Subscriber & Member Login

Login, or register today to interact in our online community, comment on articles, receive our newsletter, manage your account online and more!

DCC Question: Is DCC worth the price??

10501 views
128 replies
1 rating 2 rating 3 rating 4 rating 5 rating
  • Member since
    October, 2001
  • From: OH
  • 12,739 posts
Posted by BRAKIE on Thursday, February 22, 2007 3:01 PM
 SpaceMouse wrote:

 BRAKIE wrote:
Chip,My comments has nothing to do with your layout..Those are the well known general comments of some of the great layout thinkers that has grace the pages of MR,GMR and MRP over the years..The layout Design Sig I am a member of also discuss those theories and principles of modern layout designs based on solid LDEs and prototypical operation disciplines.

Thanks, I'm glad you weren't getting personal.

I am a member of the Layout SIG and the OPs SIG--although I admit that I can't keep up with all the posts and have given up on the OPs completely.

Still, you talk about ops like there are rules. Frankly, I'd like to know what those rules are. The best I can come up with is the preachings of Tony Koester, yet when you compare it with other "operators," Chubb, Fugate, Hartle, etc.,  there are enough differences to create a lively discussion. I'd like to know what you feel are the SOPs (standard operating proceedures) even in general terms.  

Chip,First and above all never take what I say personal as it never meant to be but,I know at times it may appear that way.

As far as operations there are many from very basic to highly complex with fast clocks,train schedules and employee time tables.The secrete is to find a happy medium that fits YOU and your  layout needs.

Would you rather I do a topic on this?

Larry

SSRy

Conductor

  • Member since
    February, 2002
  • From: Reading, PA
  • 17,534 posts
Posted by rrinker on Thursday, February 22, 2007 3:04 PM

 Yeah way off base. This is part of the beauty of the Digitrax design, there are absolutely NO wasted bits as you upgrade. There are exactly 2 devices in Digitrax history that can't be readily used with a modern sysem, those being the LA-1 Loconet adapter that came with the ancient Big Boy system and the CT4 throttles from the original Challenger system. And even those can actually be adapted - primary use is to make operating the Roco crane super simple. Everythign else ever made is reusable in a modern system - which is why it's hard to get even old DB100 boosters cheap, they aren't surplus or inferior in any way.

 There are many ways to expand the Zephyr. If you just need more pwoer, add a booster. Move to a new house and finally started that 20 operatros monster basement dream layout? Add a DCS100 and get 120 trains/120 throttles. The Zephyr is still completely usable as a 2.5 amp booster AND the console throttle still can be used AND the jump port throttles can still be used. NO waste, no spare parts.

 

                                 --Randy
 


Modeling the Reading Railroad in the 1950's

 

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

  • Member since
    July, 2003
  • From: Metro East St. Louis
  • 5,734 posts
Posted by simon1966 on Thursday, February 22, 2007 3:05 PM
 jktrains wrote:

Soo Line Fan,

 If you have that big a fleet, you need to consider how many of those locos sit in a box or on a shelf and won't ever be run.  Such considerations could greatly decrease the number of decoders you'll need.  Also, not all locos need to be done at once, do a few now and more later.

 Your comments about not wanting a starter system are right on the mark.  Contrary to what others have stated, the Digitrax Zypher system is Digitrax's starter system.  Lower amp output than they're other systems, no upgrade capability without purchase and entirely new system and starting over.

The best advice I give people looking at DCC systems is to go to the manufacturer's website, download the manual for their various systems and read them thoroughly.  Can you understand what is written?  How to set-up the system?  How to program a loco through their throttle?  Are all the functions of the system adequately explained?  Don't rely on the fact that your LHS sells it so you can call them for help.  Chances are they don't know anymore than you do, then what?  Calling the manufacturer - on a weekend?  Good luck!  But, if you can read and understand the manual, even without having the system in front of you, chances are you won't need to make those phone calls.

 jktrains

jktrains, your comment about the Zephyr "no upgrade without purchase and entirely new system and starting over" is completely off the mark.  You can add boosters, wireless, extra throttles, PC interface, block detection and signalling.  In fact you can add any of the many Digitrax add on modules to the Zephyr and keep it as the main command station without losing any of its capability.

