What DDC control system is everyone using, views required?

wandgrudd

wandgrudd

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24 Oct 2009
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What DDC control system is everyone using, views required?


So eating humble pie here after praising the virtues of my trusty MTS3 (+Massoth Nav) system I have hit a bit of an unexpected snag. I have hit the 32 loco limit, which is a bit of an issue when you have 30 years’ worth of locos to sort out, brought it in 2013 so it owes me nothing but having decided to speed things up and chip all my remaining locos and do away with the duel analogue / dcc control I have been using I need something with more storage, don’t think I need any more amps as I seldom go over 3.5-4 amps, to run any more just becomes a bit too labour intensive as I have an inverted figure 8 layout so I would be forever checking were each trains is.
I have looked at the main options (noted below) I think but could do with people’s opinions good or bad, or other suggestions.

Piko system, 10000+ locos, 5 amps but quality seems a bit of an issue going by the few reports I have seen on here (built to a price)?

The CS3 (MFX) limited to inside use as the base station is also the controller or have, we other options with this?

Full Massoth system again 10000+ locos, 12amps possibly the best bet as I can us my existing nav and wireless bits but seems over kill as the current limit of 5 amp I have with the MTS3 system is more than enough, (i.e. do I really need the 15(12) amp dc power supply)

Has anyone looked at the MD Mxion MZSpro I have used a couple of the DCC chips recently which have been good but haven’t actually seen anybody use any of their other stuff?

Andrew.
 
65 1057

65 1057

Railways @ 1.435 mm/ 1.000 mm/ 750 mm and 45mm
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Hello Andrew,
I started with an used UHLENBROCK DAISY 2 DCC System (Link) 2 Amps max, controller connected with wire to the station, 160€.
Later I extended the system with a 150 VA trafo & booster (POWER 8) of 7-8 Amps - in total ca. 200€ via xxbay, and DAISY 2 radio control for ca. 260€. All individual components work fine so far.

In terms of connectivity (LocoNet, USB, WLAN etc.etc.) I would check all the various options of a DIGIKEIJS DR 5000 station with 3 amps - available as of 140 €...
 
dunnyrail

dunnyrail

DOGS, Garden Railways, Steam Trains, Jive Dancing,
25 Oct 2009
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My system is Massoth, loved it till I went full Battery. Now only gets used in the Shed when the weather is not suitable for outdoor operations using Battery or Live Steam.
 
idlemarvel

idlemarvel

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13 Jul 2015
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Hi Andrew,
Do you really want to know what we are all using? I'm not sure that will help you make a decision as we will all have different requirements and priorities. Perhaps better to get your requirements together, come up with a shortlist based on research then ask for comments on those choices against your requirements.

I quite happy to tell you what I am using (Lenz) but I have specific reasons for that which almost certainly won't apply to you.

I have no experience of the MD system you mention.

Hope this helps in some way but realise it may not be what you are looking for.
 
PhilP

PhilP

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5 Jun 2013
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For repairs and installations, I use a Digitrax system.

but again, that is for specific reasons.. Some technical, some sentimental.


As you already have an investment in wireless, and a Navigator, and your requirements are quite modest, then I think the decision is already made?
No need to upgrade to the 2.4GHz radio, whilst ever your existing equipment is working. - There will be the older radio frequency components coming onto the market, so spares will be available.

You probably only need a secomd-hand 1200Z? - The older combined unit.

PhilP.
 
Zerogee

Zerogee

Clencher's Bogleman
25 Oct 2009
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As Phil says, you already have your Navvy and wireless module - so I think in this case sticking with Massoth is the most sensible way to go; I am very happy with my Massoth setup, and have no plans to change, though I am planning to do the upgrade to 2.4 GHz - purely through choice rather than necessity, Phil is quite right in that there is no pressing need to do that.

