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New Member wants DCC opinions

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jjr
  • Member since
    February 2008
  • From: Bucyrus,Ohio
  • 20 posts
New Member wants DCC opinions
Posted by jjr on Saturday, February 2, 2008 12:10 PM

Hello,

As a new member I would like to introduce myself, give some background, and ask a question.

Probably a familliar history, active HO mrr in teens, away from the hobby for a couple of decades, started and still raising a family, got back into mrr in N scale (and some MTH O) about 7 years ago. Have been reading  these forums for about 2 years. I have  an 11'x15' N layout, trackwork complete, scenery about 75% complete, DC block control.

Lately, my interests have been turning back to HO, I got out my old trains and track (with the addition of some new E-Z track) and built a 24'x2' shelf switching layout in the family room, next to the N layout room. It's nothing fancy yet, just painted plywood with track and what buildings and scenery items that were saved from my teen years. Just a "proof of concept" layout, I will start re-building it section by section with the traditional methods.

Now, finally to my question. As I re-builld this layout I'm going to go with DCC, so I've been looking at systems. A very well respected deaer has MRC systems on sale. Prodigy Advance2 for $190 and Wireless upgrade for $170., will give you a radio system with two throttles (one tethered) for $360. Significanty cheaper than any of the other leading radio systems that seem to be favored by most of the posters to this forum. Now, I've read most of the posts about the pros and cons of all the systems, each will have its strengths and weaknesses. Does this price difference justify accepting any shortcomings that these NEWER MRC systems may have?

I welcome comments from users of all systems, but would really like to hear from anyone who is using the MRC systems mentioned above.

Thanks to all,  jjr

 

 

Jim North Central Ohio
  • Member since
    September 2006
  • 565 posts
Posted by Bapou on Saturday, February 2, 2008 12:40 PM
I wouldn't recomend MRC, I prefer NCE but Digitrax is ok also.
Go NJT, NJ Transit, New Jersey Transit. Whatever you call it its good. See my pictures and videos here: http://s239.photobucket.com/albums/ff20/Bapouthetrainman/
  • Member since
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  • From: Bedford, MA, USA
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Posted by MisterBeasley on Saturday, February 2, 2008 1:51 PM

And I'm a fan of my Lenz system.

These days, you can't really go wrong with the DCC systems available on the market.  As long as you avoid a few of the very low-end systems, you will get a system which will be adequate to start with and also expandable as your layout grows.

If you can, look at and try out the throttles.  The Digitrax throttles, for example, use small cell-phone buttons, and thus can have a lot of different options on a single unit, without needing to go to multi-key sequences for some actions.  The Lenz throttles, on the other hand, use much larger buttons.  I like that, personally, because I've got large hands and 60-year-old eyes.

The other consideration is clubs in your area, if any.  If you're thinking of joining a club, then compatability with their equipment is something to think about.  The NMRA standards for DCC guarantee that you can use any decoder on any system, but that's only true for the "track side" of the system.  On the "controller" side, equipment is not compatable, so you can't use one manufacturer's throttles with another's base equipment and control bus.

It takes an iron man to play with a toy iron horse. 

  • Member since
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  • 565 posts
Posted by Bapou on Saturday, February 2, 2008 2:10 PM
 MisterBeasley wrote:


These days, you can't really go wrong with the DCC systems available on the market.  As long as you avoid a few of the very low-end systems,

As in MRC express! the MRC advance is ok though. 

Go NJT, NJ Transit, New Jersey Transit. Whatever you call it its good. See my pictures and videos here: http://s239.photobucket.com/albums/ff20/Bapouthetrainman/
jjr
  • Member since
    February 2008
  • From: Bucyrus,Ohio
  • 20 posts
Posted by jjr on Saturday, February 2, 2008 2:56 PM

Thanks for the responses. A computer interface is not a priority for me, as this layout will probably never have more than half a dozen locos. I plan on purchasing them with decoder installed, my old locos from the 70's don't run well enough to bother installing one. As for which MRC systems we are talking about, it would be what Model Railroader has installed in their current project layout, if you have been following that. David, check out Tony's Trains website.

