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Am I limiting myself with a Zephyr?

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Am I limiting myself with a Zephyr?
Posted by skiloff on Friday, August 15, 2008 1:12 PM

This is a simple question and one I think I know the answer to, but thought I would put it out there to see if the rest of you have any comments on the topic.

I'm going to buy a starter DCC system, and after waffling a lot, I'm going with Digitrax.  I won't go through all the reasons, but now I'm deciding which set.  Do I just go with the Super Chief right out of the gate?  I'd have to wait a few more months to get the Super Chief, but I can buy the Zephyr next month.  The question is, am I limiting myself with the Zephyr, or am I able to upgrade to get all the features of the Super Chief?  Or will I just end up buying a Super Chief in a couple years and selling the Zephyr on ebay? 

I've got an N scale layout that will probably run 8 trains by the time its "done" but likely only 4 at a time maximum.  In many years, I'll likely have quite a few locos (25 or so) to have the big lashups for climbing the mountains (as I can afford them and find the ones I want).  I'd like sound to be a part of it, but I may look at SurroundTraxx for that aspect, but still undecided.  Any hints or helpful advice?  Thanks.

Kids are great for many reasons. Not the least of which is to buy toys "for them."
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Posted by tstage on Friday, August 15, 2008 1:27 PM

 skiloff wrote:
The question is, am I limiting myself with the Zephyr, or am I able to upgrade to get all the features of the Super Chief?

skiloff,

I don't think so.  I'm a NCE user but from what I've read and heard the upgrade path from the Zephyr is very good.  Even if you should eventually move to the SC, everything from your Zephyr can still be used.  So, if it fits in your budget now, why not go for the Zephyr?

At 2.5A, you should be able to run quite a number of N-scale locomotives with that setup.  And a DT400 throttle should give you even more capability.

Tom

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Posted by retsignalmtr on Friday, August 15, 2008 1:55 PM
the zephyr should be ok for n scale. it can be expanded by getting a dt400r and a ur91 for wireless operation. you may be able to install a 5amp power supply and the db150 booster later as well. i use the empire builder with my n scale layout and am very happy with it. i've tested it with 12 non sound locos mu'ed together so it has enough power. my club was at a show with our modular ho layout and had been running 5 locos with sound and a few without sound with an empire builder when the db150 got a little too warm and shut down until it cooled a little. we had to mute the sound and turn off the lights for the rest of the show. we also have the superchief on our club layout but we're having some trouble using the programing track. sometimes we have to use the empire builder on our n scale layout to program some loco's with sound. 
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Posted by Kutter on Friday, August 15, 2008 2:33 PM

I too have had this problem of which systems to go with.  The Zephyr is a good system.  But if you want to walk around the layout depending on the size, you can't.  So then you go out and buy the DT400.  Problem here is by the time you buy the DT400 and your Zephyr unit, it's almost the same price.  So I would just wait to get the SC if you would like to walk with your train. 

Just a thought.

kutter

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Posted by skiloff on Friday, August 15, 2008 2:53 PM

That was kind of my thinking, too, but initially I may not use the walkaround.  I want to get started building the benchwork and laying the track and the Zephyr gets me going much quicker.  I can still run DC in the interim, but both kids are very keen to run their own trains at the same time and I've only got one power pack.  Getting the Zephyr, I understand I can plug in my MRC pack and have two throttles (albeit stationary) out of the gate and they can do that.  They don't know any different about walkarounds just yet, but that is definitely going to be part of it down the road. 

Going the Zephyr route may end up costing a little more in the end, but its less cost right now.  Buying whatever system now also requires me to buy at least three decoders to run the locos I have, so it just adds to the initial cost.  I'm not going to order it until I'm nearly ready to install it, so I may still go to the Super Chief depending on funds and if the benchwork and track take more time, its more likely I'll go to the Super Chief.  My main concern is that I don't want to buy the Zephyr if I can't upgrade it later.

Thanks for all your comments.

Kids are great for many reasons. Not the least of which is to buy toys "for them."
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Posted by jbinkley60 on Friday, August 15, 2008 3:57 PM
 skiloff wrote:

This is a simple question and one I think I know the answer to, but thought I would put it out there to see if the rest of you have any comments on the topic.

I'm going to buy a starter DCC system, and after waffling a lot, I'm going with Digitrax.  I won't go through all the reasons, but now I'm deciding which set.  Do I just go with the Super Chief right out of the gate?  I'd have to wait a few more months to get the Super Chief, but I can buy the Zephyr next month.  The question is, am I limiting myself with the Zephyr, or am I able to upgrade to get all the features of the Super Chief?  Or will I just end up buying a Super Chief in a couple years and selling the Zephyr on ebay? 

