I am in the middle of the big debate -- whether to move from cs2to a Marklin cs3 or to the massoth side of things

T

tedndrake

Registered
7 Jun 2020
1
0
46
CHARLOTTESVILLE
hi guys, I am trying to decide whether I can move my mts2 setup to a marklin cs3 or a massoth dims setup. ere I what I think I know, I know I can move up to a mmassoth setup easier, jusn e of the most hard to find products I have ever seen, the Lgb 55006 mts3. I think I could move up to Marklin cs3 with out a new central station. I would like to see peoples opinions on either of these items plus I would like to reassure myself that my first assumptions are correct.. Now I am a computer person and my time gets spent 1/2 on my computer and 1/2 on the train.. So I do actually like pthe idea of adding a touch screen interface no matter how complicated it is, but I have also recently learned the using assigns product offers a few different type pf changes to the program as in the number of trains it can handle and in other places too. So I really am sort off stuck up in tree here guys and I could really use some assistance from some rea lrosb And thank you for any replies you have .
 
PhilP

PhilP

G Scale, 7/8th's, Electronics
5 Jun 2013
25,966
1,492
Tamworth, Staffs.
Hello Ted, (I assume)

Welcome to the Forum.
I would ask how many loco's do you have?
Do you intend to buy older models, already fitted with decoders?
Do you have a group/club/local-other-garden-railers?
Do you want to buy other brands than Marklin/LGB?
Do you want automation?

I would not upgrade to MTS3.

IF you are only ever going to new Marklin/LGB, then consider the CS3. - But not exclusively.

If you have a local club/group.. Introduce yourself, and see what the Users there use. - Local knowledge, especially when you start-out with a new product, is very useful.

If you were in Europe, then I would urge you to consider Massoth.. As you are in the US, it may well be a better option to consider a system from the US?

If I was making the investment today, more short-list (I am in the UK, remember) would be:
ESU
Marklin
Massoth
Ullenbrook
Zimo

Alphabetical-order, so as not to infer any of my preferences.
PhilP.

<Other's will now make their opinions known> :):nerd::nod:
 
idlemarvel

idlemarvel

Neither idle nor a marvel
13 Jul 2015
2,172
307
Ascot
As you are in the US and into DCC I would take a look at Greg Elmassian Greg Elmassian web site which will give you one way of deciding what system is best for you.
Home
 
  • Like
Reactions: Distrackted
MaximDeDonder

MaximDeDonder

Registered
24 Apr 2018
26
47
23
Lokeren
I use the Märklin Central Station 2, and it is just great. No expensive navigator to walk around with, just an app on your smartphone and the smartphones of your friends! Märklin is compatible with all protocols (except MTS 1), Massoth doesn't support MFX.

You'll get regulary updates (for free!) and you can program you're decoders without the need to hook up a pc with ugly software (like the software of Massoth still is).

But take a look at other alternatives too. ECOS of ESU for example or the ROCO Z21 with an extra booster (Heller for instance).

Greetings from Belgium!
 
P

phils2um

Phil S
11 Sep 2015
579
364
Ann Arbor, Michigan
Another question to ask yourself is how much of your existing control system you can reuse. For instance, if you already have wireless controllers you should probably lean toward Massoth as you'll probably be able continue using them. If you have or plan to get LGB locos with mfx capable decoders you may lean toward the Märklin CS3 or ESU ECos system. Otherwise, there are very capable DCC options out there.

I'm using a Märklin CS3 myself and am generally pleased with it. I like that I can simultaneously operate locos that use both mfx and DCC protocols. It is a very capable system feature wise and I'm nowhere near using all what it can do. I also like being able to easily use phones/tablets I already have as controllers without needing special apps. The CS3 has a web browser based controller built into its software. The CS3's only real limitation is its max output of 5A unless you add more boosters. This may or may not be an issue for you.

One thing to be aware of regarding ESU. They have a system targeted at the US that is DCC only This is not the same as the ECos systems. Only the ECos systems have mfx capability in addition to DCC.

I also recommend you take a look at Greg's site, there's a lot of good info there.
 
Greg Elmassian

Greg Elmassian

Registered
8 Mar 2014
3,952
560
San Diego
www.elmassian.com
One thing I suggest is put your priorities down before you get all mixed up with the decision.

