Upgrade just throttle? Or upgrade whole system for not-that-much-more?

Discussion in 'DCC & Electronics' started by kchronister, Jan 13, 2006.

  1. kchronister

    kchronister Member

    Okay, I truly can't decide on this...

    I have a Lenz system, currently. The system works just fine for me. I have stationary decoders and have used it to control turnouts. I have the computer interface and have used this and JMRI to run it from the computer. No significant complaints, it has served me well... except:

    1) I have never really loved the throttle options. Neither of them is precisely what I want . I won't go into detail other than to say my ideal throttle will have lots of direct access to functions, rotary control for loco speed rather than pushbutton, and ability to control two locos simultaneously (i.e. without "switching" between them). it will also be wireless, which leads us to:

    2) With a notably larger layout under construction, I want to go wireless on throttles. On that front with the Lenz system, I can basically go with Lenz and use a cordless phone as the wireless throttle (blech) or get a nice CVP wireless throttle.

    So here's the big dilemma... By the time I get the CVP setup, I'll cost me $325. $219 for the throttle itself, $99 for the box to interface it with Lenz)... And I still won't have one of the throttle features I'd like most -- two controls in one throttle.

    You probably see where this is leading... Who offers a throttle with lots of direct button access, rotary control of locos, 2 separate controls, available in a wireless version? Yep, the usual suspect: Digitrax. I'm looking at the super chief w/dt400 radio throttle at $500 and saying "it's only $180 more, is as good or better than the Lenz in all the details (throttles supported, etc.) and has exactly what I want in terms of the throttle."

    So does anyone have any thoughts/advice? Are there wireless throttle options here I'm not seeing, letting me stick with Lenz? Is it silly to spend an extra $175 just to have two-train contol in one throttle? Is the CVP wireless markedly better than DT wireless? Any info to help me make this decision would be welcome.
  2. MasonJar

    MasonJar It's not rocket surgery

    Having used both Digitrax (in almost all its forms) and occasionally a Lenz system, I can say that I do like the rotary knobs provided by Digitrax. I am not so fond of the multiple key strokes required to throw turnouts, but not all throttles require this (or even support it for that matter).

    Overall I like the Digitrax throttles, and because many of my MR friends and the local club uses Digitrax, that is what I would choose.

    By the time you get your new system, and sell the Lenz system, you may come out even or possibly ahead.

    Hope that helps.

  3. kchronister

    kchronister Member

    Thanks, Andrew. Good viewpoint, and I hadn't considered what I could get for the Lenz system. Anywhere you'd choose to sell it beyond the obvious (meaning Ebay)...???

    The Lenz throttles also require too many keystrokes to throw a turnout, so that's a wash.
  4. MasonJar

    MasonJar It's not rocket surgery

    Two options come to mind:

    Local MR club(s) - do they have a notice board, or a classified section in their newletter?

    Local Hobby Shop - a notice board? Would they take it in trade or on consignment?

    Third option I would consider is listing it here at The Gauge, before going to eBay.

  5. Woodie

    Woodie Active Member

    I don't think there are any controllers that have TWO rotary control knobs on them for DCC. I haven't seen any on my investigations, anyway. From what I've looked at, the rotary knob DCC controllers are usually at the "cheaper" end of the controllers available, and to switch loco its "select loco - enter loco number - enter" to switch locos.

    My main NCE radio controller (wich isn't rotary knob), but push button for 10 speed step (up/down) also push button for single speed step (up down) and a thumbwheel as well.

    It also has a "recall" button, which can be set from 2 - 6 recalls". If you set it to "2" recalls, it will swap between the two locos you have initally selected, (and retain the speed/direction settings of that loco) without rekeying the loco number each time. The selected loco number is displayed on the LCD display on the controller.

    A "recall" button on the cheaper rotary knob DCC controllers would be nice, but I haven't seen one around.

    I'm not aware of any "dual control" DCC controllers at all.
  6. MasonJar

    MasonJar It's not rocket surgery

    The Digitrax "DT-" throttles each have two small rotary knobs (no "zero" position). The "UT-" throttles have one large dial with a "zero" position, much like the old powerpacks or DC walkarounds.

  7. Gary Pfeil

    Gary Pfeil Active Member

    For what its worth, I use Digitrax, and find myself constantly using the two throttle controls. Mostly I am running by myself, and often I will use two throttles to control 4 trains. My layout supports this without too much likelyhood of collision! I don't "operate" prototypically when by myself, so often need to move trains out of staging which someone else would do if they were there. The extra control comes in handy quite often, I would be lost without it. Heck, I sometimes dispatch one train while moving and select another to move it out of the way, then go back to the first, all the while controlling the train on the other controller on the same throttle. Cool stuff. Someone wrote recently something to the effect "don't run more than one train with one brain" Well, you can't really prototypically, but if your trackplan allows it, you can have a lot of fun. I only have problems when non model railroader types visit, and my wife encourages me to "run the trains" for them. A drink or two and trying to converse while running multiple trains usually doesn't work!
  8. Woodie

    Woodie Active Member

    Well it does too. :thumb:

    from http://www.digitrax.com/prd_dt300_ir.php

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