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Just saw a glimpse of this on the MRlive website, the only postings I can see regarding this system are at the beginning of the year. Can anyone shed any light on it? I have looked at the catalogue what there is of it and on the face of it the Z21 looks a pretty good bit of kit. But little or nothing has been posted on this site or others. Is the Z21 on the market yet? I have not seen or heard of any reviews (although is there one in BRM this month???). I would certainly like to know more about the system and how well it works; has anyone had hands on experience?

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Hi,

 

I had a demo in my friend's shop* a couple of weeks ago. I was very impressed by the system, especially by the intuitive phone app control.

 

I currently have an ECoS, but would seriously consider this if I was looking for a new high end system.

 

The User guide is online; http://www.z21.eu/do...de_de_fr_gb.pdf

 

Cheers,

 

Dave

*Morris Models, Lancing, Sussex

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Although announced at the beginning of this year, if I'm correct the Z21 only started shipping a couple of months ago and supplies have been slow coming through.

The user base here in the UK must still be quite small, however as several UK dealers are selling this system, it's only a matter of time before someone will be able to report their experiences with it.

 

Note that the typical German discount price is approximately £290 inc VAT.

 

 

 

.

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Hi,

 

I had a demo in my friend's shop* a couple of weeks ago. I was very impressed by the system, especially by the intuitive phone app control.

 

I currently have an ECoS, but would seriously consider this if I was looking for a new high end system.

 

The User guide is online; http://www.z21.eu/do...de_de_fr_gb.pdf

 

Cheers,

 

Dave

*Morris Models, Lancing, Sussex

 

I wouldn't be surprised if ESU weren't already working on just such an app for the ECoS. TouchCab has been around for some time and would be a good starting point for them, always assuming they could reach an accommodation with Jens Vesterdahl. It would save them having to develop the hardware for a new colour version of the ECoSControl Radio.

 

One thing does interest me in the Z21, is its CAN bus port. They make no mention of it in the manual or what other hardware is compatible with it But I was wondering if it was there to tempt ECoS users away from the ECoS by still letting them use their ECoSBoosts and ECosDetectors.

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Precisely... Uhlenbrock once announced a LocoNet <-> ExxpressNet converter. But as ESU would be the main benefactor of such device, they bluntly refused to put it into production (the prototypes where ready and reliable, according to the developer https://www.rmweb.co.uk/community/uploads/emoticons/default_blum3.gif) This to the increased disdain of some who actually counted on the device to appear.... Margins are small, competition is fierce in the world of DCC... https://www.rmweb.co.uk/community/uploads/emoticons/default_rolleyes.gif

 

But the ECoS doesn't use either Loconet or Expressnet, so I can't see how ESU would benefit from a Loconet to Expressnet converter, it's no use to an ECoS as it has neither a Loconet nor an Expressnet port, just the ECoSLink CAN bus port.

 

Uhlenbrock do list a Loconet to Multimaus adapter, Part No 63840 and I beleive this is a Loconet to Expressnet adapter ,ot the blurb implies it is. They are avaialble now from retailers in Germany at a street price of approx EUR 75.

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I would have thought that with the large order Roco must have placed with TP-Link, for thousands of wireless routers, they would have asked for them to be packaged in casework to match the Z21, rather than the rather cheap looking budget casework of the supplied router.



.

Edited by Ron Ron Ron

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had a look at this in trident trains earlier, looks very impressive, once may layout is housed in its shed i may well consider having a "serious" look at it as a replacment for my lenz 100 system

 

not looked at the spec but i wonder if it can be set up in your home network rather than using the supplied router?

 

for example if i had it in the shed and used an ethernet cable from the z21 plugged into a "netricity" mains internet adapter would it work, much as my tower pc and sky boxes do (all running through mains internet adapters with a unit plugged into the BT infinity hub), that way the controlling ipad/iphone would not need switching between home and z21 networks

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had a look at this in trident trains earlier, looks very impressive, once may layout is housed in its shed i may well consider having a "serious" look at it as a replacment for my lenz 100 system

 

not looked at the spec but i wonder if it can be set up in your home network rather than using the supplied router?

 

for example if i had it in the shed and used an ethernet cable from the z21 plugged into a "netricity" mains internet adapter would it work, much as my tower pc and sky boxes do (all running through mains internet adapters with a unit plugged into the BT infinity hub), that way the controlling ipad/iphone would not need switching between home and z21 networks

 

I expect it will work on any ethernet connection unless Roco have been unbelievably perverse in the way its designed. I suspect the Z21 just requests an IP address from the router, much like most computers, iPads, etc..

 

 

- Nigel

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found this in the instructions....

 

3. If you have an Internet connection, you can optionally cable the WLAN router via a WAN port to

the router of your Internet provider. This allows accessing the existing connection to the Inter- net from your smartphone or tablet PC to download updates or information.