Having said all that, IF I was to be starting out from scratch then I would give the Marklin CS3/3+ a much closer look - a friend of mine has just invested in one after a very kind demo of the CS system by another forumite on here, the friend who is upgrading is moving up from an old MTS2 system so he doesn't have any non-MTS (such as Navigators) kit to transfer over; the thing that tipped the balance for him was that M/LGB have announced a badge-engineered Navigator handset for the CS3, which gets over the one big thing that was previously lacking with the system.

Jon.
 
wandgrudd

wandgrudd

Registered
24 Oct 2009
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I suppose if I at least stick with Massoth, I get a quilty bit of kit that I am already some what familer with by already having the navigator, which should be very much plug and play with my existing set up.


So next question those that have the Massoth did you go with the Massoth branded power supply or a different make don't suppose it will cause any issues with warranty etc?

2nd question at the moment my power supply is kept in a small shed (control box) but the MTS3 unit and wireless bits are in a separate small plastic tool box with quick connect plugs that I bring in and out when needed, the Massoth bits look to be much larger than the MTS3 unit thus I assume everyone keeps them permently installed?


As to the new 2.4 GHz I will be interested to see how these preform range wise in the uk as looking at the tech spec its use the same range as normal house hold wi-fi unless I am reading it wrong IE. 2,402-2,480GHz and normal house hold wi-fi would be 2,412+2,472GHz?

Andrew.
 
Greg Elmassian

Greg Elmassian

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Late to the party, Zimo system, more compatible, and more features, up to 20 amps if you strap the 8 amp and 12 amp outputs together.

But much more cost of course... it uses Zigbee coms... also you can still use your navigator if you want:

131162_5040e9451610d2529c67b9498a245d0d.jpg


This is the new economy system which is 8 amps only, but same features as dual output MX10

Greg
 
P

phils2um

Phil S
11 Sep 2015
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Hi Andrew,

I started from scratch knowing I wanted mfx compatibility three + years ago. In my mind that limited me to ESU or Märklin. I settled on the CS3. I've had my teething pains but am fairly satisfied. I do wish the booster current wasn't limited to 5A though. I really do like the CS3's web based interface on my phone and home WiFi for controlling things. Märklin has just come out with a dedicated navigator (appears to be made by Massoth) but I can't see the value there personally. It costs roughly $500 for the navigator and associated wireless transmitter and receiver. As i said, I'm satisfied with the web based phone interface using my existing home WiFi network.

But, you've got a significant investment already, and being able to use your existing navigator and wireless components makes a lot of sense - not just cost wise but also due to familiarity. For that reason, were I in your situation, I'd seriously consider going with Massoth. I'm not familiar with the Zimo system Greg mentioned, but if that also lets you use at least a portion of your existing system, it is also well worth investigating.
 
Gavin Sowry

Gavin Sowry

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27 Oct 2009
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May I put in a plug for Analogue? In 55 years of going to shows, nobody yet, has successfully demonstrated to me that all the claims of DCC advantages actually work, or at least, the operators can make them work.
 
Greg Elmassian

Greg Elmassian

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(besides asking for DCC recommendations), I'm amazed that somehow you have successfully avoided anyone competent in DCC to show you any advantages. To say it does not work, or all the operators you met could not make it work (your words).... in 55 years... really almost unbelieveable.

DCC is not for everyone, but saying it's all a lie...
 
Last edited:
wandgrudd

wandgrudd

Registered
24 Oct 2009
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Late to the party, Zimo system, more compatible, and more features, up to 20 amps if you strap the 8 amp and 12 amp outputs together.

But much more cost of course... it uses Zigbee coms... also you can still use your navigator if you want:

View attachment 256000

This is the new economy system which is 8 amps only, but same features as dual output MX10

Greg

ZigBee is something i am familiar with already but with the control of smart lighting, etc. Cost is a factor but i have to remind my slef i spend £1000 on one new train from time to time so a £1000 on the control system for all the trains shouldn't be a concern.
 
