Perhaps you wondered already, why you did not get any notice from me for such a long time. Well, everything worked so nice that no additional information was needed. There are now users worldwide and also the famous "Gotthard" layout in the Swiss traffic museum works with ATL decoders since nearly two years without troubles. Actually there are several competitors trying to copy the ATLplus brake solution using four diodes. But it is not so easy as some people believe. After all there are 22 years of experience in ATLplus. See the following statement of a railroad club using ATLplus since many years:
We tested two of the new Gold decoders from
Lenz last week. The reason for was first of all to check the SUSI sound
interface. This is a short roundup: The comparison of the new Gold decoder to
the ATL2064 showed once more the high quality of the ATLplus decoder. On the
test layout, in principle the same as our club layout, the Re460 of Roco run
quite nice with the fixed brake distance. But a clean brake, depart and full
speed behaviour could only be reached after extensive dealing with the motor
parameters. But during the following tests on the club layout our faces became
longer and longer. The Gold decoder reacts obviously extremely sensitive on
current and load changes (up- and downhill grades), soiled tracks, a.s.o. The
speed control of the motor was bad (bumpy departure and braking) and stopping in
front of the signal was mere chance. On the open track (open signals) the engine
with activated ABC and constant brake distance run at a speed between creeping
and race, and this apparently without any reason. After another extensive
dealing with motor parameters but no better result we stopped our exercises.
Conclusion: The Lenz Gold decoders are definitely not qualified for our
purposes. Moreover this decoder is nearly the double in size at a comparable
prize. Let's celebrate the ATL2064!
W.T. Railroad Friends of Bassersdorf, Switzerland www.eisenbahnfreunde.ch
There is nothing to be added. But stagnancy
is stepping backwards. Therefore I was very busy and can present now an even
more versatile decoder. Contrary to competitors announcing a lot of things
without being able to deliver them the new ATL2066 is on the market since April
05 and has passed the first challenges already. Another quality criterion, isn't
PoM is a programming technique to configure engines via their address. For
that the engine need not be put on the programming track. Therefore PoM may be
used in full operation with every engine offering this feature. The new ATL2066
accepts now also singular bit manipulation without affecting other bits in the
same CV. So any function may be easily switched on and off, if the command
station supports this function, too. Of course also complete CVs may be changed
Up to now ATLplus decoders reduced the engine speed steadily down to
stillstand. But this is sometimes not the real world, where drivers first brake
stronger and then loose the brakes more and more at lower speeds, just coasting
to the signal. This feature is now implemented in the ATL2066, too. Looks
fantastic, but extends the braking distance quite a lot. Accordingly you must
fill in lower values into CV54 compared to the values used for linear braking to
stop the train after the same distance.
On the other hand I renounced consciously integrating the constant brake
distance another manufacturer is propagating. The reason: if any braking engine
encounters a short "green" information it recalculates the brake
distance and will pass the red signal. This results in accidents or at least
complex correction of signal block logic. But an engine that has stopped too
early may be easily driven to the signal by manual intervention and is no
security problem at all.
Up to now ATLplus decoders have already a function that allows slowing down
to a lower programmable speed in brake areas, keeping it along the station
platform and then braking to stillstand just before the red signal. But this was
a little bit circuitous because the brake area under the running train had to be
switched to the opposite polarity of the diode ring to stop the train. This
needs a bistable relay driven by a reed contact in the rail and a magnet on the
engine. Now you can also stop the train with a reed on the engine connected to
the decoder and a rail magnet just in front of the signal. The diodes polarity
has no meaning any more, so additional track isolations and relays may be
In CV6 you can choose a lower speed to get a more subtile speed control in
shunting mode by pressing a button. In the ATL2066 also acceleration and brake
momentum are switched off this way. This was a wish from many customers to avoid
nervous breakdown! You better believe it. But interesting: If you program CV5
and CV6 to the same value defining the top speed, you can switch on and off
momentum without influence on the speed.
Up to now you could use the cruising information only for the beam function
on outputs A and B switching automatically to bright lights at departure. With
the new ATL2066 you may program one output to switch on as soon as the engine is
moving. This allows very interesting things: switch on a smoke generator or
separate high beams, blinking light at departure, a.s.o. The other functions of
this output are still available: remote control, flashing, dimming or gyrolight
and time limiting. So you can program an automatic blinking light for 9 sec. at
departure. The output reacts already on the signal transition to green, so a
steam engine starts to produce smoke before moving (set CV52, delay of
departure, to max.).
As you probably know I have my own philosophy concerning sounds. It is not my
goal to provide a singular engine with all the possible sounds that may be
heard. I prefer to integrate typical sound in a lot of engines at a lower price.
Real sound playback is quite complex (see size and prices of such sound
decoders) and with loudspeakers of 20 mm dia hopeless anyway. Even the SUSI
interface is no subject for ATLplus, the whole solution being highly expensive
and wasting space.
My approach was and is to get nearest as possible to real sound with the
existing microprocessor, being able to offer acceptable sound at much lower
prices and little space. I am convinced to answer to real customer needs this
way and leave sound freaks willingly to my competitors . By the way, the subject
"sound" seems to be higly emotional. From excitement to disdainful
criticism everything is heard for the same sound sample. So I will publish
sounds of ATLplus decoders on my homepage soon. Then you may build up your own
Anyway, the ATL2066 got remarkable improvments. Steam sound is now very
realistic, as many customers confirm. Moreover some CVs allow selection between
short and extended breathing exhausts and the volumes of the different exhausts.
The whistle resp. horn is mixed with pure noise resulting in a more throaty
sound. And also new: during whistle or horn blowing steam exhaust is heard at a
reduced level. The engine may also be programmed to blowing off cylinders at
departure for some seconds.
Apart of these obviously new features there are some internal improvements, especially on the speed regulation, where higher cycle rates lead to a better reference value. The influence of CV5 and CV6 on the speed has been extended considerably. The EMP measurement windows could be shortened, so more power is available for Faulhaber motors.
Digiblock stands for an ideal add-on to the ATLplus engine decoders. It allows the plain and comfortable automatisation of a layout. There are always new applications found, which would need a PC otherwise, e.g. a sophisticated shuttle train with only one Digiblock. See more on my homepage.
Now I wish you a
pleasant start into the new model railroad season and would be most happy if you
decide (again) for ATLplus and its fantastic features.
Yours sincerely, Urs Meyer