Thoughts on MRC Control Master 20..

Discussion in 'FAQs' started by S 3/6, May 2, 2005.

  1. S 3/6

    S 3/6 Member

    A little background for my question first..

    I am shortly taking delivery of 4 HO locomotives from Micro-Metakit in Landshut, Germany, they are hand made very detailed brass locs that are actually made in Germany and use Faulhaber fine Swiss electric motors..

    As you can imagine, these are very sensitive and expensive items, but at the same time, I want to run them (even if only on a test stand, like those made by SMT) once in a while to keep them in good running order..

    Since I mostly use Marklin digital and world of AC, I'm not that familiar with the DC and DCC world... can anyone tell me if the MRC Control Master 20 is a good (quality electrical signal) DC transformer/controler? I want only the best for these babies.. :cool:

    Thanks for the advice in advance..

  2. ezdays

    ezdays Out AZ way


    Good to see a neighbor here at the Gauge. I'm up in Surprise, north of Bell Rd.:wave::wave:

    Anyway, I do not have an MRC Control Master 20, but I do have three of their Tech 4 packs. From what I see, the CM-20 is a 100 watt unit and the specs say "flat line DC". From this I gather that it is pure DC rather than what they use on the Tech 4's, which is pulsed DC. I'm sure you know that DC is a constant voltage level, like what you get from a battery, but the Tech 4 has only one level out, that being 18 volts. In order to vary that, the Tech 4 produces a series of short square wave pulses in order to obtain an average DC. The closer these pulses are, the higher the DC. I'm assuming that MRC is not using that on the CM-20, rather, it should be a well regulated, variable DC output.

    I can only vouch that as far as I can see, MRC makes a quality product, and this one should be no different. Maybe someone that has one can provide more insight, but in my opinion, if I had a choice, I'd opt for the true (flat line?) DC output rather than pulsed.

    I hope someone here can help you beyond this.:D
  3. S 3/6

    S 3/6 Member

    Don, great info... exactly what I was looking for.. and yes the pulsed DC may play havoc on these items, especially since they have "prototypical" drive thru the side-rods and such and the possible jerking could cause problems with that kind of drive. There will be no digital decoder on these locs, so it makes sense to get a straight forward DC box.

    BTW.. are you a member of the Az Model RailRoading Society? Down at Pinnacle Peak and 55th Ave? I may join for their HO DC layout, but I really wanted to use their 1 Gauge layout until I found it it was going to be unpowered and I'm not going to mess around with $3000 Marklin locs to get them to run on battery!
  4. ezdays

    ezdays Out AZ way


    There are good points to the pulsed output, but for something that sensitive or expensive, I wouldn't use it, just too risky. You don't get a "jerky motion", it does appear smooth when starting, stopping or running trains, but there's always that peak voltage there. I wanted to check a lightbulb out and set my output to 3 volts, forgetting it really had a peak voltage of 18 and the average was 3. Yeah, the bulb was good, but only for a few milliseconds. I think the one you have in mind is the better choice.

    And no, I am not a member. I'm not much into joining clubs since I'd rather work on my layout and on my schedule,, but when I first got into the hobby, I made contact by email, but we were living in Wickenburg at the time and didn't feel like making the long drive every Saturday morning. Besides, Saturdays are a busy time. I was up there at the last swap meet and show and see where they have the trackwork for both HO and N layouts pretty much done, but that's all.

    What area do you live in the Phoenix area?
  5. S 3/6

    S 3/6 Member

    I'm pretty close to you, at Jomax and 67th Ave... Far North Phoenix.

    I want to make the next swap meet I think too, sounds like a good networking and buying/selling opportunity. I wonder when their next one is?
  6. Matthyro

    Matthyro Will always be re-membered

    I have an MRC control master 20 and with its walk around throttle it was the best controller I ever had for DC. I now use it as a power supply for my Digitrax DCC system so it is still serving me well.
  7. S 3/6

    S 3/6 Member

    Thanks Robin, glad to hear it. It's been out for while then? So this probably means any faults or bugs in it have been worked out! Great!
  8. ezdays

    ezdays Out AZ way

    Well, I've talked to several people afterwards that were there and we didn't it was a great swap meet. It appears as if the members highly treasure what they had to sell. As an example I was going to buy some Woodland Scenic N scale figures, until she told me they were $1 each, more than 25% over the list price.:curse: There were a few vendors there that seem to be at all the shows and most of them really don't seem to want to part with what they have easily. The bottom line is there were few bargins there. :cry:The railroading magazines usually list "coming events" about a month or so before the shows.

    There is another swap meet at the Baptist Church on Central and Bethany Home Rd. on May 21st. That one is usually bigger and happens around four times a year, but for me, there's usually very little N scale stuff there either. I'll go anyway, just to look around.
  9. S 3/6

    S 3/6 Member

    Bethany and Central isn't far from when a good friend of mine Sam Taylor lives (his house is a virtual museum of model RR).. I think I'll make this meet.. Email me when you head out and we'll plan to hook up.

    Also, if you have any specific address info for the church, email me or post it, or is it just on the corner of Bethany and Central? Cause I know of a big Baptist church at Glendale and Central..
  10. ezdays

    ezdays Out AZ way

    That's the place, big, big church on really prime proprety. I'll email you later today since we should be able to get together while we're there.
  11. riverotter

    riverotter Midwest Alliance Rail Sys

    "I now use it as a power supply for my Digitrax DCC system so it is still serving me well."

    Does this mean that this system can be used without the tethered controller (i.e., can I hook up a different controller to it directly through the DC output terminals)?

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