DCC - why not?


fact,
running
making
Well, sure, you could also have a "Northlandz" layout and have 100+ looping trains that never intersect...each on it's own independant track. But that's not much of an realistic operation. ;-)

is a

Our reason before we moved was ignorance, price and the conversion labor. We had enough trouble keeping our 40 year old layout running as it was. And it was so "old school" that we took an odd sort of pride in getting the old layout to run well.
Paul A. Cutler III ************* Weather Or No Go New Haven *************
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Mark Mathu wrote:

yes
yes
yes
when decoders cost at most $3 per loco

if it's not broken, don't fix it
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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?
http://216.86.38.243/aristo/AMAZING/itemdesc.asp?CartId =&ic=CRE55000&eq=&Tp http://216.86.38.243/aristo/AMAZING/itemdesc.asp?CartId =&ic=CRE55001&eq=&Tp Eric
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I doubt the market is even close to saturated (with the caveat that certain RTR sound imports might be). Most/all of the US DCC companies are behind in production which really means they can't product fast enough. Not quite enough to grow the companies (i.e. hire more people) but enough to keep them behind. Clubs that are not DC tend to have the problem of older members. These members present are sorts of reasons the most famous being "I have a million engine and it costs to much to convert". The reality is they probably one run a dozen of them, ever! As their voting power goes away then the club go to DCC. IMHO MTH is marketing with arrogance. Very few, if any, in the HO DCC group will switch to their command control (no new converts with only one engine to run) and I suspect the K4 will be a very poor seller. At best it will sell and then user will find it's not compatible _enough_ with DCC. If they can't get their money back it will show on the records as a sale.
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time
Not
These
million
go
it
If
Sorry to wade in late on this topic, one of the few I've followed the thread through. I've just begun my third layout of my lifetime (literally laying subbed and drilling for switch throws as this thread has progressed), and am intending to fully implement DCC to the best of my abilities.
My reasons for this decision are many. Mostly, I intend to operate switching on locals and yard jobs, while DCC with a computer act as dispatcher, clerk, express agent, or any other job I can hope to automate to a schedule. Routing and signaling are icing on the cake. Car tracking is also something I wish to include (anyone going to Denver? Can I get a progress report on the chip scanning tech?).
I understand that both my layout concept and my wishlist are overly optimistic, but it is time to DO something aside from collection and reading. I'll likely operate the layout alone, so I will be trusting DCC to do what it can so that I will eventually enjoy the theatrics I'm building.
Steve Woodall
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I wish to include (anyone going to Denver? Can I get a progress report on the chip scanning tech?).< There is a really good discussion about RFID going on now on the JMRI list. Have you been following that.
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That is something I am not familiar with. If you have an addy or URL for it, I would appreciate the jesture and give it a look over.
Steve
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Woody wrote:

http://groups.yahoo.com/group/jmriusers /
Stevert
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JMRI
give
I thank you all for the pointers and links I've followed throughout this thread. I'm wishing there were a r.m.r.dcc group on the regular usenet, but I haven't tripped into one yet. But I am curious about one dcc item that I'm kind of banking on...is running scheduled trains on varying routes (and possible scheduled meets) within dcc's capabilities?
Oh, yeah...I began an order for my 8' x 35' trailer today to house the future layout; I will take this one with me if ever I move again.
Steve
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but
(and
Sure. But you have to attach the layout to a computer and run software like Railroad & Co.'s "Train Controller", IIRC.
Paul A. Cutler III ************* Weather Or No Go New Haven *************
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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.
dlm

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says...

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.
--
Ken Rice -=:=- kennrice (AT) erols (DOT) com
http://users.erols.com/kennrice - Lego Compatible Flex Track,
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Mark Mathu wrote:

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
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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!
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Maybe, ... maybe not. Let's see.
DC:
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.
DCC:
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
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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?

