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Switching from Lenz to Roco Z21with computer control


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I presently have mainly Lenz kit, set 100 with LS 100 accessory decoders and a computer interface. I was planning to upgrade to the new lenz command station LVZ 200 when it came out but having read reviews of it, it doesn't appear to be much of a step forward. I also have a DCC4PC railcom occupancy detector which I bought several years ago as I intend to go to computer control. I will need another DCC4P occupancy detector if I want to go to full computer control, however as DCC4PC seem to have stop development of their products I am unsure if this is the best way to go. I like the look of the Roco Z21 and I am considering  selling my existing kit and changing it for the Roco Z21 system including occupancy detectors and accessory decoders. However I would like to know if there is any advantage to changing to a Z21 if I am going to use a computer program such as iTrain, or will my existing kit with computer control give me the same result. Any thoughts from people who have used a Z21 or lenz set 100 with a computer very much appreciated.

 

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6 hours ago, iclose said:

I presently have mainly Lenz kit, set 100 with LS 100 accessory decoders and a computer interface. I was planning to upgrade to the new lenz command station LVZ 200 when it came out but having read reviews of it, it doesn't appear to be much of a step forward. I also have a DCC4PC railcom occupancy detector which I bought several years ago as I intend to go to computer control. I will need another DCC4P occupancy detector if I want to go to full computer control, however as DCC4PC seem to have stop development of their products I am unsure if this is the best way to go. I like the look of the Roco Z21 and I am considering  selling my existing kit and changing it for the Roco Z21 system including occupancy detectors and accessory decoders. However I would like to know if there is any advantage to changing to a Z21 if I am going to use a computer program such as iTrain, or will my existing kit with computer control give me the same result. Any thoughts from people who have used a Z21 or lenz set 100 with a computer very much appreciated.

 

I cant really comment on computer control etc but I recently switched to z21 (the white starter kit, rather than the fully-featured Z21 black version - note the small and capital z/Z designation, if you haven't already)

 

i switched from NCE PowerCab which I had for 10 years with not a single prob until I bathed the handset in orange juice.  Couldn't get it to work properly again so plumped for the z21.  WIthin a few mins of test use I was completely hooked.  The simplicity of programming, and the accessibility of using with a smartphone/tablet was a revelation.  I had always said I'd never use DCC for controlling points etc, but again the simplicity/screen display of the z21 has converted me.

 

There are plenty of Youtube videos of z/Z21 systems, have a watch and hopefully that will help - might be best to move this to the DCC part of the forum for a more indepth response?

 

 

Edited by JiLo
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  • RMweb Gold

I currently use a Lenz LZV200 with computer control (RR&Co Traincontroller from Freiwald). The question you need to ask yourself is how much of the functionality you need is coming from the DCC system and how much from the automation software. When there were delays in bringing out the LZV200, I did have a serious look at alternatives such as the Z21. But I decided to stay with Lenz simply because I did not see much use for all the extra functionality that the Z21 would bring. That's because most of the time, even with intense operations, the LH100 throttle spends most of its time in the holster as the interface to the layout is almost entirely from Traincontroller. I also have a Lenz decoder/programmer and use that with the Lenz CV Editor software to manage loco addressing and CV setting functions. 

 

With the LZV200 I have a 5-amp power supply, but the Z21 only supports 3-amp. Before switching from the LZV100 I tried running the layout with a 3-amp transformer, but within 10 minutes or so the overload cut-out tripped so I then knew 3-amps would not be enough, and I would need both a Z21 and a second booster to replace the LZV100. Hence I went for the LZV200, and at the moment have retained the LZV100 to manage turnout motors (60+ Tortoises which need a bit ore than 1 amp of power) and feedback from occupancy detectors. RR&Co manages the layout with 2 separate DCC systems like this. 

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I used a Lenz100 for many years with computer control, Train Controller software and fully automatic operation using all Lenz components including  Lenz reverse modules, point decoders etc.  I decided to update to a Roco Z21 about 4 years ago and continue to use all the Lenz components as before, everything works flawlessly.

 

The main thing I like is that the Roco Z21 is a much more modern and wireless system with nice interface via the app, it' s very intuitive, user friendly and in particular I like the ability to take control whenever I want with my iPad or smart phone.  Also anyone else can come and play with their own tablet or smartphone, they just need to download the app.  I find the software control and the app work very well together and provide additional ways to control the layout.  

 

I'll be very happy to answer any specific question either here or via a PM.  Also if you're near North Yorkshire or just passing through anytime the kettle is always on and I'll be only too pleased to host a visit and demonstration.

 

Cheers... Alan

 

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The Z21 when used with Digikeijs feedbacks (DR4088 or DR5088RC) works flawlessly on Loconet and I thoroughly recommend them as a combination.

 

The Z21 also supports XpressNet should you wish to use units that use that protocol.

 

it is a very simple and totally reliable black box that just sits there doing its thing - best controller I have ever had (and I left Lenz to but the Z21 :) )

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  • 2 months later...

Hope you don't mind me butting in on this topic but I have a question about Z21. I am considering a new DCC system for a new layout and like the look of the Z21.

 

If I have a laptop connected would I be able to have two or three throttles on screen at the same time and control two or three locos? I want to manage a staging area (fiddle yard) and will probably want to "move up" two or three trains on one track to vacate the area behind them for an incoming train. Speeds will be low!

 

Chaz

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How many do you want displayed - the limit is effectively either the size of your screen or number of locos you own :):)

 

194461885_Annotation2019-10-23105117.png.27f00066471ab9f3072bbaede5ac8091.png

 

What you cannot do though is control accessories e.g. turnouts which you will need to do from your iPhone/iPad/tablet or Multimaus/handset

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2 hours ago, WIMorrison said:

How many do you want displayed - the limit is effectively either the size of your screen or number of locos you own :):)

 

194461885_Annotation2019-10-23105117.png.27f00066471ab9f3072bbaede5ac8091.png

 

What you cannot do though is control accessories e.g. turnouts which you will need to do from your iPhone/iPad/tablet or Multimaus/handset

 

Thanks, that's very helpful indeed. I don't anticipate controlling more than three at a time - certainly not as many as six! As the trains will all be moving forward on the same track six looks like trouble.

 

I don't want to control turnouts from the laptop (although I do have an iPad) - all my operators and I prefer toggle switches to control Tortoise point motors. Looks like I will shortly be buying a Z21 system then - I think I read that a tethered (cabled) Multimaus will plug into the magic box - if that is the case that would be good too as I have two of those lurking on my home layout.

 

Chaz

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  • RMweb Gold

Again sorry for going slightly off topic, but is it still the case that the Z21 cannot read block detection units that use the two  Lenz RS bus wires for feedback?

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