Author Topic: About to take Plunge...  (Read 2068 times)

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ljudice

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About to take Plunge...
« on: April 15, 2014, 08:34:56 AM »
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I am on the verge of ordering a DCC system - finally....   I am trying to chose between the NCE Powercab 5R Wireless  and the Lenz 90 system, which I would pick up with the Ethernet interface to use Iphones, etc... as cabs.

I was about to pull the trigger on the Lenz until I noticed that NCE seems to be gaining a lot of momentum.  I like the relative security of Lenz.....   How is warranty, service and reliability on the NCE products?

I am definitely interested in connecting the system to a PC to make it easier to program things, etc...   I assume NCE can do this with their USB interface?

Thanks,
lou

davefoxx

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Re: About to take Plunge...
« Reply #1 on: April 15, 2014, 08:38:30 AM »
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Welcome, old friend, we've been waiting for you.

Signed,
The DCC Borg

General Counsel to the Laurel Valley Ry.
Member: ACL/SAL Historical Society
A Proud HOer

conrail98

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Re: About to take Plunge...
« Reply #2 on: April 15, 2014, 08:45:52 AM »
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Lou, I'm assuming you are going to be doing this through JMRI? If so, here's their link on setup for NCE:

http://jmri.sourceforge.net/help/en/html/hardware/nce/NCE.shtml

It talks to the difference NCE products. As for the rest of your questions, I've only ever used NCE twice (most of our operating group is Digitrax) and one of them I actually used mostly the WiiThrottle and didn't use any of the radio throttles that were provided so it can be done and it operated flawlessly,

Phil
- Phil

Philip H

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Re: About to take Plunge...
« Reply #3 on: April 15, 2014, 08:48:28 AM »
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I've got an NCE powercab - sans radio option - and I won't ever buy anything else.  OF all the DCC systems I've used its the most intuitive for me (watch me try to capture a train on Seuess' Digitrax), the layout of the controller meets all my ergo preferences, and I've yet to have an issue with either firmware or software for warranty or other purposes.  NCE has a wealth of accessories, and they seem to have a good USB adaptor for computer interface (Still on my to do list).
Philip H.
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Baton Rouge Southern RR - Mount Rainier Division.

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ljudice

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Re: About to take Plunge...
« Reply #4 on: April 15, 2014, 10:31:30 AM »
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I did some checking on the JMRI site and came to one issue...  NCE does not seem to fully support the JMRI apps over their USB interface, specifically loco programming...

This is a tough decision, since the NCE cab looks really nice and can be bought as a wireless version.  Lenz seems to support more external software and apps (not surprising
since this is a big deal in Europe).  And the Lenz warranty which is 10 years - including (according to their website) - things destroyed by your own stupidity is appealing.


VonRyan

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Re: About to take Plunge...
« Reply #5 on: April 15, 2014, 02:46:59 PM »
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The NCE is certainly a Borg type system as it's own wireless signal drowns out Digitrax simplex radio signal, but not duplex.
The Lenz system appears to have good execution and a degree of simplicity to it.

My big thing is throttles. Go to a retail store and ask to hold some of the throttles. I like being able to at least change speed one-handed.
Also check weight. I personally prefer a little bit of substance in a throttle rather than a featherweight.

When it comes down to it, both systems are going to do the same thing, so it's a matter of how they do it, and which best fits the way you want it to be done.
Cody W Fisher - Modeler of the PRR, PRSL, GWR, SZD, and DRG

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peteski

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Re: About to take Plunge...
« Reply #6 on: April 15, 2014, 03:15:46 PM »
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My sentiment reflects Philips, 100%!

NCE all the way!  I'm glad that Digitrax is not even being considered.   :D We run friend's layout on NCE - wireless. He has a Linux box running JMRI.  He controls the turnouts from a virtual dispatching panel on the computer screen.  Macros are set up for all the yard turnouts, making it easy to line up routes. We also have many operators running trains through their smart phone throttles.

