During these months of waiting, many model railway enthusiasts have written to us asking about this innovative product. We think it would be useful to report some frequently asked questions:
- What can MVnet do?
MVnet is a network for managing accessories: it can connect switch decoders, signals, servomotors, lights, feedback modules for train presence, pushbutton modules, to make them communicate with each other and with the computer.
- What can MVnet not do?
Mvnet is a network designed for accessories, i.e. the permanently installed devices on the model railway. It does not manage trains or read their CVs. For this purpose there is the traditional digital control centre.
- What control unit do I need to manage MVnet?
MVnet is ‘digital without a control unit’. You can use any control unit you like, with any protocol for driving trains, even an analogue transformer. MVnet only communicates with the computer via USB and takes care of the accessories.
- Is MVnet an alternative to a digital control unit?
No. You will continue to use your digital control unit to drive trains. MVnet and the PC, on the other hand, manage the installations and track equipment, separating the two systems in line with what happens in reality.
- How do I control the turnouts, signals, routes etc. connected to MVnet?
Via the computer and one of the many compatible software packages.
- What does LocHaus do?
Two tasks: It simply helps you to configure your network. It also acts as a translator between MVnet and your software while you operate your model railway layout.
- Can I manage my layout directly with LocHaus?
With LocHaus you can switch accessories to test and register them, but it does not include a graphical system to manage the layout. This is part of the open system philosophy: we want to give you the opportunity to use Helvest together with products from other manufacturers and not force you to use only our products.
LocHaus can therefore be used to control the model railway layout, but not with the graphical representation of the railway, but with the control of the individual outputs.
- How can I decide whether it is better for my needs to digitise the accessories on my model layout via DCC or MVnet?
Do you want to use the computer (for accessories)? Then MVnet is the right choice for you. You don’t want to use the computer, but the command station? Then you need DCC. We emphasise that we are talking about accessories. The trains are controlled by the control centre anyway.
- Why did you create a new network when there are already many others?
The networks currently available were born several decades ago. This makes them outdated, due to the pace at which technology is developing. We developed MVnet using the latest technology, the kind whereby you quickly connect many devices to your home network or your smartphone and they self-configure and self-recognise.
- If I adopt MVnet, will I be forced to use only Helvest products, as is the case with many products from other manufacturers?
No. MVnet is designed as a flexible system that can coexist with other networks. MVnet plugs directly into the computer via USB. If there is another traditional network in the layout, which enters the computer via the control unit, they can work in parallel.
- Can I convert my old Helvest DCC decoders to MVnet decoders?
Basically yes, but two steps are required:
1. Replace the existing NET module (DCC100 or DCC100-E) with an MV100 module
2. Update the firmware of your HP100 card. To do this you need to contact Helvest or a reseller.
- Can I use MVnet with any HP100 card?
You need to have firmware version 4.0 or higher. To find out the firmware version look at the label underneath your HP100.