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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hello Fellow Forum Members..
It is a very long time since i last visited the forum,let alone post..
lots been happening..leave it as that.

On this occation would be very obliged for some feedback on suitable DCC systems..I am just sterating out in modelling..and am hoping to locate a quality HO Continental Layout?

but whilst i am doing this..i am taking the opportunity to gain some much needed knowledge and buy a few quality items...
It as been suggested to me..that someone like myself who only plans to run a few loco`s at most..on a relatively small layout up to 12`X 3`MAx

the Digtrax Zephry offers everything you could need and upgradablity e.t.c. at an amazing price....

Any thoughts or personal experience with Digitrax..look forward to hearing your comments

I live in Norway now..just thought i would mention it (220 volt) i am really not any kind of authority on Model Railways..

one thing i like the look of the base station of the zephyr..but do not like the look of there hand remotes!! could i use a more user friendly hand remote..either teathered or IR or RC..

all the very best Regards Steve
 

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Ian Wigglesworth
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Hi Steve,

This is one of the hardest questions to ask people!!
As we have no idea of what you like, what money you have available, would you be looking to upgrade it and then possibly go for PC control later on?

Most will just reply with what we already own and use, the one thing that is common is to recommend you actually try systems to see what you prefer!!

Look at the DCC command stations and controllers user reviews at the top in the DCC forum.
Also look at this post DCC prices I did a list of systems and the prices to give a clearer idea, look at Richards post where he gives his opinions on the different systems.

Cheers

Good hunting!
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Hi There
,
Firstly many thanks for your reply, much appreciated...
I do take your point re--my personal criteria..

I was mainly interested in any feedback or should i say additional feedback re the Digitax Zephyr System....

i do not think i need to go to high up the ladder of DCC systems.certainly it would be useful to have upgradability,but not so sure about PC control..but connectivity for downloads..would again be useful..The price of the Digitrax is very reasonable..but would not mind going higher if justified...?also if it maybe possible to say buy the Digitrax and add a better hand control option?

please keep any suggestions coming

most welcome

regards Steve
 

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The Zephyr is a fully featured DCC system, I think it's limited to 2.8 amps a look on the Digitrax site would tell you. Digitrax Zephyr
I read a lot about folks liking different types of handsets, am I'm a big fan of the DT400 throttle, I've been a satisfied Digitrax owner since 2000, their systems are stable and dependable. I would always be inclined to pay the extra and go for a DCS100 command unit with the DT400 handheld. But if economy is your objective the Zephyr certainly offers this, and a fully featured DCC system.
 

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Ian Wigglesworth
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Steve,

If the Digitrax Zephyr is the one you like then go for it.
It is a good system, make sure you get the 3amp power supply that is recommended for it so the internal cut out works correctly.
It doesn't have all the functions of some of the other systems only 9 some offer 28 functions now!
It is nice to use, I only had my for a few weeks before selling it on.
I couldn't justify have 3 or 4 DCC systems at once!

If you don't like the other Digitrax handheld cabs you can always plug in a standard DC controller using either of the two jump ports on the back of the Zephyr unit.
If you go onto the Digitrax website I think you can download the Zephyr manual which gives info about this.

Cheers
 

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I would suggest that two of the most important things when looking at getting a "new" system are what local support is available, not necessarily commercial but from other modellers in your area, and how comfortable are you with the controller.

You could buy the perfect system by specs and get frustrated with it because you cant make it work as you expect.

Cheers

John
 

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I've bought my Digitrax Zephyr a number of years ago and have been quite happy with it. I knew no-one local that had DCC that I could talk to about makes etc, but from what I read it appeared that the Zephyr would be adequate and it has turned out that way.

I bought it from Richard Johnson over in Perth, I live just outside Canberra, so I don't exactly have local support, but have not had any problems.

I would point out that while you can use a DC controller attached to the 'Jump' port you are limited as you have to use the Zephyr to specify which loco you want on the Jump port and you only have the features of the DC controller available (that is go forwards stop go backwards but for example if I have allocated a sound equipped loco to the jump port I cann't sound the whistle.)

