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Offline mike c  
#1 Posted : 14 November 2018 04:54:32(UTC)
mike c

Canada   
Joined: 28/11/2007(UTC)
Posts: 6,005
Location: Montreal, QC
Hello,

I just received my Piko RBe 540 and BDt Pilot Coach set from my Swiss dealer.
The models come in a box which is now standard for Piko Expert Models and is very similar to those used by Maerklin for current models.
The instructions are enclosed in a pull out package which is inserted into the inner tray of the package, one set for the RBe and a second set for the BDt.
On first inspection, the model looks very nice. It has a reasonable weight to it and the Pilot Coach has a nice weight to it too.

I had the chance to first run the model on my test track with my 6021. RBe is set to address 03 and the BDt is set to address 04. I was not able to access that many functions and initially had some issues with the Pilot Coach.
I then set up my MS2 and tested the model with that controller. Using DCC on address 03, I was able to test functions F0-F15 on the RBe and the functions on the Pilot Coach.

I was rather surprised to see that the announcements were included in the first 9 functions, but the interior lighting on the RBe were set at address F10, so they cannot be used unless you activate Motorola addresses 2 and 3.

I was also a little surprised to see that if you opt for the second Motorola address, it might interfere with the address 04 for the pilot coach.
Other that programming a consist, I am not sure how you could get both RBe and BDt to respond to direction change in tandem.
If you change both models to the same address, some functions (sounds) on the RBe would coincide with functions on the BDt (lighting).
Ideally, you would have lights on/off, Swiss lights (white/red), interior lights so that the same CVs would control the functions on either unit.
I am also trying to figure out how the cab lighting, which is direction controlled, could be modified so that in the direction that would be pilot coach forward, the RBe cab lights could be shut off.

The Piko model comes with end doors which can be replaced by an extended gangway so that there is no gap between the Triebwagen and the next coach.
For additional intermediate coaches, I would recommend the Lima 309421 (AB) and 309670 (B) or the newer Liliput models. The Roco 44338AKU and Hag models had a larger white band above the windows, which might look a little obvious next to the Piko models.

On to the last issue. Many people have questioned the design of the face of the RBe and how the skirting/plow was rendered on the model.
The Piko model has a one piece skirt in the front, which is attached to the coupling shaft. The entire piece shifts when the coupler moves to one side or the other. This is an interesting solution, but I question whether those who want an optimal appearance would be satisfied with the way this was addressed.
I know that they chose this solution as an alternative to the cut out used by Lima in the 1990s model by that company, but we have to admit that this model is at least 2.5 generations more recent (25 years). The Lima couplers were rather bulky and it should have been possible to have a similar design to the Lima model with a smaller cutout which would have affected the appearance less than the solutions chosen by Lima (originally) and Piko today.

Interestingly, it seems that the announced model of the same Triebwagen from LS Models should have exactly the type of coupler shaft design that I would like to see, so that model and the other variants will definitely be on my list.

LSM has also announced Pilot Coaches, but I would be very tempted to try to find the green BDt in it's original configuration from Piko if I could.

Not my videos, but interesting nonetheless:



I will post my own photos, including some of the model in operation (couplings and gangway) in the coming days.

Regards

Mike C
thanks 3 users liked this useful post by mike c
Offline mario54i  
#2 Posted : 14 November 2018 09:37:06(UTC)
mario54i

Italy   
Joined: 28/03/2007(UTC)
Posts: 118
Location: Torino,
I agree about the strange function mapping, who cares having the ticket collector asking tickets in the first row of functions. We should need a lokprogrammer for Piko decoders.
I had a look at instructions of the Piko decoder, it's nearly impossible to understand how to do complex settings.
And what about the lighting of future intermediate coaches ? There are no current conducting couplers, slider and decoder for each coach ?

Regards
Offline rbw993  
#3 Posted : 14 November 2018 19:35:51(UTC)
rbw993

United States   
Joined: 19/08/2008(UTC)
Posts: 461
Thanks Mike,
I am expecting mine to show up shortly. I will be using a CS2 so I am interested to see how it works as a consist.

Regards,
Roger
Offline mario54i  
#4 Posted : 15 November 2018 10:05:49(UTC)
mario54i

Italy   
Joined: 28/03/2007(UTC)
Posts: 118
Location: Torino,
I tried to change the function mapping, according to manual settings are written in CV 33-45 but nothing happens, no change.
It looks like the manual doesn't match the decoder, manual refers to F0-F12 only, but actually decoder has also F13-F24

Regards
Offline rbw993  
#5 Posted : 20 November 2018 17:45:14(UTC)
rbw993

United States   
Joined: 19/08/2008(UTC)
Posts: 461
Looks like mine has been lost by the USPS. Delivered to next town - don't know to who. USPS investigating.
Offline mike c  
#6 Posted : 21 November 2018 03:50:31(UTC)
mike c

Canada   
Joined: 28/11/2007(UTC)
Posts: 6,005
Location: Montreal, QC
Originally Posted by: rbw993 Go to Quoted Post
Looks like mine has been lost by the USPS. Delivered to next town - don't know to who. USPS investigating.


