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Dear All,

I only signed up yesterday but I've already been reading some great articles discussing DCC. After six month's pondering whether to go digital or not, I took the plunge and received a Select unit for Christmas. I haven't had chance yet to even plug it in, but the first opportunity I get I will.

I realise that some of you are operating far better systems than the Select, and that sounds great, I wish I was.

I'd like to stick up for the Select though and the Hornby decoders, they are affordable to those of us running a railway on a shoestring, and although it might not technically meet some of the other items on the market, if it does what it says on the box, it will meet my requirements for running my layout. From what I've been reading it sounds like a good controller for the younger people just starting out with their first layout.

I guess it's a case of horses for courses, and maybe after putting a toe in the DCC water we'll all want to upgrade to a better system in the long term!

I intend to keep you posted with how I get on, and I would like to thank all of you who have contributed the articles on fitting decoders etc, the pictures are a great help!!! I will try and add a few more once I get chance.

Best wishes

Mike
 

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Welcome to the Forum Mike.

What era are you modeling, which set did you get from Santa!!

We got my 3 year old the Underground Ernie set and my missis brought me the Industrial set, she doesn't realize the small space left for the decoder install!!

Darren
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Thanks Darren, I'm modelling the LMS in the mid 30's, have been for a few years now but only just came across this site.

No new set for Christmas, just the Select and seven decoders to convert my existing stock. Good luck installing your decoder, all I've done so far is follow the Peco instructions on how to place one in a Ringfield tender unit on my old 4F. Very easy to follow, but I must have done something wrong because it's not working under DC, although the good book says it should be able too!

I'll have to have another look and work out where I went wrong.

Thanks again. Mike
 

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>I guess it's a case of horses for courses
Absolutely.

>I intend to keep you posted with how I get on,
The more feedback there is, the better for everybody.

David
 

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Hi Mike,

You will no doubt be aware from some of the other threads that many so called 'DCC experts' here loath the Select, but I personally think the hornby stuff should be given a fair trial.

In my opinion, it is pretty adequate for many modellers needs and the likes of the more top of the range models do far more than any average user would care to use.

I am using the select as a way of getting into modern DCC, and as you say its a pretty cheap method. I intend to experiment with other manufacturer's decoders and to mix and match size versus price etc.

I may well end up with a more expensive system, but my current plan is to wait for the Elite unit to see what that can do before jumping the Hornby ship for good.

I am modelling in N, so the hornby decoder is a very useful small size for £8-9. The micro Lenz decoders are more like £20+ and are not much smaller, although I will need some of these as I can't fit the Hornby one in all my N gauge fleet.

Good luck with your DCC experiments!
 

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Ive had the Select unit up and running on my layout for a while now. Like many people its my first DCC controller after deciding to 'take the plunge'.

Ive read some nasty comments about it around DCC forums, but from my own experience its absolutely fine for beginners with a small[ish!] size layout and basic DDC functioning.

Obviously it will become inadequate once you get familiar with DCC and want to upgrade to more functions/trains and larger layouts - but by then it will have served it's 'introductory' purpose anyway…

BUT:
One nasty little glitch I have come across on my unit, which I feel I should mention, is short circuit power surging to all locos on live AC track:

A couple of times my DCC Hornby Q1 would stop on a curve, due to a short created by poor tender-to-loco pickup connection. My controller had a nasty tendency to then apply FULL track power to ALL locos on ALL live tracks, sending them all screaming off in the same direction at massive speed [can be nasty in converging sidings!].

Thankfully no damage was done, or Hornby would be getting a sharp phonecall - but more concerning is the fact that on none of the above occasions has the celebrated 'emergency stop' button cut track power as required, so Ive had to resort to pulling the power lead to restore control.

[Funny how it never caused the shorted loco to go screaming off?]

I solved the problem by isolating the offending tender connections with tape, and making the main siding inroad live, only when the point is set to it, same as on DC. So if it were to happen again - my loco collection would be protected from all trying to break the land speed record for 00-gauge, all at once!
Its not been a problem since. Bit of a worry if you get a bad loco connection though [happened once with a J94 - but only the offending engine screamed off like a nutter, which is a bit better!]…

Still, I dread to think what would have happend if it had occurred when i was out of the room? Probably lots of expensive noises!


So my advice would be to thoroughly check all tender locos for stopping-shorts, especially on curves, before you ever leave the Select to its own devices!
[Other than that its fine!
]
 

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QUOTE (dualfuel @ 29 Dec 2006, 23:49) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>You will no doubt be aware from some of the other threads that many so called 'DCC experts' here loath the Select, but I personally think the hornby stuff should be given a fair trial.