About a month ago I bought the low cost UT4 hand held controller to add to my system. I have found this to work fine and it certainly gives a different perspective when you can move around compared to standing beside the Zephyr. However the knobs for setting the loco address are tiny and I do find them awkward to use. I know however that I would have to pay a lot more to get the other hand held controller.

Since I bought the Zephyr, there have been a number of new DCC systems introduced and I have wondered whether if I was buying today whether I would buy the same again. At the time I bought the Zephyr it certainly was a good price compared to the others available, today it might not have quite the same price advantage. Probably the only other one I would consider today (at my end of the price market) would be the NCE one

Tony Tritschler
Bungendore NSW
 

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Good Day to all the above members who hav kindly contributed so well to my posting..am very much obliged to you...

I must just make it clear that i am quite isolated where i live with no support what so ever and certainly no where to try out one let alone several different sytems..
That is why it is so important to receive feedback from you guys, as well as the likes of DCC Supplies e.t.c.

Having read quite a lot now on the Zephyr..i am sort of leaning to a more up to date sytem..offering at least more functions...

so please keep the feedback coming very much obliged to you
regards Steve
 

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Hi Steve,

If you are looking towards "HO Continental" an alternative worth looking at would be one of the Roco DCC start sets - they are incredible value & the DCC equipment is made by Lenz.

The only real drawback is that the Multimaus does not read CV's unless you change the amplifier. It's a good system to start with & later if you wish to upgrade you can use the Mulitmaus as a slave controller.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Ho Brian,amd many thanks for your kind & helpful reply, much obliged..
funny enough the ROCO MAus had been suggested a couple of times..but i was a bit put off by the new Maus pro at £300? do you have any links to other roco strat sets--also which ammp would be best to replace the non CV capable one

all the best Steve
 

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Just another modeller
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QUOTE (norskman @ 19 Jul 2008, 16:30) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>Good Day to all the above members who hav kindly contributed so well to my posting..am very much obliged to you...

I must just make it clear that i am quite isolated where i live with no support what so ever and certainly no where to try out one let alone several different sytems..
That is why it is so important to receive feedback from you guys, as well as the likes of DCC Supplies e.t.c.

Having read quite a lot now on the Zephyr..i am sort of leaning to a more up to date sytem..offering at least more functions...

so please keep the feedback coming very much obliged to you
regards Steve


***Hello Steve

For a unit at asimilar price to the Zephyr (which isa good unit) I'd strongly recommend you look at the NCE PowerCab - it has exceptionally up to date features and is excellent to use - and it also at an excellent price. One very strong feature is that it has ALL the features of the big NCE system and can be used as a controller for the big system if later you wish to upgrade

regards

Richard Johnson
DCCconcepts
 

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QUOTE (norskman @ 19 Jul 2008, 12:40) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>Ho Brian,amd many thanks for your kind & helpful reply, much obliged..
funny enough the ROCO MAus had been suggested a couple of times..but i was a bit put off by the new Maus pro at £300? do you have any links to other roco strat sets--also which ammp would be best to replace the non CV capable one

all the best Steve
Hi Steve,
If you replace the amp with any of the Lenz ones the Multimaus will then read CV's.
The Multimaus Pro is pricey, but it does read CV's & is wireless (not infra red) - I will probably get one to run my LGB garden layout later on.
Have a look on www.roco.cc for more information.
Hope this helps.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Hi Brian ,Richard and all..
I am so grateful for all your advice and opinions..

I am unsure now weather to go for Roco Muti Maus with new amp? or Richards suggestion NCE powercab..i have heard of all the DCC systems but have not looked to closely at NCE..it certainly seems to include everything you would need..wonder how the ROCO & NCE match up..
choices--luckily i have some time before i need to commit to a system so please keep all the advice coming

all the very best Steve
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
QUOTE (Brian Considine @ 19 Jul 2008, 13:47) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>Hi Steve,
If you replace the amp with any of the Lenz ones the Multimaus will then read CV's.
The Multimaus Pro is pricey, but it does read CV's & is wireless (not infra red) - I will probably get one to run my LGB garden layout later on.
Have a look on www.roco.cc for more information.
Hope this helps.
Hello Again Brian, & everyone else...

I have been reading endlessly about DCC systems..with particular emphasisi on the The Multimaus Pro and from my very limited knowledge i think it offers possibilities.

