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G Scale Systems Comparison: New Aristocraft TrainEngineer Vs. New NCE GWire ProCab

Here is a comprehensive feature comparison of 2 new G scale control systems. One is DCC and the other proprietary, which one would you buy?

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Feature Comparison

QSI Solutions: “Aristo Style” Sound & Power DCC Decoder with G-Wire Receiver
NCE: G-Wire Pro Cab, (DCC Transmitter) and
Aristocraft: “Revolution” Train Engineer Control System (Proprietary)

This comparison is to help the end user differentiate between the features and capabilities of the QSI-NCE wireless control systems and the Aristocraft wireless control systems. A concerted effort has been undertaken to provide as objective comparison as possible between the two systems.

Because the QSI system has sound included and the Aristocraft system does not, we have included a Phoenix sound system into the cost of the Aristocraft system for comparison. Phoenix sound was chosen over other manufacturers simply because it is widely considered in the industry to be fully comparable to QSI sound, both in sound quality and to a lesser extent, functionality. There is one significant drawback to using the Revolution-Pheonix combination. Because there is no BEMF coupling from the motor to the sound decoder there are no “Sound of Power” effects locomotives under load. Sound of Power adds significantly to the overall realism of sound decoder installations.

This document does not explore other sound capabilities of either the QSI or Phoenix systems simply because this is a comparison between QSI’s and Aristocraft’s control functionality because Aristocraft does not offer a sound option.

Receiver/Decoder QSI Aristocraft  
Feature “Aristo Style”w/G-Wire Receiver “Revolution” TE Notes
Cost MSRP $289.90* $100.00 * Cost for QSI Aristo Sound Decoder ($159.95) and G-Wire Wireless Receiver Module ($129.95).
Street Price $235.90* $80.99 * Cost for QSI Aristo Sound Decoder ($127.95) and G-Wire Wireless Receiver Module ($107.95).
Sound Yes
No
Total MSRP Cost with Sound (Street) $289.20 ($235.90) $325.00 ($290.89)* * Includes adding a Phoenix Sound P5 Sound card (MSRP $180.00, Street $169.95) and Phoenix Sound P5T Aux Input board (MSRP $45.00, Street $39.95).
NMRA DCC Compatible Yes
G-Wire Receivers are compatible with all NMRA Wireless DCC Transmitters.
No
Receivers are proprietary, and only work with Revolution Transmitters.
 

Receiver/Decoder QSI Aristocraft
Feature Aristo Style”w/G-Wire Receiver Revolution” TE Receiver/Decoder Notes
DC, (Analog) Compatible Yes
The receiver can be turned off to allow the engine to operate on conventional DC track power or battery pack.
No
Radio Frequency 900 Mhz
2.4Ghz Different frequencies not a factor
Power source Battery or Track Battery or Track
Max Voltage 35v DC
24v DC
Decoder Amp Rating 4-5 amps
Decoder is protected from overload. By a thermal cut off device until overload is eliminated.
5 amps, 8 amp stall current.
Amperage above 8 amps will destroy decoder.

Settings and Configuration Info Stored on Receiver
Can use any transmitter without re-setting up the receiver.
Stored in Transmitter
Engine (receiver) has to be reset, re-configured, if used with another transmitter.

Speed Steps 128
1000
Program on the Main Yes
Yes
Reed switch control of function inputs No Yes
Number of function outputs 12*16 Other 6 * Sound functions
Light Control Forward and Reverse Light with on/off control and configuration control. (Rule 17, Direction, Dimming) Programmable “Special Effects”, Mars, Beacons, Strobes, etc Forward and Reverse Light are automatic only. On when loco is moving, Off when stationary. (No configuration for Rule 17, Direction or Dimming)
Smoke control Yes* Not released yet Yes* * With optional smoke control board

Transmitter QSI/NCE Aristocraft
Feature G-Wire ProCab “Revolution” TE Receiver/Decoder Notes
Cost MSRP $239.95 $200.00
Street Price $199.95 $139.99
Number of Loco Addresses 9999 50* *Locos in a consist count as one of the 50 available. A loco in a consist and set up to run individually counts as two locomotives.
Consists 15 Consists, Unlimited number of engines for each.
10 Consists, 6 engines max for each.
This assumes there is enough power available to support the MU Ops.
NMRA DCC Compatible Yes
Compatible with all NMRA Wireless DCC Receivers.
No
Proprietary Transmitter only works with Revolution Receivers.
 
Display Active Locomotive # or Consist #, Direction, Speed, Speed Steps, Lights and Function Key Status
Active Locomotive # or Consist Name, Direction, Speed, Start Speed, Top speed, Speed Steps, Battery strength.

Backlight No (Optional) Yes
Buttons Direction, Momentum, Speed control, Whistle/Horn, Bell, Lights, E-Stop, Recall, Select Loco, Select Accessory, 10, Function Keys, Consist setup keys, Program, Speed steps.
Direction, Speed control, Stop, Cab select, Menu, On/Off, Function keys, All stop.
Emergency Stop Yes – Current locomotive
Yes – All locomotives
Function control 28
6
Recall 4 Locomotives, Selective
50 locomotives* *Non selective: Activated Locos are automatically included in recall stack there for you must scroll thru them to select a loco.
Macro’s* Yes
No *Programmable Instruction Sets
Package QSI Aristocraft
Cost G-Wire Pro Cab Revolution TE Note
Total MSRP (Street) Cost for system(Transmitter, Receiver) $529.15 (435.85) 525.00 (430.88)* * Includes cost of Phoenix Sound P5 sound card and P5T aux input board.

Conclusion

Both systems are within a few dollars of each other from a cost perspective so cost is not a decision factor when making a choice.

The QSI system follows the NMRA (National Model Railroad Association) Standards, which make it universally compatible with other wireless products following the same standard. This basically means that it is compatible with many products made by other manufacturers, and can be mixed or matched with other manufacturers' products. The Aristocraft TE System is proprietary and will only work using their components.

Both systems are relatively easy to set up and program. Some feel that the Aristocraft TE System is easier to program because you don’t have to know the CV values, ie in DCC, Engine # is entered into CV 1. However with simplicity comes trade-offs. The Aristocraft TE System does have a convenient menu driven set-up procedure for configuring a locomotive, however, if you walk through the number of steps required to set up a new locomotive, it is substantially more complex and time consuming than setting the engine number CV in the QSI decoder. For the QSI decoder this is a one-time process, conversely for the Aristocraft TE, because all programming is stored on the Aristocraft transmitter (remote) and not in the receiver, the setup procedure has to be performed again and again if you want to use the engine with a different remote.

Both systems give you the flexibility to choose the number of speed steps, QSI again follows the NMRA standard of 28 or 128 and the Aristocraft TE offers the choice of 20, 40, 100, 200 or 1000. They both also offer Momentum control and the ability to set a top speed for the locomotive. The QSI decoder can also be programmed with custom speed curves and much more, features not available with the Aristocraft system.

The QSI system provides additional flexibility in programming special lighting functions for both the headlight and rear light. In addition to the standard on and off, lights can be configured for Rule 17 operation, dimming, various direction control options and “Special Effects”, Mars, Beacons, Strobes, etc. The Aristocraft TE only provides automatic on/off control of the lights. The lights are always on when the locomotive is moving and off when it is stationary.

In summary, The Aristocraft TE’s perceived programming simplicity requires more steps, limits its control functionality, where as the QSI system, following the NMRA standards, has significantly more operational and programming flexibility.

  Phone: 800-978-3472 or 802-878-5005.
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