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New: ESU CabControl DCC system.

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On 18/02/2020 at 07:47, young37215 said:

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.

 

 

The Mobile Control 2 Handset cannot be used on its own. It can only be use with an ECoS or CabControl ICU (Integrated Control Unit), or possibly the Piko SmartBox. Do Piko still sell the ESU SmartControl system, or have they gone over to the Fleischmann SmartControl Light? When I looked recently on the Piko website it only showed the MC2 handset, not the full system as being available. I suspect it was far too expensive for them. By the way, the CabControl ICU isn't an ECoS without a screen, buttons or knobs, there are also differences in the firmware that go beyond the different form factor.

 

You probably will find someone in the USA, Canada or Australia willing to sell you a CabControl, but you may have to pay import duty and VAT before the Royal Mail or the courier releases it to you. That's what happened to me when I bought some stuff from the USA some years ago. US published prices are lower than in Europe because they quote prices excluding sales taxes because, and I find this hard to believe, in the USA you don't pay the state sales tax if you live in a different state to the seller.

 

You'll get more feedback from SmartControl users. It is the same product as CabControl, just with a different badge.

 

ESU's 2020 European pricelist and catalogue doesn't show the CabControl, so it's still not on sale in Europe. Their 2020 Product Highlights shows it as costing $499.99 MSRP. So if you've been quoted a price of $380 that's a 24% discount, possibly indicating an attempt to clear stock before the version with the updated MC2 is released, or to get rid of stock with firmware 4.2.3. The latest firmware for the CC ICU is apparently 4.2.5 but it hasn't been published yet on ESU's website. So users with 4.2.3 cannot update to the later version. If you're going to buy from the USA then if I were you then I'd definitely wait until the CC gets the updated MC2 handset. 

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6 hours ago, GoingUnderground said:

US published prices are lower than in Europe because they quote prices excluding sales taxes because, and I find this hard to believe, in the USA you don't pay the state sales tax if you live in a different state to the seller.

 

That's true but we diligently maintain records of all the untaxed items we import from other states so that we can pay the required "use tax" to our own state.

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On 23/02/2020 at 23:38, GoingUnderground said:

......Do Piko still sell the ESU SmartControl system, or have they gone over to the Fleischmann (Uhlenbrock) SmartControl Light? When I looked recently on the Piko website it only showed the MC2 handset, not the full system as being available. .....

 

The full system has only recently dropped off the Piko web site and the number of Digital Train Sets including the ESU produced SmartControl , rather than the Uhlenbrock sourced SmartControl Light, has dropped from 5 down to 1.

 

On 23/02/2020 at 23:38, GoingUnderground said:

.......Their (ESU) 2020 Product Highlights shows it as costing $499.99 MSRP. So if you've been quoted a price of $380 that's a 24% discount, possibly indicating an attempt to clear stock before the version with the updated MC2 is released, or to get rid of stock with firmware 4.2.3. ......

 

From my observations Keith, since it was launched the CabControl has always been sold at a similar discount on the US msrp.

Retailer prices usually give a 20% discount on list

Typically prices being around $389 to $399, so £380 is a good price.

The discount on an ECoS can be up to 25% off.

 

 

.

Edited by Ron Ron Ron
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4 hours ago, Ron Ron Ron said:

 

The full system has only recently dropped off the Piko web site and the number of Digital Train Sets including the ESU produced SmartControl , rather than the Uhlenbrock sourced SmartControl Light, has dropped from 5 down to 1.

 

 

From my observations Keith, since it was launched the CabControl has always been sold at a similar discount on the US msrp.

Retailer prices are usually give a 20% discount on list

Typically prices being around $389 to $399, so £380 is a good price.

The discount on an ECoS can be up to 25% off.

 

 

.

You're obviously keeping an eye on US prices and know the market over there far better than me. And apologies for saying the "Light" was Fleischmann, slip of the memory. I remember tracking it down to the equivalent Uhlenbrock product when it was launched.

 

Piko would still show SmartControl as a current product as long as they still had stock to sell. The one set that uses the ESU product was shown as out of stock when I looked last night. Now that Piko have stopped selling it that might clear the way for ESU to start selling CabControl in Europe. When that happened with Navigator the non-USA version was multiprotocol. They might do the same with CabControl, but probsbly not until the new MC2 is launched.

