Author Topic: MRH thread  (Read 400 times)

KPack

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MRH thread
« on: January 25, 2021, 10:30:01 PM »
As always seems to happen, Railpro got brought up again in a thread about DCC and wireless control.  (Thread is here in case you want to roll your eyes: https://model-railroad-hobbyist.com/node/41479).  I never get tired of hearing diehard DCC guys bash Railpro and defend their "precious".  I do the same when it comes to Railpro.  I understand the arguments and get where they are coming from in regards to Railpro.

However, I honestly don't understand why people love DCC so much.  I went over a friend's place today to help build his layout, and when he went to test run a new locomotive the crap hit the fan.  The whole system went crazy.  Multiple shorts and faults, unable to issue any commands, unable to select or control any locomotives, locomotives take off at full speed, etc.  And the system was working fine an hour before that.  I tried looking through the Digitrax manuals to help, but they were worthless.  Couldn't help but be reminded of trying get something working on an old MS DOS computer.  The whole time I kept thinking that setting up the layout with 3 PWR-56's would've saved all the headache....no more power supply+command station+booster+circuit panels+loconet.

If you like DCC you can keep it.  I've been around it enough to know that I hate it.  Give me Railpro any day of the week and I will happily enjoy running trains.

-Kevin

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Re: MRH thread
« Reply #1 on: January 25, 2021, 11:33:35 PM »
I deliberately tried to avoid reading that thread when I saw it when it was posted, somehow I just knew what it'd turn into though I'm kind of surprised it took more than a couple of pages to do so.

You are 100% right Kevin, they bash RailPro to defend their "precious" though some (at least one) are starting to see the light in that the traditional command station should be going away and the throttle itself should be the brains. The current fascination with WiFi and Bluetooth is interesting in a head shaking way. Ring deliberately chose to implement his own wireless protocol for a reason, same as a system I use at work  chose to implement their own wireless protocol, along with many others in industries doing the same; WiFi and Bluetooth are not the be all and end all of wireless communications.

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I went over a friend's place today to help build his layout, and when he went to test run a new locomotive the crap hit the fan

Yep, sounds just like an associates blog that I follow. He's a DigiTrax user and he's forever having problems on the large layout he's building. I too keep thinking a few PWR-56's and problem solved.

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trying get something working on an old MS DOS computer

Don't you go dissing my beloved DOS 6.22  ;)

Anyway...

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If you like DCC you can keep it

This +1. While DCC in itself isn't hard for me understand under the hood give me RailPro any day, while not perfect because of imposed "commercial decision" limitations it's still better. DCC lost me the day I had a loco on a club layout and it started moving back and forth of it's own accord. Yep, someone else had put the exact same model (so same address) on the layout and started running.

- Tim

Alan

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Re: MRH thread
« Reply #2 on: January 26, 2021, 07:24:09 AM »
For perspective I think you have to consider what the masses had before DCC. Block switches and the accompanying hundreds of miles of wire was like pointy sticks and bearskins. DCC must have seemed like magic at the time. Additionally, the protocol not being a proprietary secret gave the DCC ecosystem a big advantage over RP in that small manufacturers can join the fray. Protothrottle being a prime example.

The world today has become cell phone-centric. It is not surprising model railroaders gravitate that direction. They have a powerful computer in their hands, if only the train had the other half of the equation. You can't blame them for seeking such.

I liken DCC/RailPro to my experiences as a twenty-something gearhead wrenching on cars. Saabs were extraordinarily well engineered cars and an absolute joy to drive and work on. Yet they were outnumbered by Fords and Chevys a million to one.
Alan

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When I was a kid... no wait, I still do that. HO, 28x32, double deck, 1969, RailPro

trainman605

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Re: MRH thread
« Reply #3 on: January 26, 2021, 08:13:49 AM »
Since I have both type of systems, but not in the same scale, on my HOn3 layout I have NCE DCC which my Blackstone engines all came with Tsunami DCC decoders as standard equipment and it works very well for that scale. I have watched KPack's RailPro videos on YouTube and I can see where RailPro works in the HO diesels very well, much larger engines to deal with. As far as G scale goes I have never had a system in my engines till I put RailPro battery power in them, I will say here I think I made the perfect choice for my use. I did give NCE DCC some consideration for my G scale layout as it is indoors, but I just thought the RailPro battery powered engines would be so much more fun to run, plus I do belong to a Garden RR Club and I can just take my G scale engines and run them anywhere without concerns for power requirements. Control systems are for what works for you, I personally don't see why anyone would want DCC in any outdoor layout, when you can get battery power and just run your engines and forget about all those electrical concerns.