But now i can see if i were to choose this sytem..it almost falls in the ESU Next generation DCC price range and that looks & sounds great....further thoughts from members appreciated..there is another aspect which i think is worthy of some consideration? it is the hands on feel of a controller i like the look of the Digitrax Zephyr`s controller..where as i do not like the TV remote look of the NCE...and of course the esu system looks ideal..remember i am very new to all this..so please ignore me if you think i am missing important points!

all the very best Steve
 

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I started with the NCE Power Cab but upgraded to a Power Pro later (a very easy upgrade. while the NCE does have a "TV remote" look to it, it is very "user-friendly" and ergonomic. It is easy to use one-handed, either right or left-handed.

However, I'm not totally "one-eyed" in my support of the NCE; the Digitrax Zephyr is good too, and the ESU ECOS is a brilliant piece of kit but rather more expensive. The NCE Power Cab has two small drawbacks, in my view:
1. it only supports one "slave" controller as it comes; and
2. it only has two memory slots to "remember" what locomotives you are running.

For a starter system this shouldn't be too much of a hindrance and, as Richard Johnson has said, it is very full-featured - it even has an ammeter function the Power Pro system doesn't have access to!

My advice to people is to try out a few different systems if they can before they buy but it seems like you may not be able to do that if you are as isolated as you make it sound.

I was lucky enough to be able to play with a mate's Digitrax system and a Lenz Compact before making my final decision to go for NCE. All of the systems (including the expensive high end ones) have some compromises or variations on features which complicate your choices. As someone else earlier said, there is no easy answer to your initial question.

Whatever you do choose to go with I wish you the best and I'm sure you will get many years of enjoyment from the system and your model railway.
 

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I think that there are two other questions that need to be asked as well:
1) what sort of chips you want to put into your locomotives
2) what accesory type decoders you may use in the future

No one said it would be easy to try and find the right system for you layout.

John
 

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Just another modeller
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***You do need to be careful about the decision method. If you shop by "look" you will almost certainly end up disappointed. My recommendations are always based both on own use and the sale of hundreds of systems to many different modellers, followed by assessment as to their satisfaction after purchase. NCE generates more smiles and far far less customer questions than other brands because its very usable and user friendly.

I recommended the NCE not for its looks but for its high function level and performance, and while you may not like the "look" its ergonomicas are among the best in the industry, as it has a display that actually communicates very clearly to the user and most importantly it is a one handed controller that has all commonly used functions placed so that no matter which hand you use it with, all operations can be comfortably carried out using the thumb. This is the reason it is now the most successful of the US brands and combined, these reasons are why clubs who started with other brands are rapidly changing to NCE from digitrax and others - ease of use / durability / ease of understanding / comprehensive features.

DCC has standards but each brand designs controllers differently: Brands also often leave off key features so they can "upsell" you later - examples are the dynamis and the roco, neither of which allow reading of CV's unless you spend a lot more than the start set costs!

Design errors often exist in relation to usability too - For example the MRC or gaugemaster attempted to copy the NCE as it was clearly the best of the handset types but accidentally made their handset a 2 handed controller by making a mistake as to where the speed control should be.

Digitrax did the same sort of error with the DT400, incorporating many good features such as dual knobs but making it with no differentiation between button shapes or sizes so it was comparatively confusing to owners. (its my experience that in clubs who use digitrax, most members have real trouble programming and understanding easy features - I know as they all bring me their loco's to fix them when they have made silly mistakes!!

Hornby added features but made functions impossible to use easily by combining button pushes with knob actions so it takes 3 steps to do a simple thing other brands do with one push, (anyone whio likes sound quickly ssells their Hornby unit!)

ESU made a lovely and very clever design but really only added the motorised knobs as a visual/emotional feature but forgot about ease of use in other areas so made menu's a little too cryptic... so users often find it a little harder to get used to than they need.

Keep researching and looking but do think about your operating need and the ability of the controller to fill that need, NOT the "look" as a key issue

Richard
 

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Hi Richard,

I have to admit that some of the ESU menu's are hard to get around at times.

The sad thing is that because most of us will not be programming chips everyday, it potentially takes longer to set up a single locomotive than if you were to do 3-4 at a time.

