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What do you really want from DCC?

2815 Views 5 Replies 4 Participants Last post by  Dennis David
The FT has recently reported, in a pre-results article that Hornby are collaborating with Generics, the UK technology consultancy, to develop ideas such as electronic systems related to mobile telephony to improve train control.

I hope this is something standard like Bluetooth rather than another proprietary system like the Lenz XPA XpressNet Phone Adapter.

It makes me wonder: what we really need from DCC?

The industry has been pulling the market for the last few years, offering to the users all sorts of bells and whistles. I still have difficulty in sourcing cheap loco decoders for steam locomotives (I need high amps, no functions and cheap price) but all that are available are expensive multi function and low amp chips. They tend to blow up every now and then - perhaps due to their ever reducing size.

Sure for diesel and electric locos, we need lighting, perhaps a horn and perhaps uncoupler devices, but those are rare.

Sound decoders have horns, bells, whistles, engine and steam noises - all great, but at a cost: price. Very few people can fit these to all their running locos and it looks funny to have one or two animated and noisy locos on the circuit and the rest silent...

- I'd like to see cheaper decoders. Simple and robust.

Controllers are getting better. If the ZTC 511 is anything to go by, they're also getting more expensive with features galore. Lenz hasn't come up with anything really interesting recently and there hasn't been much noise form other manufactures.

- I'd like to see more options in controllers: simple built-in layout controllers, complex programming stations and wireless mobile controllers. They must all be interchangable and compatible and there should be no confusion regarding standards (Bachmann EZ-Command).

What would you like to see in DCC?
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A standard for two way communications and some type of buffer so that when there is momentary power loss (dirt) it has no or minimal effect on the locomotive.
This does appeal to me. A mate has the Zero 1 master control. This I suppose is not up to any modern standard?

Not much going on in the UK regarding Digital. Why has Hornby not come up with anything that the masses (us) can get our teeth into and that works with other digital systems and locos?
Germany and the US are leaving you Brits behind, but do you really need DCC for your 1 X 6 layouts?
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QUOTE Not much going on in the UK regarding Digital. Why has Hornby not come up with anything that the masses (us) can get our teeth into and that works with other digital systems and locos?

Hornby recently said:-

QUOTE Product Development

The lifeblood of our business remains the product pipeline. During the year
under review, we have made great strides in developing our digital technology.
Scalextric Sport Digital looks set to become the system of choice for the
industry going forward. The Hornby Digital control system for model railways is
at an advanced stage of development and will be launched early in 2006.

The new Hornby digital control system, based on mobile phone technology, is likely to be showcased at the London Toy Fair at the end of January 2006.

Now would anybody like to guess what Hornby will be introducing?

My local stockist is enthused by the prospects of a Hornby digital control system as he believes mass market modellers in the UK will build larger layouts and purchase/operate more locomotives. UK digital modelling up until now has been viewed as not mainstream.

As Dennis has suggested, the Americans and Germans appear to be ahead of the game. The Brits and Hornby I suspect are about to turn the tables.

Happy modelling
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I'm looking forward to it as well. I have always liked British Prototype though I model in German myself.

Always enjoyed my UK Steam Holidays, which reminds me I have not been to York in awhile.
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