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Sir TophamHatt

ECoS Controller Questions

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Just one to start with:

 

1) If I call up a loco and turn on certain functions, then turn the controller off, will the controller remember what functions were on for that loco?  If I call up a loco and turn on certain functions, then call up another loco and play around with that, if I go back to the first loco, will it remember?

 

I have a Prodigy Advance 2 - I think it can remember up to 10 locos and their settings from last used in the stack but I never understood it as when I turn it on, it always seems to show me a random number from previously used locos, not the actual last used one (I think!).

 

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Posted (edited)

It does seem to remember some functions, but does not necessarily show them as active them on the display. I don't know if that is decoder-specific as I only have LokSounds; other decoders may behave differently.

 

As a matter of habit, I turn off all the functions on the active locos and re-set the point work on the layout to a known starting position using the "reset-all" button I have created on the track diagram before I shut the controller off. That way I know exactly what to expect on start up.

 

I had a Prodigy Advance2; that seemed to remember some things and not others. Not sure if that was decoder-specific, either!

 

Really happy with my ECoS 50200 which I also use with JMRI from my Mac. Works a treat for making all those odd little adjustments to CVs!

 

John

 

 

Edited by JJGraphics
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ECoS can have up to 5 locos active simultaneously on each cab/throttle, but obviously only one under direct control of each throttle knob and related function keys. So yes, if you call up a loco, and then call up another loco on the same cab/throttle then it will know what functions are active, and also the throttle setting on  the first loco. So when you return to the first loco the throttle knob will rotate to the position that corresponds to that loco's speed, and the relelvant funtion buttons will show as active or not. And, there are up to another 5 locos accessible on the other throttle. But for me, having one loco active on each cab/throttle at a time is enough to keep an eye on. So swapping between two different locos is more a case of using the other cab/throttle than relinquishing control over the first loco to control the second. 

 

I always shut down and turn off all functions before I shut down my ECoS so that I know that everything is off when I start a new operating session. So I can't say, off the top of my head, whether it remembers the state at shutdown. It would be sensible to turn everything off, though, at shutdown, otherwise if a loco was moving at shutdown, when the ECoS started up again, it would move again, and that might not be a good idea, espeially if you had removed the loco from the layout and put it back in a different place.

 

When you turn on the ECoS it will have remembered which locos were assigned to each cab/throttle when you last shut it down, and hence when you boot it the next time it will show you the "names" and loco icons of the locos assigned to each cab when you shut it down. Because it has a single loco and multi (5) loco view, it will also show on each cab/throttle the view that was in use on each cab/throttle when you shut down. Whilst I have no experience of a Prodigy, the ECoS's use of the colour touch screen as the display and user input makes it quite different to other DCC controllers that don't have those features.

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It does remember. I obviously stop all my locos, but don’t turn off lights or sound, but they remain on upon restarting. Other latching functions will also be on if that’s how they were previously. 
 

I’m not sure this is even dependent on being in the ‘roster’. I’ve got a sound fitted Voyager which chirps up every time I turn the controller on, and I’ve not used it in months; it’s not in the roster for easy access. 

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"I’ve got a sound fitted Voyager which chirps up every time I turn the controller on, and I’ve not used it in months; it’s not in the roster for easy access."

 

This is a function of the decoder, not the ECoS.  It is enabled via a CV. 

 

However I don't know which CV this is for a Loksound decoder.  Can any one advise which CV toggles this function?

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On 07/01/2020 at 22:28, GoingUnderground said:

ECoS can have up to 5 locos active simultaneously on each cab/throttle, but obviously only one under direct control of each throttle knob and related function keys. So yes, if you call up a loco, and then call up another loco on the same cab/throttle then it will know what functions are active, and also the throttle setting on  the first loco. So when you return to the first loco the throttle knob will rotate to the position that corresponds to that loco's speed, and the relelvant funtion buttons will show as active or not. And, there are up to another 5 locos accessible on the other throttle. But for me, having one loco active on each cab/throttle at a time is enough to keep an eye on. So swapping between two different locos is more a case of using the other cab/throttle than relinquishing control over the first loco to control the second. 

