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dcc choice

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dcc choice
Posted by mechanic on Thursday, August 14, 2008 8:42 AM

I'm considering going dcc on my little 4x8 home layout.

I'm considering Bachmann's ez-command or atlas's master dcc systems.(mainly because of their economical price)

Could someone please point out the pros/cons and major differences between these systems?

My 13 year old daughter likes to run trains with me so adding a throttle would matter to me.

The main factors involved for us would be the ability to run 2 trains at once from different locations.(opposite sides of the layout)

Of these 2 systems, which would you choose and why?

Thanks for your time and input.

Eric

"Friends don't let friends use Bachmann E-Z track switches"
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Posted by jeffrey-wimberly on Thursday, August 14, 2008 9:21 AM
I know nothing of the Atlas system. On the other hand, I use a Bachmann EZ-Command myself. It's good for what it does. It gives you easy control of your DCC equipped locos and accesories (EZ-Track turnouts, etc). You can control your locos direction and speed. You can set the loco address. You can't change cv's, you can't change the function key settings and you can't set speed tables. As for using an additional throttle you can get the EZ-Command walk around companion which has a cord that plugs into the EZ-Command control station, but at $109 it's rather pricey.

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Posted by cacole on Thursday, August 14, 2008 9:45 AM
Both systems are made by Lenz of Germany, but the Atlas system is slightly more capable than the Bachmann.  Your best bet would be to download and read through the instructions for both systems and then decide which is better for your intended use.
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Posted by Phoebe Vet on Thursday, August 14, 2008 10:05 AM

Of those two systems I would choose neither.

Personally, I would choose the Digitrax Zephyr, but there are other good relatively inexpensive systems that others prefer.

I have an EZ Command in a box somewhere.  I bought it to see if I wanted to go DCC.  It was cheap and simple which appealed to me because I had a 3 year old engineer who wanted to run Thomas the Tank Engine from time to time. It was good enough to convince me that was the way to go, but I very quickly learned that it was designed for small children who cannot deal with anything too complicated.  It's great if all you want to do is run one train at a time, turn the headlight off and on and blow the horn/whistle.  I now have a Digitrax Super Chief.  The youngest is now 5 and has no difficulty at all with the UT-4 throttle that I bought for her use.  The 10 year old uses the DT-400 with no problems.  Not that it matters, but they are GRANDchildren... lol.

Dave

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Posted by loathar on Thursday, August 14, 2008 11:28 AM

Since your talking about adding a throttle, I'd look at the Prodigy Express.
http://www.ares-server.com/Ares/Ares.asp?MerchantID=RET01229&Action=Catalog&Type=Product&ID=83347

Extra throttles are around $70. I have a Bach EZ Command and it works fine, but is VERY limited. It can't adjust CV's which is kind of a necessary thing these days. I don't know if they even sell that Atlas system anymore. They don't list it on their web site.

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Posted by simon1966 on Thursday, August 14, 2008 3:24 PM
Perhaps I am wrong, but I thought that the Atlas system was discontinued some years back?

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

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Posted by jeffrey-wimberly on Thursday, August 14, 2008 3:56 PM
It was, before I got into DCC. That's been a couple of years ago now.

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Posted by locoworks on Thursday, August 14, 2008 4:13 PM

 simon1966 wrote:
Perhaps I am wrong, but I thought that the Atlas system was discontinued some years back?

maybe with an atlas badge ( i did like the colours better ) but it is still available as the Lenz Compact which is all it was in the first place.

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Posted by loathar on Thursday, August 14, 2008 5:31 PM
Jeff- The extra EZ controllers are available new on E-Bay for about 1/2 that price.($60) Realistically, you can get an EZ Command and an extra controller for about $130. But you still can't adjust CV's. I've got an MRC sound decoder on the way and I'll be curious to see how it works with the EZ. Quite a few of the sound functions are higher than F9.Sigh [sigh]
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Posted by jfallon on Thursday, August 14, 2008 5:56 PM
 loathar wrote:

Since your talking about adding a throttle, I'd look at the Prodigy Express.
http://www.ares-server.com/Ares/Ares.asp?MerchantID=RET01229&Action=Catalog&Type=Product&ID=83347

Extra throttles are around $70. I have a Bach EZ Command and it works fine, but is VERY limited. It can't adjust CV's which is kind of a necessary thing these days. I don't know if they even sell that Atlas system anymore. They don't list it on their web site.

