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NCE PowerCab vs Roco MultiMaus


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I use the Powercab and also the NCE Powerpro and have done so for 5 years and I would not change it.

 

I find the handset really suits me but some do not.

 

If possible try them both in your hand and see what your preference is.

 

From a DCC point of view and given your objectives they will both serve your needs.

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Neo,

 

I have used the MultiMaus since their introduction and have tried the NCE handheld on a demonstration layout.

 

Both have their advantages but for excellent ergonomics and much cheaper outlay, the MultiMaus remains number one for me.

 

In fact, a recent purchase of an Lenz Set 100 as an upgrade was a costly error, I sold the LH100 handset and retained the LZV100 unit because I did not enjoy the non-intuitive nature of the Lenz product.

 

A MultiMaus system should not cost more than 75Eu from EBay.de (my system cost 55Eu) because dealers buy cut-price DCC starter sets for resale as individual items. More recent MaultiMaus systems use a new small wall mounted mini-transformer and provides a very stable output.

 

However you should try both systems before you buy because everyone has a 'favourite' and it really is your decision.

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I have a multimaus and wouldnt swap it at all. I have a Bachmann dynamis which is a nice system but I use the MM 90% of the time. If you can get a seller to ship it to you without the transformer then you'll save a packet on the shipping cost and you can pick a transformer from maplins for less than a tenner.

 

Dave

 

 

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I use the Multimaus, I have considered buying a PowerCab as well. The only thing that has stopped me so far is the limited functions in the NCE system.

I really like to have the names of the locos on the display and a quick selection of them! That is one issue that the NCE system suffers from in my opinion.

There is also some differences in the Menu layouts between them in wich I find the MultiMaus easier to navigate.

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Firstly, there is a big difference in price.

A MultiMaus system can be bought for around £80 or £90. The PowerCab costs approx. £133 (50% more).

 

For the extra money, there are a number of advantages to buying the PowerCab and a couple of disadvantages.

 

Like most low cost systems, the MultiMaus doesn't have a dedicated programming track output and therefore cannot read back CV's.

Also, consisting ability is constrained using the MultiMaus.

(note the more expensive MultiMausPro isn't so afflicted)

 

The PowerCab can use a programming track with the addition of an add-on module (auto-SW - £16.50).

There's no problem reading back CV's either.

 

The PowerCab has access to most of the functionality of the full NCE PowerPro system, limited by its low power output capability and lack of some hardware (e.g. such as a computer interface).

For example, you can programme route setting macros and do other clever stuff with it.

Although very capable as a stand alone system, its main purpose is to capture customers into the NCE camp; many of who go on to spend considerably more money on upgrading the system, or upgrading to the PowerPro set-up.

I don't say this as a "put down", but to make you aware that the initial purchase price may not be the end of your spending. For example, to increase track power is going to cost another £107 minimum.

 

Although the MultiMaus has more limited capability than the PowerCab, it is a very well designed and easy to use system. Probably the best low cost (sub £100) system.

It's power output is higher than that of the PowerCab, plus it has the loco naming feature, if that is useful to you (select locos/trains by a name, full TOPS number etc.).

The MultiMaus handset can also be used as an additional handset with a MultiMausPro system and with the Lenz system too, otherwise there are add-on modules to increase the system's capability, but these can be expensive.

 

At the end of the day, it's down to what you want the system to do and where you see your use of a DCC system going in future.

If you want the capability to expand and grow the system in future, the PowerCab provides a route to do this, if not then decide on what features are sufficient for your purposes and try to get your hands on the kit for a "try-out".

 

.

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The PowerCab can use a programming track with the addition of an add-on module (auto-SW - £16.50).

There's no problem reading back CV's either.

 

And you don't actually need the auto-SW - you can manually change over the track connections (DPDT switch or the like).

 

Adrian

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And you don't actually need the auto-SW - you can manually change over the track connections (DPDT switch or the like).

Yes, that's true Adrian. I should have mentioned that option.

After consideration,I think the Auto-SW is probably better value for money than a 50p switch as it doesn't actually cost much at all for what it does.

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A big thanks to everyone... from bottom of my heart.

 

I would be having a very small layout with around 5~6 locos and with no plans to expand in near future.

 

Also, I should have mentioned, I am quite a newbie in terms of DCC. I have to hardwire my current locos and accessories with decoder chip as well. I will park that question for later time.

 

A MultiMaus system should not cost more than 75Eu from EBay.de (my system cost 55Eu) because dealers buy cut-price DCC starter sets for resale as individual items. More recent MaultiMaus systems use a new small wall mounted mini-transformer and provides a very stable output.

 

Will it be better to go for this new wall mounted mini-transformer or the old style one?

 

How important is it to read CV values?

 

Also, I understand NCE system can only recall two locos at a time. Is that correct?

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Will it be better to go for this new wall mounted mini-transformer or the old style one?

I don't know if it makes any difference?

The old style transformer is larger and needs to be sited somewhere. There's the extra lead from this to the wall plug too.

The new style transformer is incorporated into the wall plug (UK adapter required) so takes up less space and there's only the one power lead to the command station (digital amplifier).

Previously, the MultiMaus system was known for delivering a slightly too high voltage to the track. This was reported to have caused a problem for some users. I don't know if the new power supply has solved this issue?

 

 

 

 

How important is it to read CV values?

That depends on how much you want to tweak and adjust decoder settings.

Certainly, with appropriate decoders, adjusting CV's will improve and customise the running of individual locos and allow for adjustment of certain functions (e.g. brightness of lights etc,). You can do all that without reading back CV's, but it's a damned sight easier if you can see what's set.