 

I always shut down and turn off all functions before I shut down my ECoS so that I know that everything is off when I start a new operating session. So I can't say, off the top of my head, whether it remembers the state at shutdown. It would be sensible to turn everything off, though, at shutdown, otherwise if a loco was moving at shutdown, when the ECoS started up again, it would move again, and that might not be a good idea, espeially if you had removed the loco from the layout and put it back in a different place.

 

When you turn on the ECoS it will have remembered which locos were assigned to each cab/throttle when you last shut it down, and hence when you boot it the next time it will show you the "names" and loco icons of the locos assigned to each cab when you shut it down. Because it has a single loco and multi (5) loco view, it will also show on each cab/throttle the view that was in use on each cab/throttle when you shut down. Whilst I have no experience of a Prodigy, the ECoS's use of the colour touch screen as the display and user input makes it quite different to other DCC controllers that don't have those features.

Going underground is spot on with the reply given.

However, do remember to shut down the ECoS properly by holding down stop button until screen tells you that you can turn off power. This ensures all your operating period remains saved. Just turning off the power may cause loss of recent memory.

I previously used the Lenz system but feel that ECoS eclipses most DCC systems.

john

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Posted (edited)
On ‎07‎/‎01‎/‎2020 at 22:28, GoingUnderground said:

I always shut down and turn off all functions before I shut down my ECoS so that I know that everything is off when I start a new operating session. So I can't say, off the top of my head, whether it remembers the state at shutdown. It would be sensible to turn everything off, though, at shutdown, otherwise if a loco was moving at shutdown, when the ECoS started up again, it would move again, and that might not be a good idea, espeially if you had removed the loco from the layout and put it back in a different place.

Ha ha - I should have explained more :P

 

I always stop the locos and turn off lights and stuff but there are more sophisticated sound projects that have sounds triggered automatically if F18 (for example) is on.  But I'd always want that on, so would naturally leave it on.  But if I turned off the system, would it remember that F18 was left on when booting up again.

 

I'm sure it does with my PA2, but that may only be for locos that are in the current memory stack.

 

 

Been doing the 1p Savings thing last year (save 1p on day 1, 2p on day 2, 3p on day 3, 4p on day 4...  £3.65 on day 365), (although I cheated and just saved £50 a month!), so now I have £600 odd that I could spend on model railway things.  As it's extra money I didn't budget for, now is an opportunity to spend it on something big.

Edited by Sir TophamHatt

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ESU traditionally announce their new products at the Nuremberg toy fair at the end of January. The ECoS is now quite old, at least in terms of modern electronic products' lifecycles. So before you dash out to spend your hard saved cash it might be worth waiting just in case ESU release an updated ECoS. No, I don't have any inside infofmation, but if I were in your shoes then I'd wait as Nuremberg is now only a couple of weeks away.

 

 

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1 hour ago, GoingUnderground said:

ESU traditionally announce their new products at the Nuremberg toy fair at the end of January. The ECoS is now quite old, at least in terms of modern electronic products' lifecycles. So before you dash out to spend your hard saved cash it might be worth waiting just in case ESU release an updated ECoS. No, I don't have any inside infofmation, but if I were in your shoes then I'd wait as Nuremberg is now only a couple of weeks away.

 

 

 

I agree with Keith that at this point in time, it'd be wise to wait and see what ESU will announce in a couple of weeks time.

However, it's worth noting that the ECoS had a notable internal overhaul only a few years ago.

 

There's a possibility  that this year's revision, will be for the MobileControl ll and CabControl system handsets (they are the same thing).

As you have been away from here recently Keith, you might have missed the story I posted, from US sources, of reported ongoing networking  issues and the use of outdated and inadequate processors in the MobileControl II handsets.

There is some talk, or speculation of an updated version, which has been rumoured to be labelled MobileControl lls 

Whether there's any substance in all this, will be revealed very soon.

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Posted (edited)

There is a fatal flaw (for me) in the ECoS that I discovered.

 

The PA2 has the base station and the "walkaround", which is attached by a wire but still allows a lot of flexibility.

 

I've realised ESUs offering doesn't have this - it's more of a command centre that doesn't lend itself to walking around or moving really.

