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Do we really need 28 functions???

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Do we really need 28 functions???
Posted by Kutter on Tuesday, February 19, 2008 8:39 AM

Hi everyone.  Here's the long aged question again.  Which system to use???  MRC or Digitrax???

MRC has the 28 functions, but I don't know if I would use all those.  On the other side of things.  The club I'm in uses Digitrax.  So if I have any problems there is always someone to ask.  Besides asking here of course.  So,  I like the sound of the MRC product but I don't know what all the 28 functions are for??? Could anyone help to fill me in on all those functions.  This might help make up my mind as to which way I would like to go.

Thanks Kutter

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Posted by tstage on Tuesday, February 19, 2008 9:01 AM

Kutter,

I agree with David.  When I run sound on my layout, bell (F1), horn (F2), and mute (F8) are the main ones that I use on a consistent basis.  Doppler (F6) is kinda cool every once in a while.  Beyond the first 8 or 9 sound functions, I doubt I'll either use them or even remember them.

If your club is using Digitrax and you like it or are used to it, it makes sense to go with Digitrax.  They make a very good and reliable product that has some real pluses.  NCE makes a very nice product, too.  I use the Power Cab and enjoy it very much.  It has 28-functions like the MRC Prodigy Advance.

Tom

https://tstage9.wixsite.com/nyc-modeling

Time...It marches on...without ever turning around to see if anyone is even keeping in step.

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Posted by CSX Robert on Tuesday, February 19, 2008 9:12 AM
Do we really need 28 functions??? In short, no. Here is a more thorough discussion on the topic:http://www.trains.com/trccs/forums/1341886/ShowPost.aspx
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Posted by Anonymous on Tuesday, February 19, 2008 10:59 AM

28 functions = gimmick.

In fact I first learned of it through a MTH offering and I was thinking neat! Then I learned you need THIER control system (More bucks please) to use it all.

Later I realized I just do Bell, Whistle, Cooling/dynamics, air and that is it.

Digitrax will release 28 functions in due time and it is not a pressing problem.

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Posted by selector on Tuesday, February 19, 2008 12:46 PM

The consensus over time has been that functions higher than about 8 are mostly forgotten and hardly ever used unless extremely bored.  If a person is running sound decoders, there is often so much other ambient noise from nearby engines that adding the more esoteric ones from the higher "register" just adds to the din and doesn't add much to the gee-whizz factor.

Now, if we could have a function controlling coupling and decoupling, that would be something.  I'd be all over that faster'n you can correct an incorrectly lined turnout.

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Posted by tstage on Tuesday, February 19, 2008 2:10 PM

 selector wrote:
Now, if we could have a function controlling coupling and decoupling, that would be something.  I'd be all over that faster'n you can correct an incorrectly lined turnout.

Crandell,

I'm assuming that you are referring to actual mechanical coupling and uncoupling?  There was an article in MR a few years ago about just that very thing.  If I remember correctly, it wasn't as practical (or inexpensive) to incorporate.  Would be pretty cool though

Tom

 

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Posted by Kutter on Tuesday, February 19, 2008 3:07 PM

That's a great help guys thanks again.  I was on the fence about which unit to get.  MRC- 28 functions (which I thought I'd never use anyway). Or Digitrax which I know a bit from the club.  So I think my mind is made up with Digitrax.  Thanks for all the help again.

KutterSmile,Wink, & Grin [swg]

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Posted by selector on Tuesday, February 19, 2008 4:09 PM

Hi, Tom.  Yes, I meant the mechanical, including an onboard decoder of some kind and the right kind of couplers.  I appreciate what it would mean, and how expensive it would be.  I was just saying that for me, the only other function I could use would be something that I could activate from my pad that actually coupled or decoupled cars....well, just decoupled, I guess.  It would be one less reach, per occasion, into the scenery, and one less potential derailment when I get too frisky with the skewer and knock the car(s) off the rails.  This has never happened to me, by the way...never once knocked a car off the rails using the skewer a little too aggessively.  I hear it happens to other people, though. Shy [8)]

-Crandell

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Posted by jbinkley60 on Tuesday, February 19, 2008 7:55 PM
 davidmbedard wrote:

28 functions is a gimik.  Who can rememer 28 different functions?  I personally only use the first 5.

 Sign - Ditto [#ditto]  I use about 6 of them and that is plenty.

 

Engineer Jeff NS Nut
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Posted by Paul3 on Tuesday, February 19, 2008 11:25 PM

Do we "need" 28 functions?  Well, we really don't "need" any at all to run trains...just speed and direction.  Smile [:)]  It all depends on what you want to accomplish.

Sound locos are the obvious choice for more functions, with steam being even more so than diesels.  I have a BLI I-5 with QSI sound that I run with my DT400R F0-F12 throttle, and these are the functions I use nornally:

F0: Headlight
F1: Bell
F2: Whistle
F3: Coupler
F6: Doppler or Start Up
F7: Flange Squeal or Air Brakes
F8: Mute
F9: Shut Down
F10: Decoder addy. & Status or Scale MPH

I can appreciate the other sound effects out there from other companies.  I think it's the Tsunami's that have a water fill.  I think it would also be neat to have coal & sand fill, too.  Even the MRC's "Boooard!" sound is okay for passenger trains (silly on freight engines, however).  Cab lights are another possibility, as well as firebox sound effects (Fireman Fred).  I think it would also be neat to be able to play with the reverser (Johnson Bar) to get that "working" sound of steam. 