For example what are the priorities of these:

cost
ease to run multiple trains
consisting support
touch screen
modernity: are bugs fixed often, are there new features added, or is the product static/limited

these are just suggestions... make a list of everything you want, and then put them in priority order.

here was mine:

over 10 amps available
high performance wireless
system that keeps modern with bug fixes and new features, related is that it is powerful and flexible
can program everything in service mode (configuration of programming parameters, timing, voltage, etc)
high quality manufacture / components
ease to use one handed, and not having to look to drive train
interface to my lan for future expansion and cell phone apps
....
...
cost


That was my list of priorities... I have a Zimo system... (actually 2 of them)

The point is, if you don't have priorities to judge the systems, you will never make the "right" decision except by accident!

Greg
 
Gizzy

Gizzy

A gentleman, a scholar, and a railway modeller....
26 Oct 2009
33,387
850
59
Cambridgeshire
www.gscalecentral.net
Around 5 years ago, I updated from MTS 2 to Massoth myself.

I still use the MTS on a portable layout.

However I went for Massoth for the following reasons;

!. I can use my old LGB Remotes with the Massoth as I purchased a the relevant LGB-Massoth module.

2. Nearly all my G Scale mates use it, so I can take my navigator to their railways, along with any stock.

3. Compatible with my existing stock with LGB/Massoth/MRC decoders.

4. Still supported by Massoth and GRO/GRS/other retailers.

5. I got a great deal from SGR!

The Marklin CS was still very new 5 years ago, plus it has a screen which is difficult to use in my Conservatory when sunny (I sometimes use a laptop with Stellwerk on my layout and this is quite apparent.)

However, I know of some who use the CS3 and are very happy with it....
 
OBBherr

OBBherr

Registered
17 Aug 2016
54
4
66
Hampshire, UK
This thread is very timely from my point of view as I have just ordered a CS3 (although who knows when it will arrive from Germany.....)

I already use Massoth and will continue to do so for the most part. After initial slow progress with Massoth I am really impressed. The slow progress was due to failure to read the manual, so that's my problem, not Massoth's. (Although to be fair the manual lacks a bit of clarity in certain areas!) If the CS3 and mfx did not exist I would be a totally contented Massoth user.

However I find that I have "accidentally" acquired several mfx/DCC locos and I want to be able to get the best out of them; like phils2um I like:
  1. the idea of being able to run DCC and mfx at the same time
  2. the graphical representation and control of turnouts and signals
  3. the control of 2 locos without the need to switch between them
  4. the abiliity to use a tablet as wireless controller
  5. the ability to program mfx
However I have a question for phils2um or anyone else with experience of the CS3. Having tracked down a copy of Maerklin's book "Running trains digitally with the CS3", I was slightly alarmed to read the following on Page 7:

"We recommend in general turning off all systems not being used in the decoders and controllers that are not being used. A decoder cannot misunderstand a DCC signals and be destroyed if there are none". I understand that CV50 controls which systems are on or off at the loco end and assume that I would turn DCC OFF and mfx ON on a mfx/DCC loco. So where is the risk of confusion and decoder destruction in that case?

Is this just Maerklin trying to scare off DCC users or is there a real risk here? phils2um refers to running both simultaneously so it seems there is no issue for him, but comment would be appreciated.
 
P

phils2um

Phil S
11 Sep 2015
579
364
Ann Arbor, Michigan
Hi OBBherr,

Here is what I've done with regard to control protocols on my locos, turnout decoders and CS3. I'll start with the CS3.
I've got the MM protocol off as I'm not using it at all. mfx and DCC are both on.

Not only is DCC required for some of my locos it's absolutely necessary for turnout decoders. LGB/Märklin 555xx series large scale turnout decoders can be programed for the mfx Motorola turnout protocol or DCC turnout protocol. I've not seen any other commonly available large scale turnout decoders using any protocol other than DCC. That includes the earlier LGB/Märklin 55xxx series and also the Massoth decoders I'm using. I may not be correct here, but unlike locos, I think the CS3 can control turnouts using only the Motorola or DCC protocol but not both. I'm using the DCC option. When a turnout decoder is registered on the CS3 I also specify the DCC protocol.

As for loco decoders, I've got Massoth DCC , ESU multi-protocol, and LGB/Märklin multi-protocol in use. The Massoth decoders are exclusively DCC. I've got the ESU decoders set for DCC only. (Ive got the decoder addresses set to their loco numbers and I don't need all the mfx features in these locos.) All the LGB/Märklin decoders still have all three protocols active. I may get around to turning MM and DCC off on these at some point. I should mention that I've got DC analog active on all my decoders too.

