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MRJ 218


MartinWales
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Any one on here had any experiance of "Radio Control" as per Don Rowland's article? He gives a good description but no prices etc.

Hi Mick,

 

You'll find more details of the system, with some prices, here:

http://www.redarrowcontrol.co.uk/index.html

 

With help of Danny Cockling (MemSec S4Soc) I've tracked down the Andy Farquarson article about Red Arrow. Andy wrote an article for the December 1995 Scalefour News of which Danny kindly sent me a scan. This sent me off to my magazine collection and found the article that Andy wrote, also in December 1995, for British Railway Modelling. This has the photos that I remembered which showed, in a 4mm scale tank loco, the Red Arrow circuit boards in the side tanks and the round batteries filling the smokebox and boiler leaving the firebox clear for the motor.

I raised the subject of wireless control earlier this year:

http://www.rmweb.co.uk/community/index.php?/topic/56219-protocab/

This was after seeing the Protocab system demonstrated at Scalefour North and which, it has been confirmed, was shown at Scaleforum. The above thread brought out some interesting information about other developments which have been taking place in the U.S.. One of these, Tam Valley Depot (http://www.tamvalleyrr.com/wirelessdcc.html), seems to me to be the closest thing to DCC without layout wiring that has appeared to date.

 

David

 

Just checked latest info from TVD. Unfortunately their systems are only available in the U.S. I suspect this has to do with the frequencies that are used. I am still not convinced that Protocab is quite the same sort of system as TVD are providing.

Edited by DavidLong
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Possibly the way forward, but at £125 for the initial set up and one loco only, I personaly will forget it. A fraction of that price would buy a lot of wire and switches. To be honest, the pricing makes no sense, Don, ref to a complete helicopter model and ready to fly for only £29, no comparison. Best Wishes, Mick.

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Protocab's system architecture is not DCC based.

 

Happy to explain my understanding of their network structure, what is standards based and what is proprietary, but not keen on typing it all - suggest to David a chat at East Ham next week ?

 

Nigel

 

I'd be interested to hear about it, Nigel. Do I take it that there are no developments in Europe that are similar to the Tam Valley Depot system?

 

David

Edited by DavidLong
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Possibly the way forward, but at £125 for the initial set up and one loco only, I personaly will forget it. A fraction of that price would buy a lot of wire and switches. To be honest, the pricing makes no sense, Don, ref to a complete helicopter model and ready to fly for only £29, no comparison.

 

You're comparing apples and walnut. If you could tool up for 100,000 identical railway engines then the price probably would come down to nearer the £29 mark. Mind you, if they were as accurate a model of the prototype as that helicopter is then people here would be laughing at them.

 

It's early days in a very niche market so the price being higher than a mass market product isn't a surprise.

 

Phil

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To me it looks more photography-related than a print problem, particularly with the Brent Plus feature. It sometimes seems to be the case with MRJ, possibly with the increasing use of digital images enlarged beyond their optimum size, that the larger images appear to be slightly out of focus.

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I think this is a classic issue with some wonderful, inspiring modelling, even if only one of the articles touched on my chosen railway company.

 

I enjoyed Don Rowland's article on radio control but was perplexed that he should have chosen Red Arrow, a system that has been around donkey's years and whose deveopment appears to have plateaued. It has a limited array of functions and requires bespoke hand-sets, rather than apps on mobile phones or other mass-produced items, which should be a cheaper and more flexible approach.

 

Or, is it the case that it is a mature product and so is a better buy than the more recent developments? Whatever, all such products seem to me to be a dangerous buy at the moment because there seem to be no standards such a those for DCC, so they will not inter-work, and they are not backed by bigger manufacturers.

 

Still, an inspirational issue of MRJ

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I enjoyed Don Rowland's article on radio control but was perplexed that he should have chosen Red Arrow, .....

........Whatever, all such products seem to me to be a dangerous buy at the moment because there seem to be no standards such a those for DCC, so they will not inter-work, and they are not backed by bigger manufacturers.

 

I was also a little perplexed by the choice of system. But it does exist now, rather than "promised real soon". I was more perplexed by the choice of battery; there are far more space efficient battery options which can deliver 9v, rechargeable, etc..

 

I agree with you about standards. But "backed by bigger manufacturers" suggests a misunderstanding of the scale of most DCC manufacturers. Even quite large internationally known companies are perhaps three dozen employees at most, and generally the technical knowledge resides in perhaps two or three people in each company at most.

 

 

- Nigel

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To me it looks more photography-related than a print problem, particularly with the Brent Plus feature. It sometimes seems to be the case with MRJ, possibly with the increasing use of digital images enlarged beyond their optimum size, that the larger images appear to be slightly out of focus.

 

I wondered if some of the images in the Brent Plus article were "old fashioned" photos that had been scanned rather than digital images?

 

Alan.

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I wondered if some of the images in the Brent Plus article were "old fashioned" photos that had been scanned rather than digital images?

Alan.

 

You may well be right.

 

I suppose my point was more about my copy showing a quite pixelated typeface rather than the clear letterforms of issues I have seen before.

Andy

 

I'm not sure how MRJ is produced but if it's anything like an old magazine that I used to work for many moons ago, I suspect that it could be typeset with an old computer onto paper 'galleys' which are then stuck onto page layouts using a waxing machine. Some of the regular bits, such as the issue number (above the editorial) would remain on the layout for issue after issue and would eventually become distorted if not replaced… and looking at a sample comparison issue (no. 177), said issue number is distorted in exactly the same way as 218. I can't explain the ragged type you refer to, such as the editorial itself, except that it looks like it's been badly scanned with a copy camera. Again, compared with issue 177, it does appear to be much worse in the two latest issues of MRJ that I skimmed through.

 

Whilst I love MRJ I must admit that I'd like to get hold of it and, whilst retaining its visual identity and core values, just bring it into the 21st century production-wise… like having large, beautifully sharp images, crisp typography set to a grid, having paragraph breaks in enormously long captions and not having the ends of articles being shoved at the back of the mag.

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To me it looks more photography-related than a print problem, particularly with the Brent Plus feature. It sometimes seems to be the case with MRJ, possibly with the increasing use of digital images enlarged beyond their optimum size, that the larger images appear to be slightly out of focus.

 

I think there have been one or two photos (not necessarily in 218) that came out pixellated.

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I've been all in a twizzle, mixing me terms… pixellated for digital images being used too large - fuzzy, soft or grainy (delete as applicable) when the same is being done with conventional photographs. MRJ seems to be publishing an increasing number of them all, which sometimes can result in the printer, wrongly, getting the blame. I also mentioned in my post above that something looked like it had been 'badly scanned with a copy camera'… which is complete rubbish, as a copy camera doesn't 'scan' at all!

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It appears to me that some of the type has been output on a laser printer, or perhaps even an inkjet, rather than a 'proper' typesetter or imagesetter. It was common to see the same 'look' on budget publications and homemade ads back in the last millennium.

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