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"Favorite" DCC Command Station

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"Favorite" DCC Command Station
Posted by New Haven I-5 on Wednesday, March 5, 2008 8:29 PM
 What is yours? Mine is a Digitrax Zephyr.

- Luke

Modeling the Southern Pacific in the 1960's-1980's

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Posted by BlueHillsCPR on Wednesday, March 5, 2008 8:32 PM

 New Haven I-5 wrote:
 What is yours? Mine is a Digitrax Zephyr.

Why?

Also what other systems have you tried and why do you like the Zephyr over them?  Why did you choose the Zephyr instead of the Empire Builder or Chief?

Honestly folks, without some real information a thread where everybody just states their favorite without qualifying their choice is pointless and redundant. Smile [:)]

 For myself, I don't have a favorite yet.  I have not taken the DCC plunge yet.  I keep reading the threads and it seems like for every person I find who likes a particular system there is at least one person who thinks it's garbage. Confused [%-)]

My head hurts.  Right now I like DC.  I have a couple of old Troller powerpacks that work great.  Hopefully in a year or two I'll move up to DCC.  Maybe by then a favorite will emerge.  Until then. I'll just keep...Banged Head [banghead]

 

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Posted by New Haven I-5 on Wednesday, March 5, 2008 9:27 PM
 BlueHillsCPR wrote:

 New Haven I-5 wrote:
 What is yours? Mine is a Digitrax Zephyr.

Why?

Also what other systems have you tried and why do you like the Zephyr over them?  Why did you choose the Zephyr instead of the Empire Builder or Chief?

Honestly folks, without some real information a thread where everybody just states their favorite without qualifying their choice is pointless and redundant. Smile [:)]

 For myself, I don't have a favorite yet.  I have not taken the DCC plunge yet.  I keep reading the threads and it seems like for every person I find who likes a particular system there is at least one person who thinks it's garbage. Confused [%-)]

My head hurts.  Right now I like DC.  I have a couple of old Troller powerpacks that work great.  Hopefully in a year or two I'll move up to DCC.  Maybe by then a favorite will emerge.  Until then. I'll just keep...Banged Head [banghead] 

 

#1 The Zehpry is affordable. #2 I don't need a HUGE command station. #3 it is reasonably priced. #4 IT IS A STARTER SET!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

- Luke

Modeling the Southern Pacific in the 1960's-1980's

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Posted by tstage on Wednesday, March 5, 2008 9:48 PM

 New Haven I-5 wrote:
#1 The Zehpry is affordable. #2 I don't need a HUGE command station. #3 it is reasonably priced. #4 IT IS A STARTER SET!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Luke,

If that's your only qualifications for choosing the Zephyr, then the Bachmann E-Z Command would have been an even better choice:

  • VERY affordable
  • ~5 x 7 in size (and portable)
  • Originally paid $53 for mine
  • Simple starter set (albeit limited)
I'm just havin' some fun with you, Luke. Smile [:)]

Tom

http://www.newyorkcentralmodeling.com

Time...It marches on...without ever turning around to see if anyone is even keeping in step.

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Posted by BlueHillsCPR on Wednesday, March 5, 2008 10:40 PM

 New Haven I-5 wrote:
#1 The Zehpry is affordable. #2 I don't need a HUGE command station. #3 it is reasonably priced. #4 IT IS A STARTER SET!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Ok that's cool.  I just assumed you had tried some other systems or had some particular reasons for your preference when you said the Zephyr was your favorite.  You have mentioned some selection criteria that I hadn't considered before...Affordability, SIZE, reasonable price...aka affordability, starter set.   These are things I'll take into consideration as I compare systems and try to make a choice.  Thanks! Thumbs Up [tup]

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Posted by hubbards98 on Wednesday, March 5, 2008 10:55 PM

 New Haven I-5 wrote:
 What is yours? Mine is a Digitrax Zephyr.

 

I was considering that brand, I'm new at this and I think it would be a great starter, I'm glad to see some feedback on it and perhaps this will be my choice.

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Posted by jktrains on Thursday, March 6, 2008 6:06 AM
 New Haven I-5 wrote:
 BlueHillsCPR wrote:

 New Haven I-5 wrote:
 What is yours? Mine is a Digitrax Zephyr.

Why?

Also what other systems have you tried and why do you like the Zephyr over them?  Why did you choose the Zephyr instead of the Empire Builder or Chief?

