by Dana Brown
Over the past week, I tried many of the functions of the ECoS DCC control system, model number 50210. Here are some of my observations. (Note that Don Fiehman posted a short introductory article about an earlier version of the ECoS system (probably the 50200). It did not go into any operational details but the results he described are very similar to what I found.
Summary opinion: The ECoS system is a first-class system that is well engineered, robust and intuitive after some practice. Although it supports worldwide digital model railroad control protocols, I have only tested the DCC capabilities. It also commands a premium purchase price for all of its capabilities. It is for the serious model railroader who is intent on building around the ECoS system architecture. There are many 3rd party components that can be used with this architecture that ESU does not sell, including the line of DCC Specialties circuit breakers, auto-reversers, block detectors, and accessory decoders. It works with Railcom feedback, which is available on the ESU V4 decoder series. It seamlessly integrates with 3rd party software used for layout control, dispatching and tuning and maintenance. I used ECoS successfully with Decoder Pro.
Things I did not test on the ECoS:
Potential Tests with Mobile Control II Throttle:
Ideas for Improvement:
I find that the ECoS system is very enjoyable to operate and for a person who invests the time to properly set it up and to use it efficiently. In a club setting, it can be learned incrementally if a knowledgeable system administrator sets things up. For a beginner or a person new to the ECoS system, about a dozen hours of training and another dozen hours of practice and usage must be expended to become somewhat proficient in its usage.