 I agree with loathar, if you want a system with multiple throttles the Prodigy is a better choice. There are some Prodigy Express setups for under $100 buy-it-now on e-bay, plus you can get the Dispatcher throttles for around $30. The system is upgradeable and very easy to use.

                                                                   John

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Posted by jwils1 on Thursday, August 14, 2008 6:44 PM

The Atlas Commander was discontinued but you can sometimes find one in a hobby shop or on ebay, and in fact I still have one.  But, as good as it was in it's day, it has been rendered obsolete by all the newer systems, i.e., Zephyr, Power Cab, Prodigy Express, etc.  It's far more capable than the Bachmann EZ Command, but I wouldn't recommend either one.  If you want to seriously get into DCC these systems are a waste of money.  The Bachmann unit might be okay if only used by youngsters who just want to have some fun running trains or for those that just can't afford anything more at the present time.   

Jerry

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Posted by galaxy on Sunday, August 17, 2008 3:12 PM

 jeffrey-wimberly wrote:
I know nothing of the Atlas system. On the other hand, I use a Bachmann EZ-Command myself. It's good for what it does. It gives you easy control of your DCC equipped locos and accesories (EZ-Track turnouts, etc). You can control your locos direction and speed. You can set the loco address. You can't change cv's, you can't change the function key settings and you can't set speed tables. As for using an additional throttle you can get the EZ-Command walk around companion which has a cord that plugs into the EZ-Command control station, but at $109 it's rather pricey.

They can be had from wholesaletrains.com for $69.99:  HERE

 

-G .

Just my thoughts, ideas, opinions and experiences. Others may vary.

 HO and N Scale.

After long and careful thought, they have convinced me. I have come to the conclusion that they are right. The aliens did it.

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Posted by barrok on Monday, August 18, 2008 8:38 AM

I just recently converted to DCC for my small layout -- I went with the NCE Powercab.  I chose this system because it is easily upgradebale by adding a power booster and it can do just about everything the full system can do as far as programming (and it has a walk-around throttle).  Being able to change the CV's is very important as one can tweak how the motor responds at different speed ranges and one can play with lighting effects etc...  If you are going to get into DCC, buy something that allows you to explore all of what DCC offers instead of just being able to change an address.  You will quickly outgrow the EZ system and then you will be back in the market looking for a new system which is where you are now.   Just my two cents...

 

Chuck

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Posted by trainlover38 on Monday, August 18, 2008 9:39 PM
I would go with the bachmann system. It's a good set to begin dcc with. Plus, if you want to later, after you've learned the ropes of dcc, you could upgrade to a more sophisticated system.

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Posted by Driline on Tuesday, August 19, 2008 7:55 AM
 Phoebe Vet wrote:

Of those two systems I would choose neither.

I have an EZ Command in a box somewhere.  I bought it to see if I wanted to go DCC.  It was cheap and simple which appealed to me because I had a 3 year old engineer who wanted to run Thomas the Tank Engine from time to time. It was good enough to convince me that was the way to go, but I very quickly learned that it was designed for small children who cannot deal with anything too complicated.  

LOL Big Smile [:D]

Gee, I wonder how many "adult" members here are still using Bachmanns EZ Command ? Har Har

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Posted by jeffrey-wimberly on Tuesday, August 19, 2008 8:01 AM
 Driline wrote:

Gee, I wonder how many "adult" members here are still using Bachmanns EZ Command ? Har Har

Here's one.

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Posted by Driline on Tuesday, August 19, 2008 5:02 PM
 jeffrey-wimberly wrote:
 Driline wrote:

Gee, I wonder how many "adult" members here are still using Bachmanns EZ Command ? Har Har

Here's one.

I knew you had one. I still think his comment was funny.

