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Model Railroading > Lenz DCC with Radio...


Date: 10/24/07 09:57
Lenz DCC with Radio...
Author: wabash2800

What are my options? Anyone using it or have used radio with Lenz on someone Else's layout?

I'll know it is more expensive than Digitrax. In ballpark $$$, what would my initial investment be in the radio option with one throttle?

I'm not crazy about using a cordless phone as a controller.

Isn't there a manufacturer that offers a radio interface for Lenz DCC?

I prefer a knob for speed control rather than push buttons and would like to get a cab with two throttles on the same handheld if possible.

Thanks in Advance



Date: 10/24/07 10:23
Re: Lenz DCC with Radio...
Author: IAISfan

I'm using CVP radio throttles with Lenz, and have been really happy with them. I wish I could recall what I paid for them, but it's been a few years. I've only got two wireless throttles (knobs) so far, and I think the initial purchase for those and the base station was in the neighborhood of $300-350 direct from CVP.

Joe Atkinson



Date: 10/24/07 10:37
Re: Lenz DCC with Radio...
Author: ColoRF

CVP Products (cvpusa.com) makes radio throttles for use with Lenz. They are top quality and work very well. Excellent range and response for a typical home layout.

The cost are:
Wireless receiver: $99
T9000E wireless throttle: $219
RF1300 throttle: $159

The T9000E has a display whereas the RF1300 does not. You can call CVP (972-238-9966) and they can give you complete details on what each throttle can and cannot do because there are other features that you may be interested in. Basically they offer speed, direction, function and accessory decoder control (turnouts) but no programming or consisting setup.

For the money (about $60 to $70), I still like the cordless phone option by Lenz. It does speed, direction, function and accessory decoder control, except no speed control knob. But, if you plan on using your wireless a lot, the CVP would be the better way to go.

Jerry



Date: 10/24/07 10:38
Re: Lenz DCC with Radio...
Author: wabash2800

Joe:

Thanks Joe. Do they offer a dual throttle wireless?

IAISfan Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> I'm using CVP radio throttles with Lenz, and have
> been really happy with them. I wish I could
> recall what I paid for them, but it's been a few
> years. I've only got two wireless throttles
> (knobs) so far, and I think the initial purchase
> for those and the base station was in the
> neighborhood of $300-350 direct from CVP.
>
> Joe Atkinson



Date: 10/24/07 10:39
Re: Lenz DCC with Radio...
Author: wabash2800

Thanks Jerry.


ColoRF Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> CVP Products (cvpusa.com) makes radio throttles
> for use with Lenz. They are top quality and work
> very well. Excellent range and response for a
> typical home layout.
>
> The cost are:
> Wireless receiver: $99
> T9000E wireless throttle: $219
> RF1300 throttle: $159
>
> The T9000E has a display whereas the RF1300 does
> not. You can call CVP (972-238-9966) and they can
> give you complete details on what each throttle
> can and cannot do because there are other features
> that you may be interested in. Basically they
> offer speed, direction, function and accessory
> decoder control (turnouts) but no programming or
> consisting setup.
>
> For the money (about $60 to $70), I still like the
> cordless phone option by Lenz. It does speed,
> direction, function and accessory decoder control,
> except no speed control knob. But, if you plan on
> using your wireless a lot, the CVP would be the
> better way to go.
>
> Jerry



Date: 10/24/07 11:00
Re: Lenz DCC with Radio...
Author: RioGrandeFan

CVP nor Lenz makes a dual knob throttle tethered or wireless. Digitrax is the only manufacturer with those types of throttles.

For me, a dual throttle doesn't really impress me much. The few times I've operated with Digitrax, I never used both throttles. My most recent chance at Digitrax was using one of the smaller wireless throttles and it wasn't bad. I did have some loss of communication after about 3 hours of operation but it was minor.

I started with Lenz and have been using it for 8 years now. I do like the XPA cordless phone set-up quite well, mostly because you have more range than the size of your house. Some folks don't like the idea of using a phone but some phones today are smaller and don't even look like phones. The CVP system is pretty good though I've noticed a 1-2 second delay when using it which is annoying. For the money they charge there should not be any delay.

Now I will admit that I'm slowly converting myself to NCE, mostly because I acquired a full featured radio system dirt cheap from a guy getting out of the hobby. I also really like the look and feel of the Pro Cab. I have not had any experience with NCE yet but I have a feeling that it will be quite nice. Those that haven't purchased the $35 NCE upgrade yet will definitely want to do this! The current version is 3/1/07 and if you don't have that get it!

Rio Grande Fan
Denver, CO



Date: 10/24/07 13:24
Re: Lenz DCC with Radio...
Author: wabash2800

RioGrandeFan, thanks for the input.

