Jump to content

New: ESU CabControl DCC system.


Recommended Posts

As anticipated, ESU have launched their own version of the Piko SmartControl (made by ESU, using the Mobile Control 2 throttles).....

 

 http://www.esu.eu/en/products/digital-control/cabcontrol/

 

Initially available only in the North America and Australia markets, but hopefully should be available in Europe (inc. the UK) at a later date.

 

 

 

 

 

.

Edited by Ron Ron Ron
Link to post
Share on other sites

Uses standard MobileControl 2 wireless handsets, so extra throttles are already available.

As far as I can see, the main difference over the SmartControl, is the 7 amp power capability.

I'll check for any other differences later on.

 

All standard ECoS boosters and accessory modules work with the new CabContol system.

 

 

 

 

.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Unfortunately still a lot for the handset though compared to the multimaus at over twice the cost. I'm surprised they've not tried to hit roughly the same price point as the Z21 as it now has rotary dial options. With being able to pick up smartphones for £50-100 you're paying another £100!gor the dial and that's the cost of the multimaus. Ok the ESU has full touchscreen too but you'd think getting it down to £120-150 would be more competitive.

I'm a big user of their decoders but their controllers just don't compete as closely on value.

  • Like 1
Link to post
Share on other sites

Paul, I don't think you can make a straight comparison between the Z21 wireless MultiMaus handset and the MobileControl 2 handsets.

The latter is an altogether more complex and expensive device, being effectively a smartphone without the phone bits and having a motorised rotary control.

ESU won't have the economies of cheap smartphone production scale either.

 

However, the biggest difference is that the bulk of the cost for a Z21, is in the Command Station, whereas the bulk of the cost for the Piko SmartControl and the new ESU CabControl, is in the handset.

For example the SmartControl system, including one handset  is available for £320.

The cost of an additional handset from the same supplier is £280.

The Command Station plus power supply and manual etc, therefore equates to roughly £40 of the total cost of the full package, compared with the cost of a handset on its own.

The Z21 Command Station on its own is going to cost from £285 to £330 or more (n.b. a shocking £370 from one well known south coast outfit).

 

When looking at a total cost of Command Station plus one handset (obviously not compulsory in the Z21 case), the Piko SmartControl works out cheaper (it can be had for around £320 - and for less than £299 when bought as a "split from train set" item).

 

The Z21 can be had from one UK DCC supplier for around £285 + £91 for the wireless MultiMaus (i.e. £376).

From another well known DCC specialist it's £330 + £90 for the handset (i.e. £420)

 

 

The manufacturers r.r.p for the ESU CabControl is shown as $499.90 (before sales tax) which is approx. £376.

A typical 10% discount could reduce that to around £339 plus tax.

 

 

 

.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Yes for one handset there's not that much difference but if you want to add multiple controllers the ESU option gets very expensive. I know many will be happy with one but most will want at least two and it pushes it higher than the others. That's the problem with loading it all in the handset.

I appreciate the cost of starting from scratch and I suspect they've bought in the screen unit from a smartphone maker.

No doubt a good system but I just think it's been a bit slow to market and it's got tough competition now.

Link to post
Share on other sites

I think ESU's costs are going to come down to volumes.   They'll sell 1000-10,000 mobile handsets over some years worldwide.   A small mobile phone maker shifts that in a fortnight.    Sales volume is why a pretty good mobile phone costs £150-£200.   

 

 

I suspect there are DIY ways to get a speed control with good tactile feel as an add-on to Android software throttles.  The "EngineDriver" App is already testing a small Bluetooth game controller as a speed input device - its small, cheap (£10) and robust.

 

 

- Nigel

Link to post
Share on other sites

I'll stick with JMRI's WiThrottle and my iPhone thanks.

John

 

 

By all means; nobody is asking you to change.

Whatever suits you, or anyone else.

If your comment was meant to be dismissive, I could point out that having to use a computer (desktop or laptop) and a software package as an interface, simply to use your smartphone as a throttle is rather archaic in this day and age.

There should be no reason to involve that sort of kludge when a smartphone is perfectly able to do the job of talking directly with the DCC system.

