DCC recommendation ?

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If you've read some of my other posts, you'll note that I am getting
ready to make the DCC plunge.   I have done lots of research, including
Tony's, the Dec Model Railroader and more, and am down to a choice of
two systems:  the Digitrax Super Chief Radio or the NCE Power Pro R.  
Both seems to have their pros and cons.  The Digitrax is older but more
established.  It doesn't appear to be NMRA compliant and doesn't allow
software upgrades.  The NCE system has a thumbwheel, instead of a knob,
and shorter battery life for the throttles.  

Can anyone share any other real world experience on either system before
I take the plunge ?

Jeff

Re: DCC recommendation ?

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    Well, I think Digitrax is older (it's been around longer), but I don't
know if the Chief is any older than the NCE system.  Digitrax introduced the
Challenger set (long gone...and the Zephyr is a lot better) in the early
90's, then the Big Boy (replaced by the Empire Builder), then the Chief in
the late 1990's.  NCE has been around since at least the mid-1990's, IIRC.
    As far as Digitrax being more established, I think that may be true, at
least in North America and Japan.  Lenz is big in Europe...NCE does however
have a strong presence on the market.
    Don't worry about Digitrax and the NMRA compliant sticker.  It's not
that Digitrax systems aren't compatible (they are), it's that they have not
submitted their products to the NMRA for testing (except for the DB150
booster, which does have the NMRA C&I warrant).  All NMRA decoders work on
Digitrax systems.  And also remember this: Bachmann Spectrum locos all have
C&I warrants, and Kato does not.
    And Digitrax does have the ability to have it's software upgraded, they
just haven't done so in years.  Mainly because of the system architecture of
being a network vs. a bus.  For example, when Digitrax introduced the DT400
throttle, it had the ability to access functions F9 to F12 (no software
upgrades needed).  When NCE got around to supporting F9 to F12, it had to
release a software upgrade.
    Finally, don't forget that the Digitrax DT400 throttle is actually two
throttles in one.

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









Re: DCC recommendation ?
In addition to the DT400 advantage of 2 throttles in one, as Paul
mentioned, it doesn't feel like having a club in your hand.

I used to operate on a layout that used an old Wangrow System1 (same
throttles as NCE) and every time I picked up one of those big ol'
dogbones I started looking for nails to hammer in...

Stevert

Re: DCC recommendation ?

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As I understand it, the testing process took too long (delaying release
of products...even more) and there was no perceived benefit.

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Long term use, by myself and thousands of others.

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Re: DCC recommendation ?

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NMRA

    IMHO, it's because of the close association between Lenz and the NMRA's
DCC Working Group (which I would think would perform the C&I check).  The
head of the Working Group is Stan Ames.  His wife is Debbie Ames, who is the
North American rep for Lenz (Digitrax' biggest rival).  I'm not saying there
is a conflict, because Stan is a stand up guy (he used to be a regular here
at r.m.r), and Debbie is too professional (judging from when I've talked
with her) to let it effect their jobs.  However, there is certainly an
appearance of a conflict of interest, and that may be why AJ Ireland doesn't
rountinely submit new Digitrax products to the NMRA.  Again, just my opinion
(which is worth just as much as any other grouping of text bytes).
    As for how much is the C&I warrant is worth, Athearn, Atlas, Kato,
Overland, and Walthers (IIRC) do not submit their products to the NMRA for a
C&I warrant.  Only Life-Like and Bachmann do of the biggies.  Why is that?

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    The DB150 was the original booster/brain for "Big Boy" DCC set they
released in the early to mid 1990's.  The only thing older was the
"Challenger" set, which used a different booster.  I'm guessing that they
chose not to submit the "Challenger" because it was their first product,
then after their experience with the DB150 and the NMRA, chose not to submit
any further products.  As to why?  Well, I gave my opinion above, and your
guess is as good as mine.

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    Well, I'm using an NCE decoder on my Digitrax Zephyr layout, and at my
club (Digitrax Chief), I've used Lenz, TCS, NCE, QSI, Lok, and Soundtraxx
decoders...and they all work.  The only ones that did not work were the MRC
decoders, but since they are always behind the curve with DCC, that's no
surprise.

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






Re: DCC recommendation ?
Paul

Please let me correct your posting as it is very inaccurate.  Normally I
would let this pass but I think it is time to put this rumor to bed.

