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Dumb DCC Question

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Dumb DCC Question
Posted by galaxy on Sunday, April 6, 2008 8:57 PM

Hi guys,

I know, I know, the only dumb question....

I have seen some DCC systems as advertised one can use any old power pack to boost the dcc unit.

Due to tight budget constraints I have opted to get into DCC with a Bachmann EZ command.....(I know I know...ew a bachmann).It should suit my needs to get into dcc and to run one or two dcc only (no sound) locos on my {size constraint} 5x4 foot HO layout (yes 5' x 4'-two interconnected loops, a small spur yard, a small spur loco facility,a mountain, a tiny town  and a partridge in a pear tree.)

Should I want to upgrade its power can I use : A) any old power pack   B) an (already) Bachmann DC "wal wart" style power pack they now use in sets (I have one-two actually)???

And if so.....HOW do I wire it in???????

thanks in advance to those who help and have the answers.....

Maybe Jeffrey Wimberly can help...I know he has one (though upgrading to Zephyr)

-G

 

 

-G .

Just my thoughts, ideas, opinions and experiences. Others may vary.

 HO and N Scale.

After long and careful thought, they have convinced me. I have come to the conclusion that they are right. The aliens did it.

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Posted by Stevert on Sunday, April 6, 2008 9:51 PM

It's not a dumb question at all.  I'll try to answer it briefly.

  Every DCC "system" (booster, actually) has a maximum output amperage rating.  Putting a bigger power supply on that booster will not increase it's maximum output. 

  You can add additional boosters to some DCC systems if you need additional power for your layout.  I don't know offhand if the EZ Command falls into that category or not.

  Also, even for the smaller DCC systems, "any old power pack" usually isn't up to the task.  They simply don't provide enough power.

HTH,
Steve

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Posted by tstage on Sunday, April 6, 2008 10:14 PM

 galaxy wrote:
Hi guys,

Due to tight budget constraints I have opted to get into DCC with a Bachmann EZ command.....(I know I know...ew a bachmann).It should suit my needs to get into dcc and to run one or two dcc only (no sound) locos on my {size constraint} 5x4 foot HO layout (yes 5' x 4'-two interconnected loops, a small spur yard, a small spur loco facility,a mountain, a tiny town  and a partridge in a pear tree.)

Should I want to upgrade its power can I use : A) any old power pack   B) an (already) Bachmann DC "wal wart" style power pack they now use in sets (I have one-two actually)???

And if so.....HOW do I wire it in???????

thanks in advance to those who help and have the answers.....

Maybe Jeffrey Wimberly can help...I know he has one (though upgrading to Zephyr)

-G

Galaxy,

Although it is a limited DCC system, the Bachmann E-Z Command is very good at what it can do.  For the parameters that you've mentioned above, it should work well for you.  I bought an E-Z Command over 3 years ago for $53 (for similar budgetary restraints) and I enjoyed mine for a little over a year before picking up an NCE Power Cab.

As far as upgrading power, Bachmann does make a 5-amp booster for the E-Z Command but it's sorta pricey.  (It should plug right into the I/O jack on the back of the E-Z Command.)  Unless you a particularly electronically savvy, I'd be VERY careful about adding any sort of off-the-shelf or old power pack to boost your E-Z Command.  Once miscue and you run the risk of frying it.

Galaxy, if you are going to spend the monies to upgrade the power, it makes more sense to look at a more sophisticated DCC system so that you get more bang for your buck.  (Maybe it won't give you 5-amps but you'll be able to adjust and alter CVs and speed match locomotives for MUing.)  Something worth considering.

If $$$ is a tight and you only plan on running a couple of locomotives at a time, the E-Z Command is a viable and economical choice for you.  Galaxy, if you do decide to buy one, check out the prices at http://www.wholesaletrains.com.  E-Z Commands were $62 the last time I checked.  Here's a direct link:

http://www.wholesaletrains.com/Detail.asp?Scale=HO&Item=RGBVCW&ID=200401356 

Hope that helps...

