New MRC decoder for Switchers. What do you know?

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RexHea

RAIL BENDER
I just received a bulletin from Walthers advertising the new MRC Brillance sound decoder that is made for switchers (Walthers #500-1633). It comes with an enclosed speaker slightly smaller than 1 inch. Does anyone know anything about this decoder? I need something for my Stewart VO660 and a Geep 7. I have heard that some of their other sound decoders were not that good with sound, but I really don't care about quality so much as I do a good fit.
 
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GatorDave

Railroading Fan~Gator Fan
Hey Rex.

My LHS just got them in. They have the Switcher and Deisel. This
shop usually doesn't carry much in the way of DCC, but they ordered
them when they ordered my MRC motor decoders. They are pretty
small and the speaker is enclosed in a baffle.

As for the quality, I haven't heard them, but the Brilliance decoder is supposed to be light years ahead of MRC's old sound decoders.

BTW, Have you seen their new motor decoders? I'll post a picture later. They
are tiny!! And they work just fine. I installed one in my latest P2K E7. It has
lighting effects just like the "big boys" and all of the other options. And the
price is nice... I paid about twenty bucks for it... and this was at a full priced
hobby shop.

Back to the sound decoder... I am thinking of buying the diesel decoder
to install in one of my E units. Later, Dave
 

GatorDave

Railroading Fan~Gator Fan
Okay,
I took a picture of the new MRC motor decoder. It's a full funtion
1.5 amp decoder. No more milling and grinding to make it fit.

Sorry Rex, didn't mean to hijack your topic.:D Dave

HPIM0416.jpg
 

RexHea

RAIL BENDER
Wow!! Dave, that motor decoder is small! How much larger are the switcher sound decoders than the one you have pictured? The dimension that is critical would be the width. There is not a whole lot of room in the VO-660 and I will probably have to get my sidegrinder out:D . The VO and the Geep are the only ones I have on the layout without sound. When I run them, its like something is missing.

Josh, let me know if you do. I am going to take some time and measure the space I have or can make. Hopefully, I can take their given dimensions and get a good idea what will have to be done. I have an NCE decoder in the VO right now and it is a close fit. I believe that I can get the room in the Geep 7 without any problem.

BTW: All relative input is welcomed, so thanks for the photo Dave and I hope more info about these decoders and their installations can be posted here.
 

GatorDave

Railroading Fan~Gator Fan
Rex,
I was going to stop at the LHS today and have another look at the Brilliance
decoder, but I got in late. All of that rain this morning put me behind. And to
make matters worse, I'm working in Bay Minette, Al. I only have a couple of hours left tomorrow, so I will try to get by and check the dimensions. When
I saw it the other day, I was in a hurry and didn't pay close attention to the
size. I do remember it being "smallish":confused: :D.

I was going to buy one... then I started thinking of the new building and
layout and thought better of spending the $$. Later, Dave
 

GatorDave

Railroading Fan~Gator Fan
Darn it Rex. I didn't get by the LHS today. I did get the lumber to start
my layout's new home, though!! Sorry...

This is from MRC's website: the Brilliance decoders are only 46 x 17 x 7 mm You do the math... the metric system is like Greek to a carpenter.
Even when I worked in a machine shop, I never gave much attention to the
metric system. I remember a quote in MADD magazine when I was a kid: Down with the metric system... we don't want no foreign ruler!:D That still makes
me chuckle. Later, Dave

BTW, I'm going to get my umpteenth track plan revision to you soon.
 

RexHea

RAIL BENDER
Well, let's see now...46x17x7mm...that's about...ugh...you know...ugh...pretty small.:D

Gads Dave, I have fought metric all my tech life even the times I had to use it. That's what a Crescent wrench or Channel locks are for, right?:eek: :D I usually just turn my ruler over to the metric side and say ahh-ha...close'nuf.

Thanks for the thought. I will try to get a measurement soon and see what I have. I will be looking forward to a plans update.
 

GatorDave

Railroading Fan~Gator Fan
Rex,
I always remember the 25.4 rule... or is 24.5?? I haven't had to use it in so
long that it got replaced in the memory bank with something else... Dave
 
Dave,
I would say on your 25.4 or 24.5 rule, either is close enough. As a rule of thumb, I figure approximately 25mm per inch (not quite as precise as whichever one of the other two is correct, but close enough to determine approximate size). By doing this, I don't have to remember which of the other two is correct. With a 46 x 17 x 7 board, I would say this is about 1 3/4 x 11/16 x 1/4, give or take a few 1/16ths.

By the way, do you have the model number of that decoder that you have pictured above?

Thanks,
Joe
 

grumpybob

Lake Shore Lines
I hope their non-sound decoders are better than the sound units. As the rep of MRC with respect to DCC is not great. Between MRC and Atlas, my throw away record is about even.:mad: :mad: they both have only lasted a few months, stop working, and it is impossible to get them repaired.
 