 

And if it does become a fully-fledged ESU product available worldwide that might be the time that they release a firmware update for the CabControl ICU thst lets owners add their own loco icons or add the ones for the ECoS. Not being able to add your own loco icons seems to be an issue for many CabControl owners, and opening it up to let users add their own icons would be a good marketing tool that shouldn't hurt ECoS sales too much.

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I am grateful for peoples contributions to this thread which are most informative to me.

 

Assuming a £ equivalent purchase price of £300, duty and VAT add another 22.5% making a total of £367.50 which compares favourably with the costs of an ECoS at circa £600. I am only seeking:

  1. locomotive control with chip functions shown on screen,
  2. programming
  3. higher power output than the 3.5 A of my Guagemaster Prodigy

 

so the lower levels of functionality of the CabControl option do not seem an issue for me. 

 

I hope that the indications and rumours about an upgraded MC2 come to fruition sooner rather than later. In the meantime I remain tempted by the older version of CabControl but have not quite got to the 'buy it' decision yet.  

 

 

Edited by young37215
clarifying my needs
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So is this a replacement for the mobile control handset?

 

 

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3 hours ago, pheaton said:

So is this a replacement for the mobile control handset?

 

 

 

No. The Cab Control is the existing mobile handset MC2 plus a seperate 7 amp power supply which ESU call an 'Integrated Control Unit'. If you read through the thread you will see that there is an expectation that the MC2 will be issued in an upgraded form in the near future.

 

 

 

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53 minutes ago, young37215 said:

 

No. The Cab Control is the existing mobile handset MC2 plus a seperate 7 amp power supply which ESU call an 'Integrated Control Unit'.........

 


Not quite.


The ICU, as ESU are describing it, contains the system’s Command Station, Booster and the WiFi module.

 

There is a separate 7 amp power supply (power brick), that plugs into the ICU, supplied with the CabControl set.

 

 

 

.

 

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19 hours ago, pheaton said:

So is this a replacement for the mobile control handset?

 

 

Yes. I that there will only be one version of the Mobile Control 2 being marketed by ESU. Im guessing  that it will probably be called the Mobile Control 2.1 because functionally and externally it sounds like it will be identical to the current MC2, but with new guts in the box that sort out the WiFi range and flat battery issues. Whether that includes a new version of the app remains to be seen.

 

 

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On ‎25‎/‎02‎/‎2020 at 07:45, young37215 said:

I am grateful for peoples contributions to this thread which are most informative to me.

 

Assuming a £ equivalent purchase price of £300, duty and VAT add another 22.5% making a total of £367.50 which compares favourably with the costs of an ECoS at circa £600. I am only seeking:

  1. locomotive control with chip functions shown on screen,
  2. programming
  3. higher power output than the 3.5 A of my Guagemaster Prodigy

 

so the lower levels of functionality of the CabControl option do not seem an issue for me. 

 

I hope that the indications and rumours about an upgraded MC2 come to fruition sooner rather than later. In the meantime I remain tempted by the older version of CabControl but have not quite got to the 'buy it' decision yet.  

 

 

The CabControl Set and an ECoS are not comparable products, so your price comparison is, IMHO, a false one. The ECoS is a much more capable device.

 

Aside from the twin throttle knobs, the biggest difference is the screen on the ECoS as that makes the track plan diagram possible. There is no equivalent on the CabControl at present. You can use the ECoSDetector modules with CabControl, but there is no way, currently, that the information can be seen or used, although the data is available to layout control software running on a computer connected to the CabControl ICU. There are plenty of other diferences both hardware and firmware/software which account for the higher price of the ECoS.

 

If the CabControl Set meets your needs then it is the right product for you. But I would urge you not to buy it "blind". Do find someone who will let you try one out first, or try the original Piko SmartControl, they are the same product but with different logos on the boxes. 

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16 hours ago, Ron Ron Ron said:


Not quite.


The ICU, as ESU are describing it, contains the system’s Command Station, Booster and the WiFi module.

 

There is a separate 7 amp power supply (power brick), that plugs into the ICU, supplied with the CabControl set.

 

 

 

.

 

The ICU is CabControl and is the same as the Piko SmartBox, as everything else that forms the CabControl set, namely the MC2 handset, and the 7amp PSU (which is also supplied with the ECoS 2.1 and the new ECoSBoost booster) are standard ESU products that can be bought from any ESU dealer anywhere in the world. If the PSU is sourced from the USA, then snyone buying a CabControl from the USA to use in the UK would be wise to check that the PSU works with our 240 volt mains just in case it's 110 volts only.

