DCC - why not?

For those of you not using a DCC system on your layout... why not?
Is it because your layout is already operating fine with conventional power;
the cost of converting; the effort to convert your existing locos; your club
has decided not to use DCC; etc.?
Do you think DCC is in you future? ... already planning to do a conversion
in the future; maybe you will convert if the price is right; you might do it
if the time is available; don't want to mess with a system that's already
working; etc.?
The recent thread on MTH's entry into HO scale with a non-DCC system has me
wondering how saturated the DCC market has become. Has everyone who would
have been likely convert to DCC already made the change? Are there many
more modelers out there waiting for the right time to make the switch?
I'd like to see opinions from the non DCC modelers/operators.
Mark Mathu
The Green Bay Route:
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"I started out with nothing and I still have most of it."
Reply to
Mark Mathu
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An interesting questions. Here are some of my random thoughts.
* The four digit numbering system for locos isn't a good fit for the loco rosters on many foreign railways, and there isn't always a logical/simple translation (some European systems are working around this already) * A large slice of our layout operation is at exhibitions, and adding DCC makes this sort of operation more complex and more work each time a train is changed. (with DC its change the points, set speed direction and you're off. With DCC it's the above plus drop the current train, select the next train. Not something I can literally do with my hands behind my back) * Lack of a DCC retailer within 500km of here (except the Bachmann system . . .) * Lack of a suitable handset for some roles in certain systems * Lack of licensing to use the radio capability of certain systems * I'd be lying if I didn't say price was an issue. Not so much the base units but the outlay to equip the whole fleet over the first few months, and the desire to use not the base level decoders (or are these OK??)
Having said that, all new layout work for the last 5 years has been done to allow easy conversion to DCC when the time comes. I've done a lot of thinking and planning, and came close to handing over the Visa card last month (except the shop only had 5 suitable decoders on the shelf when I wanted 20 straight up!). May consider it before March next year, but that will be more on the basis of doing it while I can afford it rather than because I see any major benefit in the immediate term. I suspect I'll be the first in the local group to go, and that the others will follow within the next 12-18 months with the same system, so I'm choosing for them too in many ways.
I see this is the way to go, and for many layouts/groups will make life easier. On the other hand, its not the solution for everybody and they shouldn't be "punished" (in whatever way) for their modeling choices
Regards, Stuart Dix Hobart, Tasmania, Australia
Reply to
Stuart D.
when decoders cost at most $3 per loco
if it's not broken, don't fix it
Reply to
Eddie Oliver
I don't use DCC but right now as I don't have room for a layout so I tend to build railroad models like scale modelers do. I build them and box them.
Also I'm in the process of changing eras. So I'm getting rid of a bunch of modern diesels. It doesn't make sense to put decoders into them either time or moneywise.
I think DCC is the way of the future. I think MTH system unless in so utterly superior to DCC will go the way of the myriad of command control systems of the 1980s that had no interchangeabilty.
Does the DCS system use decoders?
Have you seen aristocraft's ho radio control system?{40C45C85-FDEC-44D2EVEREST-9B3F-0E32D65336B0}&ic=CRE55000&eq=&Tp={40C45C85-FDEC-44D2EVEREST-9B3F-0E32D65336B0}&ic=CRE55001&eq=&Tp= Eric
Reply to
>Has everyone who would have been likely convert to DCC already made the >change? Are there many more modelers out there waiting for the right time >to make the switch?
Reply to
Jon Miller
Yup, I can see the trouble with reducing something like 141R.72001 to a four digit code. "Fhat? Ze Americain systeme electronique das naht fit ze Gallique systeme tres logique? By ze holy zacraments!" (Heh heh. SNCF froods will note intentional irony in the class no.)
I don't have an operating layout now (sigh) as I have been hard at work fixing up an old house, but when I do I won't use DCC. I have a philosophical dislike of complexity and layers of separation between operator and equipment. Yes, I can already hear you saying 'But isn't the multitude of block switches a worse layer of separation? With DCC you just pick it up and go." Well, call me a techno-Luddite then. I have other reasons.