trainman

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Re: MRH thread
« Reply #4 on: January 26, 2021, 09:15:19 AM »
In the club that I used to be a member of, there were only two guys out of at least a dozen who knew anything about DCC. I watched them spend hours at the computer in an attempt to modify settings in locomotives, and often to no avail. There were frequently issues with the Wi-Fi, and the wheels on my locomotives would always foul up with track goop, despite cleaning the tracks. My user name sums it up.  ;)
Al

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G8B4Life

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Re: MRH thread
« Reply #5 on: January 26, 2021, 09:16:33 AM »
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For perspective I think you have to consider what the masses had before DCC. Block switches and the accompanying hundreds of miles of wire was like pointy sticks and bearskins. DCC must have seemed like magic at the time. Additionally, the protocol not being a proprietary secret gave the DCC ecosystem a big advantage over RP in that small manufacturers can join the fray. Protothrottle being a prime example.

I well and truly remember before DCC, well, before it really came to this country anyway. Back then it had big promises and not many features. Nothing has really changed on that front in the intervening years except some smart people made JMRI to make working with it easier and manufacturers added propriety stuff on top of the basic NMRA DCC decoder. If it was not for JMRI I don't believe that DCC would be as popular today as it is.

As for the openness of DCC, that's only the communication with the decoder and boosters, everything else is propriety to the manufacturer and they've used that to their commercial advantage (but I'm not telling anyone here anything new and DCC users won't hear any of it). ProtoThrottle isn't a command station so can't control decoders by itself, it requires a third party command station in which they have to beg or license the protocol to talk to the command station, that's why they sell separate expensive interfaces for their expensive throttles.

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The world today has become cell phone-centric. It is not surprising model railroaders gravitate that direction. They have a powerful computer in their hands, if only the train had the other half of the equation. You can't blame them for seeking such.

I don't blame them from seeking as such (though there is just as much push against using "phones" as for using them), what has me shaking my head is that they push for something without knowing anything about it, or any potential consequences of it (though one person in that thread seemed to have a clue). They think it's the be all and end all when it could be the opposite if not done properly.

I liken DCC/RailPro to the first PC compatible computer we had (an 80286) and any one of the Raspberry PI 4's I have. The 286 was huge, had a whopping 1 megabyte of ram and a 16 bit processor and would have cost a fortune (for the original owner) whereas the RPi4 outstrips it 20 fold in a package the size of a credit card and cost just over $100.00.

- Tim

trainman605

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Re: MRH thread
« Reply #6 on: January 26, 2021, 10:07:15 AM »
Like I said in a previous post today, I use both systems and I'm happy with both as far as they work. For myself I'm a modeler first and a runner second, so I have no want to improve, or add to what the manufactures offers, building a detailed model is all that interest me, being a runner of models just brings life to what I model. For those who want to improve on what they have, I say go for it, it's just another part of the hobby for me, that I have no interest in.

trainman

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Re: MRH thread
« Reply #7 on: January 27, 2021, 01:32:38 AM »
Trainman,

I don't think you'll get any arguments from users here (I even have an NCE ProCab, though I haven't used it in many, many years), I'd say everyone here is very accommodating of DCC users in that they use the system of their choice (DCC as opposed to a different control system). The problem is that accommodation is not reciprocal, which is what the first part of Kevin's post was about.

Every thread on every forum out there where RP is mentioned gets trashed by DCC fanboys and other uninformed people spouting all sorts of misinformation and mistruths to protect in their mind what they have invested in (DCC vs other competing) is the best, and no I'm not saying RP is the best. The referenced MRH thread has now gone exactly down that path with one vocal user outright calling RailPro a bad system and a bad choice. I'd bet they've never even held it in their hands once.

The second part of Kevin's post, well that's just the feeling after having been liberated of many of DCC's hold-backs and I feel the same way. You could be in more of a unique position than many of us in that you use one system for one thing and another system for another but I wonder how much of the more-difficult-than-it-needs-to-be parts of DCC (consisting, consist lighting, consist addressing, speed matching) you use in H0n3 steam.

