Author Topic: Atlas U23B with Lenz decder?  (Read 841 times)

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daniel_leavitt2000

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Atlas U23B with Lenz decder?
« on: July 15, 2018, 01:04:16 PM »
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I thought Atlas used only NCE decoders, but I picked up a Conrail unit off eBay with a factory Lenz decoder. There is no mention of thi on the Atlas website. When were these produced? Are they significantly better/worse than the NCE decoders?

FWIW, I am using mostly NCE decoders on my engines. Sound equipped engines are ESU or BLI and I use Digitrax for a few specialized applications (hard wired and SW1200/1500). I have a few MRC sound decoders as well, mostly to experiment on.

I been happy with NCE decoders for the most part. I find their speed curves have a bit of a learning curve to them - adjusting the kick start and top without adjusting the mid point will cause a multitude of issues. Once I learned that, things work well.

I find that the Digitrax decoders are... eh... The instructions are more dense than NCE decoders and less intuitive overall.

And of course the MRC decoders are awful. Even with better speakers they just don't sound great (some more than others). And they lack some shockingly basic features (one F45 decoder won't do advanced consisting! Yellow LEDs! No kick start or mid range adjustments).
"Will you shut up, man?"

C855B

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Re: Atlas U23B with Lenz decder?
« Reply #1 on: July 15, 2018, 01:27:42 PM »
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IIRC (and no doubt somebody [ @peteski , I'm talking about you] will correct me), Atlas' first batches of DCC-included models had Lenz decoders. IMO they are awful, at least relative to more recent designs.

I have a first-run C630 that had the Lenz decoder, and, yes, I said "had". I spent probably 4-5 hours banging my head trying to speed match this thing, not-so-blissfully unaware that the early technology didn't have useful stuff like command acknowledgement and speed tables. I finally threw my hands up, reached into my stash of TCS decoders and found an AMD4 previously set aside for a non-equipped C630 in the project queue. Problem solved.

Not intending here to get into yet another decoder debate, I'm exclusively TCS for drop-ins. Their recent price increases have been a tough pill to swallow - sometimes even more than the cost of the loco from a train show or eBay - but I'm very happy from an operational standpoint. Since I like to run large (4-6) mixed consists, speed matching is the order of the day, and I'm even able to tame Kato and Athearn power enough to be friendly with Atlas and others.

Summary - replace that Lenz with something current and save yourself a bunch of frustration. The tech is too old to mix with current stuff.
...mike

http://www.gibboncozadandwestern.com

Wake me when it's over.

reinhardtjh

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Re: Atlas U23B with Lenz decder?
« Reply #2 on: July 15, 2018, 01:28:41 PM »
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I was posting, but basically what Mike said.  Lenz were the original Atlas factory decoders.  NCE came at some time later.

I would use TCS if I wasn't fixed on ESU LokSound and LokPilot compatible (Full Throttle) decoders.  I won't have near the number of units Mike has/will have so the extra cost of the ESU LokPilots are acceptable.  Although the TCS drop ins are close to the price of an ESU V4 LokPilot.  But except for the new 54650 there are no drop ins available.
« Last Edit: July 15, 2018, 01:32:04 PM by reinhardtjh »
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peteski

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Re: Atlas U23B with Lenz decder?
« Reply #3 on: July 15, 2018, 01:41:33 PM »
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Can't really add much more to what's been said.  Atlas Lenz decoders are primitive early-DCC devices, with very few features. Like Mike said, they are really, really basic. Nowadays we expect much more, even from the low-priced decoders.  Worth an upgrade IMO.
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daniel_leavitt2000

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Re: Atlas U23B with Lenz decder?
« Reply #4 on: July 15, 2018, 03:50:50 PM »
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Thanks guys. I'll add it to the list of 180-something engines I still need to convert.  :facepalm:
"Will you shut up, man?"

jagged ben

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Re: Atlas U23B with Lenz decder?
« Reply #5 on: July 15, 2018, 06:07:26 PM »
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Atlas used Lenz for quite a while.  I'm gonna say from 1999 (SD50s, first loco designed with DCC frame and offered with decoder), to 2008 (they made the switch for the 8-40CWs with ditch lights.)   I ended up with a couple of the Lenz decoders second hand.  One died and another is still on the replacement list.

djconway

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Re: Atlas U23B with Lenz decder?
« Reply #6 on: July 15, 2018, 07:25:43 PM »
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Atlas' first decoder equipped loco a GP38 if my memory is working correctly came with a striped down Digitrax decoder.

Steveruger45

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Re: Atlas U23B with Lenz decder?
« Reply #7 on: July 15, 2018, 09:18:45 PM »
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Thanks guys. I'll add it to the list of 180-something engines I still need to convert.  :facepalm:

I changed all my Atlas locos with LENZ decoders too.  Same reasons as already mentioned. Now all lokpilot or loksound.
Steve
Atascocita, Texas