Thanks, jjr

Jim North Central Ohio
  • Member since
    February 2007
  • From: Christiana, TN
  • 1,652 posts
Posted by CSX Robert on Saturday, February 2, 2008 5:38 PM
 davidmbedard wrote:


...

Why should I check out Tony's Train's website?

David B


That's where he got his prices, and they are for the Advanced 2 and the wireless upgrade kit.

Something you'll want to know about the wireless throttle is that they have found a bug in it. There are certain groups of addresses that it will not control. MRC has found a fix for it and will offer free upgrades to all customers. They have been discussing this on the MRC Yahoo Group. Other than this, I have not heard anything but good reviews for the wireless throttles.
  • Member since
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  • From: Thornton, CO
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Posted by jwils1 on Saturday, February 2, 2008 9:50 PM

jjr:

The MRC sale at Tony's Train Excange is a very good deal.  If you need two throttles, one wireless and one tethered, the $360 is an especially good price.  This is a sale price good thru 2/29/08.

I recently bought the MRC wireless from Tony's at $329.95 as I only need one throttle.  For roughly $200 less than the NCE radio system, it's quite a savings for a duplex radio system.  And duplex is the key word as it allows doing everything wireless, including programing, consisting, etc., without ever having to plug in.

As far as a computer interface is concerned, they plan to have one out this year and it's wireless.  It's already listed on their website.  In the meantime, you can still use decoder pro to good advantage even thought not hooked up to your DCC system.  If you have a computer available you can use David B.'s helpful idea.  See

http://www.trains.com/trccs/forums/1281624/ShowPost.aspx

I have to tell you that the more I use my MRC wireless the better I like it.  I put a review of it on another forum and will try to it here as well, including anything I can think of that it doesn't do that others systems do.

 

Jerry

Rio Grande vs. Santa Fe.....the battle is over but the glory remains!

  • Member since
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  • From: Thornton, CO
  • 763 posts
Posted by jwils1 on Saturday, February 2, 2008 10:34 PM

In case anyone is interested I just posted a complete review of the MRC Prodigy Advance Wireless DCC system on this forum on the following thread:

Forum Clinic: Picking the Best DCC system

 http://www.trains.com/trccs/forums/626056/ShowPost.aspx

Jerry

Rio Grande vs. Santa Fe.....the battle is over but the glory remains!

jjr
  • Member since
    February 2008
  • From: Bucyrus,Ohio
  • 20 posts
Posted by jjr on Sunday, February 3, 2008 6:27 AM

Thanks Jerry,

that's exactly the kind of info I'm looking for. For my home switching layout I don't think I will require all the "bells and whistles". For the price difference, I just wanted to know what I was giving up. I will keep an eye on that "bug" situation mentioned in a previous post though, before I decide, maybe contact TTE to see if they are going to have their stock sent back for any patch MRC comes up with.

Thanks again, jjr

Jim North Central Ohio
  • Member since
    July 2006
  • From: Springboro, Ohio
  • 173 posts
Posted by ripvanwnkl on Sunday, February 3, 2008 7:49 AM

jjr,

 I have the same MRC setup you're looking at to buy:  Prodigy Advance Squared, purchased in March '07 and Wireless conversion upgrade, purchased in Sep '07.  Combined price of $360 you're quoting is very good.  System works great with all my DCC equipped HO locos, including  QSI, ESU, Digitrax, MRC, MTH,  etc.    My teenage grandson and I run several at a time, all on extensive and constantly changing EZ track layouts.  To date, we've controlled as many as five trains runnning simultaneously, with a total of 2 single and 6 consisted sound equipped steam and diesel locos.    He's more mobile and can control more trains than I, so he uses the wireless cab while I use the tethered one.  No problems with wireless address changes from 1 to 4 numbers, maybe because we haven't tried to enter a troublesome address road number yet. 

 Hope you have as much fun as we do! 

