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MRC PRODIGY EXPRESS

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  • Member since
    February 2007
  • From: Christiana, TN
  • 1,652 posts
Posted by CSX Robert on Wednesday, August 13, 2008 8:22 PM
 esprrfan wrote:


 Is this extension plate the thing you put on the front of your layout so you can walk around following your train?


Yes.

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    March 2008
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Posted by esprrfan on Wednesday, August 13, 2008 7:06 PM

 CSX Robert wrote:
Also, the Express command station only has one throttle port, so you can not plug in a second throttle until you get at least one extension plate,

 Is this extension plate the thing you put on the front of your layout so you can walk around following your train?

  • Member since
    November 2002
  • From: Colorado
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Posted by fwright on Wednesday, July 23, 2008 3:36 AM

 CSX Robert wrote:
One thing to remember about upgrading from an Express to an Advanced is the Express throttle will still only be an Express throttle, so you will have two throttles, but one will not have all of the features of the other. Also, the Express command station only has one throttle port, so you can not plug in a second throttle until you get at least one extension plate, whereas the Advanced has three throttle ports, so you can plug three throttles straight into the command station if you want to.

Good points.  Thank-you.

Fred W

  • Member since
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  • From: Christiana, TN
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Posted by CSX Robert on Tuesday, July 22, 2008 4:56 PM
One thing to remember about upgrading from an Express to an Advanced is the Express throttle will still only be an Express throttle, so you will have two throttles, but one will not have all of the features of the other. Also, the Express command station only has one throttle port, so you can not plug in a second throttle until you get at least one extension plate, whereas the Advanced has three throttle ports, so you can plug three throttles straight into the command station if you want to.
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Posted by NJWATERGUY on Tuesday, July 22, 2008 1:45 PM
Thank You all for you insight, It is greatly appreciated.
  • Member since
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  • From: Colorado
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Posted by fwright on Saturday, July 19, 2008 9:54 PM

Jerry

Thanks for the response.  The difference between the 2 systems is that with the PE/PA throttle combo I now have 2 throttles instead of just the one that comes with the PA system.  And I can start with just the PE for less than $120.  Obviously, the better path is to start with the PA2 and/or wireless from the get go.  But my finances aren't going to take that.

Now if MRC would just come up with a reasonable path to use Decoder Pro with their system, they'd have me firmly in their camp.

Fred W

 

  • Member since
    November 2002
  • From: Thornton, CO
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Posted by jwils1 on Saturday, July 19, 2008 6:20 PM
One thing I forgot to mention is that when you have to send your unit to MRC for an upgrade (like for increased power) you are then without a system for about 3 or 4 weeks (it was 4 weeks for me).

Jerry

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

  • Member since
    November 2002
  • From: Thornton, CO
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Posted by jwils1 on Saturday, July 19, 2008 5:56 PM
 fwright wrote:
 jwils1 wrote:

 Randall_Roberts wrote:
I understand that the PA has a "switcher" mode, which as described to me is a very useful feature.  Does anyone know if the Express has it as well?  I couldn't find it on the web.

I believe that in order to have "Yard Mode" you have to add a Prodigy Advance handheld throttle to your Express system.

Jwils

I'm picking from a couple of knowledgeable MRC owners that adding a PA or PA2 throttle to a PE system gives you the extra features of the Advance, even though the system is an Express.  Is this true?  If so, the simple addition of a PA/PA2 throttle to an Express system is a great upgrade path for a small layout.

asking before I buy

Fred W 

Fred:

Yes it is a simple upgrade path and a good way to go if your budget dictates that.  However, if you also want to upgrade the power to 2.5 or 3.5 amps, and also add a PA2 throttle, you would probably be up to the cost of a full PA2 system to start with. 

The MRC website has some notes that indicate a possible problem with the low power of the Express if you use any reversing sections in your layout.  If you read the Express Manual on the MRC website it shows what features won't work until you add the PA or PA2 throttle to your Express.  Then there are some additional resources listed at the bottom of the Express description that talks about limitations and upgrade possibilities. 

Just make sure that you understand what you are getting to be sure that it will work well for your situation.

Jerry

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

  • Member since
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  • From: Amish country Tenn.
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Posted by loathar on Saturday, July 19, 2008 1:14 PM
 CNCharlie wrote:

I have a small layout and have a PE. I find it fine for my use and could care less about a computer interface. It has been mentioned that it only has 1.6 amps which is true but MRC will up-grade it to 3.5 for $25. I did and had my unit back in 2 weeks.

CN Charlie

But then your even closer to the PA2 price.My 2 cents [2c]

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  • From: Colorado
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Posted by fwright on Saturday, July 19, 2008 10:32 AM
 jwils1 wrote:

 Randall_Roberts wrote:
I understand that the PA has a "switcher" mode, which as described to me is a very useful feature.  Does anyone know if the Express has it as well?  I couldn't find it on the web.

I believe that in order to have "Yard Mode" you have to add a Prodigy Advance handheld throttle to your Express system.

Jwils

I'm picking from a couple of knowledgeable MRC owners that adding a PA or PA2 throttle to a PE system gives you the extra features of the Advance, even though the system is an Express.  Is this true?  If so, the simple addition of a PA/PA2 throttle to an Express system is a great upgrade path for a small layout.

asking before I buy

Fred W 

  • Member since
    November 2002
  • From: Thornton, CO
  • 763 posts
Posted by jwils1 on Friday, July 18, 2008 5:24 PM

 Randall_Roberts wrote:
I understand that the PA has a "switcher" mode, which as described to me is a very useful feature.  Does anyone know if the Express has it as well?  I couldn't find it on the web.

I believe that in order to have "Yard Mode" you have to add a Prodigy Advance handheld throttle to your Express system.

Jerry

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

  • Member since
    April 2008
  • From: Los Angeles
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Posted by Randall_Roberts on Friday, July 18, 2008 4:33 PM
I understand that the PA has a "switcher" mode, which as described to me is a very useful feature.  Does anyone know if the Express has it as well?  I couldn't find it on the web.
Randall Roberts Visit http://modeltrains.about.com Subscribe to the FREE weekly Model Trains newsletter.
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Posted by 1948PRR on Friday, July 18, 2008 12:23 PM

I've been using the PA (not express) for several years and find it exceptionally well suited to my environment. I have about 20 locos on the table at any given time, almost all with sound, and a 15x19 arround the walls doubletrack main. The system is really easy to use and program, yes even on the main and with BLI locos. Eventually I will want a PC interface, but I've been doing fine without one. I got mine used on ebay for $130, and just bought a "spare" complete PA, again from ebay for $108. I also have a seperately purchased extra controller, and have run with two oprtators several times. This is a must for me, and now I can have three.

I must say, however, that I am most displeased with their decoders. It really makes me worder how come the system can be so good, and the decoders, not even close.

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Posted by CNCharlie on Thursday, July 17, 2008 9:32 PM

I have a small layout and have a PE. I find it fine for my use and could care less about a computer interface. It has been mentioned that it only has 1.6 amps which is true but MRC will up-grade it to 3.5 for $25. I did and had my unit back in 2 weeks.

CN Charlie

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  • From: Thornton, CO
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Posted by jwils1 on Thursday, July 17, 2008 6:52 PM
 davidmbedard wrote:

http://www.modelrec.com/train-controls/dcc-prodigy.asp

Take a look at that link....(and here is a reason I cannot recommend MRC anything...).

In the chart, it clearly says that the Express does NOT support Ops mode programming, but in the Express description, it says " Program on the main or on the program track".  What gives?  What are customers led to believe?

David B 

The MRC website chart obviously contains some errors.  In 3 places in the chart they refer to programming on the main??  I believe the third entry is actually referring to the Wireless sytem which has a dedicated key for programming on the main (which is really handy to use).

Regardless of their website errors it doesn't take away from the fact that their systems really work well.  However, I would definitely not recommend the Express for anyone seriously entering DCC operation.  If one is really strapped for cash you could do it and upgrade later but it would be far, far better to spend a little more up front and get the Advance Squared.

One thing that the Express can't do is read back CVs, but it can program on the main or program track.

David's point about a computer connection is a very important one in my opinion.  MRC has one in the works but no yet one knows just what it will do and it does appear to be expensive.  Again, serious entry into DCC will eventually demand a computer connection.

Jerry

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

  • Member since
    August 2004
  • From: Amish country Tenn.
  • 10,027 posts
Posted by loathar on Thursday, July 17, 2008 5:39 PM
The Prodigy Express is only 1.6 amps. 3-4 locos(especially with sound) will max that out.
Their PA2 unit is 3.5 amps and can be had for around $200 if you shop around.(probably a wiser investment.)
  • Member since
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  • From: Thornton, CO
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Posted by jwils1 on Thursday, July 17, 2008 3:17 PM

MRC DCC systems are excellent, very easy to use and economical.  In the long run I think that you would be much happier with the MRC Prodigy Advance Squared system.  It's a full featured system that offers a lot more than the Express and may be the only system that you would ever need, unless you ever want to upgrade to their wireless system.

It's MRC decoders that some people have had problems with but they have nothing to do with the quality and performance of their DCC systems.

Jerry

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

  • Member since
    June 2007
  • 21 posts
MRC PRODIGY EXPRESS
Posted by NJWATERGUY on Thursday, July 17, 2008 1:26 PM
I am thinking of trying out this DCC business and I've read alot of bashing of the MRC decoders. Are thier systems that bad or is it pretty much the decoders. I'm really thinking about the express for cost, and its probably more than I would ever need with a small layout and about 4 locos. Thank you in advance for your opinions.

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