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Which DCC system is the best?

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  • Member since
    February 2008
  • 396 posts
Posted by UpNorth on Saturday, March 8, 2008 10:05 AM

I'm new to DCC as of the last year or so. I was DC about 25 years ago then quit the hobby all together. DCC was starting to appear but seemed a dream (or nightmare..)  

I now have a small 2 X 8 at present to test and see how I do with DCC. I purchased, thru WEB stores and Ebay, various enignes and DCC equipement. Installed decoders yada yada yada...

I read much before jumping in and wrote down what I wanted.  I wanted it all: Computer control, CTC, automation, signals, turnout control, radio.  Just for the fun of it. 

I elected to go Digitrax.

There is so much writen up on Digitrax that I had no problem familliarising myself before starting.  Bought a Zephyr then a DCS100. Then the radio options (DT400R, UR91).  Gathered up PM42, DS54, SE8C, BDL168, serial LOCOBUFFER, JMRI. 

At present I have the test bed layout up, wired, signaling via JMRI PanelPro. I can control the locomotives by computer or radio walk around.  I encounter very little I could not resolve myself or find my answer googling, or reading forums. Only recently joinned this forum.

I think that this is the beauty of using a proven system, the  wide spread support base. The other system may be just as good and flexible, but this was my choice.

  • Member since
    November 2002
  • From: Thornton, CO
  • 763 posts
Posted by jwils1 on Saturday, March 8, 2008 10:24 AM
 djb39 wrote:

 

  1. $200 MRC Prod Adv 2, 3.0 amp, recall stack of 6, lots of power for the price, good reviews of new MRC effort.  MR Mag gave good review.  Am I taking a risk with MRC over NCE power cab?

A couple of corrections on the MRC Prodigy Advance2:  It offers 3.5 amps and a 25 loco recall stack.

I've seen the price as low as $200 but you may have to shop around to find it.  Have also seen it for $210 and $220.

Jerry

Rio Grande vs. Santa Fe.....the battle is over but the glory remains!

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  • Member since
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  • From: Northeast OH
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Posted by tstage on Saturday, March 8, 2008 2:17 PM

Don,

Simon has given you some sage advice to consider, given the list of DCC systems that you've posted.  My opinion is that either the MRC PA2 or Power Cab should work just fine for your needs.

And, for what it's worth, the recall stack limit of 2 with the Power Cab has never really been an issue for me.  Keeping tabs on two locomotives running simultaneously is enough to keep my brain occupied.  (More than that, for me, would be courting disaster. Confused [%-)])

Tom

http://www.newyorkcentralmodeling.com

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

  • Member since
    January 2008
  • From: Bettendorf, Iowa
  • 68 posts
Posted by djb39 on Saturday, March 8, 2008 4:35 PM

Tom:
Simon:

Thanks for helpful feedback on my choice of DCC system.  I was concerned that perhaps the power cab was a more dependable product than the MRC Prod 2.  Just seems that NCE gets more positive comments than MRC DCC products.

Tom, I previously visited your site and read the helpful review of the NCE power cab.

Don
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  • From: Northeast OH
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Posted by tstage on Saturday, March 8, 2008 11:08 PM

Don,

As I responded to your e-mail, I'm glad you found the Power Cab review helpful.  Let us know what you end up deciding to get.

Tom

http://www.newyorkcentralmodeling.com

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

  • Member since
    March 2008
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Posted by paulney on Saturday, March 8, 2008 11:44 PM

People have been mentioning using Digitax Zephyr and Atlas Commander in this thread, so I thoguht I'd ask: I'm building my first layout with DCC in mind. The layout will allow me to operate 2-3 trains at the same time. I have a Bachman Acela set (DCC ready, no decoder on board), and I just got an Atlas SD-35 loco today, which has a decoder built in.

 Can I run an Atlas loco with a Zephyr controller? Or will I have to replace the Atlas decoder with the Digitrax decoder?

 Thanks.

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  • From: Northeast OH
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Posted by tstage on Sunday, March 9, 2008 12:02 AM

Paul,

DCC systems are designed to be used with any brand decoder.  I have a NCE Power Cab.  But I can run a locomotive with either a Digitrax, TCS, Lenz, QSI, Loksound, or NCE decoder.  Doesn't matter.  What you can NOT do is mix and match DCC system components - e.g. using a Lenz throttle with a Digitrax Zephyr.

Tom

http://www.newyorkcentralmodeling.com

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

  • Member since
    March 2008
  • 20 posts
Posted by paulney on Sunday, March 9, 2008 12:14 AM
Got it! Thank you very much, Tom!

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