John
 

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QUOTE (norskman @ 18 Jul 2008, 15:26) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
Hello Fellow Forum Members..
Any thoughts or personal experience with Digitrax..look forward to hearing your comments

I live in Norway now..just thought i would mention it (220 volt) i am really not any kind of authority on Model Railways..

220v; check with various makers. These are the Digitrax requirements: 12v min (AC or DC), 16v AC max, 22v DC max and requires 3A. DC requirement does not matter which side of plug is +ve (I asked Digitrax tech support to clarify PSU requirements). An old laptop charger/power supply (or a new one) is one source of power, its what I use.

As for the choices of controller.
The Zephyr is good, but it is getting a little old.
Digitrax offer two main types of plug-in handset. The "big" one, which I think is pretty poor and dated compared to alternatives, and the smaller UT4, which I think is excellent as a loco driving device. Digitrax has a "loconet" connection bus. That makes adding devices from some other makers possible. So, handsets from Uhlenbrock (Fleischmann) work on loconet, as well as control panel interfaces from numerous makers (for control of accessories, automation, etc).
Digitrax are due to release European-approved radio throttles sometime soon; they had demonstration examples at the end of 2007, so cannot be too far from release.
I bought a Zephyr recently (because of Loconet, and I don't like "big handsets").

NCE. Very well designed as a "big handset". So, if you are happy with a big handset it should be seriously considered. It is better designed than most of the competitor systems. The buttons can be reprogrammed by the owner, so if you find specific buttons to be less than ideal, you can change them.
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
Morning SRman..Nigel,John,richard


I can not thank you chaps enough for all the quality advice you have given me to date...

Woke up this morning to several very good replies..for some reason i am not being notified of replies? even though i have (immidiate email) in my settings?

No matter..I seem to have given the impression that i am just going for looks? (wrong) i just use the term looks & sounds good as general term.of course i will not be choosing on looks alone...

The NCE really does seem to come very highly recommeded...I think how i should have explained it, was i like the idea of a static control panel like the DIGITRAX ZEPHYR`S where you can feel the throttle...but if i were to go for something other than the ZEPHYR (other than the ESU ) that i would have to have a hand unit? the NCE (although i have never seen one) looks big to me`? with small screen? i could be wrong..

Unfortunately..i am as isolated as i make it sound..which is very frustrating..but there are no DCC in my neck of the woods..no shops nor individuals,,and due to illness i can not go touring the country..so all my advice as to come from kind folk like your selves on this forum or through the likes of DCC supplies..

at the moment i own two new BRAWA dcc loco`s both with ESU sound chips fitted one is BRAWA 40002 KWStE T5 2-6-2 tank locomotive DC Digital Sound (factory fitted chip) & the other is Electrical locomotives BR E 77 DR (0252) which i had sent to DCC models for ESU sound chip fitting i have also just purchased two Glaskastens both by TRIX both with SCX???
T22347 OBB 98304 Tank Locomotive III, (T22347) & Trix 21249 Sonderserie KPEV T 2, KKK, Decoder, NEU--> this is the one from the freight ltd edtion set.

Hope this answers the point re-what kind of chips e.t.c. i am learning...have not got a clue about accessory decoders..must just say i never for a second thought this was going to be easy! it is just i am so keen to make the right choices, as i am very good at wasting money..!!!

Certainly it would be sensible to buy a DCC system which is fully upgradable...But i think maybe the ESU ECOS will be a bridge to far for me? DCC SUPPLIES have a good offer on the ESU ECOS at the moment.whilst the ROCO PRO MAUS comes in at £300+i think...

NCE is possibly nearing the winning post!?

QUOTE 1. it only supports one "slave" controller as it comes; and
2. it only has two memory slots to "remember" what locomotives you are running


Okay if i were to go for the NCE and i am tempted ...when you say (1) slave controller? does this mean hand held unit remote?
2. it only has two memory slots can this be upgraded? not that even i see this as a problem.

will the NCE work with all chips and accessories? and in Norway.


Will leave you in peace for a bit..but please get back to me on or off forum @anytime with advice ,suggestions e.t.c.

all helps and the good thing is i do not need to choose today

all the very best & many thanks
Steve
 
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