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Posted by jeffrey-wimberly on Tuesday, August 19, 2008 5:13 PM
 Driline wrote:
 jeffrey-wimberly wrote:
 Driline wrote:

Gee, I wonder how many "adult" members here are still using Bachmanns EZ Command ? Har Har

Here's one.

I knew you had one. I still think his comment was funny.

As a matter of fact I have two of them. I keep one as a spare. If I remember correctly, Loathar has one also and so does Cudaken.

Running Bear, Sundown, Louisiana
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Dr. Frankendiesel aka Scott Running Bear
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Posted by mechanic on Tuesday, August 19, 2008 5:50 PM

Thanks for all the input folks.

I appreciate it.

I'm still undecided on what system to get though.

On the one hand the simplicity of Bachmanns EZ command makes it appealing because of the "almost" no learning curve.

But in the future I may find that too limiting.

Programming CV's is something I would probably end up wanting to do eventually.

If I were to ask the advantages/disadvantages (and differences) of Prodigy express and NCE power cab starter systems,which of these 2 systems would be better?

Oh and incidently the Atlas commander system that I asked about initially was listed at Trainworld lately at $99 but for that outlay I may as well go with Prodigy or NCE?

Again - thanks for the input.

Eric

"Friends don't let friends use Bachmann E-Z track switches"
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Posted by skiloff on Tuesday, August 19, 2008 6:06 PM
I'm shopping for a system, too, and I've decided to go with the Zephyr from Digitrax because its still only $160 from Tony's Trains and it has a good upgrade path if I want to later.  I looked at the NCE as well and would have been fine with it, but one of the reasons I chose the Zephyr is because the clubs around my area all use Digitrax and it would just be simpler if I got involved in them or needed help from them I'd be using the same system.  The thing I didn't like about the Prodigy is the lack of feedback capability, so my choice was between the Zephyr and the NCE.
Kids are great for many reasons. Not the least of which is to buy toys "for them."
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Posted by tstage on Tuesday, August 19, 2008 6:13 PM
 mechanic wrote:
On the one hand the simplicity of Bachmanns EZ command makes it appealing because of the "almost" no learning curve.

But in the future I may find that too limiting.

Erik,

The E-Z Command is a nice system for what it does.  I had one for a year and enjoyed it very much.  Ken (cudaken) now has my old E-Z Command.

If I were to ask the advantages/disadvantages (and differences) of Prodigy express and NCE power cab starter systems,which of these 2 systems would be better?

Oh and incidently the Atlas commander system that I asked about initially was listed at Trainworld lately at $99 but for that outlay I may as well go with Prodigy or NCE?

Again - thanks for the input.

Given the choice between the MRC PE and the NCE Power Cab, I'd go with the Power Cab.  It offers more than the PE and has a better upgrade path.  If you'd like to read a first impression about the Power Cab, go to the following link:

http://cs.trains.com/forums/1/740731/ShowPost.aspx#740731

Unfortunately, the pictures are no longer linked to anywhere so you can't see what the descriptions are referring to.

Anyhow, Erik, hope that helps in some way...

Tom

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Posted by jwils1 on Thursday, August 21, 2008 11:08 PM

To accomplish what you want to do, two operators on opposite sides of the table, you will need a basic system plus an extra throttle, including a plug-in panel for the extra throttle.

You could do this with Power Cab for around $230.  This gives you a 1.7 amp (some call it 2.0 amps) system that's very easy to use.

Considering MRC PE (1.6 amps), you could do it for about the same amount of money using a Prodigy Advance throttle as your second cab.  By using this second cab it would give you a lot of extra features that the basic Express doesn't include.

With either of the above you can upgrade to more power.  With the Power Cab upgraded to 3.0 amps your total cost would be around $330.

But, you may want to start out with an MRC Prodigy Advance Squared system.  This is a full featured 3.5 amp system that is as easy, or easier, to use than Power Cab.  This would cost around $285.  This system would give you all you may ever need for a home system.  You would probably never need to upgrade unless you would want to go wireless.

The above prices are approximate and are based on John's Hobbies and/or Micro-Mark.

Jerry

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Posted by bnonut on Friday, August 22, 2008 5:47 AM

My first dab in DCC started wit a MRC Command 2000.

