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 Posted: Sun Feb 17th, 2019 10:27 am
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Petermac
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Just thinking ahead - as per the norm with me............... :oops:

Thus far, I have programmed my decoders (where necessary)  using pen and paper to record the various CV settings and alterations.
  
I have just been watching a video presentation on Trainmasters TV where the guy did it all on the computer using Decoder Pro.

I thought it looked interesting (and, more to the point) easy whilst also creating a record of each loco and it's settings.

My system is Lenz and I note that the interface doesn't come cheap - around £150 !!!

Decoder Pro, from what I can glean, is an interface in itself as well as a programmer.  Am I right in thinking this ?

Which programmers do those of you who use them, recommend and why compared with others ?




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 Posted: Sun Feb 17th, 2019 10:33 am
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Briperran
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You can use decoder Pro with your Lenz system Peter it is a very good free open source program part of the JMRI suite free to download.
All you need is to buy the Lenz computer interface i used to have one to use when i had the Lenz system if you want i will look and tell you which one it is if someone does not say in the meantime.

Brian



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 Posted: Sun Feb 17th, 2019 10:44 am
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Petermac
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Thanks Brian.

I thought Decoder Pro was a free download - at least, I hoped so !!

It's the cost of the Lenz interface that rather stunned me.  Around £140 it seems - just to connect my LS100 command unit to my computer ........................................... :shock: :shock: :shock:

It seems odd that the bit that does all the work is a freebie download but the wire to connect it up costs more than the price of a half decent bottle of Margaux..




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 Posted: Sun Feb 17th, 2019 10:54 am
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Briperran
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That is expensive Peter from memory the one i had was a serial port connection whereas the one they sell now is usb interface im pretty sure it was around £40 mind you that was quite a few years ago.
Max may know of another unit other than an actual Lenz one you can use to do the same thing at a cheaper cost. He is heavily into Lenz so he will know if there is something.
That seems a lot of dosh for something that is basically a simple interface.

If cost is an issue it is possible to have a fully NMRA standard dcc system with computer interface for less than £50 that links in well with JMRI type DCC ++ into google

Brian



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 Posted: Sun Feb 17th, 2019 11:21 am
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Hi Peter

The old interface is now redundant.  You are right.  The new ones are much more expensive, but they will do more.

I'm pretty sure that John Dew has one and can explain the workings to you.

It's been months since I have been able to do any rail modelling, so I'm very out of touch.

Cheers



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 Posted: Sun Feb 17th, 2019 11:26 am
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I use(d) Decoder Pro with my Digitrax system, Peter.

The RR-Circuits Locobuffer to connect was about £60.

The Lenz interface does seem a bit expensive, but it is a one-off cost.

If you haven't got that many locos, you could always just put all the information in a MS xcel or similar spreadsheet.



Ed



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 Posted: Sun Feb 17th, 2019 12:02 pm
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Petermac
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Thanks guys.

I know that Lenz equipment is generally expensive - "German Engineering or, if you prefer, "Vorsprung durch Teknik".....................could be the reason.

I really have no idea how it compares with other systems - Lenz is all I have (apart for a "suck it and see" Bachmann EZ controller I bought before I dived in at the deep end).

Max, the new Lenz interface may well do more but do I need it to ?  I have a mobile phone - it makes telephone calls which is why I bought it.  The latest iphones will even cook your dinner it seems, but they don't make better telephone calls than mine does ............................

I'm not really sure what I'd want to do with a computer link other than what seems an easier and more efficient system to programme decoders and store that information.  RR & Co is a very long way off - especially now I don't even have a layout or a home for one............sure, it's still a future dream but there are more pressing demands on my time and resources at present.

I wonder how sensible it is to spend £140 on something to make my life a little more "orderly" given that I don't actually have dozens of locomotives to programme.  There is of couse, the potential to play around with sound files as well using the same interface ...........................and. as you said Ed, it's a one-off investment although I wonder how long it will be before it too, becomes obsolete.  :hmm



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 Posted: Sun Feb 17th, 2019 12:19 pm
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Although i have no experience of this equipment it does seem to be getting a great deal of following as a good dcc system with all connections at a reasonable price worth considering if you are considering spending £140 on a single interface Peter

https://www.digikeijs.com/en/dr5000-adj-dcc-multi-bus-central.html

Brian



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 Posted: Sun Feb 17th, 2019 01:09 pm
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Petermac
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I'm not sure this system includes a computer interface Brian - unless it goes under a different name ................ :hmm

As a system, it's certainly competitively priced but I already have the Lenz 100 system and several accessory decoders to go with it so I don't want to bin that lot .................... :It's a no no



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 Posted: Sun Feb 17th, 2019 01:42 pm
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Briperran
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Thats the beauty Peter every connection you need including computer interface is built into it and if you decide to go furtther into things they manufacturer all the add on modules for all the differant things at a reasonable cost.

If my Ecos went bang i would certainly consider this system myself.

To replace my ecos would probably be £700 so i would really have to think hard about paying that amount out.