 

looks like you can get updates etc via your existing connection

 

not really up on how networks work but going on the way some of my current devices work (ie my tv, 2 sky boxes and tower pc are all ethernet wired) then i should, as you suspect nigel be able to join the network providing the garage/shed power suppy is on the same ringmain as the one the homehub is plugged into

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There were two stands demonstrating the Z21 at Warley this last weekend.

 

Both Gaugemaster and A&H had dedicated demonstration areas with personnel to describe the systems capabilities.

Control devices seen in use included an iPad, iPhone, Google Nexus 7 tablet (Android) and an Android phone.

Very impressive it was too. Thanks to all the gentlemen involved for being very clear and informative about this interesting new DCC system.

 

 

 

.

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i had a play with the one on the gaugemaster stand with my iphone4 and ipad2 and ive got to say im very impressed, the gaugemaster guys let me do all sorts with the system, programmed locos, took photos of loco for roster, set up the accessory decoder to control points , photographed the layout and moved round the points icons to suit, all of which i managed to do within a couple of minutes of joining their network

 

i'd already set my heart on one before warley but i have a few niggling doubts about it before i commit to getting one, my main one is that i'd be buying one for the gimmic factor and i could end up with an out of date system after a year or so should the company decide not to develop the system any futher, as it stands now the system cannot do route setting, detection etc, hopefully with futher updates that may appear in the future but if it didnt happen then i'd be stuck

 

one thing id like to see it do would be to be able to have an ip addressed camera feed on a loco that could be streamed to the pad/pod/apple tv etc so you get a drivers eye view of your layout, maybe add a few uk loco cab interiors to the drivers view function

 

once my new layout is up and running in the shed i think ill be getting one anyway

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I do like the look of this system and I think this is the way forward, the big dcc manufacturers throttles now all look horribly dated and the z21 station removes the need for a computer in between (although the command station is essentially a computer running a service for the throttle app).

 

It's a shame they didn't integrate some wifi client hardware in to the station itself as I would imagine most people already have a router which is not next to their railway, you can probably set the tp link router in to bridge mode anyway and join your existing wifi network.

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In answer to Big Jim's observations I bought my Z21 from the guy (Dave?) who was selling for A&H on his stall. He was saying that Roco/Fleischmann have already got developments in the pipeline to expand the system further. As it is in its infancy I guess they want to see the market reaction, however the reaction amongst my fellow club members was that it represented a huge leap forward in computer/phone etc control and made the whole job that much easier.

R/F have stolen a march on other manufacturers who I suspect will be looking at how they can simplify matters and get a system in place. I am going to the A&H DCC day this Sunday and will see if they know of further developments, the system can still use a traditional Multimaus handset and will work Lenz LS150 point decoders so I can integrate it into my Lenz controlled layout. I suspect we are looking at the future of DCC control, it can only be a matter of time before British companies start producing cab interiors that can be downloaded on the the system, now that would be cab control!!.

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I didnt get chance to view this system at Warley but Big Jim did show me the screen set up on his ipad and i was impressed.

 

If I didnt already have a comprehensive system with wifi set up then I would be seriously looking at the Z21.

 

Dgitrax did demo a one stop ipad wifi plug-in module for their system back at the Sacremento 2011 NMRA Convention but it seems to have gone very quiet since then

Edited by roundhouse

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HI

 

Promised myself earlier this year I would buy Z21, but not until they get the loconet and a PC based programming protocol functioning.

Hope they don't take as long as ESU have taken to produce the same. I had to give up on ESU's promises after years of waiting and sold my ECoS.

This time I will wait for working, rather than promised functionality.

 

Regards

 

Kal

Edited by Trainsntrees

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I'm also very impressed with this system and the future possibilities that software development could bring.

 

One area I'm interested in is layout control.

The Z21 already allows you to take a photo of the layout (or part of a layout) with your device (iPhone, iPod, iPad, Android phone, Android Tablet) and then import it directly into the Z21 app.

Points and crossover images are then dragged from a menu and superimposed onto the image of the layout.

Operation of the points can then be done by touch.

At the moment it all looks rather basic, but I'm sure this can be evolved into a more comprehensive method of layout contol. Combine it with an app designed for automatic train control and the result could be a rather powerful tool.

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I am intrigued by this system and I think the key issue as to whether I make the upgrade is whether it is easy to use or not, especially for some of the more complex bits and pieces. I will be interested to hear any views from RMwebbers who get a system over the coming months as it could encourage me to go all DCC as opposed to just DCC on the locos.

