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Stay with Lenz or change?





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#1 cutting42

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Posted 12 May 2018 - 18:59

Hi All

 

I am fairly experienced in DCC since the early years and came through Lenz Compact to Lenz LZV100 and RS232 interface and Railroad & Co although only demo mode as I was waiting to finish a layout before purchasing the full system.

 

Fast forward 15 years or so and I find Lenz has not changed much (good and bad) but there are many more manufacturers out there. I need a better controller than the compact as a throttle and still want full automation for my layout. I have a large number of Lenz LB101 occupation detectors that I would not wish to replace and a large number of MERG accessory decoders/encoders.

 

So the question is, do I buy the upcoming new Lenz handset and stay on track or would I benefit from changing to ESU/Zimo a another brand and also is RR&Co the only game in town, are there automation alternatives?

 

Can I use other brand throttles on the Lenz LZV100?

 

Can I use my Lenz LB101 and MERG decoders on the other brand?

 

Thanks for your thoughts.

 

Gareth





#2 WIMorrison

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Posted 12 May 2018 - 19:08

After all this of using Lenz I would wait until the new system is available to see what it actually offers - you will find if you jump to something else then you will get a whole new series of shortcomings and limitations ;)


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#3 NIRCLASS80

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Posted 12 May 2018 - 20:38

I would stick with Lenz personally. After 23 years and only a version upgrade chip my Lenz system is still going strong. I have had friends buy other systems because Lenz wasn't trendy enough and have watched them have more than a few problems. Lenz maybe slow with changes but there is a Germany engineering feel about it.
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#4 Ron Ron Ron

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Posted 12 May 2018 - 20:48

Lenz are introducing a new handset, the LH101, to replace the LH100.

They already have the simpler and more limited LH01, which replaced the Compact in their SET 01 starter set .....and also replaced the old LH90 a few years ago.

 

The Roco/Fleischmann MultiMaus handset can also be used with the LZV100.

 

Lenz are promising WiFi dongles to allow LH101's to be used wirelessly, but these are unlikely to appear this year.

 

Alternatively, with the USB/Ethernet interface, a mobile device such as a Smartphone or Tablet can be used as a handset.

e.g. Using the TouchCab app for iPhones and iPad's.

 

 

 

 

lenz_DSC_2726.jpg   LH01.jpg

 

 

multimaus-kurzanleitung-fleischmann.jpg?


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#5 BoD

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Posted 12 May 2018 - 21:47

RR&Co is, as far as I understand it, a very comprehensive piece of software. It is also very expensive. JMRI does a similar job and I use Rocrail and it does everything I need it to. Both are free although rocrail does encourage a donation.

I have used Lenz equipment for years and have occasionally thought about changing. I have always decided against it because my Lenz equipment works, I am familiar with it and, again, it does what I need it to. Clunky, perhaps, definitely not all the bells and whistles of some newer systems. but comprehensive features.
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#6 JCClark

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Posted 12 May 2018 - 22:50

I used Lenz for a good few years but became frustrated with their stack system.

I made the plunge and purchased the ESU ECoS and what a difference.

Totally in to the system and cannot see past it, an unbelievable bit of model railway kit.

John

#7 Dagworth

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Posted 13 May 2018 - 00:58

I used Lenz for a good few years but became frustrated with their stack system.

I made the plunge and purchased the ESU ECoS and what a difference.

Totally in to the system and cannot see past it, an unbelievable bit of model railway kit.

John

Whereas I sold my ECoS and went back to my Lenz Set 100, it's bombproof reliability for me every time.

 

Andi


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#8 fcwilt

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Posted 13 May 2018 - 03:36

Hi,

 

Hardware wise you might like to check out:

 

https://www.digikeij...us-central.html

 

It should support all of your existing hardware.

 

Command stations I own include Digitrax DC100/DCS200, NCE Power Pro, Roco Z21 and Digikeijs DR5000. Currently I am using the Z21 for running trains but am getting ready to install the DR5000 and give that a try. All other automation is currently handled by a stand-alone LocoNet.

 

 

Software wise TrainController GOLD is as good as it gets. SILVER is not bad but BRONZE is rather limited.

 

ITrain is similar but a good deal more limited: https://www.berros.eu/en/itrain/ 

 

JMRI is simply not in the running for full automation - yet it can be done but it's way too hard compared to TrainController.

 

 

Frederick



#9 John K

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Posted 13 May 2018 - 08:02

I'd stick with Lenz. It isn't the flashiest system, but it has one unassailable advantage over the competition; It always works.