First, I like smaller locos, and it's hard enough to fit the motor in a HO early 4-4-0. Second, in the interests of economy and more Luddism I model a small shortline, so I don't have many engines or many trains to run simultaneously. Finally, DCC introduces problems of electrical contact and short avoidance (through flawed and non-robust engineering, IMHO) that are less of a problem using straight track power. I just can't justify the expense for my purposes.
Cordially yours: Gerard P.
Reply to
It will probably be in my future but I tend to be somewhat of a late adaptor. I wanted to let things shake out before I started to go in that direction. Many people bought superior Beta-max video recorders to see them become useless ans teh marketplace decided the VHS standard.
My lack of electronics knowledge is also somewhat of an issue. Don't know a thing about installing decoders but think that as more & more locomotives come out with either plugs or decoders in them, this will be less of a problem.
Reply to
Dan Merkel
I have over 200 n-scale engines, most of which are not designed for a decoder. And my layout works just fine the way it is.
Reply to
Ken Rice
I am in the design stages of a small home HO around the walls layout. I am undecided about DCC. DCC allows any number of engineers to operate any number of trains all at once. For a lone operator, it offers less advantage. My current thinking is to build the layout, get it running on DC, and if and when I have operating sessions with lots of operators, then go out and buy DCC. For the time being, I am thinking about running two throttle buses, allowing dual cab control. If I could find a batch of electrical switches offering more than double throw operation, I would run more throttle buses and allow more cabs.
David Starr
Reply to
David Starr
about running two throttle buses, allowing dual cab control. If I could find a batch of electrical switches offering more than double throw operation, I would run more throttle buses and allow more cabs.<
By the time you do this you have paid for a DCC system!
Reply to
Jon Miller
My reason is $$$, pure and simple. I had a system but it went belly up. I'm going to buy a different one but just don't have the free $$. I don't want an entry system because I've used some advanced features and I want a specific brand. So I have to wait until I have the bucks to spend. Or at least until the sweet wifey says ok to putting it on the credit card :-). Yeah, DCC is definately in my future. If not I'll switch to building non railroad model kits.
Life goes on within you and without you. Jb
Reply to
J Barnstorf
in article WIednU0LF-oLhEzZnZ2dnUVZ snipped-for-privacy@adelphia.com, David Starr at snipped-for-privacy@adelphia.net wrote on 8/2/06 2:28 PM:
Certainly, one of the benefits of DCC is multiple operators. But even for single operators, if you have multiple trains, like on an around the walls layout with double tracking either everywhere or in sections, DCC is perfect. With my Digitrax system, the DT400 throttle lets me run two trains with one on the left and one on the right knobs.
If you wire well for DC, conversion to DCC should be a snap; you'll wind up just putting all of control sections together with switches or jumpers as if you were controlling everything from a single DC cab; take care with your turnouts (see the DCC link below) to that when (if) you convert to DCC you don't have short circuits there. When I converted my first adult layout (1997) from DC to DCC, it took 10 minutes since I used Atlas turnouts which are DCC friendly out of box.
Reply to
Edward A. Oates
Use 6P6T rotary switches. You can wire the second and third for the DC cabs and when you go DCC, just wire it to the fourth. Leave the first position unwired for an off position.
Reply to
Frank A. Rosenbaum
Layout not built yet. When it does get built it will definitely be DCC powered.
Reply to
Rick Jones
Mark, I just got an NCE Power Cab a few weeks ago. I have been looking into all the various systems for several years now and just kept waiting to see what might develop. Price was certainly a consideration however value was of greater concern. I wanted compatibility with some of the features of the more advanced systems but only needed to accommodate two operators. The Power Cab fit that need well at a modest price. As far as decoders go I only need seven total. Two for the diesel locomotives that are run on my timesaver and five for the steam locomotives on my layout so the total cost for me is low. One of the reasons I wanted DCC was to have control over sound and able to run two locomotives without having to switch power blocks between cabs. I wired the layout with DCC in mind but I still have blocks that can be turned on or off as way to help isolate problems. I think in DCC speak blocks are called power districts so that's what I have. I discovered after using DCC that I really like the ability to program the CVs to adjust locomotive performance and the actual control of them. I feel much more like I am operating a machine rather than just giving it more or less power. One thing I thought I would not be interested in using DCC for was to control turnouts but seeing how easy and intuitive my system is I may add this feature to the layout. Even though I wanted a DCC system I thought DCC might be over rated but now I feel otherwise. I can see that there are very valid reasons for people not to go with DCC but if a person does not need to decoder equip a large number of locomotives the cost is not high and benefits even for single locomotive operation are outstanding. Bruce
Reply to
Bruce Favinger
Maybe, ... maybe not. Let's see.