IIRC, he uses a serial cable between DCC control station and the computer, and he is able to program his locos through JMRI.  If USB is a problem, maybe using a USB/Serial dongle would give you best of both worlds?

While I love the large NSC throttles (they give you a simple and intuitive full control of  most of the DCC functions), I am not thrilled about the their thumbwheel throttle (or using UP/DN buttins to adjust speed).  They are fine for mainline trains, but for switching I prefer the smaller throttles with a knob.  They do not have full set of features, but the knob gives a better control.
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ljudice

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Re: About to take Plunge...
« Reply #7 on: April 15, 2014, 03:34:26 PM »
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On doing some more research it sounds as if NCE's PowerPro systems fully support JMRI through the RS232 interface...   

So it would appear that with the NCE 5 Wireless system,  I could have a full function wireless controller,  connected to a PC running the full JMRI software suite and be able
to use the WiThrottle's as additional throttles if needed. 

With Lenz which is slightly more expensive, I would get a wired controller,  the PC stuff and also the ability to add wireless devices as throttles.

I must say though, that I am concerned about fumbling around with a touchscreen to control trains.... 

ljudice

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Re: About to take Plunge...
« Reply #8 on: April 15, 2014, 03:37:41 PM »
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I'm starting to lean towards NCE....

BLW seems to have the best price on them...

Speak now or forever hold your peace!

tappertrainman

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Re: About to take Plunge...
« Reply #9 on: April 15, 2014, 03:58:05 PM »
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I love my NCE PowerCab, for what it's worth.  All the buttons just feel right in both touch and placement.

James
Santa Fe all the way!

peteski

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Re: About to take Plunge...
« Reply #10 on: April 15, 2014, 05:51:26 PM »
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I must say though, that I am concerned about fumbling around with a touchscreen to control trains....

Give me an old-fashioned control knob any day.  And not one of those endlessly spinning rotary encoders either.  But the option is there for using smart phone throttles. I tried and while I think it is a very cool gadget, I can't get serious about using one.
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John

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Re: About to take Plunge...
« Reply #11 on: April 15, 2014, 06:08:23 PM »
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I'm starting to lean towards NCE....

BLW seems to have the best price on them...

Speak now or forever hold your peace!

Litchfieldstation.com is where I buy all my DCC ..  fast ship, no frigging tax

ljudice

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Re: About to take Plunge...
« Reply #12 on: April 15, 2014, 11:32:38 PM »
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What is to stop you from buying just the NCE PowerPro unit and power supply, hooking it up to a PC, running JMRI and WiThrottle and not buying their wireless or wired cabs at all?

Does the cab serve any function that is required?

peteski

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Re: About to take Plunge...
« Reply #13 on: April 16, 2014, 12:00:27 AM »
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What is to stop you from buying just the NCE PowerPro unit and power supply, hooking it up to a PC, running JMRI and WiThrottle and not buying their wireless or wired cabs at all?


Whatever happened with "I must say though, that I am concerned about fumbling around with a touchscreen to control trains....  "   :trollface:

I can't answer that question (I only own a PowerCab).  I suspect that you don't need any throttles if you have it controlled by JMRI. But there might be some initialization (or initial setup) of the command station that might require a cab.
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crrcoal

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Re: About to take Plunge...
« Reply #14 on: April 16, 2014, 07:19:53 AM »
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I have EasyDCC which I used with my HO layout. Love it! Haven't used it yet for my N layout cause ya need track to hook it too! :facepalm:

My good friend Tom Johnson (INRAIL for those who may know him) just converted to DCC and is using NCE. He absolutely loves the system. He also had EasyDCC early on and really liked it but switched over for this reason; everyone in his area uses NCE so the support network is there. Here in NJ seems most folks are using Digitrax so there is a support netowrk in place for that. Me? Yeah I went with EasyDCC because I got a sweet deal on the system. As of now I have zero interest in using anything else.

Bottomline Lou, look at what others in your area are using. The area support network should be the main difference between systems.