 

I understand there's things I can download to my phone but I'm not too keen on that at the moment.

 

Will wait for an announcement and see what's what.

Edited by Sir TophamHatt

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Ron,

 

Thanks for the info.

 

There isn't actually such a thing as a "CabControl handset", it is exactly the same Mobile Control II unit as sold for use with the ECoS.

 

I thought I'd seen a report sometime in the last 2 months that there was a version of the MCII being tested which was running a newer version of Android. IIRC, it was reported as being more responsive, giving better battery life, and better WiFi connectivity, but as I can't find that report at the moment, I can't check my facts. Of course, these sorts of improvements could also be attributable to a newer processor,  bigger battery, and a better aerial.

 

It isn't possible to update the version of Android installed on the MC II as users can't access the Android Maintenance screen on bootup. There were a couple of stories in 2019 of the MC II freezing during startup and there was nothing that users could do to fix it. One user did manage to get the fix to this problem from their dealer, but that option is no longer accessible to users, and I suspect that the dealer concerned will have got his knuckles rapped by ESU as they removed the relevant posts from their forum, but not before I'd seen them. But there doesn't seem to be reports of that happening to users at the moment and I don't know why it started happening to some of them.

 

But it wouldn't surprise me in the least if there was a refresh of the MC II on the cards, much like the ECoS 2 was refreshed to the ECoS 2.1. The MC II could do with more storage memory or a micro SD card slot to allow users to increase memory, a bigger battery for longer running time, and possibly even a built in speaker, or bluetooth. Why a speaker or bluetooth? Well when ESU launched the MC II they talked about listening to music on the MC II whilst using it on the layout. Only problem is that you need to use wired headphones or earbuds as there is no speaker and no bluetooth, and the storage space is so low at 2Gb that unless you stream music there isn't space for your ripped CD collection, at heast there isn't for mine. 

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13 minutes ago, GoingUnderground said:

There isn't actually such a thing as a "CabControl handset", it is exactly the same Mobile Control II unit as sold for use with the ECoS.

 

That's not actually what I said.

 

3 hours ago, Ron Ron Ron said:

....There's a possibility  that this year's revision, will be for the MobileControl ll and CabControl system handsets (they are the same thing).

 

Never mind, though.

Your info is interesting and adds to the mix.

The stuff I've read from the US, where the US agency might be a bit "leakier" with info than back at home, suggests that ESU have basically admitted that they released the handset with an already outdated processor and inadequate memory.

They have also admitted they underestimated the scale of the task required to maintain presence on the Android platform, something I've heard several times from companies that have abandoned continued support for their apps on that OS.

As you say the handset is locked into what is now an ancient and possibly no longer supported, version of the OS.

 

The chat I read about battery life became wrapped up with the wiFi networking issues and the issue of the OS and background apps automatically trying to connect and update. All inter-related.

 

With a bit of luck, the ESU guys have been able to strip the problems back to their core in Android, otherwise more processing power and better battery provision might end up as a sticking plaster.

 

p.s. I've got the SmartControl, so I have an interest in this.

p.p.s. I no techie, so really don't know any of the technical aspects of any of this.

 

.

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6 minutes ago, Sir TophamHatt said:

There is also a fatal flaw in the ECoS that I discovered.

 

The PA2 has the base station and the "walkaround", which is attached by a wire but still allows a lot of flexibility.

 

I've realised ESUs offering doesn't have this - it's more of a command centre that doesn't lend itself to walking around or moving really.

 

I understand there's things I can download to my phone but I'm not too keen on that at the moment.

 

Will wait for an announcement and see what's what.

I wouldn't call that a "fatal flaw", more a case of not meeting your requirements out of the box for a walk-around capability.

 

You are, of course, absolutely right, you can't pick up an ECoS and walk around with it. I'm not sure that I'd want to walk around with an expensive unit like that in my hands trailing a mains lead around after me for fear of tripping over the wire and dropping it.

