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Roco MultiMausPro System





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#1 Tim Hale

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Posted 18 March 2011 - 16:42

Has anyone bought one? Is the price justifiable compared to other wireless systems? Comments please as I cannot find any objective review of this device.

Thanks guys

DesA

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#2 Ron Ron Ron

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Posted 18 March 2011 - 17:14

Don't forget comparisons will be complicated by the fact that the price includes a bundled copy of the Freiwald developed RocoMotion software.
The impression I get is that the current version, 5.9 is not too far off RR&co Bronze and includes a free copy of TrainProgrammer. That lot must be worth something like £50 - £70 ?

Best price is around £390 for the complete set.
Bearing in mind if a MultiMausPro wireless handset costs about £170 on its own, this prices the rest of the package - base station (digital amplifier, radio base station & computer interface all in one unit), transformer and software suite - at around £220.
If the software suite is worth say £50 or so, then the base station (digital amp, radio base station & computer interface) and transformer will account for approx. £170.

Sorry I can't point you towards any reviews.


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#3 Tim Hale

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Posted 18 March 2011 - 17:36

Don't forget comparisons will be complicated by the fact that the price includes a bundled copy of the Freiwald developed RocoMotion software.
The impression I get is that the current version, 5.9 is not too far off RR&co Bronze and includes a free copy of TrainProgrammer. That lot must be worth something like £50 - £70 ?


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Hi Ron,

I just want an objective review of the system, the only comments that I have read seem to be quotes from the Roco website

DesA.

#4 Tony_S

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Posted 20 March 2011 - 13:18

Hi Ron,

I just want an objective review of the system, the only comments that I have read seem to be quotes from the Roco website

DesA.


I don't know if this objective but at least you can see it being used.


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5PFe1sxSjTg


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#5 Phil S

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Posted 20 March 2011 - 16:41

We have the Roco/Fleischmann Pro Unit with 1 handset, and have used it with position feedback on our portable 'Skandi-Demo' layout last year. - In the UK you may find it more easily as and via Fleischmann stockists, as they are more common?
Much of any 'review' must repeat the information given on the website 8-) - or accept it does what it says on the box.

The Additional features of the base unit over the old Amplifier and Multimaus and rocomotion Interface combo are:

1/ The 'pro unit' has changed from Serial to USB HID communication for the link to the PC and Rocomotion software. V5.9 software runs on both old and new units- download available from the Roco website. Whereas the Serial Protocol has now been published - hopefully allowing such as JMRI to use the Roco Feedback Modules sometime soon, the new version hasn't; and I had hoped to write my own software for it, but find this change a stumbling block. [ I should still have the old unit somewhere - it has been misplaced, and the Pro unit was therefore obtained a few days before a show we were due to do - so we only had a minimum of time to set things up ]

We had an upgrade to the software to install - this went ahead easily.. We had found it could 'lock up' occasionally -requiring Power-off reset of the Handset - so the CE compulsory screw over the battery cover has not been replaced!

The handset forms a link with a specific Master Pro unit - but this CAN be changed - similar to Mobile phones and Hands-free units in cars - so a handset CAN be used with more than 1 Master Unit. wireless communication is 2-way, so that status is known.
We first had this benefit with our Massoth Wireless Handsets ('G-Scale') which clearly showed its advantages over 1-way transmission (such as LGB wireless handsets). As with any battery-powered item: if doing a show, start with fresh batteries and have a spare set just in case - I do not leave the set installed- partly as we experienced difficulty turning it off by button/timeout as expected.

There was some comment on the Dutch Roco forum suggesting that the response speed with 5.9 was slower than 5.8 - making loco automation trickier (search for Dutch Roco Forum for more details). The comparison to 'the Full' version(s) of RR+Co is seen by comparing the window-option tabs... both manuals may be downloaded freely: Rocomotion contains only the basic settings, and of course, only settings for Roco Feedback modules. 20 Feedback Modules are now supported (160 locations) in 2 blocks of 10 (created when setting the module addresses) - but I suspect the 20 also works on the old units, with the new software (it had been 16 modules).
There is,of course, nothing stopping anayone using/trying RR+Co full s/w on the new unit; but again we are lacking support for other software sources because of the undisclosed protocol - which I'd have thought hindered sales!

