I use mains rated wire for main buses and heavy duty figure-eight "speaker"
wire for hooking up the track power. It is actually remarkably cheap. If
you look around though, it's amazing how easy it is to come by FREE wire.
Posted via a free Usenet account from http://www.teranews.com
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 :-).
I have to doubt you've tried to get "free" wire any time recently.
Copper prices are up high enough that crooks are burning down warehouses
in the process of trying to steal the wiring to sell. New homes under
construction have had just-installed wiring ripped out of them during
the night. Copper pipe for plumbing has doubled or trebled in price.
Brass fittings, too.
Evaluating all GUIs by the example of Windows is like evaluating all cars
by the example of Yugos.
Eddie Oliver wrote:
> Joe Ellis wrote:
>> 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
> 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.
No doubt the cost of obtaining wire and switches this way is minimal.
But to me, what you would be then doing is embarking on a new hobby -
scavenging! <Big smile!>
I'm not trying to get the same capability that DCC offers. And what's
more - I DON'T WANT IT! In a typical operating session, about one-third of
my block switches (industrial sidings and yard tracks) don't get thrown at
all. (They are there 'just in case')
I have a 20' x 18' room, with a point to point (staging yard to staging
yard) N scale layout that runs around the walls, and down two peninsulas.
There are classification yards at each end and five towns in between (each
with a passing track and industrial sidings). I (simultaneously) run a
switcher in each yard, plus a through freight and a local switcher.
Operations are at a relaxed pace because that's how it was done on the
prototype I'm modelling.
Plus S&H to Australia, and a power supply on Australian current ... over
AU$1200. As I said.
I'll have to read my post again. Maybe I DID say that I want to "get
_equivalent_operational_capability_ with DCC"
WTF? I don't WANT to run 10 trains at a time. Hello - did you read what I
Joe - what have you "proven" here? Your whole argument (and your costs) is
based on your misguided notion that I have 120 blocks, and that I want to
run somewhere between 10 and 120 trains at a time. Where did you get that
Posted via a free Usenet account from http://www.teranews.com
I think that Joe has proven that he is one of the type of people who,
after becoming addicted to a certain approach, must make everyone else's
situation fit into their own framework.
However I certainly don't fit into it. I only have two eyes and
therefore could not even watch 10 trains simultaneously.
Perhaps... but you wouldn't need them AT ALL with DCC, and you wouldn't
be limited in what you can do by where the block divisions are. "You
don't want" the operational ability of DCC... probably because you've
never HAD it.
The only _valid_ comparison in pricing between analog and digital
REQUIRES you to compare _operational_capability_. Otherwise, it's an
apples to coconuts comparison. You're not _REALLY_ comparing the same
layout. You're just comparing _different_ layouts that happen to have
the same track plan.
That's similar in size and concept to the N scale layout I'm building.
I'll have just one peninsula, but it's a multi-level layout with over 6
double-tracked scale miles of track, point to point. My yards at each
end will be working yards, with one in the middle of the run. Add a
bunch of industrial sidings and a dedicated passenger hi=speed rail
line. Guess what? The DCC costs are _exactly_ the same as the layout
half the size.
Power supply can be the same one you use for the analog layout, which is
why it wasn't included. The command station/booster takes 12-24 volt AC
or DC input. AC Hz doesn't matter - it's rectified inside the unit. S&H
to Oz is NOT over $100 AU.
As I said above, it's the only VALID way to compare costs.
You didn't say HOW many trains you ran at a time in your original post,
so it wasn't there to read, was it? You DID say you ran 30 to 40 in an
operation session. You mentioned 4 throttles, but said "luckily my
friends have more", indicating more than four trains were run. But think
about it... if you only have 1-5 running at a time, you only need one
set of switches (but you still have to change the setting every time you
enter/leave a block... and don't even TRY to tell us you and your
operators never forget to do that!).
However, to add just ONE train (for a total of six), you have to add
another _complete_ set of switches and wiring.. and flip one or two
every time you enter /leave a block. You're good then until you get to
10 trains... then you need ANOTHER complete set to go to 11, and now you
have to work one, two, or THREE every time you enter/leave a block. With
the DCC system, you can go to 120 trains... and NEVER have to throw a
cab selector. That alone is worth converting for many folks!
As anyone who has made the change can tell you, you run more trains on a
layout with DCC than you did on the same layout with analog... BECAUSE
YOU CAN. When you have to completely rewire a layout to add a train (as
in your case) it provides considerable operational inertia.
Your whole misguided notion is that you can compare a DCC layout evenly
to your analog layout and make the comparison based on costs without
considering operational flexibility. As I said above, you're comparing
apples to coconuts. Really tiny apples. Really BIG coconuts.
You say you have 60 blocks now. Got a track plan that shows them? Post a
link to it and I'll take a look at it. I'm betting it would require AT
LEAST 120 blocks to even APPROACH the capability of a DCC system
powering the same track plan. It might well need _over_ 200 blocks to
approach operational parity with DCC.
Evaluating all GUIs by the example of Windows is like evaluating all cars
by the example of Yugos.
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
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.
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
"Charles Davis" wrote
| Ivor wrote:
| > 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
| > first time" as much as possible. I would have thought that common return
| > would save some effort and money?
| > Ivor
| 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
| Chuck Davis
Thanks Keith and Chuck - I will be starting straight off with DCC, so no
common return then.
in article WIednU0LF-oLhEzZnZ2dnUVZ firstname.lastname@example.org, David Starr at
email@example.com 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.
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