LDT SA-DEC-4-DC relay DCC decoder
SA-DEC-4-DC & S-DEC-4-DC from LDT (Littfinski): 2 sturdy accessory decoders used under the biggest model train layout in the world!
LDT is a (medium-sized?) manufacturer based in Germany, though their website is available in a few languages. They have a large range of DCC (and Motorola) products for digital model trains.
I suspect not so many people have heard of LDT (I hadn’t until I started shopping for trains in Germany). Why do I have those modules, and why are they worth mentioning here? Two reasons:
The SA-DEC-4-DC & S-DEC-4-DC are two completely separate devices. They look alike, and it made sense to review them together since they share a very common purpose under our layouts:
LDT SA-DEC-4-DC (electronic board)
LDT S-DEC-4-DC (electronic board)
LDT S-DEC-4-DC switch DCC decoder
Before having a look at the SA-DEC-4-DC & S-DEC-4-DC decoders, a few words about the LDT philosophy.
Most modules are available in 3 versions:
Obviously, the DIY kits are cheaper. Since the components are normal-sized, anyone with a bit of soldering experience should be able to build the modules successfully (20-30 minutes).
Conrad seems to only sell the first 2 versions, but you can buy the separate plastic housing if you want to:
LDT optional electronic board case
Those modules are, by design, extremely simple. There are no CVs, no complicated settings. For both decoders, programming is done the old fashioned way, in a few seconds. Just press the programming button, send an order from your command station, the module then takes the corresponding address and the 3 following (e.g. send 1, modules gets addresses 1 to 4).
The switch decoder works well with classic points (in my case, Fleischmann N). Unfortunately, the relays on the relay decoder are a bit noisy. This is not unusual, since relays are actual mechanical devices. I use these to switch some layout lights on and off.
I have had those modules under different versions of my layout for more than 4 years. Some I had bought as DIY kits, others as ready to use modules. Those modules have always worked completely reliably, although my layout isn’t as intensively used as the Hamburg Wunderland !
The LDT switch and relay modules are single-purpose no fuss devices. They do little, but they do it very well. Programming couldn’t be easier, and if you can solder, the DIY kits will save you a bit of money (e.g. as of July 2014, the switch decoder for 4 switches costs about €21). Beginners can get the ready to use devices.
My personal choices have evolved. Because my layout is always evolving, I now prefer to buy universal modules. Those can be reprogrammed for any purpose (switches, lights, signals). The drawback is they are more complicated, and sometimes more expensive. I recently reviewed the advanced Qdecoder Z2-8+ which is now one of my favorites. Despite this change of heart, LDT modules still operate many essential parts of my layout. I would still recommend them to people looking for simple & reliable DCC devices.
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