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Which DCC System for me?

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  • Member since
    February, 2008
  • 2 posts
Which DCC System for me?
Posted by Chewy on Tuesday, February 26, 2008 4:20 PM

 Hi guys,

 I have just entered the model railroading scene and am building my first HO layout based around the coal industry in Australia. Being as its my first layout,I am having a few issues in deciding a suitable DCC system for it. The layout is going to be around 12ft by 12ft and should run around 4 - 6 trains at any one time. Cost isn't a real issue as I am happy to pay for a quality setup that will run this layout with sound and also allow for future expansion.

 Thanks

 

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  • From: Metro East St. Louis
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Posted by simon1966 on Tuesday, February 26, 2008 4:44 PM

Are you in Australia?

If so, I would think it would be wise to limit your choice to one of the vendors that sells and supports product in Oz.

Simon Modelling CB&Q and Wabash See my slowly evolving layout on my picturetrail site http://www.picturetrail.com/simontrains and our videos at http://www.youtube.com/user/MrCrispybake?feature=mhum

  • Member since
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  • From: Gahanna, Ohio
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Posted by jbinkley60 on Tuesday, February 26, 2008 6:07 PM
 Chewy wrote:

 Hi guys,

 I have just entered the model railroading scene and am building my first HO layout based around the coal industry in Australia. Being as its my first layout,I am having a few issues in deciding a suitable DCC system for it. The layout is going to be around 12ft by 12ft and should run around 4 - 6 trains at any one time. Cost isn't a real issue as I am happy to pay for a quality setup that will run this layout with sound and also allow for future expansion.

 Thanks

My layout is the same size, cost wasn't an issue and I wanted future expandability.  Sound familiar ?  I went through the same thoughts and ended up buying the Digitrax Super Chief Radio system.  There are pros/cons of all systems and a number of systems exist that could meet your needs.  Figuring out what your future needs might be, may help narrow down your selection process.  There are a number of good threads in these forums on selecting the right system.  I agree that having some local support and knowledge is helpful.  I don't know if you will have others coming over to operate or bring their throttles or if you are a member of a club.  If so, those items should be factored in. 

There are a number of major DCC system users here including NCE, Digitrax, Lenz, MRC and others.  If you have specific functional questions, I am sure someone can answer them. One thing I would suggest is wiring your layout with plenty of blocks.  You may not need them all day one and you can feed multiple blocks from the same booster or protection circuit.  But wiring them ahead of time will save you a lot of work if you do need the blocks later for additional power capacity.  My layout has 9.  Folks would argue that it is overkill and probably is but if I need 9 I have them.  No sawing rails, crawling under the layout to rewire etc..  Already done.

 

Engineer Jeff NS Nut
Visit my layout at: http://www.thebinks.com/trains/

  • Member since
    January, 2007
  • From: NC Piedmont
  • 154 posts
Posted by dad1218 on Tuesday, February 26, 2008 7:06 PM

      When I was looking for a DCC system, it all came down to throttles. I didn't want to be tied down to a console, price was a factor and I didn't need much power (N scale).

      It is all your preference.

               Gary

  • Member since
    July, 2006
  • 3,312 posts
Posted by locoi1sa on Tuesday, February 26, 2008 7:30 PM

  Its probably best to find out what other people/clubs if any are in your area. Get a hands on feel of the throttles. Try some programing/reading decoders before you buy. Im no pollitition so I have little experiance spending other peoples money.

  I have used the Lenz,Digitrax,and NCE. I went with NCE for the feel of the throttle and easy to use. The club Im in uses Lenz and even the guys that have used it for years still need to open the book now and then. I havent looked at my NCE manual since I set it up.

     Pete

 

 

 I pray every day I break even, Cause I can really use the money!

 I started with nothing and still have most of it left!

  • Member since
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  • From: Vancouver Island, BC
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Posted by selector on Tuesday, February 26, 2008 9:21 PM

http://www.trains.com/trccs/forums/467799/ShowPost.aspx

This link will give you something to chew on.  There are others that you can find in the search feature at lower right of this page.  Try "Which DCC system should I buy?"

