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Offline smoon  
#1 Posted : 30 July 2012 18:35:10(UTC)
smoon

United States   
Joined: 18/03/2012(UTC)
Posts: 8
Location: Florida
This is my first post here, but I have been lurking for months just reading and reading and reading. I have learned much from the very knowledgable people here, and now it is time to ask my first direct question.

Right now I only have a small temporary layout (4 x 8) that seems to change by the week as I learn more and want more out of my layout. I am controlling the layout with a MS2 and have 10 turnouts which all have digital decoders installed in them. I am going to be buying a few more turnouts, and the idea of spending the money on more digital decoders when I know I will be getting an Ecos at some point seems like a waste of money. I have also just purchased my first signals to start down that path.

Thus, my question is whether or not now is the right time to move ot the Ecos even though my layout is still temporary? I don't want to have to buy any more decoders for my turnouts or any extra control boxes, as they will not be necessary when I do move the the Ecos, but I am wondering if the Ecos is overkill for me right now.

Thanks for any input,

Steve
Offline H0  
#2 Posted : 30 July 2012 19:00:58(UTC)
H0


Joined: 16/02/2004(UTC)
Posts: 9,315
When you move to the ECoS, you still need either turnout decoders or control boxes. So you do not waste money buying turnout decoders.

For C track, you can get turnout decoders that go into the trackbed.
For permanent layouts, you can buy turnout controllers for four or even eight turnouts that will be much cheaper - but not so good for temporary layouts that are rearranged frequently.
But even with an MS2 you can use either type of turnout decoders.
Regards
Tom
---
Happy customer of Roco, Piko, Fleischmann, ESU, Brawa, Liliput, Rivarossi, Lima, ... - and will happily continue to buy locos that run well out of the box. I'm also happy with 95% of my Märklin items, but will avoid a few cost-optimized items made 2011 or later.
Online RayF  
#3 Posted : 30 July 2012 19:05:58(UTC)
RayF

Gibraltar   
Joined: 14/03/2005(UTC)
Posts: 11,970
Location: Gibraltar, Europe
Hi Steve,

Why do you think you won't need the decoders with an Ecos, or have I misunderstood your question?

Certainly you will not need control boxes if you intend to control your turnouts and signals digitally, but that is also true for the MS2, which is also capable of controlling turnouts digitally.

To get things clear, if you want to control your turnouts digitally you need digital decoders for the turnouts, and you need a controller capable of commanding those digital decoders. Both MS2 anf ECOS will do that.

Control boxes are for controlling turnouts non-digitally, and for that you do not need decoders.
Ray

Mostly Marklin.Selection of different eras and European railways
Small C track layout, control by MS2, 100+ trains but run 4-5 at a time.
Offline smoon  
#4 Posted : 30 July 2012 19:53:38(UTC)
smoon

United States   
Joined: 18/03/2012(UTC)
Posts: 8
Location: Florida
Wow. You can tell it is a Monday. My brain must have been on pause when I wrote my original post. Of course I know that I need decoders for the turnouts. Where I was trying to go with not buying decoders was that I am planning on using SwitchPilots with the ECoS, instead of individual turnout decoders, which will end up saving money in the long run at the expense of extra wiring to the SwitchPilot. I undersand the savings are modest, but as more turnouts are added, the savings can add up. The wiring on my temporary layout would be a little cumbersome, but I am not planning on it being temporary for long, so I can deal with it for now.

That being my thinking, would the ECoS be a worthwhile expenditure now or should I continue with a few more Marlin decoders and wait until the layout becomes permanent.

I guess a side question I had would be what people think of the SwitchPilots in general. With my layout being C track, would the SwitchPilots be worth the extra wiring to save the $15 or so dollars per turnout? Are there any other benefits to the SwitchPilots?

Thanks for any more input, and I hope this made me look much less like a dufus.

Steve

Offline smoon  
#5 Posted : 30 July 2012 19:58:00(UTC)
smoon

United States   
Joined: 18/03/2012(UTC)
Posts: 8
Location: Florida
Tom,

I just read your post again.

Who makes turnout decoders for 8 turnouts and are they compatible with the ECos? The answer to that might make my decision very easy.

Steve
Offline H0  
#6 Posted : 30 July 2012 20:20:32(UTC)
H0


Joined: 16/02/2004(UTC)
Posts: 9,315
Roco makes decoder 10775 (DCC) for eight turnouts (€50 approx.).
Viessmann make decoder 5211/52111 (MM) for four turnouts (€25 approx.) - nearly the same price as Märklin 60830 (MM, four turnouts).
ESU SwitchPilot has a similar price.

Both MS2 and ECoS can use turnout decoders for DCC and MM - including SwitchPilots.

