back to the trains

Planning for the next On30 modular group "build session" is underway. We have not decided upon which DCC system we will be using for exhibitions. The decision to go wireless was very easy; the benefits are worth the initial expense. However, each of us has a different ideal throttle configuration.

I am a Digitrax user. I prefer their UT series "knob-and-switch" throttles. Not the most robust construction, but certainly adequate to task. The new UT4 & UT4R have full function control and 4-digit addressing. For programming I always try to use the PR-1 programmer PC interface.

I have used Lenz and find it very nicely built. Both of their pushbutton and knob style throttles are fine and feel comfortable to use. The CVP radio throttle add-on system for Lenz is OK. I found the narrow handheld a little uncomfortable, but I suspect that some trimming of flash on edge the plastic casing will soften it up. Not having used NCE or Atlas, I cannot yet comment on their "feel".

I've also had the chance to use old carrier-based CC systems like Keller OnBoard and PSI Dynatrol. The PSI throttles with full train-brake simulation are a real treat. I don't know how well they've implemented that feature now that they offer a DCC compatible system.

I'll bring the Digitrax setup to the next build session and let the other members have a go with it. The plan is for each of us to buy one radio throttle (for whatever system we decide upon) and split the cost of a receiver panel 4 ways.


Geren said...

Hi, Chris. A couple of comments...

The Atlas throttle feels just like a Lenz knob-throttle (like the LH90). In fact, it's built by Lenz. Atlas has the drawback of only using short addressing, and being limited in the functions it will address. I can also have a maximum of 6 operators - one "base station" and 5 walk-around.

Lenz/Atlas wireless is accomplished via either the CVP hand-held system, of by using a Lenz device to allow a standard cordless telephone to act as a throttle. This generally works well, and can be very cost effective. Of course, it's a pushbutton throttle.

The nice thing is that all of the major DCC systems except EasyDCC can be made to use the same physical throttle bus wiring. BTW, I'd recommend having the ability to use wired-walkaround throttles.

bobcatt said...

Our only worry re: walkaround is conflicting RF systems at a show (had it happen once with nearly disasterous results). It may become necessary to use a wired buss, but we are hoping not to have to go that route if possible. There will be a place to plug in for programming CV's if necessary.

Lenz would be a good choice (despite my Digitrax preference) as the throttle buss is the most "open-source" of all the choices.

Ultimately it will be a majority-rules decision based on whichever throttle is preferred.