Those of us that are talking about its ease of upgrade and expandability are talking from experience.  The Zephyr is a superb example of Digitrax market leading forethought that is now being responded to by other manufacturers.

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
    December, 2004
  • From: Indiana, PA
  • 10,310 posts
Posted by SpaceMouse on Thursday, February 22, 2007 3:20 PM
 BRAKIE wrote:
 SpaceMouse wrote:

 BRAKIE wrote:
Chip,My comments has nothing to do with your layout..Those are the well known general comments of some of the great layout thinkers that has grace the pages of MR,GMR and MRP over the years..The layout Design Sig I am a member of also discuss those theories and principles of modern layout designs based on solid LDEs and prototypical operation disciplines.

Thanks, I'm glad you weren't getting personal.

I am a member of the Layout SIG and the OPs SIG--although I admit that I can't keep up with all the posts and have given up on the OPs completely.

Still, you talk about ops like there are rules. Frankly, I'd like to know what those rules are. The best I can come up with is the preachings of Tony Koester, yet when you compare it with other "operators," Chubb, Fugate, Hartle, etc.,  there are enough differences to create a lively discussion. I'd like to know what you feel are the SOPs (standard operating proceedures) even in general terms.  

Chip,First and above all never take what I say personal as it never meant to be but,I know at times it may appear that way.

As far as operations there are many from very basic to highly complex with fast clocks,train schedules and employee time tables.The secrete is to find a happy medium that fits YOU and your  layout needs.

Would you rather I do a topic on this?

I already started one. I didn't want to hijack this thread any more than I already had.

http://www.trains.com/trccs/forums/1046740/ShowPost.aspx

 


  • Member since
    October, 2001
  • From: OH
  • 12,739 posts
Posted by BRAKIE on Thursday, February 22, 2007 3:21 PM

Indeed..The Zephyr is probably the best starter system on the market.

Here is the facts.

http://www.digitrax.com/prd_zep_basic_set.php

 

Larry

SSRy

Conductor

  • Member since
    July, 2006
  • From: Bettendorf Iowa
  • 2,173 posts
Posted by Driline on Thursday, February 22, 2007 5:17 PM
 Soo Line fan wrote:

I have close to 40 engines. All have been detailed, many are re-powered with expensive can motors and some I have custom painted. How much would it cost to convert over Question [?] 

I am not talking about a starter set that would be obsolete the day after it is installed or cheap low-end decoders.

I think for the time being I will stick with DC. I run one train continuously on one cab and switch with the other. Having a double track mainline helps.

Perhaps I will switch over in 5 years but I would like to see what type of new technology, if any, comes out in the meantime.

Jim

A decent NON sound decoder from NCE runs about 20 bucks. You'll need $800 dollars + $140 for a DCC system. Most of my older locomotives are crap compared to the new ones. So' I"ve been buying new loco's latley that run fantastic. Sounds like you put a lot of time,can motors, and paint into some of your loco's. I would definatley add a decoder in those, but others you can simply abandon or resell, like I did.

I will help you start a fund raising campaign if you find thats necessary.Smile [:)] 

Modeling the Davenport Rock Island & Northwestern 1995 in HO
  • Member since
    July, 2006
  • From: Bettendorf Iowa
  • 2,173 posts
Posted by Driline on Thursday, February 22, 2007 5:19 PM
 BRAKIE wrote:

Indeed..The Zephyr is probably the best starter system on the market.

Here is the facts.

http://www.digitrax.com/prd_zep_basic_set.php

 

I didn't buy the zephyr because it doesn't hava a walk around throttle. You are stuck in one spot running trains. Its probably OK for a 4X8, but anything bigger.....forget about it. It is a cool looking transformer though.

