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Recommend a controller?
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 Posted: 9 Nov 2017 01:00
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Thin Controller
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I'm looking to migrate my loco's to DCC, and am looking for a controller to run them on this layout:

http://www.platform1mrc.com/view_topic.php?id=1968&forum_id=5&page=1

It's got all manual points and while it has two main lines with a passing siding, I want a controller that's able to operate more than 2 trains.

Any recommendations on sourcing an adequate controller that's good value for money?

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 Posted: 9 Nov 2017 02:17
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Sol
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I am slightly biased but I think many will agree with me.
NCE Powercab



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Ron

UK 00 freelance with NCE DCC
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 Posted: 9 Nov 2017 05:01
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Kimbo
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http://platform1mrc.com/view_topic.php?id=827&forum_id=10
Have a look at the above linkKim



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LSD Build- http://platform1mrc.com/view_topic.php?id=290&forum_id=5&page=1
New extension to LSD- http://platform1mrc.com/view_topic.php?id=977&forum_id=5

Hymek build x 2- http://platform1mrc.com/view_topic.php?id=1899&forum_id=51
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 Posted: 9 Nov 2017 06:23
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Thin Controller
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Cheers for that. Will investigate.

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 Posted: 9 Nov 2017 07:45
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Bear
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When I was looking at replacing the Hornby Elink, I did a fair bit of research into NCE and ESU and went with the ESU Ecos 50200. The NCE setup was about $800-900 and the Ecos was $1000 ($900+ $100 postage) from the US.My local club uses a wireless NCE but I found the controller cumbersome where the Ecos is extremely easy to use . Everything is right in front of you on the touch screen and I run it through an old desktop computer into a monitor on the wall and can control everything with a mouse. It can do anything. Comes with a 4 amp power supply so could run near 20 trains.There is a wireless controller available but I didn't need it as my layout is in a bedroom around the walls so I am never more than 1.5m away from the controller.I have just seen a vid on Youtube about a new system called Cabcontrol. Basically an Ecos with just a wireless controller. I know nothing about it but looks pretty cool. 

Last edited on 9 Nov 2017 07:46 by Bear



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 Posted: 9 Nov 2017 09:38
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Toto
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I don't have any issues with the NCE that I use. Just do a bit of reading on whatever system you look at and try and compare the features.

Think of the ability to future proof as well if your system grows a bit. The NCE procab offers a 5 amp power supply. The NCE Piwercab ..... It's little brother offers up 2 amps.

I have both and they have been fine. Personally if buying NCE, I'd go for the more expensive Procab. Especially if you intend having sound loco's and loads of lighting etc as it will add to the power consumption.

There are others who can probably give a better explanation of what to look out for so keep an eye open for others jumping in with their comments.

Let us know which way you decide to go. At the end of the day, it's to suit you but you are doing the right thing investigating the options and opinions to try and save an expensive mistake.

Good luck. :thumbs:

Toto



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 Posted: 9 Nov 2017 12:39
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Keith M
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I'd agree with Toto re. future-proofing, and will you also want to eventually go for computer control??? I'm one of the few on here that use the Lenz setup, which I've been happy with, although I can't get on with the rotary control LH90 handset, preferring the LH100 pushbutton one instead. I'd suggest the best way forward is to find a shop which has several available for demonstration, or alternatively, attend a few exhibitions and talk to the operators, as they may well be pleased to let you have a 'hands-on' session to try things out. Whichever way you go, it's not a cheap purchase so take your time and try a few out before deciding.
Keith.



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 Posted: 9 Nov 2017 12:58
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Kimbo
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Keith is correct, try as many systems as you can get your hands on. Each system will have its pro’s and con’s and we all have different requirements. I’ve been lucky enough to have used most of the main players systems and have always found the NCE system the best option for my requirements. Like cars if there was one outstanding model, we would all be buying it.
Kim



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New extension to LSD- http://platform1mrc.com/view_topic.php?id=977&forum_id=5

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 Posted: 9 Nov 2017 12:58
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Toto
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Don't know where you are based but I suspect it's not Scotland.n:avatar: you would have been welcome to come and try mine out.

I'm sure there will be an exhibition or a club nearby that would be more than willing to let you try out what they have. Definately the way to go.