Here we go again !

As (probably) one of the "so called 'DCC experts' " please take note - I do not "loath the Select" at all & I'm p***** off being constantly accused of being so - please get this into your head. I've challenged another member (Gary) on the same subject to name names & been met with a total silence !

The Select (IMHO) is a good entry level/starter system that I had the opportunity to play with long before they hit the shops. Ther are some limitations, as you get with most entry level systems - as long as people are aware of this then fine. For many, many people the Select will be all they need.

I look forward to seeing what the Elite will be capable off.

Instead of continually knocking the "so called 'DCC experts' " & in effect allienating the Hornby DCC users why not let the old arguments settlle (which they more or less had untill your post) & tap into that wealth of knowledge gained for many years to assist, rather than spat. Personally, I would be only too happy to help where I can - BTW - I have offered to help a local B EZ user with a CV setting problem - does that show a "loathing" of entry level/starter systems - I think not !
 

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DualFuel, like you I am an N gauge modeller,returning to the hobby after 30 years! so alot of catching up to do. I purchased a Select, read all the negative flack and kindly my model shop credited the Select against an Elite (When they appear!). Any help would be appreciated
 

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Look guys, I am not trying to annoy or upset the DCC experts here, but if you are new to DCC and read through the threads (as I did a while ago), there is this feel you get that the Hornby system is not just a 'low spec, entry system' but a poor low spec, entry system.

I think a lot of people want DCC for the simple features that basically the Select can provide. It can do 'double' an 'triple' headers for moderately complicated consists, has 'simple' seperate acceleration and deceleration settings for each loco, directional light control and still has spare functions on the decoder (for horn / whistle or what?). Being able to drive locos right up to each other etc is all most people want, coupled to the 'simple' features above.

The one thing that put me off DCC to date is all the established systems look and sound really complicated, and yes, they can near enough make the tea as well, but how many modellers want that?

Maybe starting a seperate hornby section on the forum would be an idea. I consider myself to be a 'serious' grown up, but ultimately the train set is my grown ups toy and I want to be able to operate it by DCC simply and cheaply - I think the hornby system does this pretty well. I don't have the time to commit to a system that emulates real world safety critical signalling, which must be how some of you guys are running you layouts.

I was looking at the EZ system, but decided on paper that this looked a bit too restrictive. Along comes the Select (and hopefully the Elite soon) which seem to give the right balance of features V price for most people in my view.

The downside is, especially modelling in N, is that the hornby decoder, albeit small, is not small enough to fit in all, and you need to bring in other manufacturers bits to convert over your entire rolling stock. This is the major problem I see as there does seem to be some incompatibility between the Hornby system and others, but if Lenz mini decoders work that should cover that hole for the most part.

You may not loath the Select, maybe that wording was a little harsh but read through my 'NCE decoder thread' as a newbie and what would you think - references to things like 'Hornby Select and DCC - reluctant to use the two terms together' and Hornby Select = sinclair C5. These kind of comments will put people off fullstop. Many will not be able to afford a 'decent' rolls royce.

The select is a bit more like a standard no frills hatchback car than a C5 - be fair and don't put people off the Select or DCC.
 

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my only tip at this stage is try to avoid running Farish motors as locomotive 00 the tiny motors in n gauge tend to get hot very quickly and have been known to melt the plastic bearings. If when it arrives the Elite has variable voltage try to run on the lowest setting, I run my O gauge stuff on N gauge settings things tend to last longer that way, so aim for 13 volts if you can.
 

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Hmmm, that comment about farish motors is a little worrying - all my N gauge converted fleet are..... yes, Farish.

There is no voltage control through the select, so this may be another significant problem. I shall keep an eye on my fleet to see if any meltdown! Maybe a motor temperature gauge can be added as a 'function' !

Again, I don't think there is any voltage control on the hornby decoders either.
 

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QUOTE so called 'DCC experts
Since i don't consider myself an expert on anything I am not offend by that remark.


I think that's the first time in heard the suggestion on running at a lower voltage here and something I would second. Maybe it would be a good idea to chip a few and then operate these for awhile to see how they carr on.

I would also like to welcome all the new DCC users.
I'm 100% behind your efforts and look forward to how you guys make out. Let's each and everyone of us do our best to be welcoming.
 