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Went to A&H models today and was able to use the system. I simply downloaded the PIN on the router to the App on my iphone and was up and running in a few seconds. The guys at A&H gave me the Addresses of the locos they had running and I was away, points were automatically assigned so I did not have to configure anything. Loco and Function control was easy, and using the finger slide control allowed fine control of acceleration and deceleration.The Z21 is a superb system, it enables a full range of fine tuning, I must say just walking in and hooking up to a controller with my iphone was great. However like most systems it is a wise man who reads the instructions and becomes familiar with how to access everything first. Once the operator is au fait with the Z21 it will be quite intuitive, and dare I say it the future has arrived. Oh and for those who do not have an iPhone, android phones, computers and multimaus controllers are also supported.

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OK so today i set up my own Z21 on a test track, it took only a couple of clicks to configure my iPhone. I tried it out with my sound equipped Peak, it was very easy to access all the functions and control was very fine, I was able to crawl the loco along at 1kph. As far as I can see you cannot double head on an iphone but I suppose using the ipad you could run two locos together using dual throttles. I have not got a Multimaus but I assume double heading is possible with it.

Adjustment of CVs appears to be limited at present, again I presume it is possible to read and adjust CVs using the Multimaus.

At present I would say the system is in its infancy but will probably expand quite quickly, I have yet to explore the Z21s potential fully but it looks like it will be fun and really easy to use.

NB Removing the Roco locos from the library and inserting my own fleet was simplicity itself, My next test will be to use it in place of my Lenz controllers but still switching my Lenz point decoders.

Edited by 7013

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Anyone in the Banbury area on Sunday 9th December Banbury and District MRC are holding an open day (see website for directions). I will be using the Z21 on our test track if anyone is interested in seeing it working.

Andi

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I've seen mention of more powerful boosters for this system, rather than the 3 amp standard, but not found any yet. I'm interested for G scale as well as HO and there are times you need 5 amps minimum with doubleheaded bigger locos. Can anyone confirm if bigger amp boosters are coming or if different manufacturers ones can be used with it?

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Hi Paul

Roco do a digital booster (part no.10765) which is available from A&H (no connection other than satisfied customer) at £122. 

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Just for info you can use bigger boosters, I talked to DCCtrainautomation at the Warminster show and they have used the Uhlenbrock 7.5a booster with it. So I took the jump and bought one and will experiment with it ready for the G scale having it's next outing in April.

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Well set-up is incredibly simple, in fact I wondered if that was it! I was told it had limitations on automation and consists but as these weren't of any great need to me I went ahead.

I wanted a wireless controller, legal in the UK, that was small and intuitive for helpers at shows. Digitrax were close with their 90 throttles but I particularly liked the Z21 app allowing you to have specific icons for controls like whistle or lights and you only have to have the ones you need on screen. For example I don't like the smoke generator so I didn't add a button for it so no one can accidentally switch them on.

Another thing was not having a screen for guest locos where you could just tap in their address. I added a guest loco profile where I just need to change the address and all the buttons areas just active as F1, F2 etc so they just need to have a list of what functions do what.

The simple point control photo idea has actually made me consider adding dcc control to the points and doing away with the conventional panel altogether.

Setting up the point control screen is dead easy, ( once you've read the relevant page ), even on a smart phone.

Worth deciding exactly what you are likely to do with it in these early release versions as they've evidently removed a few of the promo listed functions while they get the bugs ironed out.

If you have a smart phone or tablet already though as a throttle them it really is a nice simple system that's intuitive like the NCE powercab but not quite as wide ranging. For newcomers though the throttle interface is better and kids particularly will love it as its a smart phone.

Just need to find a cheap tablet to run it on as I can't see the boss lasting a weekend without hers if I borrow it ;)

Edited by PaulRhB
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Since people are mentioning the 'Booster' from Roco (10765), and quoting the rrp of 122GBP  it is worth mentioning that, as before, this is the same electronics as the 10764 AMPLIFIER provided with Multimauses in Starter Sets of the past/present - the 'only difference' is the presence of a 2nd connector for looping the BUS signal through to another booster .....

  ... if desired, this loop-through to a 2nd [..4th] Booster can be made simply with an external RG Y-connector, as the In/Out Bus sockets are simply in parallel with each other.  WHEN USED AS A BOOSTER, there must, of course, be NO MASTER or SLAVE Controller plugged in to the Expressnet Ports ... as these are ONLY connected to the 1st Master Unit (which in this case will be the Z21).  Or by opening the'764 box, the connector can be soldered in place as the holes are there for it .... a square hole then needs to be cut into the case.   Note the '764 (and presumably '765 does not have Railcom built-in.

 

Alternative Boosters are available: Eg the Bachmannn Booster, with its own 5A supply, and voltage selectable from N to G scale ranges.... this works by connecting to the track output of the Master Unit (as opposed to a TTL/ low level control signal to a booster, as used by the Roco Booster Bus connector.

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