Setting Up ESU System

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D&J RailRoad

Professor of HO
This is getting to be a real PITA. Manuals are 10 years old and don't have the updated information. I guess they just suppose we breath in the information out of thin air.
Manual says to connect the Digitrax track output from the Digitrax command station to the back of the ESU system, and it shows the connection point. Dealer says not to do that because a L. Net adapter is needed instead.
I spent all day yesterday tryin to get the Mobile Command II controller (wireless throttle) to work but it just wouldn't connect to the ESU box. OH, they forgot to tell me it needed and update. OK, I go to the ESU web page and download the software so I can update the MCII. Still doesn't work. Won't connect to anything over the air. Oh, that's one of the older models. Yeah, it's WI-FI but it doesn't really do American Wi-Fi. WTF, do ya think I'm going to move to Germany so I can run my trains. This is fricken United States or did you forget that too.
OK, I can select and run a train from the ESU box. I'll refer to that as the command station. It's supposed to be able to convert Digitrax signals from Digitrax throttles but now I'm wondering what they may have forgot to tell me about that too. Prolly need a special cable that nobody makes, or how about a specialty plug that only ESU makes but the factory in Germany is shut down for the Zukerbraun holiday which just started today and runs till early March.
 

NYC_George

Well-Known Member
There's lots of stuff to aggravate us in the world today and model railroading isn't excluded. I'm sure once this Zukerbraun holiday is over you'll be back running trains.
George
 

MikeOwnby

Active Member
The thing about ESU is that make the best and most flexible sound decoder on the market, with the best motor control out there. I'm super impressed with that. The OTHER thing about ESU is that they have absolutely no customer support whatsoever. When you buy ESU, you are completely on your own. No updated manuals, no explanations, no help from ESU at all. I've never seen such a complete lack of give-a-damn in a company. Ever. If their decoders were even one iota less impressive they wouldn't last in business for five minutes, but because they offer features and performance that exceeds other brands they get by with it. So yes, I'm putting ESU decoders in my locomotives, but I can't imagine a time when I would ever use any of their command stations, throttles, etc. I'll stick with Digitrax for everything but the decoder.
 

D&J RailRoad

Professor of HO
I keep getting the speels from my dealer about how Germany despises the US due to our plug and play mentality. We should be deeply studied in how this stuff works. Heck, they claim great pride that their factory floors are as level as a sheet of glass where our factory floors are haphazardly poured. ESU seems to have a desire to kill Digitrax, because Digitrax uses track power in the outer two wires of the loconet. ???!!!?!?!!? Lots of other stuff that they grind on about too. I just remind him that we whooped their butts two times and some craters remain there today to remind them.
 

D&J RailRoad

Professor of HO
Had to run some CAT6 cable over to where the booster will be installed.
Also, built a mount for the command station so it will be up behind the fascia when it's not being programmed.
Once again, the instruction manuals seem to meander a lot about stuff that's not necessary for the issues at hand.
 

D&J RailRoad

Professor of HO
Wow, Just realized the responsiveness of ESU for support. I sent a support request to ESU by email. They might be able to get back to me in a couple weeks. Dang, I guess it must be a one man shop as his hobby that he dabbles in.
 

D&J RailRoad

Professor of HO
I tried to establish a forum account with ESU. Can't get past the registration part. A circular process of' create an account, user name and password, Register, login with new user name and password, password or user name not in system. Create account, user name already in use. Go to login, User name not in system.
I'm already getting the feeling I made an expensive mistake here.
 

D&J RailRoad

Professor of HO
Now I'm finding out that you cannot MU locomotives using the Mobile Command II. That's the hand held throttle. I guess ya have to plan you MU in advance on the command station. Apparently Europeans don't MU their locomotives so that is kind of an oddity. I'm guessing their demo of multiple locomotives is to readdress them all to the same cab number. Real high tech there ESU, but heck, what do us Americans know.
 

MikeOwnby

Active Member
Seriously, man, go back to Digitrax and ebay the ESU stuff. I know Digitrax locks up and gets weird every once in a while, but rebooting that is far less headache than having to deal with ESU.
 

MikeOwnby

Active Member
And I say this as someone who has a Lokprogrammer and is in the process of putting sound decoders into the majority of my locomotives. And those sound decoders are ESU. But I'm not about to buy or use a single thing from ESU beyond that. They're just a ridiculous company, and if anybody ever matches their features and flexibility in N-scale, I won't hesitate for a second to wave bye-bye with my middle finger.
 

D&J RailRoad

Professor of HO
Just starting the system up is like starting a desk top computer. It takes about a minute or so and sometimes ya have to link the handheld to the command station again.
Still can't get into the ESU forum. Not sure if it's something I'm doing wrong or their system isn't working right.
 

MikeOwnby

Active Member
I don't think the ESU forum is even being monitored to add new users. Last I checked, the last admin post was YEARS ago, and I really don't think anybody is actually maintaining it.
 

D&J RailRoad

Professor of HO
It finally let me in a little bit ago. Not sure what I did but just went through the login procedure again and Just like that, I was in.
I posted a question about adding a second Mobile Command II receiver to the system.
 

D&J RailRoad

Professor of HO
Now I'm finding out that you cannot MU locomotives using the Mobile Command II. That's the hand held throttle. I guess ya have to plan you MU in advance on the command station. Apparently Europeans don't MU their locomotives so that is kind of an oddity. I'm guessing their demo of multiple locomotives is to readdress them all to the same cab number. Real high tech there ESU, but heck, what do us Americans know.
Oh yes you can. The only problem is they forgot to put that into the Mobile Command II instruction manual.
I'm still waiting on a response if I can add a second Wi-Fi receiver unit on the loconet for better coverage.
Perhaps your system is only designed for use on a small kitchen table top layout.
 
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D&J RailRoad

Professor of HO
Well that was short lived.
The second Mobile Command II unit has failed. It won't connect to the Wi-Fi. I tested my smart phone on the Wi-Fi and it connects right away in just a few seconds. The MC II won't connect even with the AP only a couple feet away. Nice goin ESU. Your stuff is lacking.
Real good ESU. Your reps rant on about how diabolical Digitrax is for putting track power on the two outside wires of the Loconet but your stuff can't even link up to the WiFi two days in a row. Your manuals leave stuff out and your excuse is, it should be understood already.
ESU, your stuff is lacking. Perhaps it's just your distain for Americans and you dump your blemished units on our distributors to deal with.
At least with my Digitrax, I can run trains. Not sure now what your goals are.
 
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D&J RailRoad

Professor of HO
Looking at the ESU support page. You can't go in and read in the forum unless you're a registered member. There is a FAQ page there that addresses registering. It says, "I registered a few days ago but I haven't gotten access to the forums yet".
Hmmmm, how was the user able to put a message there if he didn't have access to the forum?
I'm starting to realize more and more how ESU is a sham.
 

D&J RailRoad

Professor of HO
another thing the ESU dealer had been telling me. He sells command stations that were manufactured over 10 years ago and they only have to be updated with software.
Wonder if that has something to do with the failures of this system.
 

D&J RailRoad

Professor of HO
I'm getting the impression that ESU believes if you don't thoroughly understand network protocol and packet formats, you have no business in model railroading. They have other things to do rather than answer stupid questions from rube modelers.
 

D&J RailRoad

Professor of HO
Ok, got it working again.
I think the key to it is; enter the host name and password about 45 times, rebooting the system each time and presto, it comes right up.
 




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