NCE POWER CAB - DECODER RECOMMENDATIONS

Zscaleplanet Dec 5, 2020

  1. Zscaleplanet

    Zscaleplanet TrainBoard Supporter

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    So I just received my new NCE 25 POWER CAB DCC controller starter set. Woohoo!!! My decision was based on the input from many of you on this forum and your own use of this particular controller. Thank you for that.

    Now it may be covered elsewhere on this forum, and if so, steer me to the right posting and I will defer to that. But my question is what are the best decoders for MTL F7’s.

    My latest research shows the TCS 1296 Z2 is smaller than others and highly recommended for Z. A bit more expensive though, but what say ye of the forum???

    Does anyone have any better suggestions??? I’ve already done quite a bit of reading on the installation process and I fully understand it is a bit complex. Not worried about the complexity, just want to ensure I’m getting the best decoder the first time.
     
  2. tjdreams

    tjdreams TrainBoard Member

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    For MTL's Z scale F7 The best choice is more about your personal preference and your abilities to modify the chassis to make room for it. Each decoder has its positive and negative points.
    The TCS Z2 is a popular choice do to its size. The ESU Nano, the Digitrax DZ126T, and the Digitrax DZ123, can be made to fit. Zimo and CT Electronic also make small decoders that can be made to fit.

    If you are not concerned about the complexity, and have the skills their are a few other options but they are way more expensive.
     
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  3. RBrodzinsky

    RBrodzinsky N scale Staff Member TrainBoard Supporter

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    The "new" ESU LokPilot 5 Micro has the same footprint of the older Nano, with much better features. Much smaller than the TCS Z2, less expensive and better motor control, too.
     
  4. Zscaleplanet

    Zscaleplanet TrainBoard Supporter

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    Thanks for your responses thus far! Both provide interesting information to consider.

    And well noted on the ESU Lockpilot 5 micro. I just looked it up via my source for most of my supplies (Yankee Dabbler out of New Jersey), and they carry both the TCS and ESU micro decoders. And correct the ESU is $7 dollars cheaper.
     
  5. husafreak

    husafreak TrainBoard Member

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    Is this the one you are referring to? ESU 59110 ~ LokPilot V5 Fx Micro DCC/MM/SX ~ 8 Pin Decoder ~ 6 Functions
     
  6. RBrodzinsky

    RBrodzinsky N scale Staff Member TrainBoard Supporter

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    No, that is a multi protocol function only decoder (same size as the motor ones). If you only plan to run DCC, use the 59820 LokPilot 5 Micro DCC (8 pin) or 59826 LokPilot Micro DCC (6 pin). If you need the multi-protocol (DCC, M4, Motorola or Selectrix), then they are 59810 or 59816.
     
  7. husafreak

    husafreak TrainBoard Member

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    Thanks, too many choices! Knowing the correct part number is very useful. I would only be using DCC with my NCE Power Cab. I imagine 6 pin is enough? For just motor and FWD/REV lights? I have converted AZL with the TCS board and MTL with the Digitrax but those are drop in PCB's so require very little besides programming from the user.
     
  8. Zscaleplanet

    Zscaleplanet TrainBoard Supporter

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    After Rick mentioned the ESU LOKPILOT, I called Mike at YANKEE DABBLER to see if they had them as well, which they did. He noted that the ESU LOKPILOT 5 MICRO DCC and the TCS 1296 Z2 were both great units, although I believe the LOKPILOT being a tad smaller, which is good. However, he noted there was no sound function. Mike rattled off the part number for an ESU LOKPILOT that has sound, but my 56 year old ears missed it and I wrote down the wrong part number. He noted you'd need to locate a "sugar cube" speaker in a B unit, or boxcar behind the loco.

    TJDREAMS, in the video you sent (excellent by the way), what decoder are you using in that B unit, and how difficult was it to get the speaker along with the decoder installed???

    I appreciate everyone's responses by the way.
     
  9. RBrodzinsky

    RBrodzinsky N scale Staff Member TrainBoard Supporter

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    LokPilots are motor only. The ESU LokSound line are the sound decoders. I do not know how much room might be available in your F unit, but the LokSound 5 Micro decoders are a tight fit in most N scale locos, so for Z.....

    Also, please note TrainBoard’s policy about discussing retailers. While we allow a bit of leeway due to the unique aspects of Z, decoders are also available from our TrainBoard advertisers. https://www.trainboard.com/highball...ead-our-policy-on-discussing-retailers.53290/
     
  10. husafreak

    husafreak TrainBoard Member

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    When you say LokPilots are "motor only" does that exclude lights? Sorry to ask so many questions but I'm just trying to get to the end of this understanding...
     
  11. Zscaleplanet

    Zscaleplanet TrainBoard Supporter

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    Well noted and understood on the retailers. Thanks for the reminder.