Modeling the Davenport Rock Island & Northwestern 1995 in HO
  • Member since
    July, 2006
  • From: Bettendorf Iowa
  • 2,173 posts
Posted by Driline on Thursday, February 22, 2007 5:27 PM
 SpaceMouse wrote:
 BRAKIE wrote:

Tom and Chip,Not really..Most ADVANCED 4 x 8 foot layout designs was meant for one train operation at best with  6 or 7 car train length any more then that you end up with the old "engine chasing the caboose" syndrome..Even with small rtw layouts its best to stick with single train and  small train lengths as this adds distance to  small rtw layouts..This is especially true for rtw industrial switching layouts.Advanced layout designers has known for years less is best for small layouts.I have agreed with that philosophy long before DCC.

Personally I find this a very limited view, especially in light of the fact that I just mentioned that the joy of DDC on my layout was the fact that my son and I could run together.

On my 4 x 8 I have a 3-track yard, two towns and 3 staging tracks which easily held 6 trains. It was quite simple to have one train running mainline switching and dropping cars for the yard switcher who then switched local industries. It was a de facto interchange operation. I also had full engine service. Add passenger service and mine ops and there is quite enough to keep two operators busy for a couple hours. My trains never chased tails as you put it. It was simply impossible.  

   

Chip, I am going to Diss your layout. Why does it look pink? Are you shooting through rose colored glasses?Smile [:)]

Modeling the Davenport Rock Island & Northwestern 1995 in HO
  • Member since
    March, 2006
  • From: Almost Heaven...West Virginia
  • 793 posts
Posted by beegle55 on Thursday, February 22, 2007 5:47 PM
Wow, this post is really really big. Nevertheless, thanks for all of the great replys and advice. I hope that this post can be helpful to other people and be just as effective as it has been to me. Thanks, beegle55.
Head of operations at the Bald Mountain Railroad, a proud division of CSXT since 2002!
  • Member since
    July, 2003
  • From: Metro East St. Louis
  • 5,734 posts
Posted by simon1966 on Thursday, February 22, 2007 6:26 PM
 Driline wrote:
 BRAKIE wrote:

Indeed..The Zephyr is probably the best starter system on the market.

Here is the facts.

http://www.digitrax.com/prd_zep_basic_set.php

 

I didn't buy the zephyr because it doesn't hava a walk around throttle. You are stuck in one spot running trains. Its probably OK for a 4X8, but anything bigger.....forget about it. It is a cool looking transformer though.

Sure it does, for $64 you can get a UT 4 and have a true walk around throttle, you can add up to 10 of them if you so choose by simply adding $15 dual connector panels around the layout.

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
    July, 2006
  • From: Bettendorf Iowa
  • 2,173 posts
Posted by Driline on Thursday, February 22, 2007 8:35 PM
 simon1966 wrote:
 Driline wrote:
 BRAKIE wrote:

Indeed..The Zephyr is probably the best starter system on the market.

Here is the facts.

http://www.digitrax.com/prd_zep_basic_set.php

 

I didn't buy the zephyr because it doesn't hava a walk around throttle. You are stuck in one spot running trains. Its probably OK for a 4X8, but anything bigger.....forget about it. It is a cool looking transformer though.

Sure it does, for $64 you can get a UT 4 and have a true walk around throttle, you can add up to 10 of them if you so choose by simply adding $15 dual connector panels around the layout.

Ummmm....No it does'nt. The Zephyr starter set  DOES NOT INCLUDE A WALK AROUND THROTTLE. Thats EXTRA!!!

Thats like saying, sure the Zephyr has radio control... blah blah blah....BUT YOU PAY FOR IT! Thats true with any of the starter sets.

So, if you have less than $200 to spend and want a starter set with a walk around throttle, then you need to look at the following three sets..

1) NCE Power CAB $139.99

2) MRC Prodigy Express ???

3) Lenz ???

