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Choosing a DCC system

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  • Member since
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  • From: Manitou, Okla
  • 1,630 posts
Choosing a DCC system
Posted by mikesmowers on Wednesday, October 1, 2008 5:58 PM

  I know this has probley been ask a hundred or so times, but....

   I have finally got the funds to get my first Dcc system and would like your thoughts on what I will need. Here is the scoop..I am building an N scale and will have a single track along the outside of the table and another track on the inside of the outside tracks (running parallel (SP) in places).  On the inside tracks will be 2 reverse loops and several sidings and industries. I will have a total of about 150 ft. of track and would like to be able to run 3 trains at the same time. 

   I have been studing on the subject some and am leaning toward the Digitrax   What can you recemond before I spend $$$ on something of this importance

  Thank you, if you have any questions. please ask. I will probley order a couple of DCC equiped locos at the same time.

    Another quick question.. A DC loco will run on DCC, will it not?

                                                                           Mike

Modeling Trains Is Not A Matter Of Life Or Death, It Is Much More Important Than That!!
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  • From: Northeast OH
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Posted by NeO6874 on Wednesday, October 1, 2008 6:35 PM

I'd say go to the LHS to "play" with the various systems if at all possible...

As for brand - can't help you much there... still running strong with DCWink [;)]

A DC loco will run on DCC only on a few mfg systems - if you get a Zephyr (or maybe any of the Digitrax systems) I know you hace run a DC loco on address 00... however if you go with NCE Powercab you cannot...   so if that is a need for now, you'll have to research that...

 

tonys trains and Litchfield Station are good resources for DCC system comparisons...

 

tstage did a review of the NCE Powercab a while back... unfortunately railimages moved so the pics are currently broken.. but you shuold get the general idea of things without them...

-Dan

Builder of Bowser steam! Railimages Site

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  • From: Orig: Tyler Texas. Lived in seven countries, now live in Sundown, Louisiana
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Posted by jeffrey-wimberly on Wednesday, October 1, 2008 6:58 PM
I'll be watching tyhis thread. I'm looking to upgrade myself. Right now I'm looking at the Digitrax Zephyr and the MRC Prodigy Express.

Running Bear, Sundown, Louisiana
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Posted by jrbernier on Wednesday, October 1, 2008 7:07 PM

Mike,

  You can get by with some of the full feature 'starter sets' available.  What is going to be the 'drop dead' feature will be the throttles.  If you can get to a club or LHS and 'try out' various throttles, it will help you make a decision.  Also, what systems are local clubs using?  The club I belong to uses a large Digitrax system, and at least 3 of us use Digitrax DCC systems.  For me, this is  the features that are important:

  • Throttles
  • Expandability
  • Computer Interface(do not blow this one off)

You are going to buy additional throttles, and the 'feel' is important.  You need to be aware if the throttle has a 'wireless' upgrade feature.  Having 3 operators run trains will need 3 throttles at some point.

  Is your system expandable?  Can you add the computer interface, or wireless throttles, or even a larger booster? 

  That last one is a real show stopper for me.  Being able to use 'Decoder Pro' and programming the decoders from my PC takes all of the work out of setting up locomotives.  The software is 'free', and being able to use it with my DCC system is great.

Jim Bernier

 

Modeling BNSF  and Milwaukee Road in SW Wisconsin

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Posted by Texas Zepher on Wednesday, October 1, 2008 8:19 PM
 mikesmowers wrote:
I will have a total of about 150 ft. of track and would like to be able to run 3 trains at the same time.
Capacity-wise any of the systems will handle this scenario just fine.  Make your decision based on features you like.   I would recommend a separate throttle for each train (3 throttles).   I hate punching back and forth between two things when trying to operate.  That is just as bad as the old DC toggle switches for controlling multiple trains.

Another quick question.. A DC loco will run on DCC, will it not?
No, only some of the DC systems have a "channel zero" for operating DC locomotives.  Even if a DCC system has this function, I don't recommend using it.  Check out some old threads with Jeff Wimberly who did some experiments to see how long a DC motor would last before melting down with DCC applied to it.  To spoil the story, they didn't last long.

  • Member since
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Posted by jalajoie on Wednesday, October 1, 2008 9:44 PM

 jeffrey-wimberly wrote:
I'll be watching tyhis thread. I'm looking to upgrade myself. Right now I'm looking at the Digitrax Zephyr and the MRC Prodigy Express.

Jeffrey take a look at this thread: okay..., i'm letting the but bite me but I have some questions about DCC which is going on in the Electronics and Dcc forum.

Jack W.

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Posted by markpierce on Wednesday, October 1, 2008 9:59 PM

Model Railroader magazine has an article in November 2008 issue on "A buyer's guide to DCC systems."

Mark

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Posted by mikesmowers on Saturday, October 4, 2008 8:10 AM

   Thanks for the help. I did order a Digitrax DCC system and 3 DCC equiped Atlas Locos yesterday, I hope I am smart enough to figure it out.

 There is no club or LHS around here, the nearest one is in OKC and I am not sure if he has a DCC layout. I have only been there once. Thanks again, I will be back with more questions when I get them in (About 10 days).     Mike

Modeling Trains Is Not A Matter Of Life Or Death, It Is Much More Important Than That!!
  • Member since
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  • From: Orig: Tyler Texas. Lived in seven countries, now live in Sundown, Louisiana
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Posted by jeffrey-wimberly on Saturday, October 4, 2008 2:09 PM
I ordered my Digitrax Zephyr DCS50 yesterday along with 8 DZ125 decoders. It'll be here Monday.

Running Bear, Sundown, Louisiana
          Joined June, 2004

Dr. Frankendiesel aka Scott Running Bear
Space Mouse for president!
15 year veteran fire fighter
Collector of Apple //e's
Running Bear Enterprises
History Channel Club life member.
beatus homo qui invenit sapientiam


  • Member since
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  • From: Metro East St. Louis
  • 5,743 posts
Posted by simon1966 on Saturday, October 4, 2008 3:34 PM
Good for you guys, I hope you get as much enjoyment out of your new systems as I have my Digitrax system.  Lots of help available here if you have any questions.  I would also recommend joining the Digitrax Yahoo group.

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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