in article 1ar7gz10jjvnn$. email@example.com, Steve Caple at
firstname.lastname@example.org wrote on 8/4/06 10:05 AM:
I'm not sure where the strident evangelicalism comes from for either camp;
maybe misery loves company. I personally like DCC because it is simpler (for
me) to set up and run. Others find the same benefit with DC.
This is a HOBBY folks, and the goal is to enjoy yourself; if DC makes you
happy: great; if DCC rings your bells, that's great, too. If you like using
the palm and digital system to push your brio trains around, that is
I think I'm the the only one in this thread that mentioned having 200+
locomotives. I did NOT say the cost of converting them was too high. I said
they are N-scale, and are not designed for a decoder. That means, there is no
room inside to put a decoder without a lot of reworking of the interiors.
As for the cost of buying 200 locomotives, I've been buying them for about 24
years. When the cost is spread out over 24 years, it is very affordable.
And why would I want 200+ locomotives? Because I like the way they look. (About
2/3 are part of passenger sets). And I will admit that they do not get heavy
The problem with having been around long enough to collect 200+ loco's
(all of which you might enjoy running from time to time) is that some
if them could be very difficult to convert to DCC. Several club members,
who have far fewer than 200 (combined) loco's will never convert entirely
to DCC for just this reason. Looking here at the total cost of conversion
(TCC :) not just the $$. Thus the club will, most likely, never convert
totally to DCC. So we are stuck running alternately DC and DCC.
Each has it's own basket of pluses and minuses. Being relatively new
to collecting my 200+ loco's, I find the DCC basket of minuses to be
rather small ... but, that's me not necessarily you (the generic you).
And that type of layout is probably 80-90% of all layouts :-). And in =
if the layout is designed for it, you can have at least three trains ru=
with two or three operators and not have to flip switches. One train m=
laps on the main, another loco working the yard, and a third climbing t=
switchbacks on the branch line.
But I think the only reason for a club, formal or informal, not to go D=
CC is a
large investment already made and the expense of changing.
It's turtles, all the way down
And, as another poster pointed out, it's easy to build your own DC throttles
for little or nothing using the sources mentioned.
OTOH, I have a lot of TIP120 transistors I bought to build "Switch Witch"
circuits for twin coil switch machines, and by the time I got around to it,
I'd decided to operate the turnouts manually with cables :-).
Yep - it's definitely a religious issue, on both sides :-). But at least the
argument is pretty much limited to the bishops and cardinals of the hobby -
the lowly parishoner just keeps running his one train around his 4x8,
blissfully ignorant of the whole debate :-).
Yes. If you want to use Tricky Dicky's rotaries. 4 pole, 3 position rotaries
were about $5 last time I looked. Putting it bluntly, they are awful. A
decent rotary, break before make, with say 6 positions and 4 poles (swap the
numbers around to suit yourself) is nearer $30Au from a reputable (not Dick)
electrical retailer. Now, 60 blocks @ $30? You do the math. Then add rolls
of colour coded wire - 12, to be the positive and negative of each cab,
assuming you are not using common return - you're not using common return,
are you?? Wire, large enough gauge to avoid v drop, $45 per 100 metres from
Bambachs. Now, that's each roll. Chhhing. Add $540. Less, of course if you
are using 4 cabs, I have based it on 6. Now throttles - decent ones. about
$100 each purchased, $50 if you build them yourself - to the quality of,
say, a TAT5. Ummmm - that's a lot....
Um. I wouldnt run them on 00. It runis it for everything else, and it is a
protocol that is being phased out - not supported by NCE, for instance.
My cost to convert then comes to whatever
Er - there is no difference, on the railway side of the transformer, between
American and Australian current. Or English, Swedish, German, Swahili or
whatever you use. Feel free, however, to purchase one of Dick's
transformers. (plus cord, plug, box, switch, output terminals, fuse holder
etc etc, but you'll need that irrespective of DC or DCC.) You dont need
Toroidal Core hi qual stuff, just something with the necessary herbs to run
Maybe - dunno about D throttles. NCE is under $200au each for a Cab04.
Try MRC - a bulk pack works out at under $20 each last time I looked.
I think the answer is reconsider.
Connect your PC to a railroad for easy fine tuning in DC? Priceless - as in
you can't do it, irrespective of cost.
Run sound on DC? Haw. Fine if you JUST use BLI. Don't mix or match with
anything else. Hope you haven't ordered one of Werris' AD60's.
Radio throttles? With Lenz you can use a cordless phone.
I went through the exercise in 1994, when I was building my prev layout and
DCC just appeared. After musch research, I went DCC. Nobody forced me, or
coerced me, it was a decision based on what I wanted to do. And there is one
interesting thing. I have met lots of people who converted to DCC from DC
since. I have met nobody who converted back from DCC to DC. Wonder why ....
Newcastle NSW Aust
Or about a tenth that price for ten times the length if you go searching
or if you accumulate such things when you see them available.
But isn't the real point much more fundamental? If someone is starting
from scratch, obviously they would consider DCC. But if you already have
a system that works (for which all these costs, real or imaginary, were
incurred long ago) then the relevant cost to CONVERT to DCC is the cost
of installing decoders and control systems (and maybe some other
reconfiguration), which can be very considerable even if you can
physically do it.