I may have missed some other starter sets....but you get the point.

That was a dealbreaker for me. I HAD to have a walkaround throttle, so my choices were limited to the above three.

Modeling the Davenport Rock Island & Northwestern 1995 in HO
  • Member since
    February, 2002
  • From: Reading, PA
  • 17,534 posts
Posted by rrinker on Thursday, February 22, 2007 9:04 PM

 A decent non-sound decoder from NCE costs $11.99 if you buy a 10 pack of them from Empire Northern. D13SRJ, 10 pack $119.95. I use them in most anythign that there isn't a specific form factor decoder for (like the DH163L0 from Digitrax for P2K, or the NCE SW-SR for P2K SW switchers).

 

                           --Randy
 


Modeling the Reading Railroad in the 1950's

 

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

  • Member since
    February, 2002
  • From: Reading, PA
  • 17,534 posts
Posted by rrinker on Thursday, February 22, 2007 9:10 PM

 Also, you can't get a Lenz anything for under $200. The Set 90 is $230 plus a power supply. A Zephyr plus UT4 is less than that AND would have far more funcitonatility, not to mention a total of FOUR throttles (the UT4, the Zephyr console, and 2 jump ports if you didn;t thow out your DC power packs).

 The only sub-$200 sets with a handheld of any sort are the Prodigy Express and NCE Powercab, and only the Prodigy Express would allow you to unplug the cab and move elsewhere. Neither has a dedicate program track, and the PE can not read back CV values. 

 

                                                      --Randy
 


Modeling the Reading Railroad in the 1950's

 

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

  • Member since
    July, 2006
  • From: Bettendorf Iowa
  • 2,173 posts
Posted by Driline on Thursday, February 22, 2007 9:28 PM
 rrinker wrote:

 Also, you can't get a Lenz anything for under $200. The Set 90 is $230 plus a power supply. A Zephyr plus UT4 is less than that AND would have far more funcitonatility, not to mention a total of FOUR throttles (the UT4, the Zephyr console, and 2 jump ports if you didn;t thow out your DC power packs).

 The only sub-$200 sets with a handheld of any sort are the Prodigy Express and NCE Powercab, and only the Prodigy Express would allow you to unplug the cab and move elsewhere. Neither has a dedicate program track, and the PE can not read back CV values. 

 

                                                      --Randy
 

Thats why I bought the NCE power cab. Inexpensive and the only TRUE starter set walkaround throttle. Nuff said..........

Modeling the Davenport Rock Island & Northwestern 1995 in HO
  • Member since
    October, 2004
  • From: Colorful Colorado
  • 8,483 posts
Posted by Texas Zepher on Thursday, February 22, 2007 11:55 PM
 Driline wrote:
Thats why I bought the NCE power cab. Inexpensive and the only TRUE starter set walkaround throttle.
Well if you call that monster two handed beast thing, a walk around throttle. Evil [}:)] I much prefer to leave it on the shelf and add a utility throttle (cab04) to walk around and run the trains with.
  • Member since
    July, 2006
  • From: Windsor, UK
  • 36 posts
Posted by ukrailroader on Friday, February 23, 2007 3:46 AM

Hi beegle55,

I went DCC about a year ago with a Digitrax Chief set and have not regretted it. The operating possibilities are far in advance of DC. I was so impressed with DCC that I managed to arrange a demonstration at my club and they have now gone DCC on a switchable layout. On operating nights the sounds from our sound equipped locos can make you think it is a real railroad.