 

However, you can use a tablet or smartphone to control the ECoS remotely using a VNC Client app, provided you have your ECoS linked up by ethernet to you WiFi router, or to a WiFi Access Point, and you can walk around totally wire-free operating your ECoS, which in my view makes it one up on anything that needs any sort of trailing cable. I use a VNC Client from RealVNC, others use Tight VNC, both are free to download, and I'm sure there are others. The RealVNC one comes in versions for Windows 10, Android, Apple OS and iOS, as well as for Linux and, I think Solaris. This remote control feature works on all ECoS models (1, 2 and 2.1) running firmware 4.0.0 or higher. Of course, you could buy a Mobile Control II handset to use with your ECoS, but they're expensive.

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Ron, 

 

Please accept my apologies for over-reacting. But you'd be amazed at the number of folks who seem to think that the CabControl ICU is an ECoS without the screen and throttle knobs, and others who seem to think that the "CabControl handset" is different to the MC II. I suppose part of the problem is ESU lumping ECoS and CabControl support together on their forum, and not making it clearer that Cab Control is a package comprising the ICU and the MC II.

 

I don't know about the N. American end being "leakier" but I do know that occasionally they make the odd error. Incidentally, it was a N. American MC II user who was given the fix to the MC II freeze on bootup issue.   

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Posted (edited)
3 hours ago, GoingUnderground said:

....I don't know about the N. American end being "leakier" but I do know that occasionally they make the odd error..... 

 

Some of the info coming through the US comes from Europe.

For example beta testers of the new MC IIs firmware/software.

They're not allowed to talk, but the mere fact they have discussed being beta testers is enough.

Upgrade rumours include mention of a Cortex A33 instead of the A8, plus double the RAM.

Battery up from 1650mAh to 2850mAh.

 

MC II is running Android 4.1 Jelly Bean from 2012 and replaced at the end of that year.

The MCII was announced in possibly 2014 ???  To actual appear in 2015 ??? .....over two years after its OS had been replaced by a newer version.

If the rumoured 6.0 Marshmallow is the upgrade, it demonstrate how long it's taking them to work  with this platform.

6.0 ran from Oct 2015 to Aug 2016 and Android has since evolved through several versions to the current version 10.

At a very rough and uninformed guess, that suggests taking up to 3 years to keep up.

The good news rumour, repeat rumour, is that the beta version on the new hardware is much better.

Hopefully we'll find out if there's anything in all this, in the weeks ahead.

 

 

 

.

 

Edited by Ron Ron Ron

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55 minutes ago, Ron Ron Ron said:

 

The good news rumour, repeat rumour, is that the beta version on the new hardware is much better.

 

What I saw was from someone who was suppose to be one of the beta testers, and that matches with my recollection of what they said.

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The Nurenberg show runs from the 29th Jan to 2nd February. As a prospective purchaser of the ECoS and an updated Mobile Control unit, I am waiting with bated breath to see what, if anything, ESU announce/release at the show.

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On 26/01/2020 at 20:23, young37215 said:

The Nurenberg show runs from the 29th Jan to 2nd February. As a prospective purchaser of the ECoS and an updated Mobile Control unit, I am waiting with bated breath to see what, if anything, ESU announce/release at the show.


So far it appears to be just the DCC only versions of the LokPilot 5 series decoders, some new speakers and a foam train servicing cradle.

Still, there may be more to be announced next week...........or not?

 

 

Ron

Edited by Ron Ron Ron

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Early days yet, but I'm becoming more interested in an ECoS, primarily for the overall control of point works etc. Two things are troubling me though and I'm not sure if it was in this thread or elsewhere. I did check here, but you know things can often be staring you in the face and you can't see them....

 

My own layout is quite extensive with something like 60 turnouts, all powered by Tortoise motors. I had planned to control these conventionally, but that will involve building a control panel and extensive wiring. The possibility of having it all DCC controlled with the track plan on the ECoS is quite tempting, however I'm sure I read that if you don't use the correct shutdown (not an issue) all data such as the track plan in the ECoS is wiped. A conventional shut down is not a problem one the procedure is learned and set in my brain, but recently we've had several power cuts which obviously have the same effect as simply switching off.

 

If that did happen and it was wiped, the time taken to reload the track plan and reprogram everything would be considerable. Is this a fact?

 

The second issue is driving Tortoise motors and here a Switch Pilot Extension was mentioned or fitting 1w resistors in the circuit would have the same effect.