Honestly folks, without some real information a thread where everybody just states their favorite without qualifying their choice is pointless and redundant. Smile [:)]

 For myself, I don't have a favorite yet.  I have not taken the DCC plunge yet.  I keep reading the threads and it seems like for every person I find who likes a particular system there is at least one person who thinks it's garbage. Confused [%-)]

My head hurts.  Right now I like DC.  I have a couple of old Troller powerpacks that work great.  Hopefully in a year or two I'll move up to DCC.  Maybe by then a favorite will emerge.  Until then. I'll just keep...Banged Head [banghead] 

 

#1 The Zehpry is affordable. #2 I don't need a HUGE command station. #3 it is reasonably priced. #4 IT IS A STARTER SET!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Aren't #1 and #3 basicallythe same thing?  So you really only have 3 reasons.  A "starter" set is not always the best choice to start with.

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Posted by CSX Robert on Thursday, March 6, 2008 8:46 AM
Actually, affordable and reasonably priced are not the same thing. Affordable is "I can afford to spend this much for this product" and reaonably priced means "this price is reasonble for the features that this item has." If you consider a Zephyr affordable and reasonbly priced at a street price of $160, then a Bachamnn E-Z Command would be affordable if it cost $160, but I think most people would agree that that would not be a reasonable price for it. For me, a $1200+ Zimo starter set is not affordable, but for it's feature set, I consider it reasonably priced. In other words, something can be affordable, but still be over-priced and something can be unaffordable but still be reasonbly priced.
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Posted by jeffrey-wimberly on Thursday, March 6, 2008 9:45 AM

At this moment in time I'm using a Bachmann EZ-Command system w/booster. As soon as I get enough saved I'll be getting a Digitrax Zephyr starter set.

http://www.walthers.com/exec/productinfo/245-ZEP 

 

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Posted by jamnest on Thursday, March 6, 2008 10:11 AM

I have a Digitrax Chief (DCS-100) Command Station.  It sits on a hidden shelf away from the layout. 

My favorite would be Decoder Pro as it makes programing easy to the point that I don't use my DT-400 for programming.  I also use Decoder Pro with my old Pentium III (Windows 98 SE) computer that would probably be in a land fill somewhere as Microsoft no longer supports Windows 98.  It works great and has found a new life in my train room.

JIM

Jim, Modeling the Kansas City Southern Lines in HO scale.

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Posted by MisterBeasley on Thursday, March 6, 2008 10:12 AM

An important difference between the EZ-Command and the Zephyr is that, while both are "starter sets," only the Zephyr is expandable.  It can become part of an upgraded Digitrax system, while the Bachmann can only be replaced.

My own criteria were different.  I wanted a walk-around throttle, and I like big buttons on that sort of thing.  (Yes, I hate punching little cell phone keys, and even laptop keyboards give me fits.)  I ended up with a Lenz 100 system, and I've been very happy with it.

It takes an iron man to play with a toy iron horse. 

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Posted by BlueHillsCPR on Thursday, March 6, 2008 12:28 PM

 CSX Robert wrote:
Actually, affordable and reasonably priced are not the same thing. Affordable is "I can afford to spend this much for this product" and reaonably priced means "this price is reasonble for the features that this item has." If you consider a Zephyr affordable and reasonbly priced at a street price of $160, then a Bachamnn E-Z Command would be affordable if it cost $160, but I think most people would agree that that would not be a reasonable price for it. For me, a $1200+ Zimo starter set is not affordable, but for it's feature set, I consider it reasonably priced. In other words, something can be affordable, but still be over-priced and something can be unaffordable but still be reasonbly priced.

 

Actually, affordability and reasonable pricing are subjective and based on the individuals specific situation.  What you consider affordable or reasonable may not be so for the next person.  In my case, if I find an item that has the features I desire and determine for myself that it is reasonably priced then I will likely budget in order to make it affordable.  In that scenario the two are indeed the same, from my perspective.  Individual mileage may vary however. Smile [:)]

 TA462 wrote:

He should have said he can read and program CV's with it, its expandable meaning he can add wireless capability, more throttles and UP5 panels when he needs to and when its time to step up to a Empire Builder or Super Chief it can still be used as a throttle so it doesn't go to waste.  It is also a very simple(for most people) system to learn how to operate. 

I've been hanging around a guy that uses a MRC Prodigy Express DCC system and at first I didn't like it.  Why? Because I wasn't use to using it and it took a little experience with it to get the hang of it.   Now I like it but I still prefer my Digitrax Super Chief but using the MRC system has opened my eyes to other things.  I think DCC systems are all basically the same, they make your trains run.  Some do things better then others.  Its like the old Chevy VS Ford VS Dodge pickup truck argument.  They all are nice trucks but some do things better then others but they all have their good points.

