PIKO DCC -- recommended for small layout?

lynxface

lynxface

Registered
14 Mar 2016
40
0
Scotland
Hi All,

Thinking of upgrading from my MTS II (P) system. I only have a small layout; a few switch decoders, lights and around 5 locos. The locos have a mixture of mfx & LGB 55020 decoders.

Would love to go Massoth, but the price tag is a bit hefty! The Piko Complete DCC system looked a good alternative (CS, Handheld, Power Supply & Wireless transmitter ... all for £750)

Just wanted to check others' experiences. I've had two blown mfx decoders with MTS II and I just don't quite trust it!

Reckon the Piko would work seamlessly with my LGB / mfx decoders? Anyone on here with experiences of Piko DCC for small-scale layouts?

Thanks in advance for your thoughts!

Alex
 
idlemarvel

idlemarvel

Neither idle nor a marvel
13 Jul 2015
2,218
324
Ascot
I can't answer your question, but related to this have you been following this thread?
Ml-train dcc system - G Scale Central
I don't have one, never seen it, but the OP seems pleased with this setup and he like you was moving on from MTS II.
It is about half the price of the PIKO setup you mention.
Not sure he has tried it with mfx decoders, you could ask him.
Not really sure why your old MTS should have blown mfx decoders. Did you switch them to DCC only with CV 50=0?
 
lynxface

lynxface

Registered
14 Mar 2016
40
0
Scotland
I can't answer your question, but related to this have you been following this thread?
Ml-train dcc system - G Scale Central
I don't have one, never seen it, but the OP seems pleased with this setup and he like you was moving on from MTS II.
It is about half the price of the PIKO setup you mention.
Not sure he has tried it with mfx decoders, you could ask him.
Not really sure why your old MTS should have blown mfx decoders. Did you switch them to DCC only with CV 50=0?
Hi idlemarvel,

You’re right that is an interesting thread... the OP seems satisfied and that’s a very good price. Going to think it over a bit more and take the plunge.

Eurika moment: after months of agonising, I’ve discovered what’s messing with decoders. Pretty sure it’s inductance on the line. I run a long bus wire up to the track that’s non-flexed. Also have occasional runaway locos which is another textbook symptom.

The solution is apparently a snubber/RC filter. Hoping I can get away with getting this recent decoder rebooted...

Thanks very much for your thoughts !
 
W

Wim6467

Registered
14 May 2020
6
1
53
Belgium
I have both centrals : Massoth 1200z and Piko. Actually : Piko Central is made by Massoth. So they are compatible. I use the Piko as back-ou for the Massoth or when I go to trainshows.
 
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lynxface

lynxface

Registered
14 Mar 2016
40
0
Scotland
I have both centrals : Massoth 1200z and Piko. Actually : Piko Central is made by Massoth. So they are compatible. I use the Piko as back-ou for the Massoth or when I go to trainshows.
Interesting, thanks for this insight.
 
LGB333

LGB333

Active Member
Hi All,

Thinking of upgrading from my MTS II (P) system. I only have a small layout; a few switch decoders, lights and around 5 locos. The locos have a mixture of mfx & LGB 55020 decoders.

Would love to go Massoth, but the price tag is a bit hefty! The Piko Complete DCC system looked a good alternative (CS, Handheld, Power Supply & Wireless transmitter ... all for £750)

Just wanted to check others' experiences. I've had two blown mfx decoders with MTS II and I just don't quite trust it!

Reckon the Piko would work seamlessly with my LGB / mfx decoders? Anyone on here with experiences of Piko DCC for small-scale layouts?

Thanks in advance for your thoughts!

Alex
Hello - Yes, the Piko 35010 Central Station (made by Massoth) is an excellent unit. You can use either a Piko Navigator or Massoth Navigator with the unit.......all interchangeable as someone already mentioned. The Piko 35010 was my first DCC system starting five years ago. I also use the Massoth Central Station for my garden RR which, when using the Massoth 12 Amp DC Power Supply, provides up to 12 amps of DCC to a layout. I now use my Piko unit for my Programming Track but it can actually handle my 400 feet of track in my garden RR when running a couple two-motor LGB locomotives. It's safest to use Piko's matching 5 amp DC Power Supply........using other DC power supplies can sometimes blow the Central Station and Piko's warranty won't then cover the damage.

Regarding the LGB/Marklin DCC Sound Decoders, if you operate only DCC, you can turn off the mfx protocol by setting CV50 = "x". Check the CV listing for the decoder in your locomotive to determine the correct setting. LGB/Marklin actually suggests turning off any of the protocols not use, e.g., if running mfx, turn off DCC and Analog. If running DCC, turn off mfx. This helps to prevent operating conflicts between the three protocols in their decoders.
 
lynxface

lynxface

Registered
14 Mar 2016
40
0
Scotland
Hello - Yes, the Piko 35010 Central Station (made by Massoth) is an excellent unit. You can use either a Piko Navigator or Massoth Navigator with the unit.......all interchangeable as someone already mentioned. The Piko 35010 was my first DCC system starting five years ago. I also use the Massoth Central Station for my garden RR which, when using the Massoth 12 Amp DC Power Supply, provides up to 12 amps of DCC to a layout. I now use my Piko unit for my Programming Track but it can actually handle my 400 feet of track in my garden RR when running a couple two-motor LGB locomotives. It's safest to use Piko's matching 5 amp DC Power Supply........using other DC power supplies can sometimes blow the Central Station and Piko's warranty won't then cover the damage.