 

In simple terms what would I need to operate 4 locos ( via four operators) and the operation of 60 turnouts with Tortoise motors. It doesn't need to be exact, I just want to get a feel for the cost of investment versus conventional control via a panel and switches. I need to understand what is required per turnout to drive it from the main panel. Some way away yet, but I suspect there may be 60 signals as well at a later date, so will they require the same driver mechanism or, assuming they use a servo to raise and lower the arms, do they need a separate set of drivers?

 

Can you have sub panel displays for each area? The loco shed would happily support one operator and is set back from the main station. If there is only one display I can imagine each of the operators getting in each others way if they need to return to the main panel everytime they want to change a turnout.

 

I hope these are relatively straightforward. I'm happy to do further research, but the issue of sudden shut down and driving Tortoise motors really are fundamental to the decision.

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You don't lose all your data when you shut the ECoS down if you have a set of batteries installed. The (rechargeable) batteries need to be fully charged before you insert them into the ECoS and then the ECoS will maintain them via its trickle-charge facility.

 

To remove the risk of data loss, you can back-up the entire setup of the ECoS externally onto a Mac or PC using the "Store Configuration" interface via a web browser on your Mac or PC:

 

01.jpg.59e5a5b4678af7562597ea28aa253079.jpg

 

You can have up to sixteen "control boards" which can be set up to show different areas of the layout.

 

I can't comment on the issue of  driving Tortoise motors as I use the Traintronics TT300 motors which have a built-in decoder.

 

PM me if you'd like to have a play with an ECoS . . .

 

John

 

 

 

 

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Thanks John! Much appreciated.
 

I’ll PM you shortly...

 

Glad to know my fears are unfounded. 

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Hi Gordon. I use Cobalt Omega point motors which are equivalent to the tortoise with SwitchPilots and the DCC Concept three to two wire converter that switches the polarity fir the DC motors in the point motors.
 

Got twenty one on my layout and have been using them for the best part of ten years with no problems. No need for resistors.  

 

As for the ECoS. Love mine. Great bit of kit. 
 

With regards new items in 2020 look here. it’s the American version but it gives a heads up what’s coming. 
 

http://www.esu.eu/en/downloads/catalogues/

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Hi, good to hear from you...:)

 

I have to say I've been watching an ESU ECoS video showing just how straightforward it is to programme a loco on the system. Most impressed at the simplicity and ease of customising the information. I haven't finished watching yet, but it certainly looks promising. I'm assuming it will also do PoM, but haven't got that far yet.

 

I've also found that my old Lenz 90 system, since replaced with an NCE Procab, really struggled with US sound loco's. The NCE is better  in that respect but occasionally struggles with certain loco's decoders. It may not be the equipment and simply either my programming track or loco wheels need a good clean as they have been in storage for several years.

 

The bits I'm trying to learn more about are route setting, driving Tortoise motors and what happens when you have several operators accessing different parts of the layout ie the shed area and storage lines. I'm hoping that each controller will have access to some type of display that will allow them to change turnouts in their area and then drive trains out without having to go to the main console.

 

On the other hand when I'm operating on my own, I need to see the whole layout and change things myself from a central position.

 

I'm gradually piecing things together. My understanding is that Cobalts and Tortoise motors are different and whilst the Switch Pilot is OK with Cobalts, you need the Extension for Tortoise motors.

 

The key for me now is some form of display that will allow me to see which tracks are selected and which way each turnout is set. No doubt all will become clear when I find the right video.....:D

 

 

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Not sure why you need the extension for the Tortoise Motors. They are both stall motors. Do let me know when you find out why. 
 

And yes, PoM is a doddle on the ECoS. All graphical.
 

 

Edited by two tone green

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OK, I'm chuckling to myself as it was a combination of your post in an earlier thread about switching Cobalts and the ESU Switch Pilot manual. 

 

1103391772_Screenshot2020-01-28at21_47_59.png.df542aeeff636c7cdad478da9ed9014b.png

 

1687044620_Screenshot2020-01-28at21_54_16.png.26d086d5f1298fd476c89d019acd51d1.png

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