Monday, February 18, 2008

The Hare vs Wabbit

counter statistics
The DCC Specialties Hare decoder will control 1 Tortoise slow motion turnout. The cost is ~25 Bucks. The Wabbit, the cost reduced, redesigned addition to the DCC product line is alleged to do everything the Hare does and more, but it controls 2 tortoise machines. The Wabbit sells for ~15 bucks per turnout.

The hare is a plug and play decoder that plugs onto the circuit board of the Tortoise and has a terminal block to attach wiring. I have 16 Hare decoders and it takes me about 15 minutes to install the Tortoise and Hare. I just finished installing my first Wabbit and it took almost two hours and I am still not done! There is more differences to these products that one thinks.

Physical wiring
The hare has an integrated plug that plugs right onto the Tortoise.
The Wabbit requires either you buy and wire the correct size connectors, or do like I did and hard wire the Tortoise to the Wabbit. The Wabbit wiring takes about 30 extra minutes than the plug and play Hare.

LED signaling
Hare - 3 terminal connections for individual or bipolar LEDs. Get the colors wrong, swap the terminal connections.
Wabbit - LEDs wired in series with the turnout motor, meaning you have extra solder joints here, if the polarity is wrong, get out your soldering iron and shrink tubing. Ugh! This is a bigger pain in the neck than one might think.

LED signal operation
With the Hare, the LED goes out while the turnout is moving and comes on when the tortoise is locked into position.
Wit the Wabbit, the LED changes color as soon as the command from the decoder or the switch is received.

Switch operation
Hare - 2 terminal posts to allow for a push button that will change the current state of the turnout. No capability to use single throw double pole (momentary) throw switches to allow for manual operation or over-ride capability.
Wabbit allows the use of either the push button OR the use of a toggle switch.