I went for Digitrax because they have the biggest slice of the DCC cake in the US.

ukrailroader (UK)

  • Member since
    April, 2003
  • 282,456 posts
Posted by Anonymous on Friday, February 23, 2007 5:12 AM
I am a train group of 6 guys Early in 2006 we each purchased the MRC Prodigy Advanced system. The best thing we ever did. Prior to this trying to run  sound equipped locos was too hard. Now we have an operating night once a week. we can run our own locos on anybodies track NO PROBLEMS I agree that a well set up DC layout is okay to operate but a new DCC layout is much easier to build (particularly to wire). I wouldn't go back to DC. We haven't tried DCC for turnouts etc but for operating multiple locos on the same piece of track you can't go wrong. We have installed decoders, both sound and no sound in dozens of engines with no major problems. Be brave take the plunge you will find operating your trains has never been easier
  • Member since
    June, 2002
  • From: Australia
  • 29 posts
Posted by trainwomen on Friday, February 23, 2007 6:04 AM

  Hi From Australia,

                       I'm a little bit late joining this thread but it takes a while longer to reach us downunder. DCC for me was the best possible move. I have been using the NCE Procab for about 4 years and now run mainly sounded locos. The flexibility and ease of using DCC cannot be overstated. I have a preference for the NCE system but like many have already suggested it would be wise to try before you buy. For a starter system I find it hard to go past the NCE Power Cab. I have one which I use on my portable shelf layout as a stand alone system and it then simply plugs into my Pro Cab system on my main layout and gives me a fully functional additional throttle. I was one of the first in my local area to take the plunge to DCC and I have no regrets. Several DC purists have had a change of heart once they experience the freedom and excitement of using DCC and leave my train room with a smile and some new ideas. I also believe that the the constant development in the DCC electronics show the way to the future. Anyway enjoy what you do.

Regards from Downunder  - Chris

  • Member since
    October, 2001
  • From: OH
  • 12,739 posts
Posted by BRAKIE on Friday, February 23, 2007 7:41 AM
 ukrailroader wrote:

Hi beegle55,

I went DCC about a year ago with a Digitrax Chief set and have not regretted it. The operating possibilities are far in advance of DC. I was so impressed with DCC that I managed to arrange a demonstration at my club and they have now gone DCC on a switchable layout. On operating nights the sounds from our sound equipped locos can make you think it is a real railroad.

I went for Digitrax because they have the biggest slice of the DCC cake in the US.

ukrailroader (UK)

About 3 years ago I was invited to operate on a full  basement size DCC layout..It was enjoyable but,I felt like a accountant by the time the operation session was over..The following Friday I was more then happy to return to DC operations on the club's layout..There was no stinking addresses to punch into the throttle before I could move a engine to where it was needed..All I had to do as a hostler at the club is flip  toggle switches and add the engine to a outbound train,remove it from the inbound train and take it to the roundhouse area or to the outbound ready tracks.Easy as 1,2,3..

Larry

SSRy

Conductor

  • Member since
    July, 2003
  • From: Metro East St. Louis
  • 5,734 posts
Posted by simon1966 on Friday, February 23, 2007 8:22 AM
 BRAKIE wrote:

About 3 years ago I was invited to operate on a full  basement size DCC layout..It was enjoyable but,I felt like a accountant by the time the operation session was over..The following Friday I was more then happy to return to DC operations on the club's layout..There was no stinking addresses to punch into the throttle before I could move a engine to where it was needed..All I had to do as a hostler at the club is flip  toggle switches and add the engine to a outbound train,remove it from the inbound train and take it to the roundhouse area or to the outbound ready tracks.Easy as 1,2,3..

Brakie, you describe a perfect example where a switch to DCC may not be a good idea.  Your club has a rock solid well designed DC block implementation that you are very comfortable with and is apparently easy to operate.  It is easy as 1,2,3 to you because you are very familiar with it.  Now my experience has been the exact opposite.  I had the chance to run a large DC system a couple of years back and I found it utterly confusing figuring out which toggle switches to use to keep my loco switched to my cab.  I like the simplicity of selecting a loco and being able to run anywhere on the layout without having to worry about anything except turnouts and my route.  The other thing to consider is the wiring.  In your club example the wiring is in place and functioning well.  For a new installation the difference in wiring complexity for DC and DCC to accomplish the activities you described is astonishing.  Often when people are considering the cost of DCC and comparing it to DC I don't think that they appreciate the cost savings of eliminating a complex switched block system.