  

Dave

USAF (Retired)

 

  • Member since
    December 2007
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Posted by GARY 70 on Sunday, February 3, 2008 12:00 PM
hi dave love your answers -- very helpfull -- got a question - i bought a didtrex sysyem and a atlas engine with sound -- haven]t hooked up to dcc still running dc --- can i run the engine on just dc system that i have already or do i have to set up something in the decoder - engine was programed --- been wanting to run it but was unsure if it would burn out the decoder in it -- not very good at this stuff -- old age i guess-- gary
  • Member since
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  • From: Christiana, TN
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Posted by CSX Robert on Sunday, February 3, 2008 12:08 PM
 davidmbedard wrote:
 jwils1 wrote:


As far as a computer interface is concerned, they plan to have one out this year and it's wireless. It's already listed on their website. In the meantime, you can still use decoder pro to good advantage even thought not hooked up to your DCC system. If you have a computer available you can use David B.'s helpful idea.



Link?

David B


The computer interface products are listed on this page:

http://www.modelrectifier.com/train-controls/accessories.asp

You can't fin dthem looking under Train Controls->DCC, you have to loook under Train Control->Accessories.


  • Member since
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  • From: Thornton, CO
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Posted by jwils1 on Sunday, February 3, 2008 1:04 PM
 davidmbedard wrote:



The computer interface products are listed on this page:

http://www.modelrectifier.com/train-controls/accessories.asp

You can't fin dthem looking under Train Controls->DCC, you have to loook under Train Control->Accessories.


Wow!  A bargain at 270 dollars for a computer interface!

....yet another great move by MRC.......WHAT ARE THEY THINKING?

Ill stick with my 40 dollars MS100.

David B

Yeah this does sound expensive, but did you notice there is another one next to it at $180.  They don't say what is included in each so we'll have to wait to see what is being furnished and how it works.

We know that these are list prices so the actual cost will be much less.  For example, my MRC wireless lists at $600 and I got it for $329.95.

By the way, what is a MS100? 

Jerry

Rio Grande vs. Santa Fe.....the battle is over but the glory remains!

  • Member since
    January 2007
  • 327 posts
Posted by locoworks on Sunday, February 3, 2008 1:15 PM
the MS100 is digitrax's computer interface. it use a serial port though and not USB, but it does work with some usb to serial converters, check out the digitrax website to find out which it will work with.
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Posted by locoworks on Sunday, February 3, 2008 1:17 PM
beat me Sign - Ditto [#ditto]
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Posted by CSX Robert on Sunday, February 3, 2008 4:02 PM
 jwils1 wrote:
 davidmbedard wrote:




The computer interface products are listed on this page:

http://www.modelrectifier.com/train-controls/accessories.asp

You can't fin dthem looking under Train Controls->DCC, you have to loook under Train Control->Accessories.




Wow! A bargain at 270 dollars for a computer interface!

....yet another great move by MRC.......WHAT ARE THEY THINKING?

Ill stick with my 40 dollars MS100.

David B



Yeah this does sound expensive, but did you notice there is another one next to it at $180. They don't say what is included in each so we'll have to wait to see what is being furnished and how it works.

We know that these are list prices so the actual cost will be much less. For example, my MRC wireless lists at $600 and I got it for $329.95.

By the way, what is a MS100?



My understanding is that the $270 set is the PC interface and the wireless adapter for the Prodigy and the $180 set is just the PC adapter for people who have already upgraded to wireless or got the Prodigy Wireless to begin with. Both sets are wireless, which partly explains the high prices. At this point, it does not look like they are going to offer a hard wired version, which seems like a mistake to me.

  • Member since
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  • From: Gahanna, Ohio
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Posted by jbinkley60 on Sunday, February 3, 2008 5:28 PM

 locoworks wrote:
the MS100 is digitrax's computer interface. it use a serial port though and not USB, but it does work with some usb to serial converters, check out the digitrax website to find out which it will work with.

For a USB interface with Digitrax use the LocoBuffer II.  Tony's sells them for $63.95 .  It includes everything needed driver CD, Locobuffer II and USB cable.  All you need to supply is Loconet connection.

 

Engineer Jeff NS Nut
Visit my layout at: http://www.thebinks.com/trains/

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