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Need DCC advice

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  • Member since
    April, 2018
  • 56 posts
Need DCC advice
Posted by NS6770fan on Friday, January 04, 2019 5:12 PM

I want to switch to Digitrax from NCE. I have roughly 30-40 feet of mainline and a medium sized yard. I also have around 25 DCC equipped pieces of motive power. I will not be running switches or signals off the DCC. I was looking into the Digitrax EVO system. How large of a power supply would I need to have atleast 10 locos idling or running in the yard. Right now I have a NCE powercab starter set. What parts would I need to set up a full digitrax system?

  • Member since
    February, 2005
  • From: Vancouver Island, BC
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Posted by selector on Friday, January 04, 2019 5:31 PM

It sounds as if you would be further ahead to make your yard a 'power district' and simply boost the signal from the system you already have.  Five amps will run most layouts, but when you have many idling locomotives, especially emitting sound with volumes near the factory defaults, you might need more power when you begin to get them 'working' for revenue purposes.

I would recommend hanging on to what you have, and simply adding a booster and making it run the power/DCC signal for you in the yard, but with the yard separated by a sub-bus to isolate it.  The booster will be in series in the sub.

  • Member since
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Posted by BigDaddy on Friday, January 04, 2019 5:43 PM

You told us what you wanted to do and I don't think you owe us an explanation. 

However, I am an NCE guy and am curious as to why you want to switch to Digitrax.

Henry

COB Potomac & Northern

By the Chesapeake Bay

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  • From: Northeast OH
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Posted by tstage on Friday, January 04, 2019 5:43 PM

Yep, I would just purchase an NCE Smart Booster (SB5), which your Power Cab can plug directly into.  It's a less expensive option and will give you 5 amps to operate a number of your locomotives.  And it should handle a 30-40' mainline - even if you don't break it up into power districts.

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: Western, MA
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Posted by richg1998 on Friday, January 04, 2019 9:52 PM

I have to agree with tstage. The club I have belonge to has been using the NCE five amp Power pro and running sometimes ten sound locos with no issues. The smart booster can do this.

You can make the below DCC amp meter. I made one for myself and one for the club. Good for five amps, It uses the AHarbor Freight multimeter on the 20 ma DC ma scale. A three terminal IC does the conversion. Use the DCC ammeter 2010 schematic. It is accurate. It tripped booster at about 4.98 amps with a suitable load. I used a 50 watt surplus rheostat. It got hot but a quick check.

http://www.circuitous.ca/DCCammeter10.html

With the smart booster you can unplug the Power cab and move the cab around when you put in a few ports. Install the program track option also.

Rich

If you ever fall over in public, pick yourself up and say “sorry it’s been a while since I inhabited a body.” And just walk away.

  • Member since
    April, 2018
  • 56 posts
Posted by NS6770fan on Friday, January 04, 2019 10:10 PM

First, thanks for all of the info! Second, I thought that digitrax would be easier to setup, but from what I’ve heard, NCE is fairly easy to. I will have to look Into the booster and installing an amp meter. Once again, Thanks for all of the help!

  • Member since
    July, 2006
  • From: Bradford, Ontario
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Posted by hon30critter on Saturday, January 05, 2019 2:03 AM

Hi NS6770fan,

Sorry, I'm late to the discussion.

Have you ever used a Digitrax throttle? If not, I would suggest that you try one out before making your final decision. You might just decide to stay with NCE.

I have an NCE Power Cab at home and my club uses Digitrax. I find the Digitrax to be far less user friendly. The display is hard to read, all the buttons look the same, and many operations require more key strokes than the NCE throttles do. Many of the command sequences are not intuitive whereas the NCE commands are.

To add another example, when I first got my NCE system I was running locomotives in a few minutes and doing programming shortly thereafter. When I sat down to read the Digitrax manual I quickly realized that it was going to take a lot of practice and a lot of memorizing to be able to operate the big throttle (DT400) competantly. I'll admit that I am all thumbs. Many people are perfectly happy with their Digitrax systems but I doubt that I will ever be totally happy when I am operating at the club.

My 2 Cents

Dave

 

  • Member since
    October, 2006
  • From: Western, MA
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Posted by richg1998 on Saturday, January 05, 2019 10:06 AM

As an extra, you can buy a RRampMeter. It cost more than the amp meter I built and i had the multimeters which cost me about two dollars each some years ago. The
RRampMeter cost around seventy I believe. Shop for it.

The multimeters read about 13.6 vac for the NCE systems so our club was satisfied. I brought a O'Scope to the club and saw the numbers agreed. We were satisfied.

Many say I need a special meter. The DC suplly to the DCC systems is 13.9 DC so the DCC voltage is close and the Scope readings confim.

Rich

If you ever fall over in public, pick yourself up and say “sorry it’s been a while since I inhabited a body.” And just walk away.

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