 

.

  • Like 2
Link to post
Share on other sites

By all means; nobody is asking you to change.

Whatever suits you, or anyone else.

If your comment was meant to be dismissive, I could point out that having to use a computer (desktop or laptop) and a software package as an interface, simply to use your smartphone as a throttle is rather archaic in this day and age.

There should be no reason to involve that sort of kludge when a smartphone is perfectly able to do the job of talking directly with the DCC system.

 

.

Not entirely dismissive Ron.

The huge benefit of the JMRI plus smartphone solution is that anybody who arrives as a guest operator with a phone can pretty rapidly join the system.

And very importantly, it's a solution that works for most DCC systems - I doubt many of my friends are going to be walking around with a £260 ESU wireless controller in their pockets, but they all have phones.

John K

Link to post
Share on other sites

Not entirely dismissive Ron.

The huge benefit of the JMRI plus smartphone solution is that anybody who arrives as a guest operator with a phone can pretty rapidly join the system.

And very importantly, it's a solution that works for most DCC systems - I doubt many of my friends are going to be walking around with a £260 ESU wireless controller in their pockets, but they all have phones.

John K

Serously , how many people visit, believing they need to bring a throttle with them ????

  • Like 1
Link to post
Share on other sites

By all means; nobody is asking you to change.

Whatever suits you, or anyone else.

If your comment was meant to be dismissive, I could point out that having to use a computer (desktop or laptop) and a software package as an interface, simply to use your smartphone as a throttle is rather archaic in this day and age.

There should be no reason to involve that sort of kludge when a smartphone is perfectly able to do the job of talking directly with the DCC system.

 

.

I've used and use WiThrottle and enginedriver, the trouble with smartphones is there is no feedback and you have to keep looking at the phone to position your fingers appropriately. A dedicated controller with fixed buttons and a big " F off " knob is far superior . ( big knobs Always being better of course :D)

 

The same criticism can be levelled at the z21

Edited by Junctionmad
  • Like 1
Link to post
Share on other sites

I've used and use WiThrottle and enginedriver, the trouble with smartphones is there is no feedback and you have to keep looking at the phone to position your fingers appropriately. A dedicated controller with fixed buttons and a big " F off " knob is far superior . ( big knobs Always being better of course :D)

 

 

The EngineDriver App is now testing Bluetooth game controller pads as an input device to the throttle.   These are cheap (£10 or less), have physical buttons for a few common functions, and a four-way physical controller for speed and direction.   Means the expensive phone isn't in the hand for easy dropping but can sit somewhere that the screen can be seen.  In the hand is a cheap tiny device which one can afford to stand on accidentally. 

 

- Nigel

  • Like 2
Link to post
Share on other sites

Not entirely dismissive Ron.

The huge benefit of the JMRI plus smartphone solution is that anybody who arrives as a guest operator with a phone can pretty rapidly join the system.

And very importantly, it's a solution that works for most DCC systems - I doubt many of my friends are going to be walking around with a £260 ESU wireless controller in their pockets, but they all have phones.

John K

 

 

A guest operator should be able to connect their smartphone directly to the DCC system, without needing a PC/laptop and JMRI running in between.

Some modern DCC systems allow this.

Older tech DCC systems can't and therefore need something like the JMRI WiThrottle solution for it to work (...and this is 2017 ???????).

 

As an aside; looking at the new Bluetooth control system - not only does it not need an interface like JMRI WiThrottle; it doesn't need the DCC system either.

 

 

.

Link to post
Share on other sites
  • 1 month later...

I don't know if anyone's read the CabControl manual closely, but there's a reference in it to "User Icons", in section 11.4.2 on page 16, but I can't see anything elsewhere in the manual telling users how to load their own icons. Slip of the pen, or a hint of something to come? It would be a good way to differentiate the ESU CabControl from the Piko SmartControl, but that might just upset Piko a tiny bit.

 

Will it to be released in Europe? Who knows, but there is a precedent for a US & Australia only version to be followed by a Rest of World version, as that's what happened when the Navigator first went on sale, the US only DCC only version of Navigator, which was also in Tillig train sets, was followed later by the multiprotocol version in Europe.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Have a look on Train Master TV, Matt from ESU gave two good updates about the system.