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4 minutes ago, GoingUnderground said:

..... the 7amp PSU (which is also supplied with the ECoS 2.1 and the new ECoSBoost booster) are standard ESU products that can be bought from any ESU dealer anywhere in the world. I

f the PSU is sourced from the USA, then snyone buying a CabControl from the USA to use in the UK would be wise to check that the PSU works with our 240 volt mains just in case it's 110 volts only.

 

Good point about the power supply Keith.

If the power supply included in the set, is the model no. 50119  then the spec. on the web site says....

 

50119 -  power supply Input 100-240VAC,   Output 15-21VDC/7A, 150VA,    EURO + US power cord

 

 

 

.

 

 

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46 minutes ago, Ron Ron Ron said:

 

Good point about the power supply Keith.

If the power supply included in the set, is the model no. 50119  then the spec. on the web site says....

 

50119 -  power supply Input 100-240VAC,   Output 15-21VDC/7A, 150VA,    EURO + US power cord

 

 

 

.

 

 

Quite. But PSUs are heavy and bulky for their value, and the thought occurred to me that ESU might be trying to keep transport costs down by sourcing the PSUs and the mains cables locally in N. America and in Australia for CabControl, ECoS, and the new ECoSBoost. Whilst I doubt that, the quantites wouldn't seem to be large enough to justify it, I felt that it was worth mentioning. If someone did buy from the USA and found it was 110 volts only they could buy the 7amp 240 volts PSU here, but it isn't cheap.

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8 hours ago, GoingUnderground said:

Aside from the twin throttle knobs, the biggest difference is the screen on the ECoS as that makes the track plan diagram possible. There is no equivalent on the CabControl at present. You can use the ECoSDetector modules with CabControl, but there is no way, currently, that the information can be seen or used, although the data is available to layout control software running on a computer connected to the CabControl ICU. There are plenty of other diferences both hardware and firmware/software which account for the higher price of the ECoS.

 

I appreciate your guidance, indeed everyones input is really helpful. I agree that direct comparisons of ECoS and CabControl are not very meaningful and if that is what people think I am trying to do, I have not made myself and what I am trying to achieve clear.

 

I currently run a wireless Guagemaster Prodigy which I am looking to update with something that does much the same only with up to date technology and greater power output. The wireless throttle is a must have for me and because I use ESU chips, I would like to see chip functions displayed on the throttle screen rather than have to keep refering to data sheets. My points and signals are servo operated and controlled independently from loco control using a Megapoints network and a central control panel.  Given these, I consider the ECoS inappropriate for me because I do not want its 2 static throttles or on screen track plans. It is clear that the ECoS  is good kit but it's capabilities do'nt match my requirements hence my apparent obsession with CabControl which, as far as I can find, is the only product that delivers all of what I am seeking.

 

 

 

     

 

 

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22 hours ago, GoingUnderground said:

Quite. But PSUs are heavy and bulky for their value, and the thought occurred to me that ESU might be trying to keep transport costs down by sourcing the PSUs and the mains cables locally in N. America and in Australia for CabControl, ECoS, and the new ECoSBoost. Whilst I doubt that, the quantites wouldn't seem to be large enough to justify it, I felt that it was worth mentioning. If someone did buy from the USA and found it was 110 volts only they could buy the 7amp 240 volts PSU here, but it isn't cheap.

 

The PSU supplied in North America is the same unit, but with a US plug and cord.  It is very easy to change this.  Bottom line is that you can use it in Europe as it is does accept 100-240V.

My unit was bought in Canada, but the US version is the same.

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14 minutes ago, 55020 said:

 

The PSU supplied in North America is the same unit, but with a US plug and cord.  It is very easy to change this.  Bottom line is that you can use it in Europe as it is does accept 100-240V.

My unit was bought in Canada, but the US version is the same.

Thanks for the info. It doesn't surprise me as Australia uses 230v not 110v. That makes it easier for anyone thinking of buying from a N. American retailer.