Hi Roger,

Sounds strange. Do you have a tracking number?
Did you ask the dealer to give you a tracking number?
You should also ask them to launch an official claim.

There are still a few in stock at select dealers in Switzerland. Perhaps you might want to reserve one in case your model is lost.
If you need any help or advice with USPS or Swiss Post, send me a PM.

I have heard of problems where the European addressing standard causes confusion with delivery.
In Europe, they normally write numerical address after the street, which often causes confusion here.
I have also seen issues with the ZIP code leading to issues.

If it was sent Economic or Priority Post, you should be able to track it.
If you track it to a specific post office, I would suggest you call that office or try to get in contact with somebody at the regional centre.

Regards

Mike C
Offline rbw993  
#7 Posted : 21 November 2018 16:31:34(UTC)
rbw993

United States   
Joined: 19/08/2008(UTC)
Posts: 461
Thanks for the offer Mike. Fortunately it was tracked to the post office in the next down. They said it will be available for pick up at my local PO today. I wonder whether it would have straightened itself out on its own? I just happened to look up the tracking after reading your review. I am looking forward to running it. I have a couple HAG NPZ coaches I can run with it while I wait for Piko to come out with their matching ones.

Best regards,
Roger
Offline rbw993  
#8 Posted : 22 November 2018 16:14:24(UTC)
rbw993

United States   
Joined: 19/08/2008(UTC)
Posts: 461
I picked up the package and unpacked it last night. I was very pleased with the level of detail. In reading over the instructions it appears that the Rail Car is MFX compatible so it should self register. Be nice if it has the appropriate icon. The Steuerwagon instructions do not list MFX as an option, just Motorola and DCC. I will try setting it up as a consist and report on how it works.

Regards,
Roger
Offline rbw993  
#9 Posted : 27 November 2018 22:29:13(UTC)
rbw993

United States   
Joined: 19/08/2008(UTC)
Posts: 461
Here is a picture of my RBe 540 and trailer with two HAG cars.

RBe 540 Hag.jpg

The railcar loaded on my CS2 automatically with all functions. I entered the trailer using DCC address 4 and all functions work as well. The set runs smoothly and sounds are good. Frame on the railcar is very heavy providing good traction and rail contact. Motor must be very compact as its location is not visible from the exterior.

Christian at Eyrotech emailed me that the two car add on set will be be coming out in May. There is no AC version so the lighting question remains. He did say that AC wheel sets will b e available.

I am pleased with it.

Regards,
Roger

thanks 1 user liked this useful post by rbw993
Offline mario54i  
#10 Posted : 04 December 2018 13:44:54(UTC)
mario54i

Italy   
Joined: 28/03/2007(UTC)
Posts: 118
Location: Torino,
Question for German speaking members : did you see any comment about Piko decoders and their programming in German forums ?
As Mike has already pointed out, function assignment is crazy... whistle on F14 and announcements on F5 and 6.
Should the model have an ESU decoder I would have easily changed the function mapping to have a more practical function assignment for both engine and pilot coach, to drive both together with the same DCC address.
But this Piko decoder seems unchangeable, and the manual doesn't help. I already asked to Piko support but no reply after one week.
Am I the only one that would like to control this beautiful model as a single engine, instead of using it as a consist and toggling between the two decoders ?
BTW, I hope that the future additional coaches will be lighted, otherwise we have to find LEDs of the same shade.
Thanks
Regards
Offline Unholz  
#11 Posted : 04 December 2018 15:29:11(UTC)
Unholz

Switzerland   
Joined: 29/07/2007(UTC)
Posts: 1,075
Location: Switzerland
Originally Posted by: mario54i Go to Quoted Post
Question for German speaking members : did you see any comment about Piko decoders and their programming in German forums ?

What I have seen so far either in the Swiss HAG forum or in the Stummi forum were not only simple comments but reminded me of desperate cries for help coming from a climber hanging in a cliff wall...Crying These Piko decoders evidently exist in their own world. ThumbDown

Offline mario54i  
#12 Posted : 05 December 2018 11:12:26(UTC)
mario54i

Italy   
Joined: 28/03/2007(UTC)
Posts: 118
Location: Torino,
Thanks.
I had a look at Stummi (with the help of google) but no one knows how to do.
Apparently it's an Uhlembrock 36560 decoder but there is no manual even in the Uhlembrock site.
The available manual doesn' t match the decoder, functions work in spite of the CV settings. E.g. F10 controls lighting even if the corresponding CVs are set to zero.
Next time I buy a Piko model I will buy a soundless version, so replacing the built in decoder will be less expensive.
Regards
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