I think ergonomically unless you have an issue with dexterity in your hands, you could probably get used to most. To me, the bigger picture is with how the systems compare at integrating with other potential interfaces further down the line. Like as Keith mentioned, computer control and other accessories that you may think you don't want right now ..... But.......

Try and work out what you need it to do ..... Control loco's, maybe change your points, switch other accessories on and off, consists, macros etc etc ....... Then ...... Ask copious amounts of questions around you list of " must have's " and I'm sure there will be plenty of more useable advice comes your way. It's really about defining the purpose first.

It can get very confusing but you are not on your own as many including myself went through the same pain trying to decide.

I'll look forward to see how you get on.

Cheers

Toto



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 Posted: 9 Nov 2017 19:30
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Rob Pulham
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Keith M wrote:  I'm one of the few on here that use the Lenz setup, which I've been happy with,
Me too:thumbs:



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Regards Rob
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 Posted: 9 Nov 2017 19:37
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Keith M
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Colin W up in Inverness is also a Lenz user, so that's three of us to my knowledge.
Keith.



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 Posted: 9 Nov 2017 20:21
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paul_l
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That's only cos you haven't used an NCE :avatar:

Sorry, another for NCE, for the size of your layout you would get away with a PowerCab.

On Victoria Road, I use the PowerCab, located at the fiddle yard end, and two additional sockets (UTP panels) along the length of the layout. I have a Cab06 controller for guests to use (or in Toto's case he brings his own PowerCab or ProCab handset).

I'm starting to sound like a sales man now - and no I don't have any financial links to NCE - apart from making payments to them for equipment.
As others have said the upgrade philosophy of NCE is nothing is redundant, The entry level PowerCab can be upgraded to a 5A system by adding the SB5 (Smart Booster), if further functionality is required, then a PowerHouse base station can be added, and the PowerCab handset used as a Procab controller, and the SB5 can be switched into Booster mode and used as an additional 5A booster.

The ergonomics of the handset is important, I have small stubby hands - approx glove size 8, and can comfortably operate the PowerCab hammer head one handed, with either left or right hand.

If a system has a computer interface (or can have one added), check to see if it is JMRI compatible - you mightn't use it at first, but after you have chipped a couple of loco's and adjusted a few CV's, the ease of use of JMRI DecoderPro (free by the way), to adjust the settings, and back up your settings is simply empowering - definitely heading for salesman 101 gold certificate now :avatar:

Paul

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 Posted: 9 Nov 2017 20:26
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Splitpin
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Keith M wrote: Colin W up in Inverness is also a Lenz user, so that's three of us to my knowledge.
Keith.

Well, four but I'm on t'other side of the world.I bought a Lenz Set90 in 2003 and it's still the guts of my system nearly 15 years later. I've recently bought a new USB/LAN interface when the last computer I had with an old serial port died and a LH100 handset but I still like the old LH90 for shunting it's hard to beat the dial for intuitive heads up control.As others have said we all like what we bought, but one piece of advice I would offer is given a choice between a 'lesser' system and a upper model, bite the bullet and go the upper. http://www.click
Edit: Paul's post appeared while I was slowly typing and I'd have to agree. NCE is very popular for good reason and I didn't appreciate the 'nothing is wasted' ability when upgrading. And as to his JMRI plug, I have no such compunction 'selling' something that's free - from roster/decoder management to complete layout automation all in one package is invaluable. Signaling though ..... :hammer:  

Last edited on 9 Nov 2017 20:42 by Splitpin

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 Posted: 10 Nov 2017 00:03
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Toto
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As far as I'm aware, signalling is one of the downsides of the NCE system ....... The only one I've really heard of. I'm sure Paul will be able to explain that situation better than me though.

I'll leave him to come back on that.

Cheers

Toto



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 Posted: 10 Nov 2017 01:20
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Davoetype
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I am adding to the NCE camp.

I have two hands free units and one fixed. The 5 amp power pack handles every requirement. Easy compatibility with my dedicated laptop is an advantage as I use JMRI. Servicing is also an advantage. Stupid me let one of the batteries leak in one hands free unit which caused some damage to the circuit board. Fixed locally in two days.

Cheers and happy modelling

Richard



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