Anyway, the upshot of all this is that DCC is the flavor of the month and I personally would not suggest anyone build a new layout without giving it serious consideration.  For older, well established layouts I don't think it is at all clear cut.  Conversion may not be trivial.  Conversion will likely be very costly.  But more importantly if things are working well and the members/operators don't have the desire or interest to make the conversion, why bother.  If DC is serving you well, why not continue to enjoy it?

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
    August, 2005
  • From: Utah
  • 83 posts
Posted by rudywa on Friday, February 23, 2007 8:36 AM
I have replied to this topic before, but I still feel the same way, as a modeler of some 30+ years, I have seen ideas come and go, and I have read and seen the benefits of DCC as well as the headaches, price, compatibility, upgrade, conversion problems and the like. I am an Artist, and in the philosophy of many Artists I believe the classic always will outweigh the new and innovative for charm and reliability. Now before any of you DCC lovers become defensive, I respect your choice and your love of all that is new, but like my Macintosh, (A Classic and by the way the "Original PC") I Love the original idea of DC operation, blocks and the like. It just charms me with the ingenuity of making it all work realistically, I have lights in my cars, Locos and I have an MRC sound system and Separate sound effects on a CD system. I am convinced with a little bit of creativity I have obtained a very close 2nd to DCC operation without all the headaches.
  • Member since
    October, 2001
  • From: OH
  • 12,739 posts
Posted by BRAKIE on Friday, February 23, 2007 9:34 AM

Simon,Our control panel is so straight forward you could catch on in a few mintues..All of our yard panels was design that way by members that are professional electricians.How simple? IF you can follow a labeled track schematic you are good to go.Big Smile [:D]

 

Dave,I am far from old school having use DCC and Sound on my last room size layout.Sadly,I didn't even get to finish the layout because the State bought my house so they could build another stinking access road.I just like showing both sides of the coin and what is available as a option.

As far as that night of DCC operation I moved or consisted close to 60 locomotives in 4  hours without problems and like I said after the operation session I did feel like a accountant.In comparison in our normal 6 hour club operation as a hustler I will move close to 70-75 locomotives to and from the inbound/outbound yard tracks and to and from the passenger terminal.

Larry

SSRy

Conductor

  • Member since
    October, 2006
  • From: Northeast OH
  • 883 posts
Posted by jktrains on Friday, February 23, 2007 9:41 AM

Please explain how it is upgraded to handle more functions as the NMRA standards increases the number of functions available on a decoder or if the standards change?  The first NMRA standards had functions 0-9, now there is at least F0-F12.  You can't insert a new EPROM to access the new functions.

Digitrax website lists Zephyr as a basic set.  States you can access function F0-F8 only.  As sound equipped engines become more popular and the number of functions expand, how do you access all the functions then?  A MRC sound decoder has up through F19, Soundtraxx Tsunami - F14.

The Zephyr maybe a good starter system, but it has its limits. 

I'll go back to the main recommnedation - before you buy a system, go online and read the manuals for each see what you can and cannot understand and let that guide you decision.

  • Member since
    May, 2003
  • From: Asheville, NC
  • 1,119 posts
Posted by Adelie on Friday, February 23, 2007 10:33 AM
 jktrains wrote:

Please explain how it is upgraded to handle more functions as the NMRA standards increases the number of functions available on a decoder or if the standards change?  The first NMRA standards had functions 0-9, now there is at least F0-F12.  You can't insert a new EPROM to access the new functions.

As a matter of fact, you can.  The EPROM inside the command stations is in a socket and could be replaced very easily.  That is not something Digitrax advertises, but having seen the insides of a DB150 and DCS100, it is a fact.  I  would bet the design of the Zephyr is the same in that respect.

