• Suzie Tall

    The Next-18S size (25mm x 10.5mm x 4.1mm) really competes with the Plu16 variant of the PluX family for size (20mm x 11mm x 4.2mm) and sound decoders are available in the Plu16 non-sound size (from Zimo with the MX648p16 for example). A shame really that the dimensions for Plu16S (28mm x 16mm x 6mm) were so generous and the Plu12S has not been properly defined by MOROP with a size.

    Looks like Next18 variant sockets will haunt us like different versions of MTC-21 have in the larger scales. PluX is unfortunately a missed opportunity – it is the only connector with a high enough pin density for the features we are going to see going forward – sound with 6-functions is not an unreasonable provision to require and Plu16 is the only way to deliver it in ‘N’ and maintain compatibility with a range of decoders that can be used elsewhere.

    All big disaster that will fragment the market. A nice after-market PluX socket would be nice too that is a little smaller than Zimo’s ADAPLU! That D&H NexT-18 socket is nice.

    • Thanks for the comment Suzie. You’re totally right. Having defined 2 Next18 decoder sizes was a mistake, especially because there is already a sound decoder in Next18 (non S) format anyway: the CtElektronik SL76Next18 http://www.tran.at/Produkte/SL76Next18.shtml and others will follow someday when costs go down further for smaller components. But the majority are available in the larger Next-18S size that rarely fits in N scale locomotives. Added to this the fact that the size of the space (S or non S) isn’t clear for inexperienced customers on the engine box or manual. All in all, that seems to be the same issue you are mentioning about Plu16S (which I didn’t know about).

      I’m still more a fan of Next18 against the PluX family, especially as a N-scaler: the vertical pins on the PluX decoders are just a big waste of vertical space in small engines.

      In any case, it’s all indeed a gigantic mess (as I mentioned here http://www.locgeek.com/2012/12/digital-plugs-yes-theyve-gone-crazy/ ), and the MOROP is not helping (basically making
      a “norm” out of any new plug definition that the manufacturers send their way)…

      • Suzie Tall

        I guess if you need to save the 1.3mm the NexT18 non-sound size may have some value (2.9mm compared to the PluX 4.2mm). I guess this is its only redeeming feature. It should not be an issue for manufacturers though where they have the opportunity to make the space at the design stage. In mitigation the pins on a PluX can go through the loco PCB if it is designed correctly where a 3mm saving on the pin length is gained.
        The winner for me with PluX is having one pinout for all the sizes – if it fits in the socket it will work! Even if the space is not intended for sound, if the likes of Zimo come along and make a small sound decoder it will fit and work (without having to rewire the loco to make the speaker connection by disconnecting some functions – not a pleasant task if it involves PCB traces!)
        I am beginning to think that MOROP believe you can’t have too many standards. NMRA are going the same way I think. Zimo are trying to kill MTC-21 by not making their low cost decoders available in that format and by not making any decoders for jst-9 so hopefully other manufacturers will follow and rationalise a bit on some of the legacy formats.
        Keep up the good work.

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