it
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 *************
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toggles?
of
as
buy
whatever
and
more
last
as
AU$40 for wire? Yeah - I was just rounding and it would have been more, but not a great deal more. On the other hand, I priced the switches I've used today and they'd actually work out at under $5 each including knobs, and the average cost will be closer to $4 per switch, as less than half require a knob. In the yards I have rotary switches (for left and right mainline throttles and the yard throttle), in the intermediate towns I use DPDTCO switches (left and right throttles only). So the extra cost of the wire will largely be offset by the saving on the switches.
You're right - I did forget about the throttles, etc. Most of my power supplies are all freebies that I've picked up along the way (~40 years), and I build my own transistor throttles. My 6 tethered (walk-around) throttles cost me about $15 each, and my two panel mounts less than $10 each. It is about 60 blocks spread across 2 yard panels (~12 each) and 4 town panels. The layout is walk-around, and the town panels mean that the length of wire between the panel and the track is in most cases only a few feet. OTOH, I was conservative with DCC throttles, as I will be relying on friends to bring theirs over.
Block lights? Ammeters? ......Why?
Control panels - print the track plan artwork onto paper and laminate it., then back it with a sheet of mdf board. It works a treat. Cost = a few cents. In fact, my DCC operating friend does the same thing to show the town layouts, so the cost is the same eaither way.
Zephyr? Thanks - I will check it out. One of my friends recommended the EB and I haven't looked into it myself. I expect to run up to 6 DCC 'trains' at a time, some of which will be double headed, plus a (7th) double or triple deaded DC train on address "00". Is the limitation on the number of loco addresses, locos, or trains? Yes, I think the throttles were the UT4s. I just want whatever's cheapest, ... with a big knob. I'm not particularly interested in the ...err, bells and whistles. If I save money on the main unit then I can afford to buy more throttles. As for a booster - well as I mentioned, I will be running up to 10 locos at a time, so power will be a consideration. But my reason for wanting more than two (eventually) is to minimise the effect of short circuits.
BTW - almost all my switches were used on an earlier layout which predated DCC, so their cost to me is actually nothing. Most of my locos are older units which will require milling to fit a decoder into. When I convert I will simply put all my DC locos into the through train motive power pool, and buy new decoder equipped locos to run on DCC.
So don't get me wrong - I'm not opposed to DCC. I plan to convert when I can afford to, just so that I can run more trains simultaneously. But that won't be until I have nothing better to spend the money (well over AU$1200 including the new locos) on. In the meantime, my layout handles 4 trains simultaneously just fine.
Regards, Ron
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My, you ARE an optimist. Only AU$40 for wire, with 60 blocks? This tells me two things right away:
1) It's a physically small layout 2) You're not using big enough wire!
However, let's look at this operationally. To get the same OPERATIONAL capability that DCC gives you, you'll need FAR more blocks. As an example, I had a 7x9 foot N scale layout, with a 4 track yard, engine house, and a single track mainline with 4 passing tracks and 6 sidings. At any one time there would be at least 2 through trains running (two locomotives each), a yard switcher, and an industrial switcher (not to mention closing out the last run and preparing the next...). To get anywhere near the same capability with analog I got with digital control, I estimated I would need AT LEAST 51 blocks, each with a MINIMUM of 4 cabs!! With DCC, I wired it as a single block, with only one feeder and a single reverser. I'd add a couple more feeders if I were doing it again... and am in the process of building my next layout now.

Only if you buy a Digitrax or Lenz system.

Much better to buy a Super Chief system (street price US$350, includes 1 DT-400 throttle) and a couple of PM-42 power managers (street price US$62.95) The Empire Builder system does NOT read decoder settings. The Chief does.

UT4 throttles are US$64.95

Unless you have a HUGE private layout, it's not needed. Use the PM-42s to divide power up instead. Are you REALLY going to have more than 5 amps draw on the layout at any one time?

Digitrax's least expensive decoder (DZ123, 1 amp capacity) is street priced at US$15.95. ($20.98 AUD)

Totals using the above prices: Chief system....$350.00 Throttles 4 x $64.95......$259.80 PM-42............$62.95 12 decoders.....$191.40 ----------------------- Total: $864.15 USD
or according to http://www.xe.com/ucc/convert.cgi , $1,136.37 AUD
Using your figures, and assuming you underestimated the number of blocks necessary to get _equivalent_operational_capability_ with DCC by _only_ 50% (most folks do FAR worse - they dramatically underestimate the operational flexibility of DCC!), your costs are much higher than you think. For example, to run 10 trains at a time, you'll probably need TWO switches and knobs per block. 120 blocks, X 2 x A$6.00 (The Super Chief system quoted above can run 120 trains at a time...) Want to add just a couple more trains? You'll have to add 120 more switches and knobs, and take the time to wire and install them. With DCC, just install a decoder in the locomotive and run 'em.
Switches & Knobs (240) A$1440.00
... and you haven't even bought wire yet.

If cost is your sole criteria, you'd better re-evaluate that answer.
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You guys beat me to it. Nice job on the cost analysis....
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Joe Ellis wrote:

Rubbish. If you go to buy such things new, you might pay a fortune; if you do a bit of searching (e.g. garage sales, disposal stores), the cost is minimal. Same applies to switches.
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