    Got it on the LokPilot -vs- LokSound. Indeed there is very little room in any MTL F-body and modifications are expected. Doubtful you could get the both under the shell. But I believe it is possible to run the Loksound in a dummy B unit behind an A unit with a decoder, but you just have to run a line between the two.

    Now on another note, TJDREAMS has to be running both in that B-unit in the attached video, which make sense as there would be more room under a B-unit.
     
  12. RBrodzinsky

    RBrodzinsky N scale Staff Member TrainBoard Supporter

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    There are 4 powered and 2 logic functions, in addition to motor control
     
  13. RBrodzinsky

    RBrodzinsky N scale Staff Member TrainBoard Supporter

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    the LokSound provides motor control, you don’t need both. But one could, conceptually, put a LokSound and speaker in a dummy B unit, and run motor and light wires from the B to A unit. As long as you are ok with having the two units tethered all the time.
     
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  14. Zscaleplanet

    Zscaleplanet TrainBoard Supporter

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    Although the LokSound is a bit bigger correct? And one must find a home for the speaker, which was described as a sugar cube speaker and I assume is a pretty small one at that.

    I can see the feasibility of running a LokPilot in the powered A unit and the Loksound in a powered B unit, both of which would be running together under one DCC controller.

    DANG, there is alot to know with DCC, but the payoff appears to be well worth the time, effort and $$$ spent.
     
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  15. SJ Z-man

    SJ Z-man TrainBoard Member

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    Yes, you can multiple locos independently or 'Consist'ed. Just a note tho, the B unit really must be motorized (not a dummy) as they do NOT roll at all and waste a lot of the A unit's power.
    The LokPilot, TCS 1296 (a.k.a "Z2) and . . . Digitrax DZ126T will all fit, after cutting out some space. The SugarCube speaker will fit in the B.
     
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  16. tjdreams

    tjdreams TrainBoard Member

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    I used a LokSound Micro V5 in that particular B unit. It is very difficult to fit a sound decoder and speaker in the powered B unit. Both the chassis and the inside of the shell need to be milled down to make room. I made a custom speaker enclosure and had to remove the Next8 connector and solder wires directly onto the decoder itself to get everything to fit.

    For those wanting pictures and more details on how I did it
    please be patient.

    I'm slowly working on my 3rd attempt at writing a how-too article for installing sound in Z scale, Which i plan to send to Rob to put in Z-track magazine. My first 2 attempts were lost to bad luck. Try one died when the hard drive on my desktop crashed, Then my 2nd try came to a abrupt end A few months ago when my work Laptop up and ran off with the F***ing thief who broke into the jobsite trailer. Bad luck yea but it could be worse, At least I haven't cough this Covid woo woo woo and I'm still working. Actually work has been pretty good lately. I've been working 55-60 hours a week since June which is why I haven't gotten very far on the write-up. Hopefully with this vaccine coming out things will go back to normal and I'll have time to finish the write-up.
     
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  17. Zscaleplanet

    Zscaleplanet TrainBoard Supporter

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    Ahhh, a detailed article would be fantastic! Granted, takes time to put all of that together, but the benefit to the entire Z-community is certainly a huge plus.

    Sorry to hear about your computer being stolen. Been a victim before myself, so I understand the frustration.

    I ordered two LokPilot Micro V5's a few hours ago. I plan to install them in F7 A units first and get to understand the process, milling, wiring, etc. Once I get two loco's under my belt, then I will venture into the powered B's with LokSound Micro's and speakers as well.
     
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  18. husafreak

    husafreak TrainBoard Member

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    Thanks for your help. I ordered a few of the 59820 to try. Much smaller than the TCS or DZ units with a price roughly between the two. And readily available.
     
  19. rray

    rray Staff Member

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    I have lots and lots of decoders. To me, the absolute BEST is the Lenz Gold Mini, especially when combined with a Power1 supercap module. Together they can run a Marklin 4-6-2 Pacific or 2-8-2 Mikado for 20 seconds without power, even if you remove one of the DCC track feeders, AND STILL STOP AND CHANGE DIRECTIONS thus almost defying the laws of physics. They can actually receive and respond to commands from only 1 rail! I have many witnesses!

    That said, my favorite Go To decoder is the Digitrax DZ126T because it fits everything, is easy to program, is very economical, and they just plain work.
     
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  20. Zscaleplanet

    Zscaleplanet TrainBoard Supporter

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    What about size of any specific decoder??? I ordered the Lockpilot Micro because it appears to be the smallest of the decoders and thus would seem to be the easiest to fit under a shell. Granted I’m well prepared to do the necessary machining and trimming to get any specific decoder in. And based on pics, the DZ126T looks pretty small as well, and priced right.

    I guess one can have a variety of different Dakota is running at the same time correct??? It all comes down to programming in your power cab???

    I’m still reading and trying to digest as much DCC information as I can.

    The Lockpilots I ordered are delayed. Should have them next week.
     

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