I'm a Digitrax user and happy with it, but with ESU doing something like this it might influence other manufacturer.

 

Simon

Thanks,

 

But I'm a long standing ECoS user, and I already have a Mobile Control 2 (MC2) handset. It appears to have most of the functionality of the ECoS but without the screen or physical controls on the base unit. So I'm guessing that it uses a variant of the ECoS firmware, or possibly even the same firmware, depending on how the ECoS firmware has been written. It looks more like ESU's replacement for their Navigator system, and a way to increase the number of MC2 handsets sold. But as it uses the MC2 handsets, adding extra handsets is going to be expensive.

Link to post
Share on other sites
  • 2 years later...

Has anyone acquired the Cab Control System and will share their experiences?

 

For me this looks like a lower costs solution than the full blown ECoS and it appears to deliver the two things that I most want namely more power (7amps) and a hand held, wireless controller with knob/wheel.   

Link to post
Share on other sites

The CabControl system is officially only marketed and sold in North America and Australia.

Therefore there won’t be many, if any users in the U.K.

The lower powered Piko SmartControl, which is the same system with a couple of minor differences, is sold throughout Europe, including the U.K.

I have a SmartControl, but have had limited use of it, for various reasons, since purchase.

There are a couple of other SmartControl users on this forum.

 

The CabControl uses the same MobileControl2 handsets, that can be used with the ECoS and there have been strong rumours that these are due to be upgraded sometime soon, although no mention of this was made in the ESU 2020 new products announcement.

 

 

.

Edited by Ron Ron Ron
  • Thanks 1
Link to post
Share on other sites

I am aware that the product is not marketed in Europe but if it delivers what I want which, having watched a bunch of Youtube videos I believe it does, then I doubt it will be difficult to get. I will not buy the current Mobile Control2 handset given the negatives that have been identified but if ESU release an updated controller, I would like to be in a position to make a decision on the Cab Control system hence my request for peoples experiences.

 

 

Link to post
Share on other sites

I had a Smart Control, then upgraded to an ECoS. 
 

The battery life was poor on the SC; it was basically always flat when I went to use it (Usually a few days to a week between uses). I found changing between different locos a bit cumbersome too, but It was pretty good. 
 

I prefer the ECoS for the size of screen, it’s far easier to control multiple locos, have mimic panels for points etc. I’m not sure I’d buy a Cab Control/another Smart Control. But YMMV. 

  • Thanks 1
Link to post
Share on other sites

The impression I get, from having read users experiences and discussion on the rumoured upgrade, is that the poor battery life is down to several factors, including small battery capacity, out of date processors working overtime to keep up and unnecessary background Android processes drawing too much power.

The (unofficially) reported upgrade suggests a battery with much higher capacity, a more modern and faster processor, double the memory, a more up-to-date version of Android with better battery management and slimming down of background apps which sap power resources. WiFi and networking is supposed to be improved too.

How true or accurate any of this is, will no doubt be revealed in due course.

 

As for CabControl, from what I’ve read from US forums, most of the users reporting on it appear to agree that apart from the battery life and WiFi connectivity issues, they really like it and see it as a step change above old style Digitrax and NCE systems.

 

 

.

Edited by Ron Ron Ron
Link to post
Share on other sites

So from initial responses it seems that the mobile concept is good but the technology currently in use has flaws. Everything I am seeing points me towards this as my controller upgrade solution.

 

A quick Ebay search shows a new unit from a Model Shop seller in the USA at $380, a 30% reduction in the RRP which translates to a UK delivered price of just over £300 although there maybe import duty payable in addition. At this sort of price it is tempting to buy now and accept the limitations of the current Mobile Control handset. I am sure that any upgraded handset that gets released will be compatible potentially leaving me with 2 handsets for those occaasions where you have guests. 

  • Like 1
Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
×
×
  • Create New...

Important Information

We have placed cookies on your device to help make this website better. You can adjust your cookie settings, otherwise we'll assume you're okay to continue.