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The Goedelbahn to go digital shortly?

2928 Views 11 Replies 7 Participants Last post by  7113
Hello all,

I have decided it is time to go digital, and having read the many useful threads here in the DCC section, after reading the helpful reviews of different systems and consulting the big systems chart I feel rather lost in a sea of information! I cling dearly to my key requirements in the hope that they can be matched to a short list of systems or recommendations by those who have already embarked on the exciting journey into DCC.

While I am sure the biggest most expensive all singing system (ECOS or Zimo etc.) would satisfy my requirements and much more I wonder if there is something that would prove a good launch pad for going digital. Advice gladly welcome!

The situation is that I have about 30 or so N scale locomotives, most with DCC interface and three with decoders already installed. My current analogue layout is due for retirement and has some dodgy connections, track in one tunnel is at a 45 degree cant (!!) and is fit only to check new purchases run properly:

A much larger replacement is in the pipeline, currently going round in circles (
) at the advanced planning stage. My key DCC requirements are:

#1 Double heading of trains
#2 Full automation of future layout via computer, to provide background movement of trains
#3 I'd quite like to build my own signals and occupancy detectors (or rather "there is a train passing this sensor" sensors) but not essential

Since this is N scale, DCC sound or advanced decoder functions are not really relevant - just as long as the head and tail lights are on in the right direction is enough!! So...

...after all this waffling, I noticed Roco are releasing a new N scale digitial startset this year (quoted from Roco website):

QUOTE ('Roco')Roco 21200

N-gauge digital starter set

- N-gauge starter set with a electric locomotive class 101 of the DB AG and four IC express passenger cars.

- 5 x Ro 22203 straights 104,2 mm
- 10x Ro 22202 straights 312,6 mm
- 13x Ro 22204 straights 54,2 mm
- 1x Ro 22206 straights 33,6 mm
- 4x Ro 22207 straights 17,2 mm
- 12x Ro 22224 curves 30° R3a = 295,4 mm
- 2x Ro 22226 curves 15° R5 = 362,6 mm
- 2x Ro 22265 manual turnout left 15°
- 1x Ro 22267 manual turnout right 15°
- 1x Ro 22216 buffer
- 1x Connecting cable for digital

Transformer 10725, 50 VA/3,2 A

Digital amplifier 10764, 50 VA/3,2 A

-----9999 locomotive addresses programmable
-----Initial voltage, acceleration, and deceleration can be individually programmed
-----Light separately controlled

Recommended price 229 EUR (~ 170 GBP)

So would this make a good start point, providing a complete system to experiement with? I gather the multiMAUS works with Lenz if I were to choose that system in the end, but what about computer control and double heading trains etc? (This can be done with multiMAUS PRO wireless I gather...) Although this is a Roco set I have no preference for Roco DCC over anything else, only it has trains included I like, anyway the Roco system is basically Lenz anyway?

Thanks if anyone could make suggestions!
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The only products I have used to any extent are Lenz (100 system and decoders) and Zimo (decoders). Both systems will fulfill all your requirements, and are excellently documented with good expert support available. But I am sure that is true of many other systems. Something essential is that you do not get a headache, and to this end I believe it is important to find a handset or control console that really works comfortably for you. It is like finding a bike or car that works just the way you want it to; then it is simply a pleasure to use. So if you are able to find the time to try out whatever dealers have available for demonstration I believe it will pay off in the long term.
The Roco DCC Start Set is excellent value for money., when you take into account what all that you get in the box. (So simple, even BRITHO can use one !)The Maultimaus is a very nice bit of kit, alphanumeric loco ID & backlit. 4 digit address & lots of functions if required. It's made by Lenz for Roco. There is only really one drawback in that it cannot read CV's, although when used with a Lenz amplifier it does.

You can, of course use the handset as a slave if you trade up at a later date.

Hope this helps.
Roco digital start sets are very good value and there is also a new version of Multi Maus being released this year which can read back CV's. I started with a Roco digital start set and it is still in use today through the ECoSniffer. I would recommend a Roco set. But I would also recommend that youy wait for the new version of the MultiMaus.
QUOTE (neil_s_wood @ 2 Feb 2008, 23:21) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>But I would also recommend that youy wait for the new version of the MultiMaus.