   The
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I was indeed very active in the formulation of DCC.  For all practicle
purposes DCC exists because of the dedicated time and energy that I and
several others provided.  I was indeed the chair of the DCC working
group from 1991 to 1193/1994. I chaired the C&I WG from 1994 to 1996 I
have had no leadership position in the WG since 1993 and have no
involvement in C&I testing or deciding what products qualify and which
do not.  I do assist in developing the DCC standards and RPs and do
assist in developing test tools for the NMRA when asked. I also help the
NMRA in a variety of other ways when asked because I believe that the
NMRA is the best vehicle for users to improve the hobby. The current
head of the MDCCWG is Didrik Voss.

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Really.  Why?

I am very aware of conflict of interest and try my best to avoid it.
If you check the minutes of the NMRA Board when I was a member you will
note that I left the room any time DCC was discussed to ovoid even the
apperance of a conflict.

To have a conflict of interest one must have a position of
responsibility that has an influence over the body.  I have absolutely
no position of authority in which a conflict could occur.  My voice is
no more and no less then any other member of the WG which includes all
of the major manufacturers.

I do still believe in C&I in part because a lot of compatibility
problems that users have are a direct result of one or the other product
not following the standards.

The tests are public as well as the standards.  I suggest you run the
tests yourself and judge the outcomes. I suspect you would be surprised
by the results.

It is really a shame that a few prople try to deminish the importance of
this key program that is targeted at supporting the modelers interests.

My hat is off to those that contribute their modeling time to assist us
all be helping maintain compatibility.

Stan Ames








Re: DCC recommendation ?

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Stan,
    Thanks for taking the time.  I did say you were a "stand up guy", and
you've proven it again, thank you.

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    Geez, has it been that long?  LOL  So sweat, Stan, thanks for correcting
me.  Times like this I'm glad you haven't fallen off the (railroad) map.

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<snip>

Stan,
    Please don't take what I said as anything but an opinion based on
out-of-date facts, and we all know what that's worth.  :-)
    But perhaps you, as an NMRA leader of some repute, can shed some
knowledge on us as to why Digitrax (or any other of the major hobby
manufacturers, not just in DCC, for that matter) don't submit models or
products to get the C&I "football".  There's got to be some logical
reason... (and we don't need specific details, just generalities if you get
my drift...).

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







Re: DCC recommendation ?

 > Stan,
 >    Thanks for taking the time.  I did say you were a "stand up guy",
 > and you've proven it again, thank you. Please don't take what I said
 > as anything but an opinion based on
 >out-of-date facts, and we all know what that's worth.   :-)

No problem. Thanks for the complement.

 >  Geez, has it been that long?  LOL  So sweat, Stan, thanks for
 > correcting me.  Times like this I'm glad you haven't fallen off the
 >(railroad) map.

Yes NMRA DCC is now a teen and like all teens is rather dynamic.

 >    But perhaps you, as an NMRA leader of some repute, can shed some
 > knowledge on us as to why Digitrax (or any other of the major hobby
 > manufacturers, not just in DCC, for that matter) don't submit models
 > or products to get the C&I "football".  There's got to be some logical
 > reason... (and we don't need specific details, just generalities if
 >you get my drift...).

Former NMRA leader!  I served my time and now it is time to pursue other
interests like building my railroad.  New blood is always critical to
the success of an organization.

I asked the manufacturers is Seattle this very question and QSI provided
perhaps the most straightforward answer.  "There is no market need at
present to do so."  It costs money to design your products to conform.
Its not the submission process that is costly.  Its the design cost to
build your products so that they can pass all the tests.

There are a wide variety of valid reasons for not submitting products
and the reasons have changed over time. For example, if your products do
not conform and you know it, why bother to submit the products?  Most
DCC manufacturers have the tools and run them during development.  They
then make a marketing decision as to if it is worth the trouble to fix
the problem identified.

That is why we have interchange problems in DCC.  In a perfect world all
would work together to enhance the standards where necessary and build
compatible products.  In practice it is only when someone builds a
component that impacts you that you spend the energy to get it fixed.

Model railroading has changed a great deal in the last few years.  The
DCC industry is in many ways like model railroad manufacturers in the
past in that they design and build their own products.  Most DCC
manufacturers actually use the NMRA tools in their development and know
what the problems are during the testing phase.  Contrast that to the
majority of locomotive and track manufacturers.  Most of the design and
development work is done in a plant in china and the US outfit is more
of a marketing and distribution facility rather then a design facility.
  Here the US operations get a sample product very close to product
release and often way to late to effect any design changes due to a C&I
problem.