The PRO unit maintains a CYCLE of 64 LOCOS compared to 32 locos with the old Multimaus unit [ On the old system, the intelligence was in the MASTER HANDSET - ie Multimaus or Maus 2 - but in the new sysytem, it is INSIDE the PRO unit - so you can freely add Multimice on cabled inputs (provided) and use them instead of or in parallel to the Pro Handset(s)
(The repeating cycle of 64 compares with just 8 maintained locos on old LGB MTS 2 units, and 8/16?/32??? (user choice) on the Massoth - Function data words for any loco are sent immediately before the speed packet - and do not decrease the 64 loco count, but extend the cycle time slightly. The old Multimaus based unit is the same, but with only a 32 loco list. This affects how many locos may be left standing around your layout with functions selected etc.

The LIBRARY (which, as before is NOT limited to CV1 addresses as implied by the manuals - but 4-digit as well) again holds 64 locos but there is a download ability mentioned which I havn't tried yet. (The old Multimaus allowed copying from handset to handset.

RAILCOM is supported ... but, of course, if, as I do, you use '10764 Amplifier's' as Boosters (they are the same internally) you will NOT get the benefit of Railcom on the other power districts. - This could be why Roco describe them as being 'incompatible'?
I have not yet tried Railcom with either an Accessory Decoder (eg ESUs) or Loco decoder.

As with the 'Add-On' Rocomotion i/f: using the PGM track connection is the usual situation of separate section of track and this HAS feedback. I recall it behave as others do, and stops the main layout whilst programming - since you are using the handset(s) - as with the old unit, any handset can program (unless locked out using the child lock - not tested!)

Since Feedback during programming CAN be useful, users may appreciate this - although I find that in some cases, 'blind' programming is also useful (eg un-motored decoders) - and I also have a SPROG for programming, as this can save a record of CVs. Therefore I've not tried the RR+Co programming software - since the 5.9 s/w is available to old Multmaus/Rocomotion I/F users, this will be no different.

As with the Multimaus, the Pro is comfortable to hold and works well (the only problem we had being turning it off!) It adds 'explicit' Routes and Double Heading - which elsewhere someone has decribed on a Mutimaus: I already have the Roco Route Controller handsets, so have not tried this on the Pro.

Behind our Demo layout, we got tangled control cables with maintaining 4 or 5 locos running between us - and the freedom of wireless was a great advantage (which we are used to from Garden/G-Scale): I was able to go and stand/sit behind the viewers, and control the layout from their point of view. I believe the Roco interface does not experience the problems we have had with our Massoth wireless handsets at shows - they required manual ID and frequency selection: as mentioned before, the pro is more like a phone - providing a secure 1:1 comunincation link. (and as with a phone - leave it 'on' with the base unit off/unavailable, and expect the batteries to go flat more quickly????

In the evening of the 2-day show, we did manage to get some 'sequences' running sequentially - but on such a small layout (3m x 1 loop, with 4 sensors closely spaced, I think we did experience the 'additional' problems introduced by the more sluggish response of 5.9 v 5.8 as mentioned on the Dutch Rocorail forum - because you lose control when it thinks a train is occupying too many of the sensors! We had to disable the pulse-stretching mode of the detectors we wre using, AND set the acceleration/ decellerations to be as rapid as possible - I think this remains a 'classic' feature of computer controllers, which expect to 'own' the loco: but which presents a conflict with the prolonged acceleration and deceleration times set in Sound locos !! (Have you tried stopping an HST with Sound accurately??? - Our Jeco Swedish Y6 railbus is as bad - it has realistically slow timings.

The Multimaus and now Pro handset remains my preference - it beats many others hands down: and we use them for G-Scale (NOT high-current US made locos - but have run 4 LGB sound locos on the level without problems with the 3.2A limit). (We do also use Maus2 handsets for younger operators of our user-operated G-Scale shunting puzzle - it saves us locking out the advanced functions)

AS WITH the old Amplifier; we use it with a Switched Mode Power Supply - to avoid the excessive 'no load' volts in the UK from a 230:16 transformer. The Box is BLACK - unlike the publicity photos - I have resisted spraying it bright orange as yet - but added ident labels - I can't afford to lose it like the other one!!! The MANUAL mentions the use of SMPS - quoting the Fleischmann Model.

Will I buy another one? Yes, when I can afford it (so as not to have to keep removing it from the permanent layout for exhibition use)
I certainly intend to add another wireless handset - although in the loft I already have cables handsets in all corners.

As a price comparison to LGB Massoth or ZTC - then it is good value. It probably is against others I havn't tried too. I think so.
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#6 sncf141r

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Posted 21 March 2011 - 00:20

We have the Roco/Fleischmann Pro Unit with 1 handset, and have used it with position feedback on our portable 'Skandi-Demo' layout last year.


