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A question about DCC decoders

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  • Member since
    May 2008
  • From: Chicagoland
  • 1 posts
A question about DCC decoders
Posted by DanC93 on Saturday, May 3, 2008 8:17 AM

Hey,

My Dad and I are planning to make a HO layout in our basement.  We would like to use DCC in our engines, but we both have a few that don't have to outlet for DCC decoders.  What is the best decoder to use for those older engines that we own, and what is the best overall DCC system?

We appreciate your help,

Dan

  • Member since
    August 2007
  • From: Maryland
  • 178 posts
Posted by mikebo on Saturday, May 3, 2008 8:29 AM

Your questions are like asking who makes the best cars. There are many good systems and decoders on the market, each have their followers.  Rather than give you my preferences I suggest you read Joe Fugates postings about choosing a DCC system.

Mike

Mike Modeling Maryland Railroads in the 60's (plus or minus a few years)
  • Member since
    June 2004
  • From: Orig: Tyler Texas. Lived in seven countries, now live in Sundown, Louisiana
  • 25,640 posts
Posted by jeffrey-wimberly on Saturday, May 3, 2008 8:52 AM

I've had good luck with hard wiring Digitrax decoders. Most of the Digitrax decoders I've used are Z Scale size. These are robust enough for use in most HO applications. The DZ125 has a continuous current rating of one amp, two amps peak. It's a two function decoder. The DZ143PS has a continuous current rating of one and a quarter (1.25) amps, two amps peak. It's a four function decoder and is good for use with lighting effects like ditch lights, Mars lights, strobes, etc. The DH123AT is designed for use in Athearn locos and just clips on. It has a continuous current rating of one and a half (1.5) amps, two amps peak. It can also be hard wired into many other locos. This is a two function decoder.

I also have several decoder from Bachmann. While these are good for strictly basic functions (motor control, forward-reverse lights, direction) they are worth avoiding if you desire decoders with more functions. I have two basic Lenz decoders which have been giving me good service. I can't speak for their more complex decoders.

As for DCC systems, I'm currently using a Bachmann EZ-Command. It's good for strictly basic operations (setting addresses, motor control, direction, lights on-off and limited sound functions) and can be good for the person who wants a taste of DCC to see whether they want to go in deeper. I've been looking at a few other systems and have decided to go for a Digitrax Zephyr as my next system. 

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