The only reason I want the dual throttle is for the times that I'll be running more than one train at a time myself to minimize switching back and forth. I used a push button throttle once and the layout owner had it adjusted so that you had to push a lot to get acceleration. Maybe he thought it mimicked prototype acceleration but I hated it and so did my fingers.

I do like a spin knob rather than push button. Perhaps it's ingrained from my first train set or it seems funny when operating a steam loco? But a rheostat isn't actually prototypical either, nor is a cordless phone.

I could go with Digitrax but I've heard it isn't as user friendly as Lenz and has a lot of bells and whistles you don't need. A friend who has a working signal system on his layout says the signal option isn't worth it as he can do much more with his own proprietary system. Perhaps it's the old story that if you get more features for the price that they aren't all up to par? I've learned in buying software for the companies I've worked for that just becuase someting is well advertised and a lot of people use it, it doesn't mean it is the best.


RioGrandeFan Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> CVP nor Lenz makes a dual knob throttle tethered
> or wireless. Digitrax is the only manufacturer
> with those types of throttles.
>
> For me, a dual throttle doesn't really impress me
> much. The few times I've operated with Digitrax, I
> never used both throttles. My most recent chance
> at Digitrax was using one of the smaller wireless
> throttles and it wasn't bad. I did have some loss
> of communication after about 3 hours of operation
> but it was minor.
>
> I started with Lenz and have been using it for 8
> years now. I do like the XPA cordless phone set-up
> quite well, mostly because you have more range
> than the size of your house. Some folks don't like
> the idea of using a phone but some phones today
> are smaller and don't even look like phones. The
> CVP system is pretty good though I've noticed a
> 1-2 second delay when using it which is annoying.
> For the money they charge there should not be any
> delay.
>
> Now I will admit that I'm slowly converting myself
> to NCE, mostly because I acquired a full featured
> radio system dirt cheap from a guy getting out of
> the hobby. I also really like the look and feel of
> the Pro Cab. I have not had any experience with
> NCE yet but I have a feeling that it will be quite
> nice. Those that haven't purchased the $35 NCE
> upgrade yet will definitely want to do this! The
> current version is 3/1/07 and if you don't have
> that get it!
>
> Rio Grande Fan
> Denver, CO



Date: 10/24/07 16:32
Re: Lenz DCC with Radio...
Author: ColoRF

I should point out that with the Lenz Set 100, using the LH100 throttle, you can very quickly toggle back and forth between two locos. You can call up the two locos, and then by just hitting the "escape" key you can switch back and forth between the two.

I especially like the LH100 for programing, and for speed matching two locos for consisting because you can get one running behing the other and then, using programing on the main (or preferably Decoder Pro), you can adjust one to match the other. The LH100 display shows the exact speed steps so you can get the correct speed match.

But, the LH100 uses push-button speed control. However there are two speed buttons for each direction, one adjusting by single speed steps for very precise control, and the other for jumping up by several speed steps for each push.

I guess if one definitely wants knob speed control and radio then the Set 100 plus a CVP radio throttle and receiver would be a good combination.

By the way, with the CVP radio I experienced no delay in selection of speed, direction, functions or turnout control. But, as their manual states, there is about a 2 second delay in acquiring a loco. When you punch in a new loco number, a symbol apears on the screen and they tell you not to operate the loco until the symbol disapears. I never found this very small delay to be a problem for me.

One other point. For turnout control, the response is almost too good. You have to give the keys a very quick, light tap or it will lock on and can burn out a twin-coil switch machine. After a little experience though you can learn how to do the "light tap". For me this only ocurred on turnout control and not on any other key presses.



Date: 10/24/07 22:01
Re: Lenz DCC with Radio...
Author: RioGrandeFan

My experience with the CVP is with the older non-screen throttles and the delay was with turning on/off functions and using the knob to control the train. There'd be a 1-2 second delay from the time you press the function key or turn the knob for the effect to happen. This sounds like it has been corrected with the new screen throttle. I don't mind delay to acquire an address, for some reason it feels normal and ok.

I've been an avid Lenz user for 8 years and I really have never found a fault in the system. It just works. It does what you tell it to do and when you press a key you know ahead of time what is going to happen and the same thing happens every time. It is the easiest to use for the lowest price and is a professional quality system. One reason why Lenz doesn't have a wireless throttle that looks like a throttle is because they are the #1 system in Europe and areas outside the US. Wireless protocols are different country to country except one...DTMF tones. This is the reason why the XPA exists. There are some nice things about the XPA, it is less money than any tethered or wireless throttle on the market, you choose your own phone so in a way you're choosing a throttle that fits you, and the range is amazing. I've been in the neighbor's yard and the darn thing still works. Yeah it's a phone but it works and works equal or better than regular throttles. Like was said about the LH100 it is a great throttle for a tethered one. Programming is super simple and it does have a two engine toggle. The other throttle is the LH90 which is a tethered knob throttle has an 8 engine stack. With one key press you can run through the 8 locos. You can back step with one slightly longer key press. I also like the direction switch being on the front and it has a center off. It just fits near your thumb so you can hold the throttle next to your side and operate without even looking at the throttle.

