59062Re:TCS announces 2 new DCC decoders for AZL and MTL
- Dec 10, 2008Ron and Jack:
TCS is not revolutionary but brings a practical to install decoder to
the AZLs where everything else had to be shoe horned or custom fitted
in there. Now ANYONE can put one in ! They also bring competition
(and a better fitting decoder) for the MTL products along with 4
functions instead of Digitrax's 2 functions (MTL locos only)
The new TCS Z2 is a 2 function and comparible to the Digitrax DZ123M0
(<---that is a zero on the end) or the older DZ123 that has wires on
it for any loco. Both are 2 functions. 2 functions are fine for 90%
of the users as most are only use for the 'headlights'.
The new TCS Z2 is for the AZL's and has to be wired in (VERY easy if
you can solder and someone can tell or show you how, even on the
phone if you spend $15 for a soldering iron). You COULD use it in
the MTL locos but why when you have two choices of drop ins.
The new TCS MZ4 is a 4 function and only designed to go in the MTL
products, competing with the Digitrax DZ123M0 <--a zero there. But
now you have a 4 function decoder so some of us can add those ditch
lights or extra light functions like a top beacon or second front
headlight in MARS mode.
The default for the 2 functions is F0F (that's a zero in there) for
the first function output a and F0R for the second output. (Man,
don't ask me why it is not F1R as I have never found the [idiot]
reason why). The FOF and FOR means Forward and Reverse as they are
for lighting (99% of users). These are referred to function 1 and 2
only when you are counting the number of functions. They start
at 'zero' as it is a digital based system and zero is a value !
(wink). So, when you run the loco, F0F activates when going forward
and F0R when you go reverse. No matter which way you put the loco on
the track. No programming on your part. Just drop that baby right in
there. They are not always "on" by default so you press the F0 button
on the Cab (the hand held 'throttle'), usually labeled Headlight on
most cabs (look on the back or next to back page of a Model
Railroader magazine at an MRC ad an you can see the buttons). They
will light in what ever direction you are going. Same if you push it
again, they will go off. You can program a variable to make them
stay on and in a certain desired way, read on !
Virtually all DCC decoders can redefine the function outputs and the
way they work. Say you don't have a rear light (e.g. most steam,
F7's, etc.). You could remap the F0R (that's the second function if
you are still following me) to another F0F but make it's light
a "MARS" like light rather than solid on like F0F or better, make it
F1 so you can control it seperate. You can make them turn on only
when actually moving (speed >1) rather than just on (default mode if
you press the direction button on the cab, the light immediately also
changes [helps idiots know which way their loco will be going]). Or
maybe you have a yard beacon on the top.
Now, the cool thing is if you put 2 or more locos in a consist, only
the front loco's light will come on and when you go in reverse, the
rear-most loco's light will come on. A lot of railroads had a rule
that if the loco was active, the lights had to be on so when in
reverse, the front light would dim rather than off. This has to be
programmed but you will soon learn this is a single variable, a
brainer to do !
4 (or more) function decoder have the same first two functions: FOF
and FOR + 2 more: F1 and F2 (again, don't ask me about the numbering
system). These extra 2 are used to turn on sound, smoke, beacons,
ditch lights, etc. For ditch lights (those 2 alternating white
lights on some diesel locos) requires 2 function outputs.
If you run several trains on your layout, run a main line (or two)
AND want to just let them run while you do switching functions or,
you want to go to a larger show layout, you definitely want to go
DCC. If you run only one loco at a time or a small layout, you may
just want to stay DCC. But DCC can make your locos run better at low
speeds. $150 for a starter set (NCE Power Cab, MRC-k-e-y Prodigy or
Digitrax [Zepher?]) plus $25 for a decoder and you can play with the
big boys ;)
And don't forget, you can run DCC locos any direction and any speed
on the same track. Just in case you like driving in traffic, you can
make that loco hug the front train's rear !
SF Bay Area Z
--- In email@example.com, Jack Chase <cjc167x@...> wrote:
> Thank you for an absolutely excellent write up concerning these DCC
decoders. It was very well written. When you state that the Z2 is a
2 function decoder, what does that mean, exactly? For instance, I
have the Digitrax drop ins in my MTL engines. How would one describe
these Digitrax 123?? decoders?
> Oh, I was also in contact with Norm's and his TCS decoders are "on
the way to him."
> Thanks for the information.
> Jack Chase
> --- On Wed, 12/10/08, Jeff BAZ-man <sjbazman49@...> wrote:
> From: Jeff BAZ-man <sjbazman49@...>
> Subject: [Z_Scale] Re:TCS announces 2 new DCC decoders for AZL and
> To: firstname.lastname@example.org
> Date: Wednesday, December 10, 2008, 2:38 PM
> The MZ4A's won't ship until January and there will be plenty
> available so no one should be "out of stock" as they will be
> While these are unproven or tested mainstream in Z, they are an
> existing design from the N and HO series that are simply relaid to
> fit in the Z locos. So I have faith. Plus 4 function versus 2 on
> MTL loco version (we like to put in addtional lights rather than
> common 2 function Forward and Reverse lights) I'm switching.
> The TCS's will fit more easily. The Digitrax DZ123MO mounting
> notches are slightly off location so you have to file the 'rear'
> about 1/32 of an inch farther back so they will propertly start in
> the 4 mounting posts.
> Both will work. Both (actaully all decoders) have Back Elecro
> Force (BEMF) that tries to compensate for speed changes with loads,
> up/down grades or slow speed runnign. You can EASILY turn it off on
> the TCS decoders by hitting F6 on your DCC Cab (hand held throttle)
> or by changing CV61 to 'permanently' turn it off (or on). Digitrax
> and others do not have the convenience of Cab Function controlling
> and require CV changes to turn it off/on. Some Z locos may not run
> well with it on, some run better. Normally, it is not a good idea
> Consists (or MU for Multiple Units e.g. 2 or 3 locos lashed
> as one will try and compensate and then the other tries to
> so you sometimes see this surging difference between the 2 or 3
> locos. There are normally several variables that can be changed to
> tweak it but the loco performance or position in a consist or even
> the direction can screw it all up. Turn it off in these cases.
> You can order the Digitrax DZ123M0 (that's a zero at the end) from
> number of places where as existing TCS resellers will have to stock
> up on the TCS Z products. Norm's Trainworld
> (http://www.normstra inworld.com/ dccz.htm) back in New England
> have them in stock ! Guaranteed.
> SF Bay Area Z
> --- In z_scale@yahoogroups .com, "mompey" <mompey@> wrote:
> > --- In z_scale@yahoogroups .com, "Jeff BAZ-man" <sjbazman49@ >
> > wrote:
> > >
> > > Tuesday 12/9: I spoke with John Forsythe, Owner of Train
> > > Systems (TCS) whom I discussed the decoders with at NTS. The Z2
> > for
> > > the AZL GP7 and SD70/75's are now shipping. These 2 function
> > > decoders sit on the chassis, under the rear LED and wire to the
> > > contacts of the light board, after slipping off the bronze
> > > bars used for DC operation. These new decoders are 0.26"
> > > wide decoders [i][b]easily[ /b][/i] fit flat on the chassis. No
> > > taking the cab off of the shell. Installation pictures will be
> > > posted around the end of this week.
> > > http://www.tcsdcc com/NewDecoders. html
> > >
> > Hi Jeff
> > I was going to order the digitrax (DZ123M0) for my MTL loco's, Im
> > to DCC but based on what your post said I assume I'd be far
> > installing the MZA4 with BEMF??
> > Also how long B4 manufactures will have decoders factory
> > Thanks
> > Mike..
> [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
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