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Starting with DCC?

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Starting with DCC?
Posted by Anonymous on Sunday, November 2, 2003 11:49 PM
I am currently starting my first layout. I was wondering if starting with DCC was a good idea or should I start with the old wiring layout.

Thank you
Randy
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Posted by Anonymous on Monday, November 3, 2003 12:27 AM
Randy,
You don't say how big your layout is going to be, how much of it will be an "operating" layout, etc.

I would say if you are in the hobby for the long haul, starting out with DCC will actually save you lots of money in the long run. If you don't go DCC now, you probably will latter in the future.

Of course, if you have a simple oval layout with one siding, DC will serve you very well. If this layout is really not your final dream layout, but something you will run for a while, getting into DCC now will help you stay contemporary with the direction the hobby is going towards.

By the way, the majority of R & D is towards decoder development and not in the command station, power booster phase of the system. Also cab control and computer operations is still much in evolution.
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Posted by ndbprr on Monday, November 3, 2003 1:48 PM
If you can afford it and won't be frustrated by a learning curve I would say go with it for a couple of reasons:
1. Better to get the learning curve out of the way while the layout is simple
2. You won't have the cost of decoders for all those engines at one time
3. The installation will be much simpler and become more complex with the addition to the railroad. beside you will know what works and what doesn't as the layout expands.
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Posted by Anonymous on Monday, November 3, 2003 8:00 PM
Having purchased the following engines : Bachmann Spectrum # 's 81107 & 81108 ,
which are 70 ton G.E swichers , Life - Like Proto 2000 , Gp - 7 , and E8 / 9 engines , two Athearn engines a SD40 -2 , and a G.E U 30 - C . With these I plan on beginning my RR . But I do have this question about DCC . Seems as if most all are going to this , my question is are can all or part of these be changed to use DCC ? And if so approxiamately what will be the expense per engines ? Thank you .
Mr. Bob Hays
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Posted by Anonymous on Monday, November 3, 2003 9:35 PM
Mr Hays,

DCC Decoders are on average, $20-30 each, but you can find a few cheaper, but it's more about what you want from them.

Try this to better narrow your search for decoders: http://www.ttx-dcc.com/productcompare/decoder_comparison.htm
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Posted by Anonymous on Monday, November 10, 2003 7:17 PM
YES - start with DCC, you won't be disappointed.
With most locomotives decoder installation is a breeze - it's getting teh loco apart that's the tough bit!

Try a web site like Loystoys.com - he supplies Digitrax. This is the system that I've been using on a simple 4 x 8 oval with a few sidings for a year or so. I have all teh switches controlled through the DCC, and can run two locos together or separate as I see fit. DOn't start with DC - it's just going to frustrate you in the long run.

PJH
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Posted by dehusman on Monday, November 10, 2003 7:44 PM
The 70 tonners might need N scale decoders just because of the room available in the engines. the Athearn engines will need about 20-30 min each of rewiring to install the decoder, but its not very hard at all. The LLP2k engines should have plug and play decoders available.

Dave H.

Dave H. Painted side goes up. My website : wnbranch.com

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Posted by Anonymous on Wednesday, November 12, 2003 2:46 PM
I have a small switching layout and have most of my track laid. Will I have to take it apart to install anything for DCC or am I good to go? I've read up on the different manufacturers of DCC and will buy a Digitrax system. Any web sites with fair prices?
Thanks,
Tim
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Posted by Anonymous on Wednesday, November 12, 2003 9:48 PM
Tim:

You will probably not have to do anything to your layout to use DCC. One that works with DC will almost always run fine with DCC. The major differences between DC and DCC is that DC wiring needs to supply power to only one train per layout section since DC can only control one train at a time. With DCC full track power is always on and many trains can run at once. This means your feeder wiring needs to be able to supply enough power to run all the trains you will be running at once.

There is a lot of confusion about DCC and blocking. DCC does not require bolcking for simple multiple train control while DC does. DCC CAN use any blocking you may have and there are cases where you want blocking with DCC. A reverse loop being just one example.

There are two web sites I use and know them both. Loy Spurlok runs Loy's Toys. He is a Digatrax dealer and actually uses or tests everything he sells. There is a lot of good information on his web site. The URL is http://www.loystoys.com/. Another site I trust is Tony's Train Exchance, TTX.. There is some good information there as well. The link is http://www.ttx-dcc.com/.

I am a Digitrax user as well and I think you made a good choice. The NMRA and the industry has come a long way to make DCC products from many manufacturers inter-operate. For the most part they now do. What sold me on Digitrax in 1995 was LocoNet. I use a computer to program decoders and run some functions on the layout. It's the best system on the market for my needs.

Ken
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Posted by Anonymous on Wednesday, November 12, 2003 10:15 PM
The hobby is moving more and more towards DCC; it now has the critical momentum it needs to survive and grow. In reality it is growing rapidly. If you don't go DCC now, you will in the future, and then wonder what you'll do with those DC power packs selectors, controllers, toggle switches, etc you bought and no longer need. So save yourself some money, get educated in the technology, and enjoy the hobby.
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Posted by JoeUmp on Friday, November 14, 2003 2:48 AM
Randy,

If your layout is only going to be a 4x8 with only one loco running at a time then try this option: Wire up for DCC but use a DC power supply util you get the DCC system. Just put in a good DPDT switch so that you can switch between the two systems if you need to test you equipment before adding the decoder.

That's what I'm planning on doing.

JoeUmp
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Posted by tomytuna on Friday, November 14, 2003 3:16 AM
OK,here goes..1st, I am not a computer savy guy, and i switched to DCC after I set up my old set. Bought a DCC set up that was NOT user friendly and was frustratrated and pissed that I spent all this money and could not Program. So I brought that system back to dealer and exchanged for the MRC system. Well, let me tell ya...that system is all it says it is!!.....If I can do it anyone can....the MRC system is USER FRIENDLY...not complicated and you can go back to having fun running your set up...good luck and have fun..... Tom
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Posted by Anonymous on Friday, November 14, 2003 11:06 AM
I'm restarting after 25 years off - and am going DCC. I remember lots of wiring (that as a kid I did enjoy), and that was for a dinky little 4X6 HO that rolled under my bed. I had some surplus telephone cable and used just about every color to keep straight my 8 blocks, 2 cabs, and six switch machines. It had wires running everywhere. Running two locomotives at once meant constantly switching the blocks. Now I'm restarting with a 4X8 N scale, and DCC.

DCC pluses - I just needed one loop of wire under the layout for the main "buss" - I'm using 18 guage speaker wire (red & black). I made a bunch of six inch long 24 guage wires and soldered them to the underside of rail connectors, half are red and half are black, drilled holes to drop them through, and connected them to the buss. Instead of a maze of wires to a control panel full of switches requiring constant attention, I just have the speaker wire and the DCC box. Simple!

I'm already planning for expanding the layout - I'll just need to extend the buss.

For switches, I glue a simple slide switch directly underneath, run short red and black 24 guage wires from the nearby buss, and a green wire from the center connector of the switch to the frog. A mechanical linkage allows me to control the switches from the edge of the layout - several designs for these linkages have appeared in the last couple years of Model Railroader.
DCC minuses - The contoller cost ~$100 more than a simple DC setup (I'm using the Atlas DCC, cheap and simple). Each locomotive will cost ~$20 more. If I start using electric switch machines, I'll either have to wire them the old way or buy DCC controllers for them (Anyone have advice on the best ones?). If I add a reversing loop, I'll need to get a DCC reversing unit (~$50).

Brent

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