As for the recommendation about downloading and reading the manuals before buying, I would make that same recommendation about DCC or almost anything else.  I have a hard drive full of manuals ranging from Digitrax stuff to lawn mowers, refrigerators, TV's etc.  Like any other purchase, knowing what you are about to buy is a very big step towards both satisfaction with the product and avoiding purchasing mistakes.

  • Member since
    October, 2001
  • From: OH
  • 12,739 posts
Posted by BRAKIE on Friday, February 23, 2007 10:41 AM

Now let's see what the Zephyr REALLY does..

Zephyr Offers:

  • Simple to use controls for running trains.

  • Large speed control knob and direction switch with brake.

  • Full numeric key pad.

  • Easy 2 and 4 digit addressing.

  • Smooth speed control.


Run multiple trains at once without blocking!

  • Run up to 10 addresses at the same time on your system.

  • Run up to 10 throttles at the same time on your system.


Jump Ports for using DC power packs as additional throttles

  • Use one or two smooth DC power packs as throttles to control DCC equipped locomotives.

  • Simple, cost effective way to add more throttles to your Zephyr set.

  • Makes it easy to share the fun of DCC with layout visitors and young operators.

  • Functions on locos controlled by Jump throttles remain active.


Over 9000 Locomotive Addresses

  • Use Address 00 to run one or more locos without DCC decoders

  • Two Digit Addressing is easy to use. (Address 01-127)

  • Four Digit Addressing-use the number painted on your engines as its address.

 

2.5 Amps of Power to run multiple trains.

  • Booster outputs 12V for safe operation in N and HO scales.


Function Control

  • Control 10 functions-F0 through F8.

  • Function 2 is a special non-latching key that can be used to sound the horn for as long as the key is held down.

  • Constant brightness lighting. Headlights can be directional or independently controlled (depending on decoder).


Stationary Decoders, Turnout Control & Turnout Position Reporting

  • Access to stationary decoder control for turnouts and other devices.

  • Control 999 stationary decoder addresses.


Consisting

  • Universal consisting, Digitrax preferred method. ALL locos can be consisted, even analog locos.

  • Advanced consisting, allows only advanced consist capable mobile decoders.

  • Basic consisting, program decoders to run on same address.


Decoder Programming

  • Built in read/write programmer that can read and write all CVs.

  • Supports Paged programming (Digitrax preferred method). Also supports direct & register mode programming.

  • Operations mode programming can be used to program decoders on the layout.


Expandability with Digitrax LocoNet

  • Use Zephyr as a starting point for your Digitrax LocoNet System, then add components.

  • Use Zephyr as an expansion set with Digitrax equipment you already have installed.

  • Add Radio or IR via LocoNet. Just plug in a UR90 or UR91 receiver and add IR and/or Radio throttles.

Larry

SSRy

Conductor

  • Member since
    August, 2005
  • From: Utah
  • 83 posts
Posted by rudywa on Friday, February 23, 2007 10:53 AM

I feel disappointed that people have to stoop to labeling some as "old school" once those of you that are young grow older you will understand, (another benefit of old school) experience=wisdom and knowledge. We all have different tastes, that is what makes us unique and different, but we do not have to label others to make ourselves feel better. I hope those of you who have done this will refrain in an effort to keep this a productive forum and one in which all ideas are welcome. Some years ago, I had a quote of niche I believe and it stated, Everything has been done before, the problem is to figure out how to do it again.

So with this thought we are all "old school"
  • Member since
    April, 2005
  • 11 posts
Posted by cthse on Friday, February 23, 2007 11:06 AM

Beegle55,

I converted back last Thanksgiving using the Digitrax Super Chief.  With a 3' by 15' Water wing shaped layout, I decided to not go with with wireless control.  After running some trains, I seemed ok with DCC.  After I set up some simple speed tables, and programmed in some momentum and did a little switching, that's when DCC really sold me.  I have never been able to run the slower speeds for switching and just general creeping around like I have with DCC.  All my roadswitchers now run at about 60 scale MPH at full throttle, so 50% is my usual cruising speed.  Things do not stall, run jerky, and mu'ing diesels together is a snap.  You can make fine adjustments to your speed tables to get multiple units in perfect unison.  However, make darn sure your track is clean, no left-over dried goobers of glue and paint should be on the rail heads.  This will disrupt the signal.  A little fine tuning of the trackwork and locomotives will ensure some great performance.  Oh, and it's nice not to worry about what block you're in.