 

If I were starting from scratch I might consider Digikeijs, but probably not for too long.

For the limited degree of automation I want I use JMRI.

I also use WiThrottle (and Engine Driver) so anybody with a smartphone can have a handset.

But there are lots of ways of skinning cats.

John K


Edited by John K, 13 May 2018 - 08:05 .

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#10 Jintyman

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Posted 13 May 2018 - 12:16

I quite agree with all of the above, and I'm looking forward to the LH101 when it appears.

 

I purchased my Lenz Set 100 back in 2004/5 and up till two years ago had had nothing but reliable operation from it.

Two years ago however, it started acting up and I then sent it to A & H Models for them to check it and upgrade it to the later version as I was still on the old version. They telephoned me to say that it would have to go back to Lenz and the P&P would be £19. I thought that it was going to be expensive but after about 4 weeks, A & H called to say that they had the unit back from Lenz fully repaired. I asked them how much and they said the repair was free of charge as it was a component that should not have broken, so all I had to pay was the £19 P&P to Lenz and the P&P back to me from A & H, which was about £10. The bonus was that Lenz had automatically upgraded the unit to the later version FOC.

 

Now this customer service speaks volumes to me, 11 years after purchase it was repaired under warranty asnd upgraded FOC and where I only had the postage to pay for. I wonder how many other companies can offer that kind of service, not just Lenz though, A&H Models were also exemplary in their communication and service.

I will certainly be sticking with my Lenz. ;)

 

On another note, does anyone know when the new Lenz system is being released and are they still offering the LZV 100 trade in that I'd heard they were advertising?

 

Jinty ;)


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#11 cutting42

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Posted 13 May 2018 - 15:04

Thanks for the input. I think I will stick with Lenz and Train-controller then, good to have an old decision reaffirmed :)



#12 two tone green

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Posted 13 May 2018 - 15:07

Was always happy with my Lenz set up which controlled a complex 4mm layout via RR&Co for over ten years.

Good system and always will be and there lots of goodies out there from third party suppliers which all work nicely with Lenz such as LDT.

#13 Ron Ron Ron

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Posted 13 May 2018 - 18:32

.......On another note, does anyone know when the new Lenz system is being released

 
Lenz first mentioned they were developing, or planning to develop the new system in 2008 (10 years ago) and officially announced the LZV 200 in Feb. 2010.
It was due out in 2011, then in 2012 and....etc, etc.
 
The LH 101 was announced about 2 or 3 years ago IIRC?
 
The latest info is 4th quarter 2018, but that's been the same old story over the last few years, when rough dates have been given and then nothing appeared.
 
Lenz are not exactly fast in this regard.
 
 
[Note: I see on the A&H web site that the SET 010 and LH 01 handset will also be replaced, along with the discontinued SET 100 and LH 100, by the new SET 101 and LH 101, when they eventually appear.

 

....and are they still offering the LZV 100 trade in that I'd heard they were advertising?


The trade-in offer is still on the German version of the Lenz web site, but there's no mention of it on certain German retailer web sites, so the trade-in deal might only be available directly with Lenz.

It's always possible that the trade-in offer will become available through official retailers and import agents, once the new product is available and in the shops.

A&H might have some information on this.

 

 

The English language version of the Lenz web site, has been unavailable for several months, with a notice saying it's being re-vamped.

The German version has news items added fairly regularly, but the main content hasn't been fully and properly updated for a long time.

Nowadays, the company's main emphasis appears to be on their own range of RTR models and sadly the DCC side of things seems to be taking a back seat.

 

 

.


Edited by Ron Ron Ron, 13 May 2018 - 18:39 .

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#14 Allegheny1600

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Posted 14 May 2018 - 14:29

As someone who has 'chopped & changed' a fair bit over the years, I have never seen a better, more reliable system than Lenz especially if allied with Roco Multimaus* operation - this is simply Bomb-proof.

I'm now in my early fifties and whenever I pick up a new system, it is a very hard and steep learning curve, to try and get to grips with how that system operates.

So - I would say to stick with Lenz! You know how their systems operate, everything should stay compatible and you get superb after sales service.

John.

 

*Lenz base station and hardware, Roco Multimaus for handsets.


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#15 cutting42

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Posted 14 May 2018 - 14:46

As someone who has 'chopped & changed' a fair bit over the years, I have never seen a better, more reliable system than Lenz especially if allied with Roco Multimaus* operation - this is simply Bomb-proof.

I'm now in my early fifties and whenever I pick up a new system, it is a very hard and steep learning curve, to try and get to grips with how that system operates.

