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Where is the best place to buy decoders?

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  • Member since
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  • From: US
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Where is the best place to buy decoders?
Posted by JohnWPowell on Thursday, October 05, 2017 9:02 PM

Where is the best place to buy decoders?

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  • From: Western, MA
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Posted by richg1998 on Thursday, October 05, 2017 9:29 PM

There is no best that I know of.

Litchfield Station and Tony's Trains are two I have used.

Next question would be, what is the best decoder?

Sound or non sound?

Opinions vary a lot.



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Posted by RR_Mel on Thursday, October 05, 2017 9:42 PM

I’ve had success buying off eBay.  I normally go with Digitrax for non sound and MRC & SoundTraxx for sound decoders.
Modeling the early to mid 1950s SP in HO scale since 1951
My Model Railroad   
Bakersfield, California
I'm beginning to realize that aging is not for wimps.
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Posted by ricktrains4824 on Thursday, October 05, 2017 10:00 PM

Best place to buy a decoder?

Whichever place has them on the best sale. Smile

Ricky W.

HO scale Proto-freelancer.

My Railroad rules:

1: It's my railroad, my rules.

2: It's for having fun and enjoyment.

3: Any objections, consult above rules.

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Posted by mbinsewi on Thursday, October 05, 2017 10:17 PM

Well, so far, I've bought my Digitrax decoders at a LHS, about a 50 minute drive.  I've never looked on line for decoders, only looked up on the Digitax web site which decoder I needed.

I'd like to check out ESU, (I thick I have that right), for future sound up-grades, which I might have to buy on-line, or maybe through Walther's, which is about an hour drive, one way.

My advice would be to figure out what decoder your looking for, as far as maker/brand, the features you want, and look for a shop, local, or otherwise, that sells it.



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Posted by tstage on Thursday, October 05, 2017 10:55 PM

I personally like Litchfield Station for price AND delivery.  Tony's is good but they don't tell you if they are out of something from their website.

I ordered a TCS MC2 decoder (w/UK harness) and it took 4 weeks before it arrived.  Not a big deal.  Even so, I still would have preferred to have known it wasn't in stock when I initially ordered it online from them.


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

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Posted by rrinker on Friday, October 06, 2017 6:20 AM

 Like most of my stuff - I almost always look to Modeltrainstuff. They usually have a full selection of ESU, Digitrax, Lenz, NCE, TCS, and SOundtraxx decoders. And a true real-time inventory system means no surprises at checkout time.



Modeling the Reading Railroad in the 1950's


Visit my web site at for construction updates, DCC Info, and more.

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Posted by maxman on Friday, October 06, 2017 8:18 AM

You might check out Streamlined Backshop.


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Posted by trainmaster247 on Friday, October 06, 2017 8:25 AM

If you want cheapest I find that Yankee Dabbler Ebay store is cheapest.

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Posted by BigDaddy on Friday, October 06, 2017 8:37 AM

There is no best anymore than there is a best loco or a best rail code or a best Pinot Noir.  I like having multple options of places to order and have ordered from most of the places already mentioned.

More often I order from Litchfield.  My last order of several things included a decoder that was expected to arrive in there shop a week from Thursday.  They emailed me right away and asked it I wanted to wait to ship the whole order or ship part of the order now.  I choose to wait and received the whole order a couple days earlier than their estimate.

I like dealing with one person for these kind of issues.  That may well be the case for some of the other shops as well, because these retail operations are very usually mom and pop shops.  Modeltrainstuff seems a little bigger, but I don't really know that for a fact.


COB Potomac & Northern

By the Chesapeake Bay

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Posted by ATSFGuy on Friday, October 06, 2017 11:45 AM

I get mine on eBay.

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Posted by mfm37 on Saturday, October 07, 2017 10:03 PM

I get a lot of decoders from Litchfield Station. M.B.Klein (Model Train Stuff)is local to me but I save the 6% sales tax buying from out of town. On multiple decoder orders, the shipping is much less than the tax.

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Posted by jjdamnit on Monday, October 09, 2017 2:25 PM

Hello all,

I've had good luck with eBay.

Take a look at the multi-packs. 

A while back I purchased a 5-pack of Digitrax DH126PS for $88.95+$2.13 s/h. That's $18.22 each!

I have also purchased Bachmann and TCS decoders at far less than retail.

Hope this helps.

"Uhh...I didn’t know it was 'impossible' I just made it work...sorry"

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Posted by Lonnie Utah on Thursday, October 12, 2017 3:53 PM

I've gotten all of mine at the local hobby shop. 

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Posted by peahrens on Thursday, October 12, 2017 4:01 PM

I've settled on LokSound Select for my typical decoder.  Having the LokProgrammer, I can install any chosen sound file, so I usually buy the "generic" Select 6Aux (the encapsulated one with wires and 8-pin plug) and the similar Select Micro from, as they are usually in stock.  I keep one of each on hand so I am ready for most any next loco conversion project when a loco arrives.

I also buy Keep Alives and Current Keepers of various sizes and keep them on hand so I have a variety of geometric sizes where one is typical better than others for a given space.  These I either buy from modeltrainstuff or EBay.

Of course shipping cost is a factor, so I try to dilute any minimum shipping cost (for decoders, for instance) by buying more than one thing at a time.  The relief valve for diluting shipping cost is to add a "want" item in the wish list to the order, or upgrading that item to the "need" category, which requires less justification. 


Modeling HO with a transition era UP bent

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