Whether you go Lenz tethered, XPA, or CVP's system with Lenz, you will not regret it. I should mention though that while NCE's wireless system is quite expensive you will probably end up spending the same money or more with the combination of the Lenz system and CVP's wireless set-up on top. If you've never operated with a thumbwheel you really should give the ProCab a try sometime if you can. Thumbwheels are really nice and in my view blow knobs away. I just wish more DCC manufacturers would use them.

My new layout will probably be wired for both Lenz and NCE just because I can't give up my Lenz and love NCE's wireless options. The modern world of technology is soooo very sweet!!

Rio Grande Fan
Denver, CO



Date: 10/25/07 04:50
Re: Lenz DCC with Radio...
Author: brfriedm

The Digitrax wireless system is very good and has no prior history of problems like the NCE and Easy DCC. Using an old cordless phone as a controller is a joke. I have a friend that got rid of his Lenz after trying that option. The Digitrax system has very good range and does not need those "patch" repeaters that others have have pushed on it's users. Also using the DT400R wireless dual knob throttle with display is incredibly easy and very elegant. I have a layout and I am always running 2 trains. One on each knob. No need to switch back and forth. Also the DT400R also has excellent battery life. I use high capacity rechargable NMH 9V batteries and they last a long time. The only drawback to the Digitrax wireless system is they require you to plug in once to acquire the engine or consist but once you do that, you are fully wireless. Digitrax is coming out with a DT500 soon that will make their system fully duplex. Not a biggie for me as plugging in and acquiring an engine takes 2 seconds. Also the Digitrax system shows no delay. I have used the Easy DCC and NCE wireless systems allot and in busy ops sessions, they always show major delay. They are poorly designed. During my ops sessions, I can have up to 14 wireless throttles going at the same time under heavy load and we see zero delay. The Digitrax system is built industrial strength. AJ at Digitrax has stated openly that he does not want to release a Duplex DT500 until it is rock solid and does not show the inherent problems as seen on NCE and Easy DCC.


Bruce Friedman


http://www.digitrax.com/prd_dt400_re.php

http://www.digitrax.com/prd_ut4.php



Date: 10/25/07 13:10
Re: Lenz DCC with Radio...
Author: airbrake

brfriedm Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> The Digitrax wireless system is very good and has
> no prior history of problems like the NCE and Easy
> DCC.

I just operated last weekend on two layouts that were Digitrax and there were problems with the wireless. All of the systems on the market can have problems.

> Using an old cordless phone as a controller
> is a joke. I have a friend that got rid of his
> Lenz after trying that option.

No Joke - works just fine. Besides, you can buy CVP throttles that work with the Lenz system if you cannot figure how to use a standard cordless phone with the Lenz. I know it's much tougher pushing a button that turning a knob but most get the hang of it. if they want too. I operated on a layout last weekend that was Lenz wireless set-up with CVP 1300 throttles and with 14 operators it worked flawlessly - no delay whatsoever.

> The Digitrax system
> has very good range and does not need those
> "patch" repeaters that others have have pushed on
> it's users. Also using the DT400R wireless dual
> knob throttle with display is incredibly easy and
> very elegant.

I have operated on Digitrax wireless layouts that have had range problems.

> Also the
> Digitrax system shows no delay. I have used the
> Easy DCC and NCE wireless systems allot and in
> busy ops sessions, they always show major delay.
> They are poorly designed.

The latest upgrade on the CVP system (in effect for over a year now) eliminates all latency in the throttles. NCE is beta testing a revised code and upgrade that has removed 99% (so far) of the bugs in their wireless system. I will be operating with the upgrade and fix this weekend and next month.

> During my ops sessions,
> I can have up to 14 wireless throttles going at
> the same time under heavy load and we see zero
> delay. The Digitrax system is built industrial
> strength.

Operated at a session two Fridays ago with CVP and 14 wireless throttles running with no delay or problems.


> AJ at Digitrax has stated openly that he
> does not want to release a Duplex DT500 until it
> is rock solid and does not show the inherent
> problems as seen on NCE and Easy DCC.

