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I've been following this thread with interest and I find it analogous to what we face in the software business with the selection of different products. Often I suggest to my clients to look beyond the hype and learn what was the thinking behind the building of the products.

I look at xPressnet and LocoNet as the results of two different philosophies. On the one hand you have the Digitrax (LocoNet) group which is largely driven by the American market and somewhat mimics the highway cruiser where simple but large is one counts.

QUOTE I have yet to see any club with 32 or more consecutive controllers all active at once. I have and while not common it is the market sector that Digitrax is pointing at. So if you understand this everything else starts to make sense.

The Lenz (xPressNet) group is always looking to add the latest bells and whistles hence Lisa's comments on rewrites of the system. To me as long as you can update the firmware this is a non issue and can actually be seen as an advantage. Now without getting into a big argument it's my opinion that while LocoNet may be considered the cleaner system I would not be surprised when new technology is available to xPressNet users sooner than Digitrax users. On the flip side new bess and whistles can result in a less stable system. Digitrax/LocoNet if anything, is a stable system.

The selection of xPressNet doesn't in my opinion weaken or compromise Hornby's DCC products in the slightest. In fact it brings the Lenz world of products to your doorstep.

If you have a large layout with in access of 1/2 dozen cabs operating at the same time take a long hard look at Digitrax if not I would look at the interface(s) available (Display, Buttons) as my first criteria. If you don't like the part that you're holding in your hand then the rest doesn't really matter. On that point and at first glance I think Hornby is on the right track.
 

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QUOTE Should it aim it's product at clubs with 50 cab controllers

Just so people don't get the wrong idea. Hornby's Elite system if it in fact comes with a 4 amp power pack and is not your typical 97lb weakly.
4 amps is a lot of power and can run a large layout run by 1-4 operators each operating a couple of locomotives.

If I didn't have this fixation with all things German
I'd love to get my hands on one.
 

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Not sure about Lenz but most firmware updates I have come across do not need you to bring anything in. Whether it actually updates the EPROM I'm not sure. Examples of this is my camera and my router. Both were downloadable and I was able to upgrade both while they were connected to my computer. My Twin-Center worked the same way as well.
 

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To be honest with you in my opinion I could care less what bus my system uses.


BTW,

Uhlenbrock and Twin-Center (Fleischmann) use LocoNet.

Zimo uses Can-Bus:

QUOTE System architecture - The CAN-Bus

One of the most important characteristics of a DCC system is the data link (the "Bus") between the system components like command stations, cabs, modules for feedback information, etc. The differences among the systems in this respect are not to be seen when starting with a DCC application, but they will be crucial when expanding the control system. Well-known bus systems are the X-Bus (used by Lenz, Arnold), the Loconet (used by Digitrax), the NCE-Bus (used by Wangrow/RamTraxx), and the CAN-Bus (used by ZIMO/STP).
The ZIMO CAN-Bus is probably the most powerful and reliable data link used in model railroad control today. It works as a Local Area Network (LAN) with multi-master capability, there is no time-consuming polling by a central device.

HIGHEST SPEED (115 kbit/s):

This is more than any of the rival systems offer. Although a bus with lower speed would be sufficient if used as cab bus only, the ZIMO CAN-Bus shows its superior performance if e.g. hundreds of occupancy detectors and loco number identification boards have to transmit continually changing information to a computer (or to several computers). Because of this high performance the ZIMO system needs not to use separated cab and feedback buses, but all data transmission is done within one network.

HIGHEST RELIABILITY:

The CAN-Bus hardware and software protocol is widely used in industrial, automotive and medical applications. The physical layer is similar to the well-known RS-485 standard, but with special capabilities in order to handle heavy traffic efficiently. Extensive automatic error recognition and correction are included in the CAN protocol. Error counters, which are provided in the micro controllers of all cabs and modules, allow successful problem diagnosis, if this should be necessary at some time.

FREE TOPOLOGY FOR MOST APPLICATIONS:

Only in case very large cabling length (up to several hundred meters = about 1000 feet) the CAN-BUS should be installed as a "linear terminated bus", that means wiring point to point rather than a tree with branches and placing resistors at both ends of the network. In most applications (up to 50 m, but more likely up to 100 m) trees and branches are allowed without any restrictions.

EASY TO WIRE:

The ZIMO CAN-Bus uses 6 pin TelCo type connectors and ribbon cable. The CAN-Bus itself needs only 2 wires; the cable contains also power supply for cabs and modules and various "grounds". CAN-Bus cables in various lengths are available from ZIMO.
Alternatively the user is able to make his own cables by means of a special mounting tool (also available from ZIMO, or Your local electronic supply store). This should be used for larger layouts (wiring of accessory modules, track section modules, etc.) in order to avoid waiting on shipments (and of course it is cheaper, too). (From Model Railroad Solutions)
 
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