Both controllers can be firmware upgraded to current features. The Select will have more advantages if upgraded as lots of very useful features were added in the last two 1.5 and 1.6 upgrades.
The Elite is the better controller all round, but the Select in its very latest firmware version is a close second.
If the proposed Select is second-hand, then it could very well have a very early firmware installed and going for the firmware upgrade should be considered as being the mandatory thing to do.
Select Firmware Info.
The current installed firmware is displayed as the very first number to briefly appear on the Select screen as it is being powered up. Expect to see a number between 10 and 20. At the time of writing, the latest version is 1.6  or 2.0  - both the same. These latest versions completely transform the user experience of the Select controller and add the ability to write (not read) all CVs up to CV255. As well as access to the full F0 - F28 range of functions.
The upgrade charge is typically £15 plus your sending postage costs. You need to get a 'returns number' from Hornby Customer Services - see 'Contact Us' link at the very bottom of the page.
If you do arrange to get your Select firmware upgraded, then you will need both the Select version 1.5 full manual and the version 1.6 addendum manual. As the operation of your Select (how to use it) will be completely different in certain areas of operation compared to your current firmware version.
You can download these two manual PDFs from here:
If nothing appears to happen, check your nominated browser download folder for the files as they can download silently in the background.
What does the Elite have / do that the Select doesn't?
- A bigger screen so that more useful information can be displayed.
- Two speed knobs so that two locos can be assigned for control at a time. Note that control for two locos is not concurrently, the speed knob that is active needs to be selected first. Think of it a bit like the 'Pre-select gearbox' that used to be common in Routemaster buses [if you are old enough to remember them].
- A separate 'PROGRAMMING' output which reduces the risk of programming errors occurring i.e configuring the wrong DCC device.
- A 4 amp power supply, but the Select 1 amp power supply can be upgraded to 4 amps.
- The ability to READ CVs. The Select can only write to CVs but only with version 1.6 firmware.
- The ability to write to CVs between CV1 and CV1024. The Select V1.6 / V2.0 can only write CV1 to CV255
- Support for the full range of DCC Addresses [Locos 0001 to 9999 and Accessories 0001 to 2048]. The Select supported DCC Addresses are extremely restricted by comparison [Locos 01 to 59 and Accessories 61 to 99].
- The ability to upgrade the firmware at Home DIY via download of a firmware update file. The Select has to be returned to Hornby for an upgrade.
- Multiple selectable programming modes [Direct Mode, Operate Mode, Register Mode and Paged Mode]. Having the support for these alternative modes means that some difficult to configure decoders may be able to be successfully configured using one of the other modes. The Select only has one 'take it or leave it' mode.
- A USB port which means that it is compatible with RailMaster railway control software. Point and click control of your layout. The Select is not compatible with RailMaster.
For a review of RailMaster capability ... click this link.
[Note that the 'Select-a-Link' cable described in the above review was never launched onto the market and was cancelled by Hornby].
......and I have bought a rail track job lot on eBay
I am concerned when a ‘user’ says that they intend to save some money by buying ‘second-hand’ track. This is not so much of an issue if that second-hand track is the more modern ‘Nickle Silver’. But most second-hand track on the likes of eBay is likely to be the old plated steel variety and at worst pitted with surface corrosion.
Many eBayers really do try it on and sell second-hand steel based track that is fit only as scrap. Particularly the points, second-hand steel points are particularly prone to being sold as worn out ‘not fit for purpose’ scrap items.
Pitted corrosion will kill a DCC signal and give nothing but grief.
Your eBay job lot purchase has the potential to be a 'false economy' purchase when considering a DCC controlled 'Digital' layout. The digital data signal sent to track by a DCC control system needs a spotlessly clean track, else data can be lost or corrupted by the rail corrosion and the meaning of the digital signal command being sent is lost to the decoder.
TIP: As a newbie poster on the forum, just be aware that the 'Blue Button with the White Arrow' is not a 'Reply to this post' button. If you want to reply to any of the posts, scroll down and write your reply in the reply text box at the bottom of the page and click the Green 'Reply' button.
See also – further TIPs on how to get the best user experience from this forum.