Saturday, April 30, 2016

MERG morning

After my session over at Pete W's playing with Leamington Spa, I felt the need to know more about the rather funky little DCC controllers in use on the layout.

Regular readers will know I'm not a big fan of DCC. I've seen far too many people staring blankly at handsets with far too many buttons and wondering what to do next. I've played with a Dynamis on Ruston Quays and it's the wrong tool for the job - great for circular layouts but not so for anything where locos have to stop on a sixpence for uncoupling.

The MERG (Model Electronic Railway Group)  controllers look like they might be the DCC version of my much loved Gaugemaster handheld.

With this in mind, I spend last Saturday at a MERG meeting finding out more about the system. After a bit of a talk, we were let loose with the controllers and spend a happy half hour pushing buttons, breaking things, finding out what we'd done and doing it properly.

All good fun and well worth the trip, especially since it was held at our clubrooms so I knew the way. These get-togethers are fun and an interesting non-club way of getting together with like-minded (OK, slightly, some of it lost me) modellers.

MERG website.


James Finister said...

So don't leave us in suspense. What conclusion did you reach?

Huw Griffiths said...

I take it there are no plans for the next Warner's model railway show to include a demonstration of electronics soldering.

By this, I mean some guy with glasses building one of these controller kits.

Joking aside, a number of exhibition and club layouts seem to feature some pretty disgusting wiring - with solder joints even drier than my sense of humour - and I'm sure that some other people could also benefit from soldering demonstrations.

Whether I'll see any such demos at shows remains to be seen

Andy in Germany said...

Hmm... I'll bet it (and the essential chips and bits for the rest of the system) cost a lot more than a walkabout though.

I'm not remotely convinced about DCC for several reasons. for me modelmaking is about telling a story, and I don't I need DCC will help me to tell that story, I think I can build an entire railway for the cost of a DCC setup, but mostly because I'm fed up of the DCCevangelists giving the impression that only very stupid people wouldn't use it...

Phil Parker said...

Conclusions? Well, I fancy having a go. Realistically, for the work I do, a DCC controller is going to be essential and I quite like this one.

For £90 or so, it's more expensive than a Gaugemaster hand held but has as close as I can get to the ergonomics. I'm not converted to DCC though...