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If you have a decoder in place it shouldn't be too much of an issue. The point I was emphasising is don't run N gauge loco's without a decoder for too long, the maximum would be 15 minutes, so err on the conservative side. Again with the voltage if you have a choice go lower, it won't effect performance but will lengthen the life of critical components.
 

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Re N gauge motors - does anyone know if the Hornby decoders have back EMF/ feedback turned on as a default? If so then turning that off may well make them more suitable for N gauge motors, as feedback does tend to generate more heat - I have quite effectively killed several OO9 locos by accidentally using this kind of (analogue) controller at exhibitions and forgetting about the fact the OO9 was still running whilst I was busy shunting the plain OO yard.
 

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QUOTE Instead of continually knocking the "so called 'DCC experts' " & in effect allienating the Hornby DCC users why not let the old arguments settlle (which they more or less had untill your post) & tap into that wealth of knowledge gained for many years to assist, rather than spat. Personally, I would be only too happy to help where I can - BTW - I have offered to help a local B EZ user with a CV setting problem - does that show a "loathing" of entry level/starter systems - I think not ! I would agree with this comment of Brians and quite honestly if you are going to start out with this kind of atitude then people will be reluctant to help you should you require it. Seeing as you reckon you are the DCC expert you'll be able to sort it out yourself.


QUOTE The select is a bit more like a standard no frills hatchback car than a C5 - be fair and don't put people off the Select or DCC. If it makes you feel better in relating your system to a hatchback then go ahead. I think the Sinclair C5 is fair comparison because it was meant to be a cheap vehicle for the masses. Similarly the select is a cheap DCC taster for the train set world. It allows a taste of what DCC has to offer albeit with severe limitations. I am definately not putting people off DCC it's something I would strongly encourage. Please stick to reality rather than making stuff up to try and justify your position. DCC is great and I would like to see it become mainstream in the UK like in the rest of the model rail world so more people can enjoy it's benefits.

You could do considerably better for a starter system than the select. The Roco system is far better and doesn't cost much more. The debate about the select has been well run into the ground on several other threads so there is no reason for you to reignite it here. As Brian said all you are going to do by taking this anti "so called DCC experts" tack is to alienate existing DCC users.

Thats not you Gary under a fake ID is it?
 

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I will be the first to apologise if I have mis-understood the opinions you experienced guys have on the Select - maybe this is what I have done, but it appears I am not alone in thinking the Select is getting more than its fair share of bad press.

The problem in the UK as far as I see it, is there are a few key suppliers of established DCC systems but all now stock the hornby DCC system, giving it a much wider audience than DCC has ever had before over here.

I think this is going to be a big thing because of Hornby, and perhaps seperating all the Hornby discussion into a seperate section will prevent some of the mis-understandings that seem to be going on here.

Maybe you can give a summary answer to this to help me understand why the hornby Select is so limited?

What does the starter Roco system offer than the Select does not? It does not even appear on the DCC comparison chart and not sure where I could source it from in the UK.
 

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Dualfuel:

A lot depends on what you mean by "the Roco starter set": Lokmaus 1 ? Lokmaus2 or Multimaus?

The Lokmaus 1 offered 1 function, and could only program the CV for the address. It did not offer point control , it did not support DC locos under address 0 and it did not offer point control (except under very special conditions). It supported 2 digit addresses between 1-99

The Lokmaus2 offers 4 functions, and can program a reasonable number of CVs . Otherwise it's a Lokmaus. It does have the reputation in certain circles of being pretty well bullet proof. However the programming output is at full voltage and is therefore at much greater risk of blowing decoders - I've been bit

The Multimaus is the next generation on from the Lokmaus2. It supports 4 digit addressing (which the Select does not) ,lots of functions, large numbers of accessories in a separate range, full programming , and is more comparable with what Hornby are promising for their Elite

However all 3 systems are made for Roco by Lenz, who are a leading name in DCC , and essentially launched modern DCC , whereas Hornby are new to DCC . In some eyes therefore Roco systems are "legitimate DCC" and Hornby a bastard product (Lenz are also ultimately responsible for Bachmann EZ DCC)

The Multimaus is certainly a lot more capable than the Select , but as you say , getting hold of one isn't easy in the UK. Either you buy a digital Roco trainset for over a hundred pounds and throw away the train set - but the only retailer of the sets I know about off-hand (Howes) is currently out of stock and not expecting imminent delivery . If you bought all the bits of the system separately it would set you back over £150 .