- Tim

nortoneye

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Re: MRH thread
« Reply #8 on: January 27, 2021, 09:38:26 AM »
If you buy a new car and it's a lemon-generally you defend it so your choice doesn't look bad.  No amount of convincing will change the mind of a dedicated Digitrax or NCE modeler.  The RP decoders are a bit large for some applications-but it's so intuitive to use and that more than makes up for the issues with some small locos.  Our club layout is Digitrax for power-I enjoy making up a consist without having to ask someone how to do it.....To each his own... :)

ON28

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Re: MRH thread
« Reply #9 on: January 28, 2021, 11:16:41 PM »
The RP-DCC discussion is like VHS-Beta or Windows-OS. WE know what's better but Digitrax and NCE have a decades' headstart. I'd sure like Ring to speed up product development, establish relationships with loco makers, market more effectively, expand its reach and be more than a fringe brand. That's not too much to ask, right?   

trainman605

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Re: MRH thread
« Reply #10 on: January 29, 2021, 12:18:33 AM »
From what I've been told by a dealer is Ring is a small company with mostly family working there and 5 or 6 people are doing it all. I think they are doing a very good job with there product, but new developments will come slow, if your not happy with what they have and you can't wait, I would look elsewhere.

trainman

ON28

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Re: MRH thread
« Reply #11 on: January 29, 2021, 03:34:01 PM »
From what I've been told by a dealer is Ring is a small company with mostly family working there and 5 or 6 people are doing it all. I think they are doing a very good job with there product, but new developments will come slow, if your not happy with what they have and you can't wait, I would look elsewhere.

trainman

I know all that. You missed my sarcasm at the end. But manufacturers know hobbyist dollars go where they're wanted, and stay where they're appreciated. Tim's not in it for laughs.
« Last Edit: January 29, 2021, 04:00:26 PM by ON28 »

TwinStar

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Re: MRH thread
« Reply #12 on: January 30, 2021, 08:00:08 PM »
The propriety issue has come full circle and has lent credence to that argument for those of us in the Sergent Engineering camp. Frank is trying like hell to get out of the coupler business and several sought after versions, such as the H and shelf couplers, just aren't being produced and there doesn't appear to be anyone taking up the reins. In the pooled passenger equipment group that I operate in I can no longer make the argument for Sergent H couplers and we're in the process of standardizing on Kadee's with their horrific looking trip pins. So, I get the 'what if Ring ceases' argument now as it's happening in other parts of this hobby and there's no guarantee that anyone will take over Ring.

The HC is LOOOOOONG overdue for much needed upgrades (better ergonomics, better graphics, faster processor, better touch screen interface) and the sounds are significantly lacking compared to any DCC competitor. The N scale crowd, and small HO locomotives, have been promised a smaller LM for what, five plus years now? DCC sucks, I get that, but RailPro is competing by sucking just a little bit less now. If Tim wants to keep this a niche electronic hobby for himself then he's welcome to it. However better RailPro may be the lack of growth in both hardware and software make it a less appealing alternative with each passing year without any noticeable improvements.

I'm not pulling out my LM's anytime soon in my E unit fleet but I'm also not going to be wrestling one into any of my SW's either and they'll receive DCC instead. Relying on Tim solely for upgrades and growth puts no pressure on him to speed along innovative designs or scaling down the size for broader use. If he really wants RailPro to succeed then the best coupe that he could pull would be to allow Iowa Scaled to offer RailPro in their ProtoThrottle. It would be the only version that wouldn't require a second piece of equipment to talk to a third piece of equipment to talk to your locomotive. Or imagine a dual RailPro/DCC offering in a Rivet Counter ScaleTrains SD40-2 with frog drop and flange squeal sounds. He doesn't appear to have the capability or desire to take this industry wide and the niche uniqueness of this is wearing thin. I can get a very good RDC sound file in a $42 DCC decoder but still can't get one for my RDC. How may more years will I have to wait?

Jacob Damron
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G8B4Life

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Re: MRH thread
« Reply #13 on: January 30, 2021, 09:32:01 PM »
You raise some interesting points Jacob.

With Sergent, his succession model is flawed right from the outset. While I don't think he's "hell bent" on getting out (he'd just outright stop if he's hell bent) his succession model of "here's the 3D models, go figure it out for yourselves" was never going to work, most people don't have a foundry in their basement like he does and they don't have the years of development experience to know what to buy from what works and what doesn't to create a foundry. If he had been a bit more "here's the 3D models and this is the process and equipment I used" I believe we'd have seen the couplers available out there by now.

Yep, I get the "What if Ring ceases" argument, same as I get the what if DigiTrax ceases, or NCE ceases, or MRC ceases and nobody takes them over arguments. The DCC crowd seems to think they are immune from this propriety and ceasing business risk but their systems aren't, only their decoders.

Yes, I agree, the HC needs some upgrades. I won't comment on the ergonomics or processor at the moment but I did do up an alternate set of graphics for the HC a long time ago. People liked them but no-one (including myself so far) ever took them to Ring and said we think this looks better. I am still working on that alternate screen concept and also writing a hopefully thought provoking page for TR to read (which covers much of what you've said) but it's slow going.

Sound, I'll leave that subject alone, I've made my points on that before and been told how horrible they are.

- Tim