Would that be the wireless one ?

(Managed to forget about that on).

The wireless one should be very good, after all it not infra red.

Maybe Lenz will have something new at Nurnberg ?
QUOTE (dbclass50 @ 3 Feb 2008, 07:20) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>Maybe Lenz will have something new at Nurnberg ?

I've been thinking that for about 4 years now....

Value for money wise, you'll probably not beat a Roco start set. However, there are a lot of options out there. If you can, try and try a few of the ones you like the look off before making your decision.

As already said, Roco DCC starter sets are excellent value for money.
The MultiMaus is very well specified for a starter system and provides an upgrade path too.

You could move up to the MultiMaus Pro wireless system and still use the MultiMaus handset as an extra tethered controller.
Alternatively, the MultiMaus can be used with a Lenz system.

Computer control is available using Rocomotion, a simplified version of RR&co which is made by Freiwald.
You can buy this seperately and add it to the MultiMaus system, or buy it bundled with the MultiMaus Pro (Multi Zentrale Pro) later in the year.
As dbclass50 so kindly pointed out - even I can use a multimaus, and a very nice, comfortable to use piece of kit it is as well. Good value for money and a friendly ergonomic design. It gets my vote.

Thanks everyone for the advice, it has helped me a great deal. I might start with the Roco starter set as mentioned above given the good value and positive reviews for the system, and it won't be any bother to change to something else in future when I know my square waves from my Schmitt triggers, so to speak!
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QUOTE (dbclass50 @ 3 Feb 2008, 18:20) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>Would that be the wireless one ?

(Managed to forget about that on).

The wireless one should be very good, after all it not infra red.

Maybe Lenz will have something new at Nurnberg ?
Yes that's the one.
Well, in the end I decided to go for the Roco N scale digital starter set 21200 with multiMAUS and it arrived today! I ordered it in February from Germany and got the customary new year pre-order discount, in this case of 10% so final cost was 192 EUR. Money very well spent I think!

Here are some pictures of the contents of the box, (not taken by me):

For variety Roco decided to include an ÖBB ABmz coach in the super grey and red roof current livery which rather pleased me of course!

It was all very easy to put together out of the box, the BR101 included worked out of the box as soon as the power was turned on and I found the Roco multiMAUS extremely intuitive and easy to use, (like thousands before me!), programming CV values was very easy and while I appreciate that it can be useful to read these values it isn't necessary to know them in order to troubleshoot locomotives that are "reluctant to embrace DCC" (a.k.a. dangerously close to being thrown out of the window).

I had a Kato SBB Re 460 already with TCS M1 chip which worked perfectly as soon as it was put on the track, and an Arnold ÖBB 1142 with built in decoder which worked fairly well but needs the lighting sorting out...I'm sure I'm one CV value away from it working perfectly! Coincidentally one of the new C T Elektronik DCX75 decoders arrived today (these are supposedly the smallest decoders on the market) and was duly plugged into a Minitrix ÖBB 1116 and within a minute or two that was running flawlessly. I then started playing around with CV values to set the headlights to come on gradually...see I'm an expert already, having never so much as touched a DCC controller before today!!

I would like to do a more extensive review of the Roco system as I don't think the MRF has one, and I shall endeavour to take some pictures tomorrow. The next stage will be the beginning of the long planned and much discussed ultra-layout, now that rolling stock and digital control system is sorted (excessively so in the case of rolling stock!!) no excuses for a layout!

On a final note for today, I noticed the starter set was festooned with "Spur N 1:160" labels so that no-one got confused in the shops...i.e. Roco have not before done an N scale digital starter set I don't it is excellent to see them making a start. Another project in the near future is a DCC voltmeter (there are free designs if you ask google nicely!) so that I can see just what the voltage of the Roco system is and then tone it down to a lower decoder-lifespan-increasing voltage (~16V to ~12V?).
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Glad you like the Multimaus - I knew you would.

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