Brian



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 Posted: Sun Feb 17th, 2019 01:44 pm
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The Ls150 is a pretty standard accesory decoder i have loads myself i would be surprised if they did not work with that system if you are going to seriously look at that i will check and make sure they work with it for you

Brian



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 Posted: Sun Feb 17th, 2019 02:45 pm
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Barchester
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Buy a Sprog II Peter, about £45 plus postage + a separate power supply which you may already have kicking around.It comes with the cable to plug in to your computer, works with both decoder pro and panel pro which are free downloads and you can use it ( via panel pro) as a stand alone DCC controller, separate from your main Lenze system. I'm getting one to use away from the main layout for programming and testing etc so I dont have to disconect the main system in the workshop. The Sprog II is only a 1 AMP whereas the newer more expensive sprog III is a 2.5Amp. But for programming, testing etc the Sprog II is ample and acts as a backup if your main system goes faulty

Link  HERE

Cheers

Matt

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 Posted: Sun Feb 17th, 2019 02:51 pm
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Petermac
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It does look interesting Brian - especially if the computer interface and the ability to run LS150's is included at that price.

I don't actually know what terminals the computer would use as an interface.  Would I have to make up a special lead using a USB plug or what ?

The Lenz interface is £140 whilst the Digikeijs command station is currently available at £169.

However, looking at it again, I wonder if it would be compatible with my LH100 and Lenz "Compact" hand throttles.

It's probably just a case of cobbling up the necessary leads - certainly worth putting the situation to them and see what they say ...............

Thanks. :thumbs



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 Posted: Sun Feb 17th, 2019 02:57 pm
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Briperran
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I will ask the neccesary questions Peter on a group that has lot of users of that system .

The sprog 11 matt has just mentioned will give you a separate computer connection which is seperate from your Lenz system that would probably be one of the cheapest routes to connect to a computer JMRI wise other than an arduino DCC++ set up

Brian



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 Posted: Sun Feb 17th, 2019 02:59 pm
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Petermac
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Barchester wrote: Buy a Sprog II Peter, about £45 plus postage + a separate power supply which you may already have kicking around.It comes with the cable to plug in to your computer, works with both decoder pro and panel pro which are free downloads and you can use it ( via panel pro) as a stand alone DCC controller, separate from your main Lenze system. I'm getting one to use away from the main layout for programming and testing etc so I dont have to disconect the main system in the workshop. The Sprog II is only a 1 AMP whereas the newer more expensive sprog III is a 2.5Amp. But for programming, testing etc the Sprog II is ample and acts as a backup if your main system goes faulty

Link  HERE

Cheers

Matt


The plot thickens ..............................

Also very interesting Matt.  Some more bedtime reading - I wonder what exactly I'd need to programme my locos with a Sprog ?   I also wonder what it will programme - not mention of Lenz decoders although it says it will do most.   I note one can't add/modify sound files so, to do that, I'd need another bit of kit ................ :roll:

It says "stand alone" so presumably it will work with any DCC system and either a rolling road or programming track plus, of course, my laptop .................. :hmm



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 Posted: Sun Feb 17th, 2019 03:01 pm
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Petermac
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Briperran wrote: I will ask the neccesary questions Peter on a group that has lot of users of that system .

The sprog 11 matt has just mentioned will give you a separate computer connection which is seperate from your Lenz system that would probably be one of the cheapest routes to connect to a computer JMRI wise other than an arduino DCC++ set up

Brian

Thanks Brian. :thumbs

You say the Sprog is separate from the Lenz - surely I'd need the Lenz to power the locos to programme the decoders ....................... :???:



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 Posted: Sun Feb 17th, 2019 03:09 pm
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Briperran
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No the sprog is totally separate you have a separate power supply which puts the power to the programming track


Brian



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 Posted: Sun Feb 17th, 2019 03:12 pm
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Barchester
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The Sprog is completely separate Peter. If you dont have a power supply kicking around then they sell the one you would need for £10 ? I think or you get one on Ebay. Power supply plugs into sprog, sprog plugs into computer using a network cable (or Usb if you get the Sprog III) and then you connect  to your test track. Fire up computer and download JMRI (decoderpro and panelpro) and away you go. I think I'm going for the Sprog III, a bit more money but connects via Usb and more Amps, so can run my O.16.5 stuff with it

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 Posted: Sun Feb 17th, 2019 03:34 pm
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Briperran
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Ok replies coming already

my question

A Question for the Digikeijs users within the group. A fellow model enthusiast has a Lenz 100 system and was considering connecting it to a computer but the Lenz interface alone is around £140 so i said why not look at the Digikeijs system which the command station is around £169 with all the connections already built in. His questions were will his Lenz ls 150 accesory decoders he has work with the system and is it possible to use his Lenz hand controllers with the system or will they be redundant?
many thanks in advance

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1
Neil Smith all full compatible, that is the idea of the dr500


2
Jan Har The DR5000 will support the Lenz LS150 switch decoders (bog standard DCC items) as well as the Lenz controllers (especially with the right Xpressnet settings as described in section 7.5 or the DR5000 manual).



Neil Smith also using a DR5039, you can use the Lenz 100 as a booster at a later date if required. PS they are DR5000 are £147.99 from Amzon


So in just a few minutes all the answers are there Ls150 yes compatable and you can use your Lenz handsets with it.
I will post any more answers later when i look


Brian












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 Posted: Sun Feb 17th, 2019 03:45 pm
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Petermac
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Thanks guys.  :thumbs

I do have a spare power supply but had assumed the loco would need a supply from the Lenz. :thud

"And then you connect to your test track" you say Matt.  With just 2 wires or is it a special cable ?

It does look like a very interesting option although I'm not sure the Sprog III would be necessary.   For the cost difference, it seems you only get the extra power ................ :roll:

As I wouldn't use it as a controller, the 2.5 amps seems a bit OTT although - they do say some newer decoders respond better to the higher output .....................and for just £10 extra ...................... :hmm



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