L

LGeoB

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12 Dec 2017
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Perth, Western Australia
I use Lenz as I started out using it on an OO layout. I now use it just for control having built a couple of DCC boosters that use Arduino processors. Also use the Lenz ethernet interface and TouchCab on a number of old iPhones. Bought a DIGIKEIJS DR 5000 station to try out as it has Lenz's Xpressnet on it as well as wifi and Digitrax's loconet. Planning to use with my homemade boosters. I used some Massoth Navis on Xpressnet for a time but kept blowing the receivers! No advice from Massoth as to why but it may have been our spa that was close by when it fired up.

Geoff
 
Gizzy

Gizzy

A gentleman, a scholar, and a railway modeller....
26 Oct 2009
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I started with an MTS 2 system which I still use on my portable layout, but I have upgraded to a Massoth 1200Z for the garden layout....
 
wandgrudd

wandgrudd

Registered
24 Oct 2009
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May I put in a plug for Analogue? In 55 years of going to shows, nobody yet, has successfully demonstrated to me that all the claims of DCC advantages actually work, or at least, the operators can make them work.

Gavin,

I was a 100% pure analogue believer for 30 years and I am never going back not outside anyway, inside were you sit at a control panel yes fine but outside in the garden no way being able to sit anywhere and control the trains change points, stop and start, switch trains from one set of wagons to the other all from one little wireless control box fantastic.
 
wandgrudd

wandgrudd

Registered
24 Oct 2009
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42
....
Hi Andrew,

I started from scratch knowing I wanted mfx compatibility three + years ago. In my mind that limited me to ESU or Märklin. I settled on the CS3. I've had my teething pains but am fairly satisfied. I do wish the booster current wasn't limited to 5A though. I really do like the CS3's web based interface on my phone and home WiFi for controlling things. Märklin has just come out with a dedicated navigator (appears to be made by Massoth) but I can't see the value there personally. It costs roughly $500 for the navigator and associated wireless transmitter and receiver. As i said, I'm satisfied with the web based phone interface using my existing home WiFi network.

But, you've got a significant investment already, and being able to use your existing navigator and wireless components makes a lot of sense - not just cost wise but also due to familiarity. For that reason, were I in your situation, I'd seriously consider going with Massoth. I'm not familiar with the Zimo system Greg mentioned, but if that also lets you use at least a portion of your existing system, it is also well worth investigating.
Its the wi-fi side of things that puts me of with the CS3 at the moment see what the Massoth hand held brings to the table but then again i cant see my self ever using the display on the base station of the CS3.
 
Gavin Sowry

Gavin Sowry

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27 Oct 2009
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(besides asking for DCC recommendations), I'm amazed that somehow you have successfully avoided anyone competent in DCC to show you any advantages. To say it does not work, or all the operators you met could not make it work (your words).... in 55 years... really almost unbelieveable.

DCC is not for everyone, but saying it's all a lie...
Not saying it's all a lie, but, as I say, I've yet to see a faultless demonstration.
I have made a point of trying to understand it. System, in theory, is pretty sound, but, the problem is probably experience/competency of the operator.
 
Gavin Sowry

Gavin Sowry

Garden Railroader and Raconteur
27 Oct 2009
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305
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Hutt Valley, NZ
Gavin,

I was a 100% pure analogue believer for 30 years and I am never going back not outside anyway, inside were you sit at a control panel yes fine but outside in the garden no way being able to sit anywhere and control the trains change points, stop and start, switch trains from one set of wagons to the other all from one little wireless control box fantastic.
I actually have Train Engineer (old track power version) these days..... but that is still basically analogue, as in it just controls regular track power.
 
PhilP

PhilP

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5 Jun 2013
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A bit like a modern Word Processor.. Most of us use it as a glorified typewriter. - 5% of the features, by 90% of the Users.

Same applies to DCC systems:
All can do many things, but most Operators do not need/use/know, how to use all the features.

The end-users will only be competent with the features they use regularly..
 
JimmyB

JimmyB

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A bit like a modern Word Processor.. Most of us use it as a glorified typewriter. - 5% of the features, by 90% of the Users.
Now Phil I can relate to that, the rest over the DCC is over my head, but people producing "professional" documents in Word, most are a joke.