Good hunting.

  • Member since
    February, 2008
  • 2 posts
Posted by Chewy on Thursday, February 28, 2008 2:15 PM

 

 Thanks everyone for the assistance. I do live in Australia and I have done some ringing around the local hobby shops and have choices between Digitrax,NCE,Atlas,Guagemaster and Bachmann DCC control sets. From reading the linked post,I assume that its only a decision between Digitrax and NCE as they seem to be the quality units out of my choices. At this stage I don't anticipate using a pc on this layout, so I was wondering if you guys knew what was the better set to use?

 Thanks

 Mark

Moderator
  • Member since
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  • From: Northeast OH
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Posted by tstage on Thursday, February 28, 2008 3:02 PM
 Chewy wrote:
From reading the linked post,I assume that its only a decision between Digitrax and NCE as they seem to be the quality units out of my choices. At this stage I don't anticipate using a pc on this layout, so I was wondering if you guys knew what was the better set to use?

Thanks

Mark

Mark,

That's really a personal choice and often boils down to subjectivity:

  1. How does the throttle feel in my hand?
  2. Are the command sequences/button configuration "intuitive" or ackward?
  3. If I don't pick this up for a week, will I still be able to remember how to program a decoder or run a locomotive?
Perferences also play a large part in picking out a DCC system.  Layout needs (present and future) or features that may be important to you, may not necessarily be as important to me.  Bottom line: Both system are very good and both have their pluses and minuses.

Mark, is there anywhere - albeit a local hobby store (LHS) or club layout - where you can stop in and try either system out?  You just can't beat hands-on experience.  That will go a long way to narrowing down your choices.  And depending where you are located, there's a few members here on the forum from you neck of the woods who may be able to give you some assistance.

Also, write down what you are wanting to accomplish with your layout - i.e. size, number of throttles/users, number of locomotives, sound, consisting, signaling, etc.  Each DCC system has certain strengths that makes choosing it over the others more sense.

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.

  • Member since
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  • From: Gahanna, Ohio
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Posted by jbinkley60 on Thursday, February 28, 2008 3:35 PM

 

In addition to Tom's comments, you might want to make yourself a list of priorities and what is most important to you.  I too didn't think I would be hooking a computer to my layout but not too long after I got my DCC system and started seeing the number of keystrokes to program CV, including speed tables and such, I quickly became a convert for using Decoder Pro to program, save, copy and restore DCC decoder configurations.  Once you blow out the settings in a couple of decoders or program a speed table by hand, you'll see what I mean.  I now copy all configurations to Decoder Pro.  I don't use it to run my basement empire.  I still use the throttles for that. 

 

 

Engineer Jeff NS Nut
Visit my layout at: http://www.thebinks.com/trains/

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  • From: Memphis, TN
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Posted by Packers#1 on Thursday, February 28, 2008 3:56 PM
One of the big Digitraxx sets or the NCE big starter set. I'm going to get a NCE Power Cab. Course, my layout is smaller than yours. 

Sawyer Berry

Clemson University c/o 2018

Building a protolanced industrial park layout

 

  • Member since
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Posted by jbinkley60 on Thursday, February 28, 2008 8:12 PM

 

I have to admire anyone with a handle of Packers#1 .  Well done...

 

Engineer Jeff NS Nut
Visit my layout at: http://www.thebinks.com/trains/

  • Member since
    February, 2008
  • From: Memphis, TN
  • 3,876 posts
Posted by Packers#1 on Friday, February 29, 2008 4:55 PM
 jbinkley60 wrote:

 

I have to admire anyone with a handle of Packers#1 .  Well done...

 

Hardy-Har-HarSign - Dots [#dots]

I couldn't remember the names. He knows what sets I'm talking about.

Sawyer Berry

Clemson University c/o 2018

Building a protolanced industrial park layout

 

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