By the time the DT500 comes out, the upgrade for the NCE system will be worked out. CVP has already achieved this. I suggest you operate on someone else's system that has the latest upgrades before you condemn everyone else. By the way, have you tried the MRC wireless? I have, and have the system (beta testing) and there are absolutely no problems with their wireless. Everything you can do plugged in you can do wireless. Range is 100+ feet with only one base station. Computer interface is being tested as I write this so MRC is onto becoming a full fledged "industrial strength" system.
>
>
> Bruce Friedman
>
>
>
>
>



Date: 10/26/07 22:48
Re: Lenz DCC with Radio...
Author: RioGrandeFan

AMEN Airbrake!! While I did operate on a Digitrax layout a few weeks ago with at least 10-15 operators and there were only minimal wireless issues that I noticed (run a way train every so often), I am just not a fan of the design of the Digitrax throttles. It didn't happen at this guy's home layout but at their club we had to keep the throttles pointed up and above our waist or they'd lose the wireless signal from only 10 feet away. I'm used to holding the throttle by my side and not even looking at it so this was a big pain.

I just received but haven't yet tested the new NCE software upgrade. I have heard nothing but praise for the NCE wireless system. I know a guy with a 5000 square foot layout and he has one wirelss base station and one repeater, according to him the system works flawless.

Every system has their faults and no system is 100% perfect for everyone. Most like what they started with and will swear by it. You have to give completely unbiased fair trials to every system. I have done that with Lenz, CVP, NCE, Digitrax, and MRC. I like Lenz and NCE the most. CVP's Easy DCC really isn't bad. Digitrax and MRC fall short for me. I operated on a layout built by a guy some would call one of the best model railroaders of all time and he has CVP's Easy DCC all wireless. It operated perfect with over 10 trains running and more bodies crammed into an extremely tight space than you could cram in there. The thing that turns me off about CVP is the expense of the throttles.

Oh and the Lenz cordless phone system has at least 10 times the range that any system has simply because it is a phone! It also works perfect every single time. No jokes about it. Easy, inexpensive wireless. Who needs to spend $125-$250 or more for a wireless throttle? XPA for $60 (less at most hobby shops) and a cheap phone for less than $20. Best wirelss on the market.

Rio Grande Fan
Denver, CO



Date: 10/27/07 15:49
Re: Lenz DCC with Radio...
Author: brfriedm

Unbiased....Spare us the ..... You have been trashing Digitrax for years and it's always obvious you have little to no experience with their products. I remember the time you trashed how Digitrax throttles worked and it was obvious that you had not used them and when I called you on it, you admitted that you actually had not used the Digitrax throttle yourself but had watched someone use one! :) Also about 50% of your comments over the years are incorrect on many systems. You keep on bashing Digitrax and I'll keep on responding. If I had a nickle for every NCE person or Easy DCC person who complained about their wireless, I would be a millionare.

Bruce Friedman


PS - Most wireless problems can be traced to low battery power. But that would be out of your experience range.

RioGrandeFan Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> AMEN Airbrake!! While I did operate on a Digitrax
> layout a few weeks ago with at least 10-15
> operators and there were only minimal wireless
> issues that I noticed (run a way train every so
> often), I am just not a fan of the design of the
> Digitrax throttles. It didn't happen at this guy's
> home layout but at their club we had to keep the
> throttles pointed up and above our waist or they'd
> lose the wireless signal from only 10 feet away.
> I'm used to holding the throttle by my side and
> not even looking at it so this was a big pain.
>
> I just received but haven't yet tested the new NCE
> software upgrade. I have heard nothing but praise
> for the NCE wireless system. I know a guy with a
> 5000 square foot layout and he has one wirelss
> base station and one repeater, according to him
> the system works flawless.
>
> Every system has their faults and no system is
> 100% perfect for everyone. Most like what they
> started with and will swear by it. You have to
> give completely unbiased fair trials to every
> system. I have done that with Lenz, CVP, NCE,
> Digitrax, and MRC. I like Lenz and NCE the most.
> CVP's Easy DCC really isn't bad. Digitrax and MRC
> fall short for me. I operated on a layout built by
> a guy some would call one of the best model
> railroaders of all time and he has CVP's Easy DCC
> all wireless. It operated perfect with over 10
> trains running and more bodies crammed into an
> extremely tight space than you could cram in
> there. The thing that turns me off about CVP is
> the expense of the throttles.
>
> Oh and the Lenz cordless phone system has at least
> 10 times the range that any system has simply
> because it is a phone! It also works perfect every
> single time. No jokes about it. Easy, inexpensive
> wireless. Who needs to spend $125-$250 or more for
> a wireless throttle? XPA for $60 (less at most
> hobby shops) and a cheap phone for less than $20.
> Best wirelss on the market.
>
> Rio Grande Fan
> Denver, CO



Date: 10/27/07 15:57
Re: Lenz DCC with Radio...
Author: BNSFCajon

That sure was a whole lot of nothing except diatribe for diatribes sake!



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