Phil - thanks for this - one of our local people has a set with 3 controllers, and it is getting good reviews by all who use it. The only thing that takes getting used to is the centre-off position.

The radio side of the system uses a low-power industry standard; hopefully the handsets battery power lasts longer than an iPod (or equiv) with WiFi.

I have received one handset to see how I can get it hooked up to other systems - still working through it.

JohnS.

#7 Tim Hale

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Posted 21 March 2011 - 17:35

Many thanks for your replies;

I had seen the Youtube demo but it answered none of my questions:

1. How long to the batteries last in handsets?
2. Is contact easily lost with the base unit?
3. Does it have the same intuitive operating system as the excellent MultiMaus?
I guess that if the answers are acceptable, my next question is where to obtain at the best possible price?:rolleyes:

My hope is that the overall cost might start to come down or that Roco offer a 'lite' version without the PC interface and software for those too stingy as all I want is a cordless version of my favourite DCC system.

DesA

#8 Phil S

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Posted 21 March 2011 - 22:18

The cheapest way of getting the Multimaus was in a Digital Starter Set: The new Pro Controller is now included in some of the top end starter sets ! - it depends whether any of the stock is of use to you, or you can sell it on 8-)

The ease of use is the same as for the Multimaus - it just has some extra features - but it comes without the tangle of cables.
I havn't yet opened my Pro to see the internal construction - so cannot answer whether there might be a simple 'lite' version.

Communications link seemed okay - except for the 'lock up' I experienced trying to turn the controller off --- if you can't turn it off, and leave the batteries in - then expect a short battery life 8-) ... As I mentioned before, I expect 'battery life' to be dependent on how good reception is - and for power to go up if for any reason the link is bad ... but how far away do you normally operate? .... I havn't used it in an area full of other wireless users. I have with the Massoth and LGB 8-(

'Getting used to the Centre-Off' - its the same as its junior Multimaus and earlier Maus 2.
It does NOT have the user option to change to 'Anticlockwise-o-reverse' as with LGB or Marklin/Trix options.
It does have a positive centre-off click position.

Unlike the Hornby Select, 'Forward' is to the Right on the Display, and Reverse to the Left (as in Western Alphabet reading)
As with the Multimaus; the library 'only' has 5 characters per name - but does recall speed setting (14/28/128) per loco.
The manuals can be downloaded from the roco or Fleischmann sites.

#9 sncf141r

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Posted 22 March 2011 - 15:06

... - if you can't turn it off, and leave the batteries in - then expect a short battery life 8-) ... As I mentioned before, I expect 'battery life' to be dependent on how good reception is - and for power to go up if for any reason the link is bad ... but how far away do you normally operate? .... I havn't used it in an area full of other wireless users.



Thanks again for your reports. Just an FYI; I have been reading the ZigBee protocols; somewhere in there there is the stipulation/desire? for 2 years of operation for an end device on a "button cell".

The guys here that have a 3-controller MultiMaus-PRO wireless system report that after a few months, the 3 AAA-sized batteries appear to be "full".

I think that these controllers are great; I develop iPhone apps as part of my job, and I'm always amazed at how fast these things appear to loose their charge. Maybe I should code and debug faster. ;-)


Anyway, I like the tactile-ness of these controllers; and expect the battery life to be such that you don't really have to worry about them more than once per year or so. As mentioned, I have recently received one multimaus pro controller, and have started looking at the ZigBee protocols to see if I can adapt them to my Lenz system. Wish me luck!


Cheers;

JohnS.

#10 craigwelsh

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Posted 23 March 2011 - 13:23

I think that these controllers are great; I develop iPhone apps as part of my job, and I'm always amazed at how fast these things appear to loose their charge. Maybe I should code and debug faster. ;-)

Cheers;
JohnS.

My iphone 3Gs can last about 3 days on wireless and the battery deficit was negligible last night when operating the club layout via it. We also had an Android handset to operate the layout with. Even though it was going via my laptop as a server i'm impressed how responsive the locos are to WiThrottle on the device via JMRI on the machine.

I'm amazed they put a centre off on the Roco Pro system when its so expensive though I guess it is very much based on the existing Multimaus.

#11 Ron Ron Ron

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Posted 23 March 2011 - 14:11

My hope is that the overall cost might start to come down or that Roco offer a 'lite' version without the PC interface and software for those too stingy as all I want is a cordless version of my favourite DCC system.

Brand new "split from train set" Pro's are being sold via ebay.
There's one on there at the moment, "Buy it Now" for around £325 inc. P&P

MultiMaus Pro for sale

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