When I've finished my track laying I will have about 60 blocks. At about AU$6 for a switch and knob, that'll cost me AU$360, but let's say AU$400 including wire.
In a normal operating session I run about 40 locomotives, but about 30 of them are on through trains which are run one-at-a-time. That's handy, as it means I can run my through trains on address "00" and I don't need to buy decoders for most of the locos. My cost to convert then comes to whatever it will cost me for the following: - Digitrax Empire Builder set (maybe AU$350 by the time I get it here and convert it to Aussie current) - 4 throttles (luckily my friends have more) (say another AU$90 each or A$360 for the lot) - a single DCC booster (about ~ AU$200) - I'd prefer 2 at least - a dozen decoders (well, where do I begin - at least AU$25 each if I'm REALLY lucky ... say AU$300) Total cost to convert my existing layout to DCC is over AU$1200 .....
I think that the answer is .... NOT!!!!!!!
Ron Australia
Reply to
My N scale layout was designed to allow 4 operators to work with minimal switch throwing: one operating each of the two yards, a 3rd running a local freight and a 4th running through trains. Athough the layout runs just fine like this, I usually get about a dozen guys show up to operate, so I've been looking into what I can do to keep more of them occupied.
I reckon that if I run two switchers in each yard, I'll be able to run two locals concurrently, and more frequent through trains. Sadly, these extra trains (especially in the yard) will increase the amount of switch throwing to the point where it will become painful.
When I first considered DCC I thought I'd have to convert all my locos at once. However, I've since realised that as I run my through trains one-at-a-time I can run them all on address "00" (ie leave the locos as DC locos), which means I will only have to convert about a dozen locos for yard and local switching.
So, yes, DCC is in my long range plans. But the cost is prohibitive at present (see my comments elsewhere on that).
Regards, Ron McF Australia
Reply to
Mark Mathu skriver:
Simple. Our control system is 15 years old and is running with 76 current regulators. We could ditch those, buy boosters and decoders and make it run DCC, but why should we ?
If we had to start all over today, it would definitly be running DCC. Klaus
Reply to
Klaus D. Mikkelsen
A fellow club member is putting them in his TT equipment, and our HOn3 is going to be DCC. While I agree it's harder, it's not impossible.
I've always said that a one train/one operator layout won't see much benefit from DCC. But once you start adding trains and/or operators, then DCC should be a serious consideration.
Sorry, but that's poppycock. The only difference between straight DC and DCC is that you can't power through a short. And quite frankly, if you see sparks shooting from your wheels with DC, you really should fix that problem.
That is the only reason you gave that I agree with 100%. It's in each person's mind what's worth what. If it ain't worth it for you, well, then it's not worth it.
What I find amusing is all the reasons that non-DCCers give that are just not correct. That's always fun to listen to. LOL
Paul A. Cutler III ************* Weather Or No Go New Haven *************
Reply to
Pac Man
Um, have you priced copper wire lately? I seriously doubt you could wire a 60 block layout for AU$40. You also forgot throttles, power supplies, block lights, ammeters, plus the cost of the cab panels, paint, lettering, etc. that you don't have with DCC (not to mention your time). BTW, is that 60 blocks...does that mean that each cab needs 60 toggles? Or have you spread that out a bit?
Why can't you use their Zephyr? It's only US$155. Are you running more than 10 engines at one time?
Just curious, but what throttles are these? UT4's?
I run 3 to 6 locos on my 25' x 50' layout with a single 2.5amp Zephyr with three operators. I, too, was concerned about power, but over the last year and change, I've found that I don't need boosters for what I'm doing as most of my locos are "modern" (within the last 20 years) with low amp motors.
That's the main cost right there. However, when one can aquire 40 locos, gathering the resources for decoders shouldn't be an issue.
Well, go back and add up how much money you're really spending on DC, then get back to us.
Paul A. Cutler III ************* Weather Or No Go New Haven *************
Reply to
Pac Man

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