DCC DECODERS - GET EM WHILE YOU CAN

Zscaleplanet Jul 2, 2021

  1. Zscaleplanet

    Zscaleplanet TrainBoard Supporter

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    This could have been posted in the DCC section of the board, but I opted to post it here for my fellow Z-scale companions.

    As you are well aware, there is a worldwide computer chip shortage going on. The automotive and appliance manufacturers are the hardest hit, but this could now be trickling down to our near and dear model railroading hobby.

    For those of you who are outfitting your locos with DCC and still need decoders, I can only recommend you get them while you can, and while their prices are stable.

    I just picked up the last of four decoders for my AZL ATSF F7’s, from a supplier that informed me that he was having problems getting inventory from several manufacturers, and it’s been going on for many months.

    It really became more evident to me as I was searching for these four decoders.

    Some are predicting this micro chip shortage could go on for several months, or for many, many months. And my bigger concern is that once they do recover, prices will be higher as well, especially with rumors of massive inflation headed this way.

    I’m not trying to sound like Chicken Little here, but if anybody understands they need to get something while you can -and- while it’s available, it’s we Z-scaler’s.

    Lance
     
  2. z.scale.hobo

    z.scale.hobo TrainBoard Member

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    Hmm. Zmodell just released DCC boards for AZL RS2s .... A healthy number are heading to at least 2 (maybe more?) USA dealers - arriving in about a week.
     
  3. Zscaleplanet

    Zscaleplanet TrainBoard Supporter

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    Possibly a good sign then. I know the DIGITRAX DZ123Z0’s I was looking for were out of stock with several dealers.
     
  4. SJ Z-man

    SJ Z-man TrainBoard Member

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    I would not think that the Atmel (and PIC) chips would be low on the list as there are far simpler designs than the hardened chips for cars.
     
  5. rray

    rray Staff Member

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    Also, we are getting close to a chip glut. Everyone and their brother are building new chip fabs right now. New fabs are coming online every week, AMD says they will be caught up by the end of this year, and China has new laws against Crypto, and the pandemic boost for hobbies is waning, so things might be back to normal sooner than we think as far as chips go.
     
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  6. Zscaleplanet

    Zscaleplanet TrainBoard Supporter

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    To me a “chip glut” is when everyone brings potato chips to the family 4th of July picnic, instead of sides like potato salad, baked beans, jello salad, or cole slaw. :D:D:D

    Glad to hear from a chip industry insiders that things may be getting better.

    And hopefully folks will stay with model railroading and other desktop hobbies. The industry needs it.
     
    Last edited: Jul 2, 2021
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  7. rray

    rray Staff Member

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    I worked 40 years in the Semiconductor industry, and for me a chip glut means people were going to get laid off. The first thing that happens is prices for chips go down, and when they go down, they go to cheaper than it costs to make them. This is called dumping. The companies who had the biggest war chest get to stay in business, but everyone lays off. Then 6 months later, the survivor companies start hiring back, and the cycle starts again.
     
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  8. Zscaleplanet

    Zscaleplanet TrainBoard Supporter

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    I did 20 years in aerospace, so I am all too familiar with the employment cycles. Although this chip shortage surprises me, because I have a personal friend that works at the Intel facility in Arizona. He told me what their output capability was, which is astounding. So the fact that we have a shortage of any level is surprising.
     
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  9. z.scale.hobo

    z.scale.hobo TrainBoard Member

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    IT IS? Could've fooled me. :D
     
  10. Zscaleplanet

    Zscaleplanet TrainBoard Supporter

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    Do tell. As a dealer, what are you witnessing in regards to consumers and their purchases? Our local hobby shops say they are seeing renewed interest in all hobbies, not just model railroading. Was in Hobby Lobby today and saw several people looking at the plastic models. Although they are 40% off as well.
     
  11. craz3474

    craz3474 TrainBoard Member

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    Talking to another dealer about a month ago he said digitrax was having problems with a shortage of pcb boards.

    Last week we received an email from digitax announcing they are discontinuing their azl decoder as they were having problems sourcing the tiny clip that contacts the motor leads,.
    Our response was to continue the boards without the contact and we will solder wires to the motor leads.
     
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  12. RobertAllbritton

    RobertAllbritton TrainBoard Member

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    Update: we talked to Digitrax this week and are currently supplying them with more motor clips, so production can resume.
     
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  13. Zscaleplanet

    Zscaleplanet TrainBoard Supporter

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    Ahhhhh, a bullet dodged…..good to hear.
     
  14. SJ Z-man

    SJ Z-man TrainBoard Member

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    OK, just was on the phone with them and couldn't get past front desk (Product Manager, Sales Manager, Purchasing/Logistics, the guy that does the videos). Nope, gotta fill out a Ticket.

    Was going to do you what you did Rob. You are using them, TCS is using them so they are available.

    But on another note, AZL does NOT have them on most locos now as the motor has loop that protrudes upward, just enough above the AZL Light boards lower surface. So Digitrax and AZL should not even need the tabs !

    Digitrax/TCS need to work together to get the solder and tabs off, back to the basics.
     
  15. husafreak

    husafreak TrainBoard Member

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    I was very happy to see that today (the motor contact loops protruding above the frame to contact the board directly) while installing the Zmodell boards in my RS's. And having the boards secured with screws. Two HUGE design improvements IMHO.
     

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