TCS - Train Control System Decoders Overview TCS makes a lot of stuff, I won't cover it all. Quality is OK, but it's not top of the line stuff, it's "upper middle class". I've found fundamental bugs in their decoder firmware, read below, and the new WOW sound & motor decoder is ok (but buggy), but for $150 it's the wrong price point, it needs to cost $100, or have features of the $190 motor and sound decoders from QSI, Massoth, Zimo, etc. (or have all the bugs fixed and improve the sound) Note: I am currently persuing updates/upgrades on all my TCS decoders, so the problems listed here MIGHT get resolved. In response to a thread where again my forum nemesis is questioning my statements on DCC, Stan Ames posted this email from "Dan in TCS Customer Service", posted May 7 2018 on Largescale central forum: (red highlighting mine) "TCS is continuously improving our products and services in order to better sever our customers and address their concerns. As a small, family-owned and family-grown business, we have of course climbed some steep hills. However, through hard work and determination we are proud to say we offer the world's best DCC decoders. We are aware of the initial 'bugs' in the WOW501, as it was rushed into production in order to meet the overwhelming demand. We have learned from this experience and responded to the negative feedback by ensuring we never rush another product. Very few WOW501 decoders are in circulation which still have the known bugs still in them. Once we discovered them, we had as many as possible recalled and updated. Decoders manufactured in or after May of 2017 are fixed. The WOW501 uses PWM on both the coil and the fan to provide the proto-smoke feature. We don't use 'fan braking' because it isn't constantly running. This can actually extend the life of your smoke unit. We're going to continue to experiment with this feature so we can implement it on HO decoders and smoke units. Something else to be aware of is that WOW501 decoders (as well as other V4 decoders) have built-in protections such as over-heat sensors and protections which will turn the sound off if the audio peaks too high/your speaker shorts. I.E. if your volume is too high and you are playing too many sounds at once, the sound will cut out until the fault clears. Speed table issues are a hurdle we have done our best to fix, but it is a limitation of V4 and older processor architecture. The processor's breakpoints for the PWM on the motor drives can provide some odd results at specific speed steps. In most cases, you don't notice them, as they are more prevalent at high speeds. If you're running your engine like a Metro car, then sure, you'll notice. A fix was put in place in July of 2016 to address issues with CV5 and CV6. Additional fixes which we consider to have completely addressed problems were implemented in February of 2017. Lockups when using ULST were fixed in January of 2017. We haven't seen these problems on our new development architecture for V5. We are also aware of the claims of 'erratic behavior', but have never observed this in-house. We have never seen one of our own test decoders lose its programming or stop responding, even after many hours in service with constant programming operations and power cycles. JMRI has been known to randomly do strange things to our decoders, but seems to have been fixed by version 4.7.3. We consider 4.7.3 and newer to be 100% compatible with TCS decoders." Wow sound decoder for large scale First Impression First off, I have to say the Youtube video really set me off in a negative direction, the intro and ending music on the video is, well, over the top. Almost a minute of just the 2001 theme and loud, nothing else. Dear TCS: the WOW sound decoder is nice, has a good price point, but is not even on par with the movie 2001 and Stanley Kubrick. 52 seconds of music with no train! Also "coming in 2013"? I guess the "halleuja" chorus was indicative of TCS' celebration that it was only 3 years late from their prediction? Sorry guys, I have to poke fun at this. Guys, please edit the 52 seconds at the beginning and the chorus at the end from the video, and take out the "Coming in 2013" it really gives a poor representation of your company!