Sprog 2 Instead of Navigator

Re: Sprog 2 Instead of Navigator

Postby JBr » Wed Jul 27, 2011 3:52 am

dileTTante wrote:JBr mentioned NanoX and GenLI. I had considered these. The parts may be inexpensive but unless you know someone who will assemble the boards free of charge, you have another expense. I can do that, I've built power amps and preamps, but you also need to program the devices afterward. If you can't do these things then it's less of a bargain, but it does interface with XpressNet.


Usually, this problem can be solved by a bottle of something good to drink :D There are also some people building and selling those units - their price is considerably higher ($90-$100 for the command station + LI interface) but that's still only like 1/7th or so of the price of Lenz 100 set + USB inteface.
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Re: Sprog 2 Instead of Navigator

Postby ConducTTor » Wed Jul 27, 2011 1:00 pm

This is a good discussion. I hope to have my SPROG within a few days and will report my thoughts/findings.

Can you guys give me some recommendations on power boosters - ie, what's reliable, what's a good price, how many trains/equipment can be run etc?
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Re: Sprog 2 Instead of Navigator

Postby dileTTante » Wed Jul 27, 2011 7:24 pm

Alex, I hope my posts haven't led you into a purchase you'll regret. Sprog can't do layout automation because it has no facility for sensor feedback, etc. With a booster you can operate a layout, including decoder controlled turnouts and the like, but as has been pointed out it's without the benefits from xpressnet or loconet services. To interface either one of those you need a computer interface to go with a DCC system, in your case with Lenz xpressnet. With that in mind you'd likely want an xpressnet compatible booster for the Sprog and eventually get a computer interface for the Lenz.

These are some of the choices I was facing when wanting to get a DCC system. Any system with throttle, command station and booster, but often without computer interface, costs as much or more than the ESU Navigator which includes wireless hand held throttle and computer interface and booster all in one package. My needs are pretty modest for the time being and the Sprog got me going.

As for the train operating software, it works with sprog but it'll work with loconet or xpressnet, too, if you have the computer interface for the system. You still get the ease of programming that JMRI or Rocrail makes possible on the computer instead of punching a keypad on a throttle. Then the sprog would be superfluous except for it's being handy for programming decoders away from the layout, or for running modules at train shows, as Florida Bill has described. There was a guy at the last train show who had an older model of the ESU Ecos and he wanted the new colour display version. I tried to talk him into selling me his but he wanted to wait until he had money to spare for the move up. I'm hoping he'll be at the next train show ready to sell.

This discussion has brought a few things to light which I didn't understand before buying the Sprog and I've learned even more just by using the whole system for the first time.

Here I'll confess that the real reason I chose Sprog over Navigator is that I had bought an expensive loco (the Beckmann).
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Re: Sprog 2 Instead of Navigator

Postby ConducTTor » Wed Jul 27, 2011 8:19 pm

dileTTante wrote:Sprog can't do layout automation because it has no facility for sensor feedback, etc.


:cry:
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Re: Sprog 2 Instead of Navigator

Postby railtwister » Thu Jul 28, 2011 9:08 am

While the Sprog II may not be suitable for layout automation using your computer, it will manually run trains on your layout and it still is the easiest way to program locos that I have found. Even if your layout is totally hands-off automated, you're still going to need some way to program the locos.

Also, if you want to automate you'll need to get more hardware ($$$) than just the system itself, whatever the DCC system may be.

Most boosters list for about $150 or more, but NCE has 3 amp units that contain their own power supply listed at Walthers for $80. As you know, Walthers only shows full list price, but many dealers will offer discounts from that.

See: <http://www.walthers.com/exec/productinfo/524-28> .

CVP's ZoneMaster is priced about the same, and is claimed to be "universal", plus it's rated for higher amps, but it also needs an outside power supply which must be purchased separately.

See: <http://www.cvpusa.com/easydcc_booster_zmaster.php>

Most of the other brands of boosters also require outside power sources (additional cost of which must be considered), presumably because the manufacturers don't want the hassle of getting UL approval ($$$) and the potential liability of providing high voltage components to the public.

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Re: Sprog 2 Instead of Navigator

Postby dileTTante » Sun Jul 31, 2011 7:08 pm

Alex, if you don't like the Sprog a friend of mine might be interested so I offer to buy yours to give him.

Some experimenting showed that my Linux was loading the USB module for Sprog at startup. Doing it from the command terminal isn't needed, in case anyone cares.

I've got a decoder installed on the old BR35 and it runs like a champ. The LED lighting I put in looks pathetic so I have to re-do it. More about that when it's done.
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Re: Sprog 2 Instead of Navigator

Postby ConducTTor » Sun Jul 31, 2011 8:29 pm

dileTTante wrote:Alex, if you don't like the Sprog a friend of mine might be interested so I offer to buy yours to give him.


Sounds good. I hope it will be here sometime this week so I can play around with it and see what I think.
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Re: Sprog 2 Instead of Navigator

Postby ConducTTor » Mon Aug 01, 2011 11:27 pm

The SPROG is here (yay!). I'll play around with it in the next couple of days and let you guys know what I think.
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Re: Sprog 2 Instead of Navigator

Postby railtwister » Tue Aug 02, 2011 9:50 am

ConducTTor wrote:The SPROG is here (yay!). I'll play around with it in the next couple of days and let you guys know what I think.


Hi Alex,

To be a fair comparison, you need to try to do some programming on a typical DCC system first (beyond simple loco address changes), before you pass any judgment on the SPROG, since it's primary purpose is to be used with DecoderPro's graphical interface to make the task of programming easier. It does that very well, and running a loco with it's virtual throttle is simply icing on the cake...

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Re: Sprog 2 Instead of Navigator

Postby ConducTTor » Tue Aug 02, 2011 10:43 am

Will do. I've used the Lenz commander for simple programming and I have an ESU LokProgrammer as well which is controlled from a PC.
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