A friend of mine uses NCE wireless. Model Railroader mag had a DCC article and NCE edged Digitrax by a small margin.

I now use the NCE PowerCab starter. I have a couple Broadway sound switchers and a few diesels and steam and really like the way the NCE runs.

You get more bang for the buck!

Sincerely, Mark

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Posted by Wile E. Coyote on Tuesday, August 26, 2008 5:19 AM

Hi, all.

I'm newbie hare and I'm also coping with DCC decisions. I'm going to start constructing the new house with the basementApprove [^] in the spring and am already thinking of the new layout. I believe I will have 5-7 trains running at the same time max. The layout room is supposed to be approx 30-40 square meters. I will run European trains, but this means some EMD G16, GT26, GT26- CW and other export units, cause ex Yugoslavia was full of them.

I have decided to go DCC right from the start. All I know about the DCC is what I have been reading in Model Railroader magazine. Something I have learned, something is still in a mist...

US DCC systems are not available here, except the Lenz, but I was thinking MRC Prodigy Advance or CVP Easy DCC?

What say you?

Beep, Beep
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Posted by tstage on Tuesday, August 26, 2008 6:03 AM

Wiley,

First off, Sign - Welcome [#welcome] to the forum!  Good to have you aboard! Smile [:)]

Secondly, here's a good link that you might find helpful on the topic of DCC:

DCC For Beginners

You can either read it online or download it onto your computer as a .pdf file.

Lastly, I would encourage to start your own thread on the specific questions that you've asked so as not to hijack this thread.

Hope that helps...

Tom

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Posted by simon1966 on Tuesday, August 26, 2008 6:08 AM

Hi Wile,

My advice would be to go for a system with local support.  The last thing you need will be to get stuck needing repairs and the need to ship back to the US.

I live in the coal mining region of central Illinois and there was a huge Croatian immigrant population to this area.  My wife's grandfather came from near Karlovatc.  This weekend in the small town of Benld Illinois there is a Croatian festival complete with spit roast lamb and Tamburitza!  There will be many pivo drunk I assure you!

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

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Posted by Wile E. Coyote on Tuesday, August 26, 2008 6:29 AM
 tstage wrote:

 

Lastly, I would encourage to start your own thread on the specific questions that you've asked so as not to hijack this thread.

Tom

  I didn't mean to hijack anyone's thread, I just read the DCC Choice topic and went on. mechanic, sorry

Bye.

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Posted by tstage on Tuesday, August 26, 2008 6:35 AM

Wiley,

Hey, no harm done.  Only wanted to mention it.

Tom

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Posted by fwright on Tuesday, August 26, 2008 12:24 PM
 Wile E. Coyote wrote:

Hi, all.

I'm newbie hare and I'm also coping with DCC decisions. I'm going to start constructing the new house with the basementApprove [^] in the spring and am already thinking of the new layout. I believe I will have 5-7 trains running at the same time max. The layout room is supposed to be approx 30-40 square meters. I will run European trains, but this means some EMD G16, GT26, GT26- CW and other export units, cause ex Yugoslavia was full of them.

I have decided to go DCC right from the start. All I know about the DCC is what I have been reading in Model Railroader magazine. Something I have learned, something is still in a mist...

US DCC systems are not available here, except the Lenz, but I was thinking MRC Prodigy Advance or CVP Easy DCC?

What say you?

Many US systems are not set up to handle anything other than US power specs - 120 Volts, 60 Hz.  Europe typically uses 240 volts, 50 Hz.  While most electronics is easily configured to operate on the other voltage, line frequency independence is not common for signal generating components unless specifically designed with that in mind.

Bottom line:  US DCC systems may or may not operate on European spec power.  Check specs before buying.

Fred W

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Posted by M&PWJOHN on Thursday, August 28, 2008 11:23 AM
The NCE Powercab is my choice.  The easy programing and use  set it apart from the rest.  It is much easier to use than Digitrax for me.  I've seen the for about $150.00 at Litchfield Station.  Call Bruce, and he will really explain it for you.   They ship really fast.

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