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 Texas Zepher on Sunday, April 6, 2008 10:23 PM
 galaxy wrote:
Should I want to upgrade its power
Why are you worried about this at this point in time?  It is like you are inventing and worrying about problems that don't exist.   If you have decided to get the Bachmann then get it.  Use it according to directions.  Have fun.   Only start worrying about the "more power" issue when, no IF, it ever comes up.    I've seen a Bachmann unit run a whole lot more than two locos with sound.
  • Member since
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Posted by Vail and Southwestern RR on Monday, April 7, 2008 12:23 AM

Some systems require an external power supply for the boosters.  Sometimes an old power pack is suitable for this use.  An external power pack is never useable as a booster, in and of itself.  In theory, any booster should be useable with any system, as it is on the track side of the DCC system.  That said, you still need to look before you leap, as I believe that some manufacturers may do things in a less than standard way, even so.

Jeff But it's a dry heat!

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Posted by Phoebe Vet on Monday, April 7, 2008 7:11 AM

I ran an EZCommand for a while on a three times around 4x8.  When I started to expand, I got up to 6 locos, two with sound.  It worked fine in it's limited capacity.  It is a one amp system.

While I could have added a booster when the time came, I could see no logical reason to do so.  I chucked it into the box that contains the track and powerpack that came with my grandaughters' Thomas the Tank Engine and bought a Digitrax Super Chief.

The only complaint I ever had with the EZCommand was it's limited capability.  It worked fine, and has enough power for 5 or 6 engines, though it gets confusing to run more than one at a time.  But it can do it.

Dave

Lackawanna Route of the Phoebe Snow

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Posted by galaxy on Monday, April 7, 2008 9:39 AM
 tstage wrote:

 galaxy wrote:
Hi guys,

Due to tight budget constraints I have opted to get into DCC with a Bachmann EZ command.....(I know I know...ew a bachmann).It should suit my needs to get into dcc and to run one or two dcc only (no sound) locos on my {size constraint} 5x4 foot HO layout (yes 5' x 4'-two interconnected loops, a small spur yard, a small spur loco facility,a mountain, a tiny town  and a partridge in a pear tree.)

Should I want to upgrade its power can I use : A) any old power pack   B) an (already) Bachmann DC "wal wart" style power pack they now use in sets (I have one-two actually)???

And if so.....HOW do I wire it in???????

thanks in advance to those who help and have the answers.....

Maybe Jeffrey Wimberly can help...I know he has one (though upgrading to Zephyr)

-G

Galaxy,

Although it is a limited DCC system, the Bachmann E-Z Command is very good at what it can do.  For the parameters that you've mentioned above, it should work well for you.  I bought an E-Z Command over 3 years ago for $53 (for similar budgetary restraints) and I enjoyed mine for a little over a year before picking up an NCE Power Cab.

As far as upgrading power, Bachmann does make a 5-amp booster for the E-Z Command but it's sorta pricey.  (It should plug right into the I/O jack on the back of the E-Z Command.)  Unless you a particularly electronically savvy, I'd be VERY careful about adding any sort of off-the-shelf or old power pack to boost your E-Z Command.  Once miscue and you run the risk of frying it.

Galaxy, if you are going to spend the monies to upgrade the power, it makes more sense to look at a more sophisticated DCC system so that you get more bang for your buck.  (Maybe it won't give you 5-amps but you'll be able to adjust and alter CVs and speed match locomotives for MUing.)  Something worth considering.

If $$$ is a tight and you only plan on running a couple of locomotives at a time, the E-Z Command is a viable and economical choice for you.  Galaxy, if you do decide to buy one, check out the prices at http://www.wholesaletrains.com.  E-Z Commands were $62 the last time I checked.  Here's a direct link:

http://www.wholesaletrains.com/Detail.asp?Scale=HO&Item=RGBVCW&ID=200401356 

Hope that helps...

Tom

 

Thanks Tom.

What I guess I was really wondering was if I add sound equiped lococs (instead of speed-light-direction only) locos if I could still run two (or play with 3) locos, would I need a booster for more than the one amps the EZ provides.

I have the EZ Command ordered and in shipping right now. I ordered it with steam 0-6-0 dcc loco included (combo loco and EZ Command system) for $89.89 shipping INCLUDED from Litchfield station @ www.Mr-DCC.com. They had a far better price than the $117.00 Wholesale trains wanted for the same combo pack. (BTW the wholesaletrains.com's brick store is only an hour from me-same prices). Litchfield was also helpful in telling me which decoder ($17.95) I need for my athearn gp35 dcc quick plug ready loco.Those will have me started into the *wonderful* world of DCC. For my Birthday and Xmas I have my eye on a few locos......will have to ask the birthday fairy and Santa, but to wait till Sept and Dec, oh, my!