Which brings us back to the basic point - if it isn't broken, don't fix
it, but especially don't spend money to "improve" it if there are no
benefits sufficient to justify the cost.
It's like people wanting to spend thousands of dollars to get plasma or
LCD TVs - if your existing TV works perfectly well and gives you
complete satisfaction, why would you spend such money for at best
marginal benefit? Some people will spend the money because they want new
technology for the sake of it, or for snob value, or similar; but others
will look purely at the practical benefit and conclude that it in no way
justifies the cost.
You're the only one *here* who has said "200 locos", but that number was
also used on the Atlas Forum's flame fest a couple years back, so don't take
And who would buy 200 decoders at once? This reminds me of the reasons
that people give to not convert to Kadee's: "I have X number of cars...it'd
cost me $Y to convert. No way!" Well, yeah, but who converted to Kadee's
overnight? I sure didn't. I had a couple "conversion" cars with a horn
hook on one end and a Kadee on the other until I could afford to change all
the cars. A good way to do this, BTW, is to ask for Kadee's for X-mas and
birthday gifts. Makes a great "stocking stuffer".
I don't begrudge anyone for the number of locos they own. However, if
you can afford hundreds of locos, you can afford DCC. You just choose not
to. That's all I'm saying.
Paul A. Cutler III
Weather Or No Go New Haven
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. ;-)
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
Using that logic, you're saying that we *should* spend money to
"improve" it if there *are* benefits sufficient to justify the cost.
I have a smallish layout - 11x14 feet. I wanted to do some things
with it, such as some basic signaling, remote dispatching, multiple
To do all that with DC is certainly possible, but by using the
"intelligence" of DCC I was able to do it at a much lower cost in terms
of dollars, time and wiring complexity.
Adding decoders to my loco fleet was like detailing a freight car, or
converting a car to KaDee's and metal wheelsets - a minor
expense/inconvenience compared to the benefits received, and one that
could be spread over time. I consider it to be a non-issue because it's
like any other rolling-stock upgrade.
So for me, converting to DCC was a no-brainer.
Exactly. Isn't it like most other things: if a cost/benefit analysis
shows that the benefits justify the costs IN THE PARTICULAR CONTEXT,
then do it?
Recall that this aspect of the thread has emerged from DCC supporters
saying (in effect) that DCC was the only sensible action for everyone?
What I and some others are trying to get across is that it is only a
sensible action for SOME people.
"Steve Magee" wrote
| assuming you are not using common return - you're not using common return,
| are you??
| Newcastle NSW Aust
Honest question - what's wrong with using common return? I haven't
started my layout yet (and it'll be a while yet) but I'd prefer to do it "right
first time" as much as possible. I would have thought that common return
would save some effort and money?
Indeed common return does save effort and money, and there is nothing
wrong with it, I used it for all my layouts and club layouts for 30
years without any problem.
With DCC boosters there are can be problems depending on how the rest
of the circuitry is arranged so if you want it to be easily
convertible make it so you can easily seperate the common return
between what would become seperate power districts. Blocks within each
district can be wired common return, then when you convert they become
common feed as well.
For Analog DC, common rail is usable, WITH the understanding that it has
it's own set of 'Quirks' for handling "Reverse Loops", 'Turntables", and
any other 'polarity reversal' problems associated with 'Two Rail'
wiring. Converting from a 'Common Rail' wired layout to 'DCC' shouldn't
be any harder than the "normal', two independent wires to every block
that is the common situation. If you have handled the 'common rail'
quirks successfully, they shouldn't 'bite you' too often during the
change, because you are already aware that there are differences.
If you are starting from scratch. I.E. New layout headed for DCC in the
near term, don't even wave at 'common rail'. JMHO
I can't see why you would need 51 blocks with panel block switches for
a DC layout that only runs 2 through trains. For DC layouts 3 blocks
per train in motion is a good ratio. You only needed around 6 cab
switched blocks for your example, not 56. Using route control wiring of
your turnouts is how to wire a DC layout to minimise necessary panel
With DC you can theoretically run as many trains as you like. The limit
is the size of the layout, not the serial communications DCC bus. The
DCC you describe only allows about 40 trains to be operated
independently, the limit of hand controllers the system can use. I
would expect some noticeable delay in response running this many hand
controllers off one command station. Your DCC DC cost comparison is not
realistic. There is more than one way to wire a DC layout. I can build
a DC system for any layout, any size that is cheaper than the cheapest
DCC system that will do the same basic job, if you include the DCC
decoder costs. If you ignore the decoder cost DCC can become price
It is not necessary to use so many switches for a manual switched DC
For your theoretical DCC example I can do the same
Using my DC manual block control system on my web page, 3 blocks per
train, 8 trains= 24 blocks. It cost's me about AU$30 per block,
including block detection and a panel switch to operate a signal for
each block. Total cost AU $720. No extra locomotive decoders needed. I
can have 8 trains with more than 5 locomotives per train without extra
If you want track detection for 24 DCC blocks, the price for DCC is
Wiring costs will work out about the same if you want reliable running.
I have, DC can be cheaper by far. Only when you decide to use all DC /
DCC sound equipped locomotives does DCC become price competitive.
So one reason to go DC is it can be cheaper. Another reason is DC is
easier to build your own control system. Another reason is you get
locomotive noise from a filtered DC controller. Another reason is with
DC you do not need to find space in locomotives for decoders.
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