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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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QUOTE (norskman @ 20 Jul 2008, 11:45) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>NCE is possibly nearing the winning post!?

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.

The NCE comes in two primary forms.

1) The "PowerCab" which is about £100.
That can take one extra handset, which I believe can either be another powercab handset, or one of NCE's smaller handsets.
In addition to the full powercab handset, they offer one push-button handset, and one with a rotary potentiometer, and one with a rotary "encoder". The encoder is more expensive, but means that its not necessary to "match" the speed on the potentiometer. The rotary knob handsets can be either run as "normal" with 300 degree for speed control, and separate direction buttons, or as "yard" with centre-off control.
Whilst the smaller handsets are described as having a switch to swap between two locomotives under control, I don't think this feature can work with just a Powercab (can only cope with one extra handset), you would need the full "Pro" system to use this switch. You can, of course, stop driving a locomotive and then select another on the handset.

2) The "Pro" system, will be nearer £260. That can take a very large number of handsets (probably more than the number of locomotives you own!) and has various other options. As Richard said, you can upgrade the entry system to "Pro" status by buying the extra components. Upgrading to a "Pro" not expensive; the component parts of the system is very similar to buying the entire set, you are not charged a lot extra for starting small and upgrading.

I don't think the "slots" can be upgraded, but I can't see it as a massive issue. Essentially its a quick way of calling up a locomotive previously used, rather than having to key in its address.

I might suggest one other NCE accessory; the automated switch to separate Programming from Layout track. It is a cheap addition. That way you can have a separate programming track and reduce the risk of accidentally reprogramming all the locomotives on your layout to the same decoder settings. (The Digitrax Zephyr previously discussed as a candidate has a separate programming track output on the back, rather than needing an accessory)

The PSU shipped with a PowerCab in the UK is a 220v/110v "wall brick" fitted with US plug. You need a US to EU adaptor (should be cheap, its the travel adaptor for US people visiting the EU), or a different 14v DC 2amp PSU.

Some UK retailers will ship the radio versions of the NCE system, though do not advertise them (I know people who have bought them). They are not approved for EU use, but they should not cause problems for your neighbour's TV or the local emergency services! However, I don't know how strict Norway would be on domestic use of non-approved radio equipment.

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QUOTE (norskman @ 20 Jul 2008, 15:18) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
i am interested inthe alternative control hand sets? are these instead of the one supplied or as an extra i have nothing against the big handset other than i felt it looked very big and Small controls..but if there are others which are nicer to use or better..i would like very much to explore any pros & cons there maybe?

The alternative handsets are additions to the basic system. They cost between ~£45 and ~£70.
I don't think it is possible to run without at least one "powercab" handset, and certainly not possible to do all normal programming tasks for locomotive setup.

QUOTE Would like to say that my room is relatively small..the layout would be max 11 feet long by at most 3 feet wide ...i do not expect to be running all locos at all times (ever) there maybe when finished 8,9,10 locos but not all at once..

I wonder if i should just find best price and go for the NCE pro cab? what do you think?

I would have thought the basic PowerCab set for £100 would be adequate. Add a second handset if required later. But take advice from retailers such as Richard and John R

QUOTE and if as was suggested i should have accessory units/decoders i will require help with this to..may as well purchase everything required in u.k. even though i will have to pay import VAT ? high charges this end still works out a wee bit cheaper from UK, but almost neutral?
all i would require is continental plug +

If you have to pay VAT on import from UK (and other EU countries), then I would expect to not pay VAT in the UK/EU (or get refund). UK VAT is 17.5%.

QUOTE I am excited about the prospect of RC but wonder if it would be a bit over the top for a small room? please try to convince me...

As you originally preferred a "desk" based controller, such as the Zephyr or ESU, I wonder if radio is a major requirement.


- Nigel
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