locomotives etc. The Fleischmann sets look good but as my initial budget is around £5-600 I don't want to blow nearly all of it on the starter set.

2. If I do buy the Roco set, is their track compatible with anyone else's, or would I have to stick with their's from then on?

3. Lastly, as far as I can see, I would be able to control other brands of locomotive with the Roco Multimaus, as long as they are DCC equipped or I fitted a decoder?

After recently flooring our loft, I have a space of around 3 x 2 m to play with.

Thanks in advance.
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Hi Jim & welcome to the forum.

The Roco set in the link is very good value for money & an excellent start into the world of DCC, especially if you will be modelling SBB/DB. Wont leave too big a hole in your budget - plenty left for some track !

The only drawback with the Multimaus in the Roco set is that it cannot read CV's, but it is a very easy controller to start with. Later on you can use the Multimaus as a "slave" controller if you expand your DCC set up - BTW Roco DCC is made by Lenz.

I would go for the Roco Start Set as a first choice.

All DCC equipped locomotives will operate with all DCC controllers - there are just a few compatability issues normally associated with H.

The Roco set comes with an oval with a passing loop of Geoline track - IMHO use it to get to grips with DCC & then keep it aside for a test track - there are many trackage systems available - if you don't want to use separate ballast have a good look at Fleischmann Profi. Personally, I would avoid Peco & look at either Rocoline or Tillig if you are going to use separate ballast.

Hope this helps - please let us know how you get on.
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Good luck and I agree with everything said above. I personally think Fleischman are overpriced while Roco are still driving the price down and maintaining the quality, ( I also think Roco stuff runs slightly better, but I do still have some Fleischman stuff ).

Integral track and ballast is quick and easy but not ideal if in the long term you are aiming for a scale layout as opposed to a good one for running models. Stuff like the Tillig has more options for pointwork and bigger easier radii. Peco may not be quite as accurate as Tillig but it is easier to get hold of in the UK, I'd use the code 75 yellow boxed stuff and avoid the code 100 unless you need the higher rail profile to run old stock with deeper flanges.

International models sell the tillig track,

Roco is a great choice. The sets they sell discount the DCC controller giving excellent value.

You can use the controller for any NMRA DCC decoder. Roco uses XpressNet bus allowing integration with quite a few other manufacturers' equipment.

The red Multimaus has a couple of limitations as mentioned by Brian above. The new blue Multimaus Pro (link) solves these issues and adds routing to your layout. A set with that controller would be great, but probably at least a 100 to 150 euros more expensive than the existing sets. Unfortunately it is only going to be released at the end of 2008 maybe 2009. No sets with the blue Multimaus Pro are announced for this year. (Roco 2008 sets link)
As everyone else has said, you will not beat Roco for value. It is a very good set up that was once made by Lenz, but I believe not any more.

However, there may be other DCC systems that suit you better as everyone likes and swears by what they use. For example I use an ESU ECoS that I love, but wouldn't recommend to a new comer to DCC. Perhaps have a look through the DCC reviews section on the forum ( ) and have a look a other internet sites and see if anything takes your fancy. Personally, I would look closely at the NCE PowerCab. If you can, visit a shop that sells DCC and sample what they have. There is no substitutefor actually trying a system out.

The hobby is all about enjoying yourself, you don't want frustration from not truly liking your control system to get in your way!


PS no matter what, avoid the Hornby Select!!!
Thanks to everybody for your swift replies. I think I am leaning towards a Roco set, but will keep you updated. Could I just double-check what it means when it's said that the Multimaus can't read CV's?
CV (or configuration Variable) is a value that is entered into a decoder to make it respond in a particular way. A decoder has a table built into it which contains many CV's that can be altered by the user. For example the address or loco number that you enter to select a train is a CV. There are many others such as acceleration and max speed CV's.

Basically, when programming CV's it is useful to be able to read back its current value before changing it. With the multimouse, you can't do this. However this may not bother you, depends on how you will operate your trains. It is a feature that I use alot though.

Hope that helps,

I started in DCC with a Roco start set and can thoroughly recommend them. I still use the controller, a Lokmaus2, through the ecosniffer on my ECoS so it is still in use today.

CV's are the information stored on the decoder which allow you to change settings e.g. cv1 is the loco's 2 digit address. While most DCC controllers will alow you to program some will not read back these CV's. This means that if you get someone elses loco on the track you will not be able to identify it's current settings. It is now deemed a standard requirment for most controllers. The new Multimaus pro will have the ability to do this but as Doug says this may be a while coming.

One thing to consider is that when you are starting off you may not be too bothered with programming and tweeking so this may not be a big issue. You can always use this controller as a slave controller to afully blown command station later.
From a couple of emails I've sent to dealers so far, it seems I may be in for a long wait for some of the Roco starter sets to come into stock, possibly a matter of months rather than weeks. Out of interest, is the Trix Mobile Station now compatible with other systems/locomotives? - I've had a look at the NMRA website and although it mentions Trix I can't see anything that definitively says either way.

I think I'm probably still inclined to wait for the Roco items to come in overall. I did have a soft spot for the Bemo Golden Pass carriages though - despite the fact that when I travelled on the real thing last summer our train broke down and we were stuck outside Zweisimmen for over an hour!
QUOTE (Jim83 @ 29 Feb 2008, 21:55) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>From a couple of emails I've sent to dealers so far, it seems I may be in for a long wait for some of the Roco starter sets to come into stock, possibly a matter of months rather than weeks.

That's our experience too - we generally have some on order & they turn up when they turn up !

They don't stay in stock long though.
If you want to model German outline anyway, a Roco starter set would be by far and away the best value, as the price is far below the purchase price of the individual items seperately At that point arguments about the ideal DCC system may become irrelevant - the multimaus is well regarded.

The multimaus is effectively a Lenz system and fully compatible with other Lenz kit.(There is an argument that a full Lenz system with a multimaus as second handset might be a very effective approach to an all singing all dancing system) ZTC and , at least in theory , the Hornby Elite are also XpressNet systems , so the system components shoulds be mutually compatible. NCE fall into a different camp, and Digittrax a different camp again (Loconet), but all NMRA compatible DCC decoders will work with all NMRA compatible DCC systems , so any decoder will work with all of them
So - finally took the plunge - have ordered this Roco start set. Although it comes with a Lokmaus, rather than a Multimaus, I figure it will meet my needs for the short to medium term, and then I can decide if I want to upgrade from there. Hopefully there will be as much fun in the "doing" as there has been in the planning. I found myself yesterday trying to justify including a Brawa funicular item! (Link here) Again, thanks to all for their sage words of advice. I'll let you know how I get on.
QUOTE (Jim83 @ 29 Feb 2008, 22:55) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>F...Out of interest, is the Trix Mobile Station now compatible with other systems/locomotives? - I've had a look at the NMRA website and although it mentions Trix I can't see anything that definitively says either way...

Hi Jim,

I have the Trix Mobile Station. Upsides are, it is both DCC and Selectrix compatible, can read and write CVs, has a (imho) more "verbose" display than the Roco Lokmice Systems. Downside (possibly), it can handle a maximum of 1.9 amps. Also, I read that the control knob has failed on several occasions, but can neither confirm nor deny that.

I heard through the grapevine that the Mobile Station is designed by ESU.

I like mine, it´s a nice, easy-to-use beginners DCC system. I paid around 38 GBP (converted) for mine, and at that price, you can´t go wrong. But then again, that also applies to the Lokmaus.
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