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DCC of choice

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  • Member since
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DCC of choice
Posted by Anonymous on Thursday, September 4, 2003 10:18 PM
I am in the planning process of my first major HO scale railroad. It is going to be roughly 14x4 feet and my plan is for it to include plenty of scenery, tunnels etc. From all that I have read DCC seems to be the system of choice especially since I have two young boys (age 3 & 5) who given their druthers would probably run the train at full blast derailing at every turn and therefore my layout would benefit from the max speed controls available on DCC.

Do those of you with much more experience, have a recommendation for the best DCC brand to use. I would like to keep the price down so that I can spend money on engines, scenery etc. Also, how important is the wireless handheld? Thank you in advance for your comments.

Joseph Goeke
joe_goeke@yahoo.com
  • Member since
    April 2003
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DCC of choice
Posted by Anonymous on Thursday, September 4, 2003 10:18 PM
I am in the planning process of my first major HO scale railroad. It is going to be roughly 14x4 feet and my plan is for it to include plenty of scenery, tunnels etc. From all that I have read DCC seems to be the system of choice especially since I have two young boys (age 3 & 5) who given their druthers would probably run the train at full blast derailing at every turn and therefore my layout would benefit from the max speed controls available on DCC.

Do those of you with much more experience, have a recommendation for the best DCC brand to use. I would like to keep the price down so that I can spend money on engines, scenery etc. Also, how important is the wireless handheld? Thank you in advance for your comments.

Joseph Goeke
joe_goeke@yahoo.com
  • Member since
    April 2003
  • 305,205 posts
Posted by Anonymous on Thursday, September 4, 2003 10:38 PM
With a 14x4 layout, tethered throttles will be fine. Wireless is nice but only needed on a large layout. Just have a few places to plug in throttles around the layout.
I have an Atlas DCC system on my home layout. It is affordable, easy to use, and a great starter set. I think it is ideal for a small home layout. My club has a NCE Powerhousepro, which would be overkill. Of course, compare the available systems and see what is right for your needs. Each brand has its pros and cons.
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Posted by Anonymous on Thursday, September 4, 2003 10:38 PM
With a 14x4 layout, tethered throttles will be fine. Wireless is nice but only needed on a large layout. Just have a few places to plug in throttles around the layout.
I have an Atlas DCC system on my home layout. It is affordable, easy to use, and a great starter set. I think it is ideal for a small home layout. My club has a NCE Powerhousepro, which would be overkill. Of course, compare the available systems and see what is right for your needs. Each brand has its pros and cons.
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Posted by Anonymous on Thursday, September 4, 2003 11:12 PM
I pretty much agree with rocky451 except that you may want to consider wireless. When the thought of a 3 or 5 year old heading for the other end/side of the layout- well I think you get the picture. My home layout is digitrax (not wireless) but after recently operating on a wireless layout mine WILL be wireless in the near future. I think Atlas or MRC is coming out with wireless in the near future so cost shouldn't be a huge consideration.
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Posted by Anonymous on Thursday, September 4, 2003 11:12 PM
I pretty much agree with rocky451 except that you may want to consider wireless. When the thought of a 3 or 5 year old heading for the other end/side of the layout- well I think you get the picture. My home layout is digitrax (not wireless) but after recently operating on a wireless layout mine WILL be wireless in the near future. I think Atlas or MRC is coming out with wireless in the near future so cost shouldn't be a huge consideration.
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Posted by BentnoseWillie on Friday, September 5, 2003 6:01 AM
The Lenz XPA (Xpressnet Phone Adapter) interfaces a normal cordless telephone into Lenz and Atlas DCC systems as a wireless throttle. No modification to the phone is required, and it works great!

The XPA sells for under $CAD 90 ($USD 70), plus the price of a cordless phone. That puts the whole thing around half the price of the Atlas non-wireless handheld throttle - great value!

I thought it was the silliest idea I'd ever heard when it was announced, but I tried it and promptly bought one for my Atlas system, with plans for more. Most of the Atlas users I know have gone this route, and we all love it.
B-Dubya -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Inside every GE is an Alco trying to get out...apparently, through the exhaust stack!
  • Member since
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  • From: Nova Scotia
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Posted by BentnoseWillie on Friday, September 5, 2003 6:01 AM
The Lenz XPA (Xpressnet Phone Adapter) interfaces a normal cordless telephone into Lenz and Atlas DCC systems as a wireless throttle. No modification to the phone is required, and it works great!