Ultimately the NMRA will need to evolve its process and design it more
to aid the development process so the factories can use it in their
development.  Then they need to create a true market force to encourage
the manufacturers to spend a little more time on ensuring interchange.
We all benefit from this and we should all encourage all the
manufacturers to work towards this goal.  I complement those that have
made the efforts to already achieve this.

Everyone benefits when products interchange with no problems.

Stan



Re: DCC recommendation ?
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to aid the development process so the factories can use it in their
development.<
    This is a good idea and maybe what some time and effort should be put
into (DCC decoders for example).
DCC
    I don't think that manufactures would like a 24 to 48 hour test time to
start with.  But then I've never talked with them to see if it matters or
not.  A modern Windows testing program and a board that would fit a modern
computer would be helpful here.  More and more decoders are being
manufactured in China, it's simple economics and competition.  Even those
companies that still manufacture in the US do not have extremely high paided
staff to do this work, so easier and simpler is the ticket.  It might be
good if the NMRA spent some money in these, some of the fasting growing
areas of the hobby.
ROLLING STOCK
    Besides coupler height and wheels what other standards would apply here.
    Most of the rolling stock I have purchased have couple height close to
dead on and wheels sets (in general) are some of the best we've ever seen.
MOTIVE POWER
    Not much different than rolling stock.  Wheels and couplers.



Re: DCC recommendation ?
Jon Miller wrote:
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The NMRA is entirely volunteer organisation. It has no money to spend on
development. The development work on DCC and other standards has always
been done pro bono, by people most of whom have a day job. If you want
NMRA's DCC standards to prevail, do not buy by price, but by conformance
warrant. Tell the seller that if it doesn't have a CW, you're not
interested.

Please note that the NMRA is a _consumer_ organisation. Model
railroading is AFAIK unique in that what standards there are have been
consumer driven, not industry driven.

NMRA does have a paid staff to run the headquarters, but there are
barely enough of those to keep the membership lists current and to (very
slowly) catalogue the Kalmbach Library holdings, which are growing
faster than they can be catalogued. (Wanna spend a couple weeks of you
vacation helping out?)

If you want the NMRA to "spend some money", it's up to you to provide
the money to spend. You could start by becoming a member. :-)

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Actually, coupler height depends on car bolster depth and truck bolster
height, for which NMRA has specified standards, too. Axle lengths for
wheels and truck side-frame spacing, so that any wheels will fit any
truck. These two sets of standards and RPs are ignored by many mfrs,
unfortunately.

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Electrical: isolation of metal couplers from metal frames. Correct
electrical connections so that locos will run in the same direction when
on the ssame track. Isolation of the motor from metal frame when the
engine is equipped with DCC.

And all because back the the late 1930s a few modellers got together,
decided that it was important to have standards so they could run their
stuff on each other's layouts, and formed the NMRA. Model Railroader,
founded by Al Kalmbach in 1934, has always been a strong supporter of
the NMRA, BTW.

You will find all Standards and RPs on the NMRA website, nmra.org. They
are worth studying. Apart from dimensions, they pretty well follow
prototype practice, and for the same reasons: to enable interchange of
equipment.

HTH

Re: DCC recommendation ?
Wolf Kirchmeir wrote:
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Snip

The NMRA conformance scheme is a failure as the vast majority of model
railway products do not use it. This is because many of the standards
and RP's are either unimportant, impractical or plain bad advice.

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The fact is manufacturers  drive the standards that are in common
usage. There are a few exceptions, however other than the DCC standard,
the NMRA has failed to convince the majority to manufacturers and the
European clubs to use their current standards.

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If you use KD couplers (these are not an NMRA standard) then your
coupler height is defined by the manufacturer.  No H0 RTR turnout
manufacturer fully complies with the current NMRA standard. Now if they
used the old NMRA standard Walthers track would probably comply.

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The NMRA axle length is to long for many H0 prototypes. There are good
reasons not to use NMRA standards and RP's.

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Their standards were changed, to the current harder to make yet still
sloppy standards, and numerous incompatible high rail and fine scale
extra standards and RP's. In any case it's all irrelevant if after 72
years most manufacturers still ignore the current NMRA standards.

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Then go to my web site and see why their track and wheel standards are
second best .

--
Terry Flynn


http://angelfire.com/clone/rail/index.html

HO wagon weight and locomotive tractive effort estimates

DC control circuit diagrams

HO scale track standards


Re: DCC recommendation ?