I've got an N scale layout that will probably run 8 trains by the time its "done" but likely only 4 at a time maximum.  In many years, I'll likely have quite a few locos (25 or so) to have the big lashups for climbing the mountains (as I can afford them and find the ones I want).  I'd like sound to be a part of it, but I may look at SurroundTraxx for that aspect, but still undecided.  Any hints or helpful advice?  Thanks.

I struggled with a similar question and finally decided that the difference in cost between the Zeyphr and the Super Chief system was about the price of 1.5 sound locomotives.  I decided I could wait a little longer for the sound locomotives and bought the Super Chief system.  The upgrade path for the Zeyphr is good so you really can't go wrong with either solution.  My layout was large enough that I wanted walk around immediately so the Super Chief made sense.  There's always the option of the Zeyphr with a UT-4 throttle for low end walk around support. 

I currently have around 50 locomotives, with around 20 of them having sound.  I have the Super Chief system and two extra boosters.  I could have gotten away with less but considered it an investment.

 

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Posted by loathar on Friday, August 15, 2008 4:48 PM
 skiloff wrote:

That was kind of my thinking, too, but initially I may not use the walkaround.  I want to get started building the benchwork and laying the track and the Zephyr gets me going much quicker. 

The walk around WILL come in very handy when your laying track and trying to figure out bad spots. It's real nice to have a hand controller so you can get right down at eye level and run the train back and forth in problem areas.My 2 cents [2c]

 

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Posted by Texas Zepher on Friday, August 15, 2008 5:57 PM
 loathar wrote:
 skiloff wrote:
 initially I may not use the walkaround.  I want to get started building the benchwork and laying the track and the Zephyr gets me going much quicker. 
The walk around WILL come in very handy when your laying track and trying to figure out bad spots. It's real nice to have a hand controller so you can get right down at eye level and run the train back and forth in problem areas.
  Don't forget the Zephyr's two jumper throttle ports.  Any cheapo DC walk around throttle can be used.  
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Posted by jfallon on Friday, August 15, 2008 7:24 PM

 Texas Zepher wrote:
 loathar wrote:
 skiloff wrote:
 initially I may not use the walkaround.  I want to get started building the benchwork and laying the track and the Zephyr gets me going much quicker. 
The walk around WILL come in very handy when your laying track and trying to figure out bad spots. It's real nice to have a hand controller so you can get right down at eye level and run the train back and forth in problem areas.
  Don't forget the Zephyr's two jumper throttle ports.  Any cheapo DC walk around throttle can be used.  

 ... and the DC power pack can be remotely mounted where you need it. You can also use one of the UT series throttles, they cost less than a DT400 and are easier for beginners to use.

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Posted by skiloff on Friday, August 15, 2008 8:34 PM

 Texas Zepher wrote:
 loathar wrote:
 skiloff wrote:
 initially I may not use the walkaround.  I want to get started building the benchwork and laying the track and the Zephyr gets me going much quicker. 
The walk around WILL come in very handy when your laying track and trying to figure out bad spots. It's real nice to have a hand controller so you can get right down at eye level and run the train back and forth in problem areas.
  Don't forget the Zephyr's two jumper throttle ports.  Any cheapo DC walk around throttle can be used.  

Excellent point!  I just dug one up from a box of stuff so I can use that for a walkaround.  I think my decision is made.  I'll go with the Zephyr and upgrade later.  Thanks all.

Kids are great for many reasons. Not the least of which is to buy toys "for them."
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Posted by locoworks on Saturday, August 16, 2008 3:59 AM

i'm sure you need a DC controller that gives out DC only, none of those feedback types. just check to see you are still good to go.

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Posted by wedudler on Saturday, August 16, 2008 7:26 AM

Zephyr is good.

BTW, you can even use it as booster in a bigger system.

Wolfgang

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Posted by jeffrey-wimberly on Saturday, August 16, 2008 7:29 AM
 skiloff wrote:

Excellent point!  I just dug one up from a box of stuff so I can use that for a walkaround.  I think my decision is made.  I'll go with the Zephyr and upgrade later.  Thanks all.

Good decision. The Zephyr will be my next step up as well.

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Posted by ereimer on Saturday, August 16, 2008 8:55 AM
 wedudler wrote:

Zephyr is good.

BTW, you can even use it as booster in a bigger system.

Wolfgang

this is the best answer because it shows the expandability of the digitrax system . you never need to sell anything , you just keep adding as your requirements change

you can get the Z now and use it with your DC throttle in the jump port so both kids can run trains , and later when you have more locos running at the same time you can add a DCS100 (same command station as the Super Chief set) or other booster. you might also want to consider the UT4 throttles for the kids , they're not expensive and they're easy to use . of course by the time you get to that stage they might want their own DT400's !

 

ernie

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Posted by mfm37 on Saturday, August 16, 2008 1:07 PM
The new DT402 throttles should be out around the end of the year. 28 functions and some other nice changes will be included.

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