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Had I found the attached thread earlier I could have saved everyones time. I stumbled across this by accident when I was trying to find out if the batteries in the MC2 could be replaced with more powerful ones. So far I have not found an answer. I am sure this question will have been raised previously, I will have a look on some of the ESU forums to see if I can find anything

 

 

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1 hour ago, young37215 said:

Had I found the attached thread earlier I could have saved everyones time. I stumbled across this by accident when I was trying to find out if the batteries in the MC2 could be replaced with more powerful ones. So far I have not found an answer. I am sure this question will have been raised previously, I will have a look on some of the ESU forums to see if I can find anything

 

 

What you're looking at in the picture is my laptop bottom right, running a VNC Client which gives me total remote control of my ECoS 2. The ECoS which has firmware 4.x.x was in another room. The other screen in the image is our 26" TV. The laptop, which runs Windows 10, was projecting its screen to the TV. CabControl doesn't have this remote control/screen cloning capability, so you can't display an ECoS screen-like view from it on a tablet, laptop or smartphone.

 

Incidentally, the loco icons, a Bachmann 57xx pannier in LT livery, and an Olivia's Heljan Class 76, are ones I created and uploaded to my ECoS myself. CabControl does not let you upload custom loco icons like these to the ICU. You are limited to the ones built in to the firmware. As the CabControl is aimed at N. America and Australia, I imagine that it will have plenty of N. American locos, but very few UK locos.

 

The battery can be replaced, but I know of only one MC2 owner who has done that with one sourcef independently of ESU. They also replaced the internal antenna at the same time.They said that the replacement battery lasted longer than the ex-works one and the new antenna gave a more reliable WiFi connection.

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Nothing further seems to have been announced regarding the potential MC upgrade. Obviously the global pandemic will not be helping to speed anything up but I wonder if anyone has heard anything more about the possible new version of MC2?

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11 hours ago, young37215 said:

Nothing further seems to have been announced regarding the potential MC upgrade. Obviously the global pandemic will not be helping to speed anything up but I wonder if anyone has heard anything more about the possible new version of MC2?


Some comments on Model Railroader Hobbyist magazines forums, suggesting the upgraded MC2 is already “out there”, but there’s no evidence to confirm that and certainly nothing has been announced by ESU.

The latest version is said to be running Android 6  (still positively ancient).

 

 

 

 

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Posted (edited)

It is out there, and not just in the USA but also in Europe, running Android 6.0.1 (from 2016) and the MC2 app version 1.1.6, which is also the latest available for older MC2s running Android 4.

 

It looks the same as you can see in the attached picture which a fellow MC2 user (Mond1969) posted on the ESU website forum in June, with thanks to Mond1969. The only reported difference, a strange one if the app version is the same, is that you can see the function numbers in the bottom right corners of the onscreen function buttons with Android 4, but not with Android 6.

 

Mond1969 has apparently spoken to ESU about updating older Android 4 MC2s to Android 6, but was told it is not possible. He added that he asked about the "missing" function numbers under "6" and the person that he spoke to didn't know the reason.

 

It is strange that they've only advanced to Android 6 when the current version is Android 10 with Android 11 reportedly due to appear later this year. I guess that the lead times for small businesses like ESU are far longer than for big ones like smartphone makers where having the latest OS is paramount to making sales.

 

MCII-2019vs2016.jpg

Edited by GoingUnderground
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Posted (edited)
On 05/07/2020 at 12:01, GoingUnderground said:

....It is strange that they've only advanced to Android 6 when the current version is Android 10 with Android 11 reportedly due to appear later this year.
I guess that the lead times for small businesses like ESU are far longer than for big ones like smartphone makers where having the latest OS is paramount to making sales.

 

 


One comment I’ve read, suggested that ESU underestimated the amount of resources needed to keep up to date with changes to the Android OS.

Android is particularly problematic, as there are so many varieties of each version, to cater for different phone manufacturers platforms.

It’s one of the reasons that a number of companies have dropped Android support for their app driven devices, as it’s just not cost effective.

It’s also the reason why some developers are slower to release the Android versions of their apps than their iOS versions.

 

I did wonder if ESU had started this update when 6.0 was current (Oct 2015 to Aug 2016), but it took them until the end of 2019 to get it ready, by which time, there had been 6 further versions of the OS ?

 

However, I was under the impression that it’s the hardware updates to MobileControl 2 that are the more significant improvements.

 

 

.

Edited by Ron Ron Ron

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I have an active post about the missing function numbers from the latest version of the mobile, which to date has solicited no response from ESU, I have the later mobile but it still suffers from a few annoying issues....but its growing on me.

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