Of course if you never adjust anything, it wouldn't matter, but then that would be missing out on one of the key benefits of DCC.

An alternative would be to program decoders via a Sprog.

 

 

Also, I understand NCE system can only recall two locos at a time. Is that correct?

Correct at the moment, but the imminent update will increase that to 6 locos.

PowerCabs will have to be updated to obtain this (entails changing an EPROM - i.e. a little chip board - inside the handset).

 

 

 

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How important is it to read CV values?

 

I do not wish to contradict but I use my MultiMaus for all programming ( I have a simple test lead from the Command output) and I have absolutely NO issues.Moreover the wall mounted mini-transformer is the only version that is now availavle in Germany, if you are offered anything older - don't bother.

 

Sorry but the MultiMaus really is that simple.

 

desA

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How important is it to read CV values?

 

Depends on what you are doing with loco setup. If you want to tweak decoders, particularly the high-end ones or sound ones which have lots of setup options, then read-back of CV values lets you the starting value before you make changes.

 

In theory you can do all complex programming by writing down changes, thus you should know the values. In practise, read-back helps.

 

 

If wanting to add decoder readback to a system which lacks the facility (eg. MultiMaus), a Sprog-II costs around £60 retail (discounts for MERG members) including its power supply. The Sprog connects to a computer, and gives you full readback of decoders and a powerful computer interface for setting and managing decoders (JMRI - the software works with most DCC systems with computer interfaces).

 

 

 

Also, I understand NCE system can only recall two locos at a time. Is that correct?

 

Yes. There is a fast recall button which lets you swap between two locos. This is being upgraded to six with an update due at dealers this month.

In practice, many users will swap between locos by just keying in the new address. The importance of recall stacks is often over-stated.

 

 

 

- Nigel

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The same company owns both Fleischmann and Roco- the Fleischmann DCC range was subsumed by the Roco product.

 

HTH

 

DesA

 

So it means I have a colour choice. Fleischmann comes in blue colour!!!

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I have 2 MultiMaus sets as well as my Lenz Set 100 and I would not be without them, they are my backup exhibition system as well as my spare hand throttle if I am using the Lenz and fancy a change from the LH90 or LH100.

 

I don't do a huge amount of programming with it as I favour DecoderPro via my Lenz LI-USB interface or my SPROG but I have done some and find the menus to be intuitive and easy to understand.

 

You can download the MultiMaus manual from here

 

http://www.fleischmann.de/fileadmin/downloads/MultimausPDF/pdf1169_en.pdf

 

and the Powercab from here

 

http://www.bromsgrovemodels.co.uk/assets/own/power_cab_manual_v1.28.pdf

 

which may help you to see which is the more straightforward for you to use.

 

 

I enjoy using the PowerCab every time I get chance too and would not hesitate recommending it to a DCC newbie mainly because it is easier to obtain than the MultiMaus in the UK.

 

 

See if you can get to a model shop or show and try out both systems for yourself to see which you find easier in operation.

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So it means I have a colour choice. Fleischmann comes in blue colour!!!

 

Neo,

 

It's actually a very sober grey. I have one of each, one Roco, one Fleischmann and can assure you that barring the colour they're identical. The quality check slip with my Fleischmann even had Roco on it...!

 

Watch out for the blue ones as they are MultiMaus Pro. They're more expensive and use radio to connect the handset to the command station.

 

I'm currently using my MultiMauses with the Lenz LZV100, which makes for a very capable system with great ergonomics. My only slight quibble with the Multimaus is the 'centre-off' style of control knob, but I got over that pretty quickly when I actually started using it.

 

Steph

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I am still well pleased with my Powercab which I bought about 18 months ago.

I have not used a Multimaus, but from what I have read it is also a very good system.

 

I sometimes find it useful to read back CVs but as mentioned, you can write these with a Multimaus & keep a record of them...but only if you are more organised than I am :rolleyes:.

 

I believe you will be pleased with whatever system you choose.

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So it means I have a colour choice. Fleischmann comes in blue colour!!!

It's actually a very sober grey. I have one of each, one Roco, one Fleischmann and can assure you that barring the colour they're identical.

 

Watch out for the blue ones as they are MultiMaus Pro. They're more expensive and use radio to connect the handset to the command station.

Just re-emphasising what Steph says.

 

MultiMaus

Red - Roco

Grey - Fleischmann

 

MultiMausPro

Blue - both Roco & Fleischmann

 

The Blue coloured Pro handset is not only more expensive, but it can only be used with the matching (radio) wireless command station (digital amplifier in Roco speak).

It cannot be used with the Lenz system or standard MultiMaus system.

 

 

Fleischmann MultiMaus for sale on eBay Roco MultiMaus for sale on eBay

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  • 3 weeks later...

I think that one consideration might be worth looking at if you need 126 speed step mode. Although the MultiMaus supports 126-step mode I think that the control knob on the Multimaus only has 28 positions either way, I suspect that the NCE will do the full 126 positions.

 

The Multimaus is very expandable, and can of course be used with the programming track auto switch in the same way that the NCE can, but to read back CVs on the MultiMaus you will need to buy the Roco interface that includes the computer interface as well as the seperate programming track connection. Probably cheaper to buy a Lenz LZV100 command station though!

 

The MultiMaus amplifiers and boosters can be powered from DC or a transformer. They work really well with an 18V laptop type power supply and it will probably come with the right plug on the end.

 

 

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