GatorDave

Railroading Fan~Gator Fan
David,
The model number for the MRC motor decoder is MRC 1650. It's a
5-funtion decoder with Light Effects. I wired the mars light lead
on my E unit to the appropriate solder pad and it actually worked!!
You see, I can solder rail like nobody's business, but I have always
been intimadated by small, delicate circuit boards. Good luck, Dave
 

GatorDave

Railroading Fan~Gator Fan
grumpybob said:
I hope their non-sound decoders are better than the sound units. As the rep of MRC with respect to DCC is not great. Between MRC and Atlas, my throw away record is about even.:mad: :mad: they both have only lasted a few months, stop working, and it is impossible to get them repaired.
Bob,
I am guilty of knocking MRC in the past... mainly their DCC systems. This
was before their Prodigy Advance. I have the right to comment on their
original Prodigy because I purchased one... and promptly returned it the
next day. It operated as it should, but that was the problem. It was just
too limited for my needs.

As for their decoders...

I cannot comment on their sound decoders... I haven't tried one yet. I
have read reviews and like everyone else, they recieved good and not
so good marks(although, Tony's review contained more good than bad).

I can comment on their motor decoders. I have one of their older
decoders installed in another P2K E unit and it has served me well for
about six months now. I have, in the past, purchased only Digitrax decoders
and I bought the MRC because that was all they carried at the other hobby
shop I use. I can't tell the difference in the running of the one with Digitrax
and the one with the MRC... I guess time will tell. Sorry about your troubles
with MRC decoders. I hope mine will last. If not, I lived and learned.
Good luck, Dave
 

grumpybob

Lake Shore Lines
Dave,

I do hope they work for you, and I hope they have improved them as we need other vendors in the system. I and the group that have used the sound units in the past have had very bad luck. Besides their short life, their volume control is also bad and that includes the latest units in the Genesis models. I scare myself everytime I fire them up.
 

GatorDave

Railroading Fan~Gator Fan
Bob,
Sorry, I meant to say that their Brilliance decoders got good reviews.
Their original sound decoders... not so much!:) I believe that Athearn
used the original sound decoder in their Genesis models. I heard the
Challenger at my LHS and I know exactly what you mean about the
volume. Good luck, Dave

Edit: It's a shame that Athearn choose the sound decoder that they
did. From what I saw, the Challenger is a fine model.
 
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L&N Castle

Active Member
Hey Rex,do you think that the MRC decoder would work in my MP-15's? So far the only decoder that will work is one from TCS that they just came out with for the MP-15.I have two on order from a dealer here in town.William.
 

RexHea

RAIL BENDER
L&N Castle said:
Hey Rex,do you think that the MRC decoder would work in my MP-15's? So far the only decoder that will work is one from TCS that they just came out with for the MP-15.I have two on order from a dealer here in town.William.
Hi William! Are you talking about your new Atlas? I would bet that they would and what a plus having the speaker mount already there for you. Don't order a speaker because the decoder already comes with one that is a little bit less than 1" diameter. Wait and see if the speaker fits the mount. If it doesn't fit, measure the mount and buy one at Radio Shack or order one from Tony's. I also would remove the baffle that comes on the speaker since those Atlas's are already engineered for sound. Experiment both ways.;) :)
 

HaggisKennedy

Coal Shoveler
I've heard comments made regarding MRC's DCC offerings. Most of them are along the lines of "they're trying to reinvent themselves again", as new stuff comes out from all the other manufacturers out there.

At one time, they had a slight price advantage, but with Digitrax coming out with their sound decoders, a lot of that went away. And I don't know if they've ever had any advantage with their Prodigy Advanced; it just seemed that you got a better value going with one of the Big 3 (NCE, DIgitrax, Lenz). Even Atlas may be a better choice, since it's Lenz-based.

Since most of us have huge empire dreams, I think we may not be giving the PA as much thought as we might. For somebody living in an apartment or small condo and isn't moving anytime soon and has limited space, perhaps something like the PA is eminitely suitable. Say, a small bedroom layout or shelf switcher.

But, even if we're there now, most of us are dreaming of that 45' x 35' triple-decker monster that recreates Donner Pass or the NYC Water Level Route from Buffalo to Chicago with enough trains to keep the local community college busy during an op session, well....,

:D

Kennedy
 

RexHea

RAIL BENDER
One thing that puzzles me is why MRC would have such a heffty price tag on the new "Brilliance" decoders. Even at discounted prices they are still $6 more expensive than the powerful Tsunami.

I was mostly looking at the MRC sound decoder (1633) that was sized for a switcher. It appears to be very small and might fit most of them (with some modifications to the loco). I am not that concerned with sound quality in such a small loco or about a lot of bells and whistles in a switcher, but I am looking for "some" sound with reliable motor control. Even my BLI SW1 sound is not spectacular, but ok. Digitrax may come out with one small enough. I really haven't checked into it.
 

L&N Castle

Active Member
Evening Rex. Thanks for the advice. I have taken a look at the decoder that Gator Dave posted,and if you would,when you get one could show me the installation pics? I do have on order with Keith Davidson,the guy that sell decoders here in B'ham,for two TCS M1P-15 decoders. What I would like to do is see how you and others install them in your diesels,before I invest in them.If only I could figure out what type of speaker Atlas used in the sound equipped version,and maybe get one similar.So for now,I'll hold off getting one of the MRC decoders,until I know more about them.Thank you sir for the info.William.:)
 




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