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Mini review of the ZIMO MX31ZL DCC system.

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Mini review of the ZIMO MX31ZL DCC system.
Posted by electrolove on Friday, June 13, 2008 12:34 AM
A bought a ZIMO MX31ZL system a while ago. I will try to tell you all what I think about it.

Let's start from the beginning. I once owned a NCE Power Cab. I bought it just to be able to test run all the locos I bought. The plan was to buy a wireless system in the future. I talked to NCE support about this and they told me that NCE will release a wireless system for europe in about a year. That was good news because the frequencies used in the US are not allowed in Sweden. So I can't just import and use a wireless system from the US. But after a year NCE suddenly told me that this was not going to happen. I'm very disappointed. So I sold my NCE system and I will never go back.

I discovered ZIMO and their wireless system for europe. It had been on the market for many years. ZIMO DCC systems are expensive. But it's also the best DCC system on the market. You get what you pay for. One nice feature is the display that can have three different colors depending on the mode.

GREEN background – LOCO MODE.
RED background – SWITCH MODE.
YELLOW background – INPUT MODE: Address, menu, list of names, programming and more.

ZIMO MX31ZL is much smaller then the Power Cab. Dimensions Wfront – Wrear x Hfront – Hrear x L ................ 58 - 69 mm x 23 - 39 mm x 150 mm. It weights only 135 g. Here is a picture so you can compare it to the size of my hand:



It's possible to buy a wireless Cab (MX31FU) and connect it to the MX31ZL. MX31FU looks similar to the ZL, the only difference is a small antenna. This is my plan. I will use the MX31ZL as the stationary (switching) cab for North Yard and the wireless cab for the rest. I will also use ZIMO's train running software. I can then do OP sessions with myself, a friend and the computer takes care of the rest. It takes a while to learn this system, but you will not outgrow it.



Stabilized track power of up to 4 amp continuous and up to 5.5 amps peak, without an additional booster.

Short circuit shut-off adjustable from 0.01 second to 10 seconds.

Adjustable track voltage from 10 - 22V (max. 19V with 90W power supply).

The track output can be connected to the main track, programming track or to a decoder update track (the MX31ZL is also a useful decoder update module).

Built-in volt/amp meter display

USB “client & host” interface for easy PC connection or to plug in a USB memory stick for decoder updates without a computer.

Built-in global RailCom detector for bidirectional communication (RailCom is a registered trademark of Lenz GmbH). RailCom responds to and displays messages in real time for each actively controlled engine (i.e. actual speed, expected stop time, power consumption) and of course allows decoder CV’s to be read on the main. This feature requires RailCom enabled decoders, which at present (Fall 2007) are available from Lenz (only Gold series) and ZIMO (all types). Other manufacturers are expected to follow in 2008. The use and application of the RailCom technology has only scratched the surface and many new features will be added in the month and years ahead. In order to access those new features, the equipment involved (MX31ZL, MX31...) as well as decoders must be updated periodically with new software (ZIMO components in general can be updated without removal or replacement of decoders, EPROMS etc.).

All features of a “normal” MX31 cab.

System expansion with up to 5 more MX31 cabs, radio cab or integration of the MX31ZL in a “large ZIMO system” (with regular command station).

The MX31ZL comes with its own power supply, plug-in panel, USB computer cable, USB adapter for memory stick and operating manual.



If you want to know more, contact Art Luescher aluesch@mrsonline.net. This is a really great guy. With a wonderful support.

http://www.mrsonline.net

You can download the manual here:

http://www.zimo.at/web2007/pdf/MX31E.pdf

http://www.zimo.at/
Rio Grande Zephyr 5771 from Denver, Colorado to Salt Lake City, Utah "Thru the Rockies"
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Posted by Red Horse on Friday, June 13, 2008 9:56 AM

Wow, Great review...so I'm guessing that you like this unit? Smile,Wink, & Grin [swg].

You should write product reviews for the magazine...your very good at it!

Please visit my Photobucket pics page. http://photobucket.com/Jesse_Red_Horse_Layout I am the King of my Layout, I can build or destroy the entire city on a whim or I can create a whole new city from scratch , it is good too be the King.
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Posted by jfugate on Tuesday, June 17, 2008 2:18 AM

No question the Zimo system is the cadillac DCC system, with it's PC-like software driven architecture.

However, I find the starter system (MX31ZL) manual to leave something to be desired. It's more like a lose collection of notes than a step-by-step how-to-use-the-system guide. For a starter system, that's not the best. Technophobes will find this system to be especially difficult to learn, you need to be more tech savvy to get the most from a Zimo DCC system.

Also, while the Zimo system PC-like architecture can easily be updated with powerful new features via software upgrades, that extra-deluxe architecture comes with a price: Zimo's system is 2-3 times the price of other DCC systems.

For instance, the MX31ZL starter system Electro reviews here costs about $600 US. 

Joe Fugate Modeling the 1980s SP Siskiyou Line in southern Oregon

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Posted by electrolove on Friday, August 22, 2008 2:37 AM
Joe,

You are 100% correct that the manual is not that good. I also feel that it's a collection of notes but that does not help me when I want to add a loco to the system for example. I will talk to Art at Zimo about this and see if the manual can be updated with step by step instructions. Thanks Joe for you great comment!

 jfugate wrote:

No question the Zimo system is the cadillac DCC system, with it's PC-like software driven architecture.

However, I find the starter system (MX31ZL) manual to leave something to be desired. It's more like a lose collection of notes than a step-by-step how-to-use-the-system guide. For a starter system, that's not the best. Technophobes will find this system to be especially difficult to learn, you need to be more tech savvy to get the most from a Zimo DCC system.

Also, while the Zimo system PC-like architecture can easily be updated with powerful new features via software upgrades, that extra-deluxe architecture comes with a price: Zimo's system is 2-3 times the price of other DCC systems.

For instance, the MX31ZL starter system Electro reviews here costs about $600 US. 

Rio Grande Zephyr 5771 from Denver, Colorado to Salt Lake City, Utah "Thru the Rockies"
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Posted by tstage on Saturday, August 23, 2008 12:09 PM

Electro,

That's a great idea.   I would also like to echo Jesse's comment earlier.  I would encourage you to consider submitting a Reader Review of the Zimo DCC system on the MR web site.  Here's the link:

http://www.trains.com/mrr

Go to the Products Review section and click Submit a review.

Tom

 

https://tstage9.wixsite.com/nyc-modeling

Time...It marches on...without ever turning around to see if anyone is even keeping in step.

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