So (theoretically) you can start buying SwitchPilots and use them with your MS2 (I don't have SwitchPilots and therefore cannot confirm it works, but it should work).
Regards
Tom
---
Happy customer of Roco, Piko, Fleischmann, ESU, Brawa, Liliput, Rivarossi, Lima, ... - and will happily continue to buy locos that run well out of the box. I'm also happy with 95% of my Märklin items, but will avoid a few cost-optimized items made 2011 or later.
Offline Bigdaddynz  
#7 Posted : 30 July 2012 22:07:36(UTC)
Bigdaddynz

New Zealand   
Joined: 17/09/2006(UTC)
Posts: 13,999
Location: New Zealand
I haven't used any Switchpilots with my Ecos, but a friend of mine has some and he likes them. The added advantage with the Switchpilot is that they can also be used as a k84 to switch light circuits or switch track power, and are much cheaper than a dedicated k84 decoder.

Plus, if you use them with an Ecos, they can use Railcom to report to the controller what the switch setting is.

The Switchpilot isn't much more expensive than a standard Viessmann 5211 K83 - V5211 26.99 EUR, Switchpilot 29.50 EUR (Lokshop prices inc VAT)
Offline Nielsenr  
#8 Posted : 31 July 2012 07:15:53(UTC)
Nielsenr

United States   
Joined: 06/10/2010(UTC)
Posts: 820
Location: Fort Lauderdale, FL
Welcome to the forum Steve!!

Where are you in Florida?? South Florida by chance??

Robert
Offline Goofy  
#9 Posted : 31 July 2012 07:31:09(UTC)
Goofy


Joined: 12/08/2006(UTC)
Posts: 6,317
Attention!
You cannot use MS2 togehter with Ecos.
If you buy an Marklins CS2 you can use MS2 by connect into it.

By the way...welcome to the worlds best train forum! BigGrin
Offline river6109  
#10 Posted : 31 July 2012 08:08:28(UTC)
river6109

Australia   
Joined: 22/01/2009(UTC)
Posts: 10,777
Location: On 1965 Märklin Boulevard just around from Roco Square
Welcome tio the forum

Switchpilots, there are 2 different types, some you can use them for decoders and turnout motors and the other is purely for precisiion turnout motors.

John

http://www.youtube.com/river6109
http://www.youtube.com/6109river
5 years in Destruction mode
50 years in Repairing mode
Offline H0  
#11 Posted : 31 July 2012 08:21:14(UTC)
H0


Joined: 16/02/2004(UTC)
Posts: 9,315
Originally Posted by: Goofy Go to Quoted Post
You cannot use MS2 togehter with Ecos.
No, you can.
You cannot connect the MS2 to the CAN port of the ECoS, but it works fine with the sniffer port (one track box with up to two MS2s can be used).

Regards
Tom
---
Happy customer of Roco, Piko, Fleischmann, ESU, Brawa, Liliput, Rivarossi, Lima, ... - and will happily continue to buy locos that run well out of the box. I'm also happy with 95% of my Märklin items, but will avoid a few cost-optimized items made 2011 or later.
Offline jeehring  
#12 Posted : 31 July 2012 08:57:31(UTC)
jeehring


Joined: 25/09/2003(UTC)
Posts: 2,753
Location: ,
Originally Posted by: H0 Go to Quoted Post
Originally Posted by: Goofy Go to Quoted Post
You cannot use MS2 togehter with Ecos.
No, you can.
You cannot connect the MS2 to the CAN port of the ECoS, but it works fine with the sniffer port (one track box with up to two MS2s can be used).



It works....but it does not "work fine" . There is no communication between user interface of Ecos and user interface of the MS2.
Also : I wonder how it works with MFX, I don't think the auto-registration works well, but I'm not sure....May be some people has a TRUE experience of it & tell us....
Offline Bigdaddynz  
#13 Posted : 31 July 2012 09:51:31(UTC)
Bigdaddynz

New Zealand   
Joined: 17/09/2006(UTC)
Posts: 13,999
Location: New Zealand
Originally Posted by: jeehring Go to Quoted Post
May be some people has a TRUE experience of it & tell us....



Haven't tried it Roland, to be honest. Hmmmm, maybe there's a test for a rainy day when I've got nothing better to do!


Originally Posted by: river6109 Go to Quoted Post
Switchpilots, there are 2 different types......



My price quote was for the 51800, which is the non servo version. The version for use with servos is 51802.
Offline H0  
#14 Posted : 31 July 2012 12:14:29(UTC)
H0


Joined: 16/02/2004(UTC)
Posts: 9,315
Originally Posted by: jeehring Go to Quoted Post
May be some people has a TRUE experience of it & tell us....
The sniffer port supports DCC and MM. To control an mfx loco that is registered on the ECoS, you simply use DCC or MM on the sniffed device. Since DCC has more capabilities than MM, I'd use DCC.