The XPA sells for under $CAD 90 ($USD 70), plus the price of a cordless phone. That puts the whole thing around half the price of the Atlas non-wireless handheld throttle - great value!

I thought it was the silliest idea I'd ever heard when it was announced, but I tried it and promptly bought one for my Atlas system, with plans for more. Most of the Atlas users I know have gone this route, and we all love it.
B-Dubya -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Inside every GE is an Alco trying to get out...apparently, through the exhaust stack!
  • Member since
    April 2003
  • 305,205 posts
Posted by Anonymous on Monday, September 8, 2003 8:24 AM
I've been studying the DCC market for quite a while trying to determine the best bang for the buck so to speak.I really liked the CVP option of using panels built into my control panel but was discouraged by some of the feedback i got.
Heres what i have learned.The 2 biggies are Digitrax and Lenz.
Atlas's product is made by Lenz.Lenz is the largest market share holder due to the european market.Digitrax holds an edge in North America.Support is easier to get for Digitrax on a broader base than any other unit.Digitrax is expandable and thier new entry level system the Zephyr comes complete with power supply and (heres the biggy) The option of using 2 regular powerpack s like MRC for additional throttles.Most of us have a powerpack or 2 and this saves a ton of money not having to buy additional throttles.The Zephyr is the way i am going as a way to get my feet wet in DCC.It retails for around 199.00 but the best price i have found is Litchfield Station at around 150.00.Dont forget to look into soundtrax decoders for realistic onboard sound equipped Loco's.It is awesome to say the least.A bit spendy but well worth the investment for realism.Its a DCC Jungle out there.Do yourself a Favor and get something that is easy to find help with.My Vote is for the Zephyr......Good Luck!!!
  • Member since
    April 2003
  • 305,205 posts
Posted by Anonymous on Monday, September 8, 2003 8:24 AM
I've been studying the DCC market for quite a while trying to determine the best bang for the buck so to speak.I really liked the CVP option of using panels built into my control panel but was discouraged by some of the feedback i got.
Heres what i have learned.The 2 biggies are Digitrax and Lenz.
Atlas's product is made by Lenz.Lenz is the largest market share holder due to the european market.Digitrax holds an edge in North America.Support is easier to get for Digitrax on a broader base than any other unit.Digitrax is expandable and thier new entry level system the Zephyr comes complete with power supply and (heres the biggy) The option of using 2 regular powerpack s like MRC for additional throttles.Most of us have a powerpack or 2 and this saves a ton of money not having to buy additional throttles.The Zephyr is the way i am going as a way to get my feet wet in DCC.It retails for around 199.00 but the best price i have found is Litchfield Station at around 150.00.Dont forget to look into soundtrax decoders for realistic onboard sound equipped Loco's.It is awesome to say the least.A bit spendy but well worth the investment for realism.Its a DCC Jungle out there.Do yourself a Favor and get something that is easy to find help with.My Vote is for the Zephyr......Good Luck!!!
  • Member since
    April 2003
  • 305,205 posts
Posted by Anonymous on Tuesday, September 9, 2003 7:38 AM
jgoeke,

I asked basically the same question a few months ago and got quite a wide range of answers.

Here is the link to that thread: http://www.trains.com/community/forum/topic.asp?TOPIC_ID=6008

Dave
  • Member since
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Posted by Anonymous on Tuesday, September 9, 2003 7:38 AM
jgoeke,

I asked basically the same question a few months ago and got quite a wide range of answers.

Here is the link to that thread: http://www.trains.com/community/forum/topic.asp?TOPIC_ID=6008