Regarding the LGB/Marklin DCC Sound Decoders, if you operate only DCC, you can turn off the mfx protocol by setting CV50 = "x". Check the CV listing for the decoder in your locomotive to determine the correct setting. LGB/Marklin actually suggests turning off any of the protocols not use, e.g., if running mfx, turn off DCC and Analog. If running DCC, turn off mfx. This helps to prevent operating conflicts between the three protocols in their decoders.

Thank you Tom for getting back. It seems like the Piko may be the way for me to go. A quick question... Do you know if I could use the Massoth/LGB train detection and feedback modules with the Piko system WITHOUT a PC interface? ie, if I wanted a red signal to trigger a decel/stop in an approaching loco, could I programme all that with just the PIKO navigator?

Basically, I'd like to do a few automatic signal/switch throws with reed switches and detection modules, but not sure if the basic PIKO central station / navigator would allow me to do that without a PC interface.

Thanks for your help!
 
LGB333

LGB333

Active Member
Thank you Tom for getting back. It seems like the Piko may be the way for me to go. A quick question... Do you know if I could use the Massoth/LGB train detection and feedback modules with the Piko system WITHOUT a PC interface? ie, if I wanted a red signal to trigger a decel/stop in an approaching loco, could I programme all that with just the PIKO navigator?

Basically, I'd like to do a few automatic signal/switch throws with reed switches and detection modules, but not sure if the basic PIKO central station / navigator would allow me to do that without a PC interface.

Thanks for your help!
Alex - I've not gotten into installing any of those devices you mention, so I've not researched the Piko's capability. I have used the Piko on my new 400 foot garden RR for the Track Wye I installed using a Massoth DCC Reverse Loop Module, and it works great but no computer interface needed. As I may have mentioned, I use the Piko Central Station primarily for my Programming Track, but if I want to just run 1 - 2 trains on my garden RR for a quick spin, it's much easier to hook up the Piko Central Staton than my large and heavy Massoth Central Station/Power Supply. If you must use a PC interface with those devices, then probably the Piko unit can't accommodate them whereas the Massoth Central Station can.

Also, depending on your DCC decoder programming needs, you should get the Massoth PC Programming Module which is much faster and easier to program a decoder than using the Massoth/Piko Navigators. You can also install any locomotive sound file in your Massoth decoders from the Massoth sounds database, update firm ware, etc. I sell the Massoth 8175201 DiMax PC Module for $145, if you're interested.

Regarding your question about the Piko unit's capabilities, I suggest you email Jonathan Meador, head of the Piko America Technical Department........he's very knowledgeable and very responsive to questions from consumers. He answered my questions five years ago about using alternative DC power supplies for the Piko unit instead of their Piko power supply made for it. The first versions of the Piko Central Station, like the LGB MTS II and III Central Stations, could be powered by either AC or DC current. Their upgraded Piko's Instructions now state to only use a DC power supply with the unit, which is the same requirement for the Massoth Central Station. Piko America's contact information is below........add at the top of your message "For Jonathan Meador/Technical Department."

PIKO America, LLC
4610 Alvarado Canyon Road, Suite 5
San Diego CA 92120 USA


Contact Us:
Phone: 619-280-2800
Toll-Free: 877-678-4449
Fax: 619-280-2843
info@piko-america.com
Hours: Monday - Friday 9:00AM - 5:00PM Pacific
 
lynxface

lynxface

Registered
14 Mar 2016
40
0
Scotland
Alex - I've not gotten into installing any of those devices you mention, so I've not researched the Piko's capability. I have used the Piko on my new 400 foot garden RR for the Track Wye I installed using a Massoth DCC Reverse Loop Module, and it works great but no computer interface needed. As I may have mentioned, I use the Piko Central Station primarily for my Programming Track, but if I want to just run 1 - 2 trains on my garden RR for a quick spin, it's much easier to hook up the Piko Central Staton than my large and heavy Massoth Central Station/Power Supply. If you must use a PC interface with those devices, then probably the Piko unit can't accommodate them whereas the Massoth Central Station can.

Also, depending on your DCC decoder programming needs, you should get the Massoth PC Programming Module which is much faster and easier to program a decoder than using the Massoth/Piko Navigators. You can also install any locomotive sound file in your Massoth decoders from the Massoth sounds database, update firm ware, etc. I sell the Massoth 8175201 DiMax PC Module for $145, if you're interested.

Regarding your question about the Piko unit's capabilities, I suggest you email Jonathan Meador, head of the Piko America Technical Department........he's very knowledgeable and very responsive to questions from consumers. He answered my questions five years ago about using alternative DC power supplies for the Piko unit instead of their Piko power supply made for it. The first versions of the Piko Central Station, like the LGB MTS II and III Central Stations, could be powered by either AC or DC current. Their upgraded Piko's Instructions now state to only use a DC power supply with the unit, which is the same requirement for the Massoth Central Station. Piko America's contact information is below........add at the top of your message "For Jonathan Meador/Technical Department."

PIKO America, LLC
4610 Alvarado Canyon Road, Suite 5
San Diego CA 92120 USA


Contact Us:
Phone: 619-280-2800
Toll-Free: 877-678-4449
Fax: 619-280-2843
info@piko-america.com
Hours: Monday - Friday 9:00AM - 5:00PM Pacific
Thanks so much ! Lots of helpful advice and information