IF I have to spend $$ to upgrade, I most likely will get a different system that has a few more options. Though many here like the Digitrax Zephyr, Litchfield suggested the NCE Powercab as you mentioned if I wanted to stay simple, but have a better system.

Thanks

-G

 

 

-G .

Just my thoughts, ideas, opinions and experiences. Others may vary.

 HO and N Scale.

After long and careful thought, they have convinced me. I have come to the conclusion that they are right. The aliens did it.

  • Member since
    July 2006
  • From: upstate NY
  • 9,237 posts
Posted by galaxy on Monday, April 7, 2008 9:51 AM

 Texas Zepher wrote:
 galaxy wrote:
Should I want to upgrade its power
Why are you worried about this at this point in time?  It is like you are inventing and worrying about problems that don't exist.   If you have decided to get the Bachmann then get it.  Use it according to directions.  Have fun.   Only start worrying about the "more power" issue when, no IF, it ever comes up.    I've seen a Bachmann unit run a whole lot more than two locos with sound.

 

Texas...the reason is as stated in my reply to tstage. If I want to run 2 sound equiped locos instead of speed-direction-lights only dcc locos, would i need to use a booster to run more than one loco. I mean like in a few months. I guess I didn't specify that part of the question well.

Besides, like Tim the Tool Man Taylor of TV Home Improvement fame, I may want "oooh oooh more power, MORE POWER" !

 -G

-G .

Just my thoughts, ideas, opinions and experiences. Others may vary.

 HO and N Scale.

After long and careful thought, they have convinced me. I have come to the conclusion that they are right. The aliens did it.

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Posted by tstage on Monday, April 7, 2008 9:54 AM

Galaxy,

Bruce Petrarca @ Litchfield is a great guy and very helpful.  And that's a terrific price on the combo pack.  (I'm assuming that Bruce is still offering free shipping for orders over $50.)

The quality of the Bachmann 0-6-0 will be decent.  I ran one sound and two non-sound DCC locomotives with my E-Z Command.  I think that's probably going to be about your limit with it.

Keep us posted when you have a chance to try things out. 

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 galaxy on Monday, April 7, 2008 10:06 AM

Thanks again Tom.

Sounds good. I hope to have lots of fun!

-G

-G .

Just my thoughts, ideas, opinions and experiences. Others may vary.

 HO and N Scale.

After long and careful thought, they have convinced me. I have come to the conclusion that they are right. The aliens did it.

  • Member since
    July 2006
  • From: upstate NY
  • 9,237 posts
Posted by galaxy on Monday, April 7, 2008 9:02 PM
 tstage wrote:

Galaxy,

Bruce Petrarca @ Litchfield is a great guy and very helpful.  And that's a terrific price on the combo pack.  (I'm assuming that Bruce is still offering free shipping for orders over $50.)

The quality of the Bachmann 0-6-0 will be decent.  I ran one sound and two non-sound DCC locomotives with my E-Z Command.  I think that's probably going to be about your limit with it.

Keep us posted when you have a chance to try things out. 

Tom

 

Hi Tom, and others:

I ordered the Bachmann EZ Command DCC system WITH the DCC ready 0-6-0 steam lococ from Litchfield station on Friday.

It came today (Mon)....boy that was fast.

I have yet to try it with the loco (late tonight) but I read the instructions...NEW question....

I have an Athearn GP35 that they told me which decoder to get, and it came too...the Q is...according to the Bachmann manual...something about a resistor and wiring in on a separate track for any "other" DCC ready loco???? DO I need a programing track for any DCC loco that is not Bachmann? Dont want to fry the decoder or my GP 35.

>confused a bit< (it doesn't often take much)

HELP!

THanks in advance

-G

-G .

Just my thoughts, ideas, opinions and experiences. Others may vary.

 HO and N Scale.

After long and careful thought, they have convinced me. I have come to the conclusion that they are right. The aliens did it.