The MS2 can only control locos with special sniffer addresses assigned in the ECoS.
This way the sniffed device can be used for visitors or children to have them run few trains "in a sandbox". Similar to an MS1 connected to CS1/ECoS that can only see the locos that were assigned to it.
Regards
Tom
---
Happy customer of Roco, Piko, Fleischmann, ESU, Brawa, Liliput, Rivarossi, Lima, ... - and will happily continue to buy locos that run well out of the box. I'm also happy with 95% of my Märklin items, but will avoid a few cost-optimized items made 2011 or later.
Offline smoon  
#15 Posted : 31 July 2012 13:16:31(UTC)
smoon

United States   
Joined: 18/03/2012(UTC)
Posts: 8
Location: Florida
HO -

I had not thought about the possibility of using the MS2 with the SwitchPilot. I have read the manual a coupld of times but pretty much skipped over the programming section, as I thought that would not apply to me without a CS2 or and ECoS. I went back and read the manual again last night, and it looks like it just migt work. I think I will buy a regualr SwitchPilot to experiment with. I already have a SwitchPilot Servoe that I have been testing using analog switches for activation, so I will try that one from the MS2 also.

As for operating the MS2 with the ESoS, I had read that the two wer enot comaptible, but it is good to hear that there is a way to get the two to play together, even if it is fiddly to do so. The MS2 would olny be for my kids or guests to use, so having a limitation at to the number of trains and what they can do is not that big of a deal.

Thanks again,

Steve
Offline smoon  
#16 Posted : 31 July 2012 13:19:53(UTC)
smoon

United States   
Joined: 18/03/2012(UTC)
Posts: 8
Location: Florida
Thanks for the welcome Robert. I live in Orlando, so a ways north of you.

I have been wanting to take a drive down south to visit micromacromundo. From the looks of it, the store there is like a dream to a Marklin fan. The prices are not so good, but to be in the middle of all that Marklin goodness...oooooh

Steve
Offline smoon  
#17 Posted : 31 July 2012 13:31:00(UTC)
smoon

United States   
Joined: 18/03/2012(UTC)
Posts: 8
Location: Florida
Thanks for all the welcomes everyone.

I am sure I will be picking all the very experienced brains on the forum as my Marklin journey moves forward. I am not known for doing anything the easy way (or the cheap way). BigGrin In fact, I already have the Marklin signal book, the getting started with Marklin digital book, and the layout book for layouts larger than three meters. I am really on Marklin information overload right now, which is proably why my first post was a little incoherent.

I am also an IT professional and all around tech geek, so anything electronic, especially if it run by a microprocessor, gets my interest in a second.

I think I will mess around with the peripherals a while longer and use the money I was going to spend on the ECoS for more trains and track. I am trying to complete my Thalys, get all the wagon sets for the Big Boy, and complete a RoLa.

Can you tell I have not picked one era or country to model? I run what I like and makes me happy. My layout will end of kind of weird, but hey, it is my layout.

Thanks again guys.

Offline smoon  
#18 Posted : 31 July 2012 23:52:10(UTC)
smoon

United States   
Joined: 18/03/2012(UTC)
Posts: 8
Location: Florida
Good news

When I arrived home from work this afternoon, I was successful at getting my SwitchPilot Servo to work with my MS2. The programming is ingenious and worked like a charm.

No more under the track decoders for me. In fact, I am going to order a regular SwitchPilot with my next track order.

Thanks to the great advice I have received, the ECoS can wait for now, and I can concentrate on track for my layout and increasing my collection of Loks, wagons, and that ICE3 that I want so bad.

Steve
Offline Bigdaddynz  
#19 Posted : 31 July 2012 23:55:50(UTC)
Bigdaddynz

New Zealand   
Joined: 17/09/2006(UTC)
Posts: 13,999
Location: New Zealand
Originally Posted by: smoon Go to Quoted Post
I run what I like and makes me happy. My layout will end of kind of weird, but hey, it is my layout.


And that's the way it should be, and your attitude is shared by many of us here!
Offline Nielsenr  
#20 Posted : 01 August 2012 07:29:48(UTC)
Nielsenr

United States   
Joined: 06/10/2010(UTC)
Posts: 820
Location: Fort Lauderdale, FL
Steve,

Have been to Micromundo a couple of times. I live in the Fort Lauderdale area and Discount Trains in Fort Lauderdale (Oakland Park) has been my dealer for over 20 years, first in LGB, now in Marklin. His prices are decent for the US and I usually get first shot at limited edition items. As for Micromundo, I try and stay out of Miami.

PM me if you ever get down this way. I get to Orlando occasionally, maybe once a year.

Robert
Offline efel  
#21 Posted : 01 August 2012 08:15:47(UTC)
efel

France   
Joined: 23/02/2005(UTC)
Posts: 847
Originally Posted by: Bigdaddynz Go to Quoted Post

...The added advantage with the Switchpilot is that they can also be used as a k84 to switch light circuits or switch track power


Hi,

The switchPilot output is a unidirectional current, (like a k83 output). It can be used as a k84 to switch lights, but not to switch track power, that is a bidirectional current. A relay must be added to the SP output to switch track power. ESU makes such relays, but standard monostable relays can be used.
It is also interesting to note that the SP output is positive, unlike the k83 that is negative. That could -exceptionally- lead to compatibility issues (already pointed somewhere on this forum).
It's a good value for money for driving cosmetic signals.

Fred



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