So - I would say to stick with Lenz! You know how their systems operate, everything should stay compatible and you get superb after sales service.

John.

 

*Lenz base station and hardware, Roco Multimaus for handsets.

 

Thanks, what is the Multimaus like for function switching (sound)?



#16 Allegheny1600

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Posted 14 May 2018 - 14:52

Hi Gareth,

Do you mean switching the (sound or otherwise) functions on & off?

If so then it's fine, just like many other handsets, I'm sure.

Cheers,

John.


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#17 JST

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Posted 14 May 2018 - 21:32

I  have nothing useful to add to this thread other than to say nice bass! Personally I am a Musicman Stingray man - I have a fretted and fretless version!  :sungum:


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#18 newbryford

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Posted 14 May 2018 - 21:38

Another Lenz user here - since 2005 - all good for me. 

As others have said - virtually bomb-proof. I tried to fry a LZV100 last year by loading too much onto it.

It was too hot to touch for more than a second, but survived the ordeal.

 

My only odd issues have been with the cable strain relief on the LH100 handset.

I will be experimenting with a Roco Multimaus handset next time out.

 

Cheers,

Mick


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#19 cutting42

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Posted 15 May 2018 - 01:31

I  have nothing useful to add to this thread other than to say nice bass! Personally I am a Musicman Stingray man - I have a fretted and fretless version!  :sungum:

 

 

Love MM as well, my fretless:

 

42071753332_7096df4bde_b.jpg


Edited by cutting42, 15 May 2018 - 01:32 .


#20 Tricky Dicky

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Posted 15 May 2018 - 08:54

Lenz first mentioned they were developing, or planning to develop the new system in 2008 (10 years ago) and officially announced the LZV 200 in Feb. 2010.
It was due out in 2011, then in 2012 and....etc, etc.
 
The LH 101 was announced about 2 or 3 years ago IIRC?
 
The latest info is 4th quarter 2018, but that's been the same old story over the last few years, when rough dates have been given and then nothing appeared.
 
Lenz are not exactly fast in this regard.


 
 
[Note: I see on the A&H web site that the SET 010 and LH 01 handset will also be replaced, along with the discontinued SET 100 and LH 100, by the new SET 101 and LH 101, when they eventually
 

The trade-in offer is still on the German version of the Lenz web site, but there's no mention of it on certain German retailer web sites, so the trade-in deal might only be available directly with Lenz.
It's always possible that the trade-in offer will become available through official retailers and import agents, once the new product is available and in the shops.
A&H might have some information on this.
 
 
The English language version of the Lenz web site, has been unavailable for several months, with a notice saying it's being re-vamped.
The German version has news items added fairly regularly, but the main content hasn't been fully and properly updated for a long time.
Nowadays, the company's main emphasis appears to be on their own range of RTR models and sadly the DCC side of things seems to be taking a back seat.
 
 
.


I have to agree that Lenz equipment is bombproof. However, though they regularly make announcements of new equipment on the way as pointed out above the wait can be years so much is just vapourware. As far as I can recall other than some new decoders the last addition to their system was an upgraded computer interface and that is some years back.

Richard

#21 JST

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Posted 15 May 2018 - 09:39

Love MM as well, my fretless:

 

42071753332_7096df4bde_b.jpg

 

Nice! Here are my two bad boys:-

 

https://photos.app.g...sxUlanw2gYwLOd2

 

Not sure how to make images to appear in the thread!


Edited by JST, 15 May 2018 - 09:41 .

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#22 tractor_37260

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Posted 16 May 2018 - 12:03

Another Lenz user here - since 2005 - all good for me. 

As others have said - virtually bomb-proof. I tried to fry a LZV100 last year by loading too much onto it.

It was too hot to touch for more than a second, but survived the ordeal.

 

My only odd issues have been with the cable strain relief on the LH100 handset.

I will be experimenting with a Roco Multimaus handset next time out.

 

Cheers,

Mick

 

The Roco Multimaus coil cable works great with the LH100 - I just cut off it's original plug and hard wired it to the handset, wrapping part of the coil around the plastic pins to help strain relief on the soldered joints - so far so good !  I got fed up of standing on the original flat cable and breaking wires !!


Edited by tractor_37260, 16 May 2018 - 12:05 .

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#23 cutting42

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Posted 16 May 2018 - 16:27

Nice! Here are my two bad boys:-

 

https://photos.app.g...sxUlanw2gYwLOd2

 

Not sure how to make images to appear in the thread!

 

 

Lovely basses. Never played a fretted but the fretless is a legendary sound.