  • Member since
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Posted by UpNorth on Monday, April 7, 2008 10:49 PM

That would be a very wise idea, if you don't want to fry a decoder because of an install error. This applies to user-installed decoders.

You remove the wires from the EZ-Command  to layout and  attache them to a piece of track using a 100Ohm 10W resistor in series with ONE lead.  This will limit the current and protect your first time install.   

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Posted by jeffrey-wimberly on Tuesday, April 8, 2008 1:40 AM
Galaxy: Running additional power into the EZ-Command control unit won't increase it's output power. It will only burn out the control unit. I'm using an EZ-Command system that I bought in Alexandria a couple of years ago and have it feeding into a 5 amp booster that I picked up for $90 last year. I can easily run 6 locos at a time though I seldom run more than four at one time.

Running Bear, Sundown, Louisiana
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Posted by jeffrey-wimberly on Tuesday, April 8, 2008 1:54 AM
To add to what UpNorth said about using the program track. I highly recommend using it. While the EZ-Command will program other (other than Bachmann) decoders on the main it can also cause them to exhibit some unusual behavior, not likely to happen but it can. I had to have one of mine re-programed on a Zephyr to lock it out of analog mode because it seemingly couldn't tell the  difference between DC and DCC. I now have one block of my layout set up to become a program track at the unclipping on an alligator clip. This reroutes the power through a 100 ohm 10 watt wirewound resistor (Radio Shack part# 271-135) to do the initial address reassignment. After that the decoder can be reprogrammed on the main if need be with no further problem.

Running Bear, Sundown, Louisiana
          Joined June, 2004

Dr. Frankendiesel aka Scott Running Bear
Space Mouse for president!
15 year veteran fire fighter
Collector of Apple //e's
Running Bear Enterprises
History Channel Club life member.
beatus homo qui invenit sapientiam


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Posted by galaxy on Tuesday, April 8, 2008 8:36 AM

Thanks Jeff.

I have seen several times you refering to running 5 or 6 locos on the Bachmann, then saw somewhere you have the Bachmann 5 am booster, which would explain running them.

$90.00 is a great price for the booster  since it seems to be $150.00 all elsewhere. If I spend that much, I may get a whole new system.Anothe time, another day, another year.

I will plan on a program track then if it is needed to program other decoders. Wondering now if I should use it for all trains and decoders, even the Bachmann ready to run DCC Onboard ones?

Thanks for all your help in my foray into the *wonderful* world of DCC!!! I have still yet to have time to play with it, but If I don't hurt something I am sure I will enjoy it.

-G

-G .

Just my thoughts, ideas, opinions and experiences. Others may vary.

 HO and N Scale.

After long and careful thought, they have convinced me. I have come to the conclusion that they are right. The aliens did it.

  • Member since
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  • From: Orig: Tyler Texas. Lived in seven countries, now live in Sundown, Louisiana
  • 25,640 posts
Posted by jeffrey-wimberly on Tuesday, April 8, 2008 1:32 PM
 galaxy wrote:

Thanks Jeff.

I have seen several times you refering to running 5 or 6 locos on the Bachmann, then saw somewhere you have the Bachmann 5 am booster, which would explain running them.

$90.00 is a great price for the booster  since it seems to be $150.00 all elsewhere. If I spend that much, I may get a whole new system.Anothe time, another day, another year.

I picked mine up from a friend who was tearing down a layout and didn't need it anymore. He wanted a hundred for it but ninety was all I had to spare at the time so he let me have it for that.

On the locos that come from the factory with the decoder already installed you shopuld be able to program them on the main, but using the program track would be a safety measure in case there was something wrong. 

Running Bear, Sundown, Louisiana
          Joined June, 2004

Dr. Frankendiesel aka Scott Running Bear
Space Mouse for president!
15 year veteran fire fighter
Collector of Apple //e's
Running Bear Enterprises
History Channel Club life member.
beatus homo qui invenit sapientiam


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Posted by hubbards98 on Tuesday, April 8, 2008 5:30 PM

I went to the http://www.mr-dcc.com/ site & that is a very helpful site to go to, made it a lot easier to understand DCC.

 

Thanks

Paul

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Posted by FunWithTrains on Thursday, April 10, 2008 4:23 PM

That site does have some great tutorials with photos.

Thanks,

Rob 

Please visit my Marklin Trains site.

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