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11
May 08
User Rating:  / 7
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Converting to DCC and electrifying our layout was going to be the last thing we did. However, we are always looking for new products in model railroading - to help fill in the blanks concerning quality, along with creating step-by-step instructions to get you up and running quickly.

Product: Ane Model/DCC acc./Smartswitch
Price: msrp $99.00 USD
Reviewer: Ron Pare
Notes: Servos can power upto four switches, semophores, crossing gates or train order signals at a price we can deal with.

Converting to DCC and electrifying our layout was going to be the last thing we did. However, we are always looking for new products in model railroading - to help fill in the blanks concerning quality, along with creating step-by-step instructions to get you up and running quickly.

Whats in the box: This kit is jam packed with components. 4 servos, armatures of various size and configurations, brackets and related screws. A control board, stationarly decoder needed control wires w/extensions and toggle switches included. Plus if all that wasn't enough Smartfrog power routing board, to eliminate nasty shorts. Oh yeah and well documented and illustrated instructions.
The Build/Review: Following trackwork one is often thinking of automating certain activities, whether it be switches or animated scenes, for crossing gates, semophores, coal towers etc etc. This servo can do it, not only animate but run LEDs with them. Not only that, they can even be triggered by your DCC cab, right out of the box. This package has everything you need. No secondary orders for parts you didn't anticapate needing.

servoservoSo when writing up this review we found a few other companies trying their hand at releasing servo kits and found that none compared to whats in the box. Similar packages matched the price but provide only 2 servos and/or no decoder. In other cases the price was cheaper only to provide one servo.

Looking through the instructions I soon found myself overwhelmed. The amount of info provided is very welcome to complete the package. It actually took me a few weeks to really just dig in and program it. The system is very basic and this makes it very efficiant. However learning it is confusing and asking Ivan at AneModel.com a question is just an email away. Setting swing limits and speed is so easily done (once you've learned) it can be tweaked in a matter of seconds.

At the club, we have one smartswitch location. The location started with just a switch,.where this system would have been overkill. However once a few more members chimed in their thoughts we had signalling to deal with a coal and water tower to animate and soon all the servos were spoken for. The servo solution was really a hard sell until we hooked up a demo.too, a bunch of the guys used to the tortoise didn't see a need. Accurate spead control and armature travel was the real selling point to the fellow members.

Final assembly: On the Engine terminal we installed two of these smartswitch units. Configuring each servo is a necessary task. We were able to slow down the speed of our coaling tower shoot and drop it to the perfect height with little trouble. We did however break a few strings and bend a few piano wires in the learning curve, but this goes with the territory and caused no concern here.

Programing two servos to a crossover was surprisingly easy as well. Pretty much each and every movement concern was adjusted and setup in short time. We set speed to a crawl, each point position set perfectly and both ran in sync.

Conclusions: Servos have been a part of other hobbies for years. The model railroad market realy does have room for them, not only in terms of their options but in the value of their aproach. These servos will bring competition to the market and we all know that competition in the marketplace gives the consumer the benefit of a darn good deal.
Compared to the products we all know and love these servos breath new life into a segment of the hobby that has otherwise sat idle for years.

 

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