I've also got some passenger wagons with Massoth lighting decoders set for loco addressing and I've got two Massoth 4-channel switch decoders set for loco addressing that I'm using to control some layout lighting.

I've not had issues with "destroyed" decoders. I suspect Märklin's decoder warning may just be them covering their backside.

Let me reiterate that I'll often have both DCC and mfx decoder equipped locos running (and most importantly, being controlled!) simultaneously.

Edit added: corrected the CS3 turnout protocol from mfx to Motorola.
 
Last edited:
OBBherr

OBBherr

Registered
17 Aug 2016
54
4
66
Hampshire, UK
Phil, many thanks for that detailed reassurance, and in particular confirmation that the CS3 can handle the LGB turnout decoders. I've got a couple of LGB 55525s (which are the mfx compatible version) so I thought I'd be OK, but I'm just learning how to program them with Massoth kit; if the mfx process is any easier I might go that way.

Regards, Adrian
 
LGB333

LGB333

Active Member
I operate my layouts with both the Massoth Central Station/Power Supply and the Piko Central Station (made by Massoth). I only use DCC and for the two Marklin/LGB locomotives I own, I've turned off the mfx protocols using CV50=2. The loco's Owner's Manuals do recommend turning off the protocols not used, e.g., if using mfx, turn off DCC & DC. If using DCC, turn off mfx. The point is that there can sometimes be conflicts with all three protocols being activated: mfx, dcc and dc.

For my customers' DCC sound conversions, I've primarily used Massoth XLS, Phoenix (with Massoth XL), and Soundtraxx Tsunami2. But a customer friend of mine requested I install the ESU 5 XL DCC Sound Decoders into his LGB locomotives and the sound quality is far superior than Massoth for American Steamers (Euro Steamers and American Diesels are ok). I've complained to Massoth several times about their American Steamer's "chuff" distortion but they've failed to fix it in their sound files. Ironically, I installed a Massoth XLS V. 2.5 2010 older sound decoder into a customer's LGB Mogul and the sound quality is excellent including chuff.......so I recently suggested to Massoth to bring back that older sound file for their current XLS decoders. Massoth is coming out in October with its upgraded XLSC sound decoder and hopefully there will be a significant improvement in the American Steamer sound files.

But the electronic chuff for American Steamers on the ESU 5 XL sound decoders is great and I'm now stocking these decoders for customers. If anyone would like to see and hear a demo of the ESU 5 XL with a Massoth Pulsed Smoker I installed for a customer, check the video on my Website of an LGB 21252 South Park Forney.......super sounds! And back to the Command Station question posted, another reason my customer evolved to ESU decoders and their ECOS DCC Command Station is they are Railcom capable. The ECOS system reads a loco's Railcom-capable decoder data, such as the ESU 5 XL, automatically, populates then it on your DCC controller's screen, so there's no need to manually enter the loco's address and decoder setting yourself........a nice feature if that's important to you. It's not that important to me, so I'm sticking with Massoth DCC system.
 
Last edited:
Greg Elmassian

Greg Elmassian

Registered
8 Mar 2014
3,952
560
San Diego
www.elmassian.com
Yep, my Zimo system does railcomm and it's kind of cool.... the auto discovery feature is good for a club layout, but I'm not constantly buying and selling locos such that I sweat entering a loco number once.

I do like the railcomm feature to basically have service mode on the main....

Greg
 
P

phils2um

Phil S
11 Sep 2015
579
364
Ann Arbor, Michigan
Once again I caution. If I correctly understand their literature ESU has two systems they're selling. One targeted primarily at the North American market called "CabControl" is DCC only. It does have RailCom but it is improper to call it an ECoS system as it will NOT control mfx decoders. The ESU ECoS 50210 is a multi-protocol system that does DCC, and M4(which is the same as mfx/mfx+). Just be aware of which system you purchase if you go the ESU route.

I should mention that mfx decoder locos will automatically register themselves on the Märklin CS3 and ESU ECos 50210 central stations. The CS3 system does not currently support RailCom so DCC locos need to be manually registered(it only need to be done once). The ECoS 50210 according to their literature does support RailCom.

Also, I want to correct something I wrote in post #9. The CS3 turnout protocol options are Motorola (not mfx) or DCC.
 
Last edited: