Author Topic: Anyone compare Lenz Silver+ Mini to CT Elek DCX76zD?  (Read 1196 times)

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tony22

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Anyone compare Lenz Silver+ Mini to CT Elek DCX76zD?
« on: March 02, 2014, 08:46:09 AM »
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These appear to be the among the two smallest DCC decoders out there. I've used the Silver Mini (non + version) in the past with very good results, but the CT looks like it might be an easier fit in some of the smallest N Scale motive power. Anyone know how it performs?

peteski

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Re: Anyone compare Lenz Silver+ Mini to CT Elek DCX76zD?
« Reply #1 on: March 02, 2014, 01:38:55 PM »
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I have Lenz Silver-mini but I have never installed it.  I have used different (older) models of Lenz decoders and they had an annoying feature where they had to "reboot" every time there was a power interruption (Like dirty track). The "reboot" takes about half a second, resulting in the loco visibly stopping, waiting and restarting.

The smallest decoders I've used are Digitrax DZ125 and TCS Z2. I never heard of the decoder you mentioned, but its size (and price) is very impressive!  :)

Size: 0.27 x 0.24 x 0.07 Inch (6.9 x 6.1 x 1.7 mm )
http://store.sbs4dcc.com/ctelektronikdcx76zd/fsub-microdccdecodernem6516-pinwiredplug.aspx

I suspect that the price prevents most people from trying it, but I'm also curious to see if anybody has any experience with it.

EDIT corrected dimensions.
« Last Edit: March 02, 2014, 04:58:00 PM by peteski »
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jagged ben

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Re: Anyone compare Lenz Silver+ Mini to CT Elek DCX76zD?
« Reply #2 on: March 02, 2014, 02:11:43 PM »
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...

Size: 0.27 x 0.24 x 0.7 Inch (6.9 x 6.1 x 1.7 mm )
...

Make that 0.27 x 0.24 x 0.07 Inch

I had to check to see what the fuss was about.

trainforfun

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Re: Anyone compare Lenz Silver+ Mini to CT Elek DCX76zD?
« Reply #3 on: March 02, 2014, 04:22:10 PM »
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I have installed the Lenz Mini Silver or gold (???) in the top portion of the cab of an LL switcher . Works great . Don't know about the other one .
Thanks ,
Louis



nstars

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Re: Anyone compare Lenz Silver+ Mini to CT Elek DCX76zD?
« Reply #4 on: March 02, 2014, 04:57:23 PM »
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We use a lot of CT elektronik decoders and we like them. Motor control is very good and normally they have some surplus power, which the Lenz lacks. A characteristic of the CT Elektronik decoders is, that there is not much increase in speed between in the last quarter of the range and the topspeed tends to be considerable lower compared to other decoders.

However, the DCX 76 is not our favorite. We have used 2 of those and (very uncharacteristic for CT Elektronik) one of them blew up very fast. The second one shuts down. It seems that the DCX 76 does not have the power surplus of the 75 or 74. The max. current is indeed the max current. Currents should not go over this value. PS the same is true for the Lenz mini.

For this reason we have stuck with the DCX75, which is only a little bit larger, but much safer.

Marc

tony22

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Re: Anyone compare Lenz Silver+ Mini to CT Elek DCX76zD?
« Reply #5 on: March 02, 2014, 07:33:33 PM »
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Thanks for the info everyone. I checked my remaining stock and it turns out I have a few of the current vintage Silver Mini+ decoders left. I've used plenty of TCS decoders in the past but not the Z2 yet. It's a bit longer but a bit narrower than the Lenz. Might work better in some installations. The CT 74zD is a 1A decoder and is mighty small. Back in the days when the Atlas N Scale Shay first came out people we having some luck stuffing Lenz Silver Minis in there but it was still a bit of work. Poking around trying to find something small and reliable that will be an easier fit.

peteski

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Re: Anyone compare Lenz Silver+ Mini to CT Elek DCX76zD?
« Reply #6 on: March 02, 2014, 09:31:21 PM »
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Tony,
I had no problem fitting Digitrax DZ125 in Atlas shay.  :D



Full thread: http://forum.atlasrr.com/forum/topic.asp?TOPIC_ID=54040
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tony22

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Re: Anyone compare Lenz Silver+ Mini to CT Elek DCX76zD?
« Reply #7 on: March 02, 2014, 09:49:27 PM »
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Peteski, thanks for reminding me about this! I did read this back when you did it. A nice clean install, but I wouldn't know how to build those small SM LED PCBs. I don't suppose you'd have a spare set lying around?

peteski

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Re: Anyone compare Lenz Silver+ Mini to CT Elek DCX76zD?
« Reply #8 on: March 02, 2014, 11:13:19 PM »
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Peteski, thanks for reminding me about this! I did read this back when you did it. A nice clean install, but I wouldn't know how to build those small SM LED PCBs. I don't suppose you'd have a spare set lying around?

The LEDs themselves are standard surface-mount 0603 size LEDs. The resistors are also standard surface-mount resistors. I made the small circuit boards to hold the components and to make it easier to install them and to solder wires to them.  But I don't have any spares - those were one-offs made just for that install.

However, it is not difficult to make these boards. I just take a piece of 0.015" copper-clad PC-board blank, cut the pieces to size, then clean them with copper cleaner (plain household copper cleaner powder).  I then use a technical pen filled with a slightly thinned Testors enamel (from the small square bottles), and I simply draw the pads and traces on the copper.  Once the paint dries, I immerse the boards in ferric chloride etchant (Radio Shack carries it).  The enchant dissolves copper in the unpainted areas.  Once etched, I clean off the paint and then the boards are ready to be soldered.
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tony22

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Re: Anyone compare Lenz Silver+ Mini to CT Elek DCX76zD?
« Reply #9 on: March 03, 2014, 12:43:10 PM »
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The LEDs themselves are standard surface-mount 0603 size LEDs.

Thanks again. Happen to recall which one you used? There are a ton out there - different voltages, color temperatures.

peteski

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Re: Anyone compare Lenz Silver+ Mini to CT Elek DCX76zD?
« Reply #10 on: March 03, 2014, 10:59:55 PM »
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Thanks again. Happen to recall which one you used? There are a ton out there - different voltages, color temperatures.

Tony, I don't recall the specific source for those LEDs (I literally have few dozen different types white LEDs in my stash).  These were most likely purchased on eBay (from China).  I'm not sure how familiar you are with LEDs in general, but it is the current you have to control (not voltage).  The forward voltage of pretty much every low-power SMD LED falls between 2.8-3.2V.  The operating current (which controls the brightness) will be roughly between 1-10mA. This depends on how bright the LED needs to be. If the LED is placed directly inside the headlight housing, it doesn't need to be as bright as the LED which will illuminate the headlight from inside the loco shell through a long light pipe.

As far as the color temperature goes, you don't have much choice when buying the low-end cheap LEDs.  They usually have pretty high color temp. (like 6000-9000K). I paint a coat of Tamiya clear amber onto the LED housing to filter out some of the bluish tint.  That gives the LED more of an incandescent light color (around 2700K).  But none of this is exact science - more like experimentation. That is what I did for the Shay LEDs.
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