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

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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 *************

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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

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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.

Long term use, by myself and thousands of others.

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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?

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.

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 *************

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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

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.

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

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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.

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.

<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 *************

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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. 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

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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.

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Jon Miller wrote:

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. :-)

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.

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

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Wolf Kirchmeir wrote:

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.

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.

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.

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

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.

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

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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.

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

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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.

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mark_newton wrote:

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

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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...

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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...

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mark_newton wrote:

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

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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.

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