DCC mobile decoders suggestion

minesweeper Mar 26, 2020

  1. minesweeper

    minesweeper TrainBoard Member

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    Hi, i have to restock my mobile decoders supply, it is a long time since i did not buy decoders and before ordering a significant number, would like to capitalize on your experience.
    First the givens:
    I am not a DCC freak, so do not need sound or super advanced functionalities like two way protocols, neither do i need to set up complicated lighting effects as the layout is in Italy where at the most you have white headlights and red taillights.
    I am looking for a mix of two / four functions decoders, the latter for push and pull locos that need separate red taillights.
    Most of my locos come from the 70s so the decoders need to be quite sturdy in terms of motor current, and also perform well with old 3 pole motors (eg older Rivarossi/LIMA).

    Then the druthers
    Should be good value for money, not dirt cheap or exceedingly expensive (need 25 of them and do not want to spend tto much, but also do not want to replace poor quality items after a short time).
    Should have a version that can fit small spaces, but still hold significant currents, including functions (most of my locos do not have LEDs)

    Up to now i used some ESU (v3 and v4) and DIGITRAX DH123 and i can say i am happy with those, even if i have no issue in changing brand.
    (Looks like US decoders like better high currents though).

    Please share your experiences and point me in the right direction
     
  2. RBrodzinsky

    RBrodzinsky Staff Member TrainBoard Supporter

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    Both the ESU and Zimo non-sound motor decoders are excellent and very compact. Nor are they super-expensive compared to other brands. In today's decoder markets, they have the best motor control out there.
     
  3. minesweeper

    minesweeper TrainBoard Member

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    I had some issues with german decoders (uhlenbrock and esu) when I connect these to my old LIMA and Rivarossi locos.
    The uhlenbrock got fried after a few minutes (Rivarossi loco), and when I compare the ESU and DIGITRAX on the same old LIMA, the latter performs better. Will try to fiddle with cvs to check this out.
     
  4. Keith Ledbetter

    Keith Ledbetter TrainBoard Member

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    Yes go with with ESU or Zimo and you wont regret. My advice would be to wait for the updated ESU lokpilot micro to hit stores in a couple weeks (assuming covid doesn't delay). You could do something potentially cheaper but honestly probably less that $10 each and this will add enormously better motor control and the thing is tiny so will fit in almost every loco.

    http://www.esu.eu/en/products/lokpilot/lokpilot-5-micro/

    Or zimo mx621
    http://www.zimo.at/web2010/products/lokdecoder_EN.htm as my second choice

    I'm confident the ESU will outperform your digitrax but indeed may take some tweaking.
     
  5. DCESharkman

    DCESharkman TrainBoard Member

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    I will cast another vote for Zimo MX621, I have about 100 of these installed and they are very reliable and the motion control is just awesome!
    I will also say that the ESU decoders I have which are all sound at this time are also awesome motion control, and the LokPilot uses the same motion control circuitry as the sound decoders use for motion. You really can not go wrong with either.
     

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