So, if you plan to operate at protoypical speeds, especially any SLOW running, and you like having limitless flexibility that cannot be done with cab control, then YES DCC is worth the investment.  My next layout, to be started this summer, will have NO insulated rail joiners, NO control panel, and MUCH LESS wire.

If you would rather just watch trains run, aren't too concerned about very slow running, and cab control doesn't hinder how you operate, then you might think twice.  And there are some nice running DC layouts.

Good luck!

JD - long live the ol' Southeastern!

  • Member since
    May, 2003
  • From: Asheville, NC
  • 1,119 posts
Posted by Adelie on Friday, February 23, 2007 11:09 AM

I agree, Rudy.  I really do not like labeling or name calling in these debates.  That's probably why I hate listening to politicians and talk radio. I have also gone through "cooling off periods" with this forum for much the same reason.

I've tried to be careful to make sure people know there is no right or wrong answer to this sort of question, nor is there any one-size-fits-all guide to when one or the other is better.  Folks need to read, ask questions, read some more, ask more questions and essentially do what a wise consumer does before making a significant purchase.  In that equation is considering what the person wants to do and their comfort zone.  Getting some hands-on experience, if available, is a big help provided the "tutor" is a good teacher (which I generally am not).

But it's a little like asking "is an automatic transmission better than a stick shift?"

If DC and manual transmissions are "old school," I'm wondering where I stand.  I use DCC and prefer it for my own application, but I'd much rather drive a stick!  Hmm.

None of that makes me any better or worse than Larry, or make my decisions right for his circumstances or his right for mine. 

  • Member since
    July, 2006
  • From: Bettendorf Iowa
  • 2,173 posts
Posted by Driline on Friday, February 23, 2007 11:16 AM

 Texas Zepher wrote:
 Driline wrote:
Thats why I bought the NCE power cab. Inexpensive and the only TRUE starter set walkaround throttle.
Well if you call that monster two handed beast thing, a walk around throttle. Evil [}:)] I much prefer to leave it on the shelf and add a utility throttle (cab04) to walk around and run the trains with.

Big Smile [:D]LOL

Modeling the Davenport Rock Island & Northwestern 1995 in HO
  • Member since
    August, 2005
  • From: Utah
  • 83 posts
Posted by rudywa on Friday, February 23, 2007 11:30 AM
Very interesting Analogy, I agree with the thinking of not labeling, I do however have a habit of labeling inorganic things, computer makers, software developers, (government entities and the like) I see these as fair game. But since you mentioned stick vs. Automatic, some years ago Motor trend tested the same vehicle, stick and automatic and the automatic faired better on mileage, the reason being, for the operator to match the shift timing of an automatic they would have to have such advance skills as very few people could match. I know in recent years the sub compacts and compacts with a stick have promoted fuel saving facts, but take the same make and model and compare it stick vs. auto and that is a clear winner. Auto wins out every time. (The following is Tongue in Cheek) In fact in the military I drove both the M-1 Abrahams and Deuce  and a halves,  the Abrahams being a motorcyle-type automatic transmission, hitting top speeds of 70 mph without the governor and the Deuce and a half would take a distance of LA to New York to get up to that with the same weight load as the Abrahams.)

Subscriber & Member Login

Login, or register today to interact in our online community, comment on articles, receive our newsletter, manage your account online and more!
Popular on ModelRailroader.com
Model Railroader Newsletter See all
Sign up for our FREE e-newsletter and get model railroad news in your inbox!
ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT

Search the Community

ADVERTISEMENT
Find us on Facebook

Loading...