Can anybody else think of any more to add?  Even with all of the above, it's still only 15 functions or so.

Paul A. Cutler III
************
Weather Or No Go New Haven
************

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Posted by tetonjack on Wednesday, February 20, 2008 3:36 PM

It's all a question of what you need and/or what you want. It is always nice to have possiblities and not use them, than not having a choice. Please correct me if I am wrong, but doesn't MRC not display the higher functions? I thought I read this in a product review.

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Posted by Bapou on Wednesday, February 20, 2008 4:17 PM
Well, I would go Digitrax, even though I like the NCE better. But don't get the MRC unless you realy want it, and whatever you do, do not get the progidy express!
Go NJT, NJ Transit, New Jersey Transit. Whatever you call it its good. See my pictures and videos here: http://s239.photobucket.com/albums/ff20/Bapouthetrainman/
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Posted by steamfreightboy on Sunday, March 2, 2008 6:36 PM

I have NCE and have programed the option for functions 10-28. All the func. I know are below.

0=headlight

1=bell

2=horn1

4=horn2

7=brake sound

8=mute

9=voicesDunce [D)]

It goes up to 15 on my Lokosound decoder.Smile,Wink, & Grin [swg]

"It's your layout, only you have to like it." Lin's Junction
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Posted by maxman on Sunday, March 2, 2008 7:58 PM

Re: which DCC system to get......if you have not purchased one yet, my advice to you is to investigate several systems to see what each offers.  You should try them out, and see if they'll do what you would think you want them to do, and in a manner that makes sense to you.

I've read several times that if the folks in your immediate area use one certain system, it probably makes sense to get the same system because you can get help when you need it.  I think I've come to the conclusion that this bit of advice may be overrated.  If you have a simple railroad, basically all the systems are the same...connect two wires to the track and plug it in.  A lot of the other stuff is also the same as regards power districts, decoders, etc.  And if you have a problem, I believe that all the major manufacturers have a number to call to help you out.

And when you're out there trying out the different systems, if you run into a guy that tells you his system is the only great system, run the other way.  Each system may have some particular thing that makes you ultimately unhappy.

As an example, there is a group around here that believes that the system they use is the greatest thing since sliced bread.  They would be more than willing to regale you with its advantages.  I personally think that they are whistling loudly just to convince themselves.  My issue with the system they use is that it is not intuitive.  I think that there are so many of them because they need to get together to figure it out.  I use a competitor's system because it makes sense to me.

Remember, you probably would not buy a pair of uncomfortable shoes just because everyone else thinks that the shoes are pretty!

jjr
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Posted by jjr on Monday, March 3, 2008 6:49 PM

Maybe someone with more experience with DCC than I can answer this; I'm asking myself why most of the functions 1-28 have to deal with sound or lights? Could perhaps some of them be "programed" to program a CV? For example: F-24 = increase sound level 10%. F-25 = decrease sound level 10%. F-26 = increase momentum 10%, etc. For each button push you would get the change. I agree, you don't need 28 functions for a bunch of different sounds you can't remember, but I would find some other uses as mentioned above useful.

Jim North Central Ohio
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Posted by CSX Robert on Monday, March 3, 2008 7:47 PM
With the Athearn Challenger, several of the functions are for adjusting the volume and the type of some of the sounds. I think this is actually a much better use of some of the higher function keys. It certainly is easier than program CV's over and over to adjust the sounds.
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Posted by jfugate on Tuesday, March 11, 2008 2:28 PM

It's easy to illustrate that 28 functions are a gimick and will be impossible to remember.

There are 26 letters in the alphabet ... quick now, without counting on your fingers and toes, which letter is the 17th one?

That's not unlike trying to remember what function 17 does if you had 28 functions. It's impossible unless you have a photographic memory.

Can you remember the number position of all 26 letters in the alphabet and recall it instantly? At least with the alphabet, we've memorized the sequence. The problem will be even worse with 28 functions ... you don't have the function sequence already commited to memory like you do the alphabet, so you'll never remember those 28 functions, much less really use them. 

Ordinary people will use 6-8 functions in real life and maybe remember them. But 28 functions is nothing but pure marketing hype and hopelessly impractical. Smile,Wink, & Grin [swg] 

Joe Fugate Modeling the 1980s SP Siskiyou Line in southern Oregon

jjr
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Posted by jjr on Tuesday, March 11, 2008 5:48 PM

I agree, having a controller able to access 28 functions is a waste if most decoders don't have 28 functions or have a large number of them that are just "window dressing". However, I might remember some of them, or at least keep a list handy if some of them were really usefull. As I mentioned in a previous post, if you could change some of the operating characteristics of the loco that currently require programing CVs, more functions may be usefull. Isn't that really what you do when you use Decoder Pro, a few mouse clicks to change numerous CVs ? Would be nice to  change the more common ones from the controller instead of the program track. Is it possible to make a decoder that will do this?

Jim

Jim North Central Ohio
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Posted by locoworks on Tuesday, March 11, 2008 5:57 PM
i think you would soon remember what functions did what if ALL manufacturers standardised on what does what. i say this because i have had 2 different bachmann sound fitted loco's and they can't even use the same functions for the same actions/sounds between their own loco's!!!  on the 1-12 functions a little logo on the button. i think the digitrax DT400 has a lamp, whistle and coupler logo by the relevant function buttons, but like i said ALL manufacturers would need to standardise like F0 for lights.

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