The only cheap way of buying a multimaus is on ebay from a private seller in Germany who has bought a starter set and is selling off the multimaus, in euros through PayPal. This does mean , of course , you have no guarantee or technical support

And while buying from country of origin over the internet makes a lot of sense for Neil out in Australia, when you are faced with a choice between systems you can see and buy in your local model shop with full warrantee and support , and trying to source a system unseen over ebay from private individuals on the Continent , ready availability may tip the balance . Most people aren't actually willing to beat a path to a cottage in the depths of the Black Forest for a better mousetrap if B+Q down the road are selling a mousetrap for £4-99 that looks like it will do the job

It may be worth saying that both Lenz and Hornby belong to the same camp within DCC (Xpressnet) so it should be possible to hook a Select unit onto a Multimaus system or vice versa. You couldn't connect a Select to the Gaugemaster or NCE systems . Spare lokmaus handheld controllers can be found second hand quite cheaply , so this may be worth bearing in mind if you want an extra "cab" for the Select
 

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QUOTE (dualfuel @ 31 Dec 2006, 12:15) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>I will be the first to apologise if I have mis-understood the opinions you experienced guys have on the Select - maybe this is what I have done, but it appears I am not alone in thinking the Select is getting more than its fair share of bad press.

The problem in the UK as far as I see it, is there are a few key suppliers of established DCC systems but all now stock the hornby DCC system, giving it a much wider audience than DCC has ever had before over here.

I think this is going to be a big thing because of Hornby, and perhaps seperating all the Hornby discussion into a seperate section will prevent some of the mis-understandings that seem to be going on here.

Maybe you can give a summary answer to this to help me understand why the hornby Select is so limited?

What does the starter Roco system offer than the Select does not? It does not even appear on the DCC comparison chart and not sure where I could source it from in the UK.

Fair enough, no need to apologise, lets start afresh.

One of the reasons the Select appeared to get a lot of "bad press" was the blinkered attitude of some people who could not seem to understand that the Select is at the end of the day an entry level/starter system - and there is nothing wrong with that at all.

People who see our DCC operated exhibition layout are often surprised to learn that DCC is not in fact "new". They seem to think that DCC is something that Hornby (& to a certain extent Bachmann) have "come up with". This is all down to the marketing blurb.

Couple of reasons that the Select is limited is the 2-digit addressing (it will still be ok for quite a few people anyway) - many DCC users have the last 4-digits of the loco number as the address & that the Select does not "read back" decoder CV's (not a problem if using the current issue Hornby decoders as they do not support this feature either). Also you only seem to get a 6-month warranty !

The Roco Multimaus has both 4-digit addressing & the ability to read back CV's. You can obtain it in the UK for around the same price as the Select (send me a PM if you want further details).

The Elite looks to be a far more comprehensive system, but at the RRP you are up in the Digitrax Zepher range (well supported by the importers, as are all of the available in the UK systems) so you have a further choice.

It really boils down to how far you think you want to go with DCC - by all means test the water with the Select, it may very well be all you need, but as things expand you may have to consider upgrading. I have met quite a few people who started with the Lenz Compact who soon upgraded to the LH90 or 100 sets & wished they had not bothered with the entry level Compact.

Time will tell what segment of the Market the Select will remain in.

Maybe a separate forum or sub-forum for the entry level systems would be a good idea - how about it Doug ?

Hope this helps
 

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I had the Lenz compact and it helped me as a starter set but after 6 months found it starting to hold me back. i have now brought the NCE PowerCAB and it is a very good system with all of the functions that would be useful with sound decoders. and for £90 you can't go wrong.

Alistair
 

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There are a number of factors that make me question Hornby's commitment to NMRA standards for DCC.
This has nothing to do directly with the Select, but obviously there is a connection. Initially when the select was launched with the digital set containing the elderly Jinty and the veritable ancient 08 shunter. We discovered these were fitted with a four pin non standard plug. There is no compatibility with any other DCC decoder or DCC plug. My initial reaction was well it's a kiddies trainset it doesn't matter. I now see it does matter, a lot, as during 2007 Hornby will introduce on board decoders with four pin plugs. This means that if you use another manufacturers decoder, and many of us will, it will be have to be hard wired in. For me this isn't an issue, as I've been doing this for years, even once plugs arrived. I trust my own soldering more than a manufacturers plug. These pre-installed decoders apparently cannot be read by other systems, this possibly is a deliberate attempt to tie users into Hornby's version of DCC (DIY DCC).
So yes I find the growth of DCC encouraging. Hornby I think will find that many early supporters of their system will drift away looking for more features and universal standards. The concept of locking in users to one type of system maybe a good short term marketing ploy but it quite likely a long term failure.
 
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