Thanks for posting this information.  It is this kind of valuable input that makes a thread like this worth reading.  Otherwise it's about as valuable as the diner thread when it comes to making informed decisions. Thumbs Up [tup]

 

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Posted by steamfreightboy on Thursday, March 6, 2008 4:32 PM
 tstage wrote:

 New Haven I-5 wrote:
#1 The Zehpry is affordable. #2 I don't need a HUGE command station. #3 it is reasonably priced. #4 IT IS A STARTER SET!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Luke,

If that's your only qualifications for choosing the Zephyr, then the Bachmann E-Z Command would have been an even better choice:

  • VERY affordable
  • ~5 x 7 in size (and portable)
  • Originally paid $53 for mine
  • Simple starter set (albeit limited)
I'm just havin' some fun with you, Luke. Smile [:)]

Tom

I just got the NCE powercab. It has Everything the Zehpry has and more. I got it for $153
"It's your layout, only you have to like it." Lin's Junction
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Posted by simon1966 on Thursday, March 6, 2008 5:10 PM

 steamfreightboy wrote:

I just got the NCE powercab. It has Everything the Zehpry has and more. I got it for $153

Not actually true.  Each system has a feature set that offer things that the other does not. Higher power output, ability to run DC locos, the ability to run old DC throttles as "jump" throttles, console based device, are all features that the Zephyr offers without expansion.

Walk around tethered throttle, support to F28 are features that the Powercab has that the Z does not offer without expansion.

There are others of course, but you get the point, each has different feature sets.

It would be incorrect to suggest that the PowerCab has Everything the Zephyr has, as it clearly does not, just as it would be incorrect to say the Z has everything the Powercab has.  Depending on ones needs either system can be an excellent choice.

Simon Modelling CB&Q and Wabash See my slowly evolving layout on my picturetrail site http://www.picturetrail.com/simontrains and our videos at http://www.youtube.com/user/MrCrispybake?feature=mhum

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Posted by CSX Robert on Thursday, March 6, 2008 5:15 PM
 steamfreightboy wrote:


...I just got the NCE powercab. It has Everything the Zehpry has and more. I got it for $153


The PowerCab is 1.7 amps, the Zephyr is 2.5 amps. The Zephyr can handle 10 throttles out of the box, the PowerCab can handle two, four if you upgrade with the SmartBooster. If you want more than 4 throttles with the PowerCab, you have to upgrade to the PowerHouse Pro. The Zephyr supoorts transponding. The Zephyr has a seperate programming track, the PowerCab does not. The PowerCab does finally have a PC interface, but I interfaced my Zephyr to my PC with about $5 worth of components. The Zephyr has Loconet. These features may not matter to you, but they do matter to me. The Zephyr and the PowerCab each have their advantages, but to say that either one has everything the other one has is just plain not true.
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Posted by CSX Robert on Thursday, March 6, 2008 5:17 PM
Apparently Simon types faster than me.
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Posted by jfugate on Thursday, March 6, 2008 8:02 PM

Yes, the PowerCab and Zephyr are not the same, and each has certain advantages over the other.

The PowerCab uses a walkaround form factor, but you actually can't unplug the PowerCab dogbone because it's the command station. The Zephyr uses a stationary power pack form factor, so if you want walkaround throttles, you'll have to buy extra throttles.

The Zephyr does zero stretching to allow running a single DC loco lashup, and it will allow you to use a regular power pack as an add-on throttle. These are stop-gap features for people who have a heavy investment in DC equipment, but the performance you get won't be as good as full-fledged DCC performance.

The PowerCab has a distinct advantage if you happen to belong to a club that also uses NCE. You can take your PowerCab down to the club and it becomes a full-fledged ProCab throttle. Kinda hard to lug your Zephyr down to the club if they use Digitrax and plug it in.

The PowerCab's upgrade path to a full ProCab isn't the greatest ... if you buy a SmartBooster, for instance, that becomes a throw-away item when you move to a ProCab. 

I happen to really like the user interface on NCE's systems and with a PowerCab, once you learn the interface, it's the same as a full ProCab dogbone, so there's minimal learning curve.

With Digitrax, the Zephyr and each of their systems and cabs work differently, so the learning curve is greater.

The Digitrax systems use LocoNet, which has some nice features if you're into signalling, using DCC for accessories, and so on. 

Finally, the PowerCab tends to be just a bit cheaper than a Zephyr.

But the two systems are NOT the same, just similar in some respects. They are quite different in other respects, so you have to decide which feature set you prefer.

Joe Fugate Modeling the 1980s SP Siskiyou Line in southern Oregon

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