Dave
  • Member since
    April 2003
  • 305,205 posts
Posted by Anonymous on Wednesday, September 10, 2003 10:48 PM
Thanks for all of the helpful input.
  • Member since
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Posted by Anonymous on Wednesday, September 10, 2003 10:48 PM
Thanks for all of the helpful input.
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Posted by ndbprr on Friday, September 12, 2003 8:35 AM
This hobby draws a number of dyfsunctional people who have an attitude of their way is the only way. Unfortunately DCC is one of those areas that draws a lot of opinionated comments. Surprisingly none of the comments posted yet go to that extreme. Basically all DCC works the same way and does the same things. I don't think there is much question that Digitrax is the leading seller. However a visit to a hobby shop that carries more than one brand is in order to see how the throttle feels in your hand and how intuitive the layout of controls is to you. Also, how heavy is the controller. Will you get tired hanging on to it. To my way of thinking ergonomics is often overlooked by the buyer until a system is purchased and one that doesn't feel right or you can't adjust to is not going to be a pleasurable experience over the long haul.
  • Member since
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  • 7,452 posts
Posted by ndbprr on Friday, September 12, 2003 8:35 AM
This hobby draws a number of dyfsunctional people who have an attitude of their way is the only way. Unfortunately DCC is one of those areas that draws a lot of opinionated comments. Surprisingly none of the comments posted yet go to that extreme. Basically all DCC works the same way and does the same things. I don't think there is much question that Digitrax is the leading seller. However a visit to a hobby shop that carries more than one brand is in order to see how the throttle feels in your hand and how intuitive the layout of controls is to you. Also, how heavy is the controller. Will you get tired hanging on to it. To my way of thinking ergonomics is often overlooked by the buyer until a system is purchased and one that doesn't feel right or you can't adjust to is not going to be a pleasurable experience over the long haul.
  • Member since
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  • From: City of Québec,Canada
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Posted by Jacktal on Friday, September 12, 2003 11:22 PM
Like many,I'm planning to purchase a DCC system some day and have started collecting infos on most of the systems available.I don't know any DCC user yet who could influence my judgement so I set my own requirements.What I found out is that most if not all the systems available pretty much fill the same bill as far as compatibility,reliability,installation,etc...all thanks to NMRA standards.Even their prices are quite competitive when you take time to evaluate the standard systems and their optional features.

What then is to separate them for me?The most significant feature I'm looking for is simplicity of operation,I mean a system that I can learn fairly quick and then set the "operator's manual" aside forever.I work all day and don't want to have another job while running a model train...I simply want to enjoy it.

The second most important feature to me is the ease of supply.I don't want to wait weeks or even months for a part I need for upgrading my layout.It also means that I want good service if I ever have a component failure.

The third most important point is the ease of operation,ergonomically speaking.I will be looking for a handheld throttle control that will feel right for me,and is sturdy enough that it can survive an occasional mishap.It should be light,preferably small and have well identified single purposed knobs.No intricate knob combinations,at least for the most usual functions.

What about price?An important point to consider for sure but still quite secondary to what my demands are.I remember having a car I hated for four years simply because I didn't want to spend the extra bucks to purchase "the" one I really wanted,I'll never do that again.I will not compromise for a few bucks saving as I feel that in the end,there isn't that much difference between systems.

I have visited most system manufacturer's website and downloaded(and printed) their specs to study them and haven't yet made up my mind.I like NCE's throttle control but until I'm ready to buy I have time to reconsider.
  • Member since
    October 2002
  • From: City of Québec,Canada
  • 1,258 posts
Posted by Jacktal on Friday, September 12, 2003 11:22 PM
Like many,I'm planning to purchase a DCC system some day and have started collecting infos on most of the systems available.I don't know any DCC user yet who could influence my judgement so I set my own requirements.What I found out is that most if not all the systems available pretty much fill the same bill as far as compatibility,reliability,installation,etc...all thanks to NMRA standards.Even their prices are quite competitive when you take time to evaluate the standard systems and their optional features.

What then is to separate them for me?The most significant feature I'm looking for is simplicity of operation,I mean a system that I can learn fairly quick and then set the "operator's manual" aside forever.I work all day and don't want to have another job while running a model train...I simply want to enjoy it.

The second most important feature to me is the ease of supply.I don't want to wait weeks or even months for a part I need for upgrading my layout.It also means that I want good service if I ever have a component failure.

The third most important point is the ease of operation,ergonomically speaking.I will be looking for a handheld throttle control that will feel right for me,and is sturdy enough that it can survive an occasional mishap.It should be light,preferably small and have well identified single purposed knobs.No intricate knob combinations,at least for the most usual functions.

What about price?An important point to consider for sure but still quite secondary to what my demands are.I remember having a car I hated for four years simply because I didn't want to spend the extra bucks to purchase "the" one I really wanted,I'll never do that again.I will not compromise for a few bucks saving as I feel that in the end,there isn't that much difference between systems.

I have visited most system manufacturer's website and downloaded(and printed) their specs to study them and haven't yet made up my mind.I like NCE's throttle control but until I'm ready to buy I have time to reconsider.

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