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Consider me uninformed...can you provide some actual examples
of unimportant, impractical and just bad advise that the
NMRA has standardied...or attempted to do so?

I have neither a pro or con position on this and am asking
so as to better understand the overall current situation regarding
NMRA standards.

Cheers and Thanks in advance,
Bill S.



Re: DCC recommendation ?

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It's Terry Flynn... just ignore him.

Re: DCC recommendation ?
Bill Sohl wrote:

 >> The NMRA conformance scheme is a failure as the vast majority of
 >> model railway products do not use it. This is because many of the
 >> standards and RP's are either unimportant, impractical or plain bad
 >>  advice.
 >
 > Consider me uninformed...can you provide some actual examples of
 > unimportant, impractical and just bad advise that the NMRA has
 > standardied...or attempted to do so?
 >
 > I have neither a pro or con position on this and am asking so as to
 > better understand the overall current situation regarding NMRA
 > standards.

You're very unlikely to achieve a better understanding of *anything* by
listening to Flynn. He's had an axe to grind about the NMRA for many
years now.

Cheers,

Mark.


Re: DCC recommendation ?

mark_newton wrote:
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A reply from an Expert who does not use NMRA track standards and has
never scratch  built turnouts.

Terry Flynn


http://angelfire.com/clone/rail/index.html

HO wagon weight and locomotive tractive effort estimates

DC control circuit diagrams

HO scale track and wheel standards

Any scale track standard and wheel spread sheet


Re: DCC recommendation ?
NSWGR wrote:

   > mark_newton wrote:
   >
   >> Bill Sohl wrote:

   >> You're very unlikely to achieve a better understanding of
   >> *anything* by listening to Flynn. He's had an axe to grind about
   >> the NMRA for many years now.

   > A reply from an Expert who does not use NMRA track standards and has
   > never scratch built turnouts.

You're absolutely certain about that?

http://tinyurl.com/cqmya

My module, with handaid track, and scratchbuilt turnouts. All built with
an NMRA gauge.

You're telling lies *yet again*, dickhead.

Awaiting the spin...



Re: DCC recommendation ?
NSWGR wrote:

    > mark_newton wrote:
    >
    >> Bill Sohl wrote:

    >> You're very unlikely to achieve a better understanding of
    >> *anything* by listening to Flynn. He's had an axe to grind about
    >> the NMRA for many years now.

    > A reply from an Expert who does not use NMRA track standards and has
    > never scratch built turnouts.

You're absolutely certain about that?

http://tinyurl.com/cqmya

My module, with handaid track, and scratchbuilt turnouts. All built with
an NMRA gauge.

And while we're at it, pay close attention to the weathering...


Re: DCC recommendation ?

mark_newton wrote:
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How about providing a URL that works expert. Sounds like you have been
shamed into building track and weathering some models to cover up your
lack of hands on  experience on the weathering and turnout
construction. 6 months experience, of course your an expert.

Terry Flynn


http://angelfire.com/clone/rail/index.html

HO wagon weight and locomotive tractive effort estimates

DC control circuit diagrams

HO scale track and wheel standards

Any scale track standard and wheel spread sheet


Re: DCC recommendation ?
NSWGR wrote:

 >>>> You're very unlikely to achieve a better understanding of
 >>>> *anything* by listening to Flynn. He's had an axe to grind
 >>>> about the NMRA for many years now.
 >>
 >>> A reply from an Expert who does not use NMRA track standards and
 >>> has never scratch built turnouts.
 >>
 >> You're absolutely certain about that?
 >>
 >> http://tinyurl.com/cqmya
 >>
 >> My module, with handaid track, and scratchbuilt turnouts. All built
 >> with an NMRA gauge.
 >>
 >> And while we're at it, pay close attention to the weathering...
 >
 > How about providing a URL that works expert.

Nice try, knobjockey, but the URL works fine.

 > Sounds like you have been shamed into building track and weathering
 > some models to cover up your lack of hands on experience on the
 > weathering and turnout construction.

Ah, the sound of spin. If I've built track and weathered models, I
*have* hands-on experience, idiot.

Sounds like you've been shamed, and shown to be a pathological liar,
once again.

 > 6 months experience, of course your an expert.

No, 30 years experience, so yes, I *am* an expert, You want to learn
anything, just ask me.


Re: DCC recommendation ?
Oz, Gossip and Bitching Capital of the SouthWestern World

--
 Steve

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