• trainman261

    Agreed. I’m using the ECoS, and the touchscreen is one of the old resistive kind, but it’s still pretty good for running trains. It’s just really fun to use. Not to mention, the Ethernet port on the back is extremely handy, all you need is a cable and a spare plug on a router nearby, and you can already start using your smartphone with it (there’s an app on Google Play called “ECoS Controller”, not made by ESU but decent nonetheless), or hook it up to JMRI or whatever else you want. Not to mention, I haven’t installed it yet, but the 4.0 update is looking pretty sweet…

    • Thanks for the comment Trainman, I agree the 4.0 update seems to bring interesting functions!

  • Walid Khier

    You forget that a large segment of the MRR community is 60+. For this segment radio control cars and infra red TV remote control are high tech. I bet they are most pleased by Daisy&Co. would look at WiFi Zillion color display with a very sceptical and anxious eye. This is of course not an excuse for Uhlenbrock to explain the fate of Dinosaurs by a live example, but probably this mentality dominates the decision making level of Uhlenbrock.

    • Herbert

      I thought it was just me! For years now, I have been attemting to get an update for an uhlenbrock 65000 Intellibox! I bought this unit from a hobby shop at the “Drei-Eck”, the town where the Rhein joins the Mosel River. It wasn’t cheap, even though it was an “auslaufsmodel” (obsolete).
      I have the English version of the “Handbuch” for this control box, but this was no help getting an update either, although I sent e-mails to their websites in Both English and German.

      Strangely, I met the Herr Doktor designer of the Intellibox at a meet of the Maerklin Enthusiasts Association (MEA) at the Holiday Inn off New Jersey Turnpike, around the early 1980’s. I was excited about its multi-functionality, thinking “now here’s a device that won’t soon become obsolete”. In all fairness, I can still use it to run NMRA’s version of DCC locomotives on this version of the Intellibox. Ironically, I never tried to run Maerklin trains with it because their decoders were (still are) ridiculously expensive.

      I looked at my Intellibox with renewed interest after a recent purchase of a Maerklin Big Boy, p/n 34900, circa 1981. It only has a little 4-dip switch Delta motor-only decoder, no sound, and runs beautifully on a Mobil Station, model I. Naturally, I started looking for a replacement sound decoder, or a sound-only decoder, to install in the tender. Any ideas here? Any help would be appreciated.
      For now, I have stopped short of trying the old Intellibox to run this fantastic loco.

      • Thanks for the comment Herbert!
        I’m more of an N-scaler myself. Maybe someone here or in a model railroad forum would be more helpful?

    • Abdulaziz

      Dear Sir,

      Yes indeed the ESU Ecos is light years ahead of the Uhlenbrock product which I purchased recently to use with my Roco Z21 in Kuwait . Unfortunately, the Uhlenbrock is SO outdated that the supplied radio master which is supposed to link the hand throttle controller to the track via the Z21 is not compatible and will only work when connected by cable ….. The ESU is the logical choice which although expensive sets the the way for modern model railroad layout control . Uhlenbrock is proceeding towards a dark future if they keep offering such outdated products and I am taking my set back for a refund or exchange .

      Note: It is rare to come across someone from the Arab world with an interest in model trains .
      Best wishes

      • Walid Khier

        There are more railway fans than what you imagine in our region. However, I agree they/we are too few…. The reasons are clear…. Rail transport is not promoted in the region, and is doomed to vanish even in countries with long history of rail transport like Egypt, for example, due to corrupt incompetent policy, or Syria because of more than obvious reasons. As for the MRR hobby, the reasons are equally clear: It is an expensive hobby,…. perhaps not expensive for the generally wealthy gulf countries, but if you consider the price of a sound decoder relative to the average monthly income elsewhere in the area you will understand what I mean. Secondly, miniatures are automatically (and falsely) classified as toys. Interest in miniatures is classified accordingly as childish. Thirdly, we, the Arab, are sadly not interested in delicate, time consuming activities involving hand work and fine craftsmanship. We would rather give away tons of money for objects made by others and proudly show, but never care to appreciate the products of our hands…. I can go on on this point for another week but I hope you understand what I mean.

        Of course one may argue (I, to be precise), cost is not a point especially when many others spend comparable sums in smoking, video games, expensive cell phones (well, the most expensive Samsung is not much more expensive than a Brawa locomotive), fancy designer cloth…etc…etc…. However, this is the way it goes in our region: miniatures are for children.

        Back to central control units…. frankly, I find them all overpriced…. These things are nothing but a microcontroller with some accessories to generate a DCC signal, something you can do in a couple of days, but nevertheless people pay ridiculously high prices for them. I paid 120 EUR for my Roco (small) Zed 21, and I would have remained with start set mice if it would cost a single penny more. Intellibox and similars ESU things are out of question.

        • Thank you both for your comments! I think it’s great that the hobby is still alive also in the Arab world.
          What we must not forget, quite frankly, is that model railroading is not doing very well, nowhere in the world. This may change, but for now, any hobby requiring to “build something of your own” is not fashionable, and not just in the Arab world.
          Look at Legos: it used to be about building machines and buildings, now the most success comes from ready to use Star Wars figures, where the kid just arrange things around.

          Rail transport as a whole is doing well: many Arab countries are introducing trams, high speed lines, renovating freight line; same thing maybe in the US. So who knows, maybe MRR will get better soon!

          In the meantime, yes, digital model train equipement is expensive. It’s up to us to make sure the hobby lives on! More customers=cheaper prices 😉


          • Walid Khier

            “More customers=cheaper prices”

            I would love to… but when I started in this hobby, I mean when I started buying to be precise, in the mid nineties, a large DC steam locomotive used to cost 125 EUR, E-Locs were about 100 EUR. I remember a discussion in a shop where the seller was trying desperately to justify the price of a TRIX Bavarian Gt 2×4/4, 250 EUR at that time. Now I would be very happy if I find a second-hand at this price. I know, 15-20 years do not mean nothing, but bear in mind that except a DCC socket nothing has been added to these little machines over the years. And if we may understand the rise in rolling stock prices, how should we understand similar rise in building kits dating back to the sixties? Another example, Faller used to market Testor/Model Master’s weathering set around this time. All they had to do is to pack six bottles of grey and brown shades inside a plastic bag. For that they sold the set for double the cost (including shipping) of import from USA.

            I agree with you on keeping the hobby alive, but manufacturers should do their part too.

  • Abdulaziz

    As for the general attitude towards MRR in most Arab countries that they are looked upon as nothing more than toys I agree entirely with Mr. Walid . However, I must add that people in the gulf region are wealthy by birth is simply not true and as a Kuwaiti my only source of income is my retirement pension with a bank loan and kids studying in college not to mention trying to construct a house with un limited obstacles and soaring expenses . Enough of that anyway and back to MRR which I have to say it is not costly to get into this fine hobby as anyone can start at their own pace and available budget & space plus there is nothing wrong with going with analog controllers as even that will allow a tremendous potential for further future expansion . I only started my DCC layout last year and had been running analog since 1975 . Getting into DCC can be as costly as buying an ESU Ecos or as cheap as getting an old Roco digital center with a multimaus handheld controller for well under a 100 Euros . And I must not forget the American DCC equipment which are in many cases affordable as well as functional .

    Still, I feel that having the ability to control several trains with total freedom of movement using an iPad through the Z21 ( I just traded in my white starter set unit for the black full feature Z21 ) is a worthwhile investment especially for someone like myself due to limited vision in one eye .

    Happy MRR to all

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