Is anyone using either of these DCC systems?
I was wondering which one folks like better and why.
I've read the comparisons on both in magzines and books
but I want to get responses from real users of these systems.
Any comments are appreciated.
Basically the answer is very simple, the Digitrax Zephyr is expandable
and will work with all the other Digitrax products. The MRC system is not
expandable and has a very limited capability. But then again it depends on
what you want. If you are only going to build a coffee table layout and
never use sound and that's the maximum layout you will ever do then you
might consider the MRC system.
When we give clinics on DCC and the like _all systems_ are rated as
very good except for one. Take a guess!
plan on expanding.<
While I use Digitrax I feel that all the top level system are good. As
DCC is growing every day and if you can afford it I would buy in at the top.
The new Soundtraxx Tsunami is pushing the use of functions as are the BLI
engines, with sound! I bought in with a Chief many years ago and have never
regretted it. With the addition purchase of a DT400 I have 12 functions
that are supported. I think other systems (if you buy in at the upper
levels) have the same expandability. But you need to do the research on
Also after you have had you system for awhile you will learn that a
programming track is a very important item. Like before if you have a
coffee table and only a couple of engines it doesn't matter but beyond that
certain things start to get important.
Ok if we are talking about Digitrax the DT300 or DT400 have the buttons
to do the programming (so to speak) but the command station does the actual
programming. Only the Chief and Zephyr have a separate programming track
(output of the box) but all the command stations can do programming. Only
the Chief and Zephyr have "readback" and that's because they have a separate
programming track. The DB150 can program but you need a switch to toggle
between a piece of track and the layout or every engine on the layout will
get programmed at the same time.
It's probably a good idea to get some DCC books if you haven't already.
There are a couple that are very good, "Big Book of DCC" (by Digitrax) or
"Digital Command Control" (a comprehensive guide to DCC by Stan Ames, Rutger
Friberg & Ed Loizeaux). Both these books are available from most of the
mail-order guys and are well worth read.
In my opinion NO. The Zephyr has 2 features that the EB doesn't have
that you will come to learn you can't live without; a separate
programming track which you can use while the layout runs, and the
ability to read back the contents of CVs.
You will probably want more than one throttle even to begin with and you
can use a DT300 or DT400 or even a radio version of either if you add a
UR91 with your Zephyr. Later you can expand with a DCS100 to get the
expanded command station capabilities and still use the Zephyr as a 3
amp booster. The additional throttles you buy now will continue to work
with your new DCS100.
Kev> So getting the super Empire Builder would be an even better selection? I
Kevin C wrote in message ...
Amps are not really that important in HO or N scale with the Zephyr. I
have had a Z since it came out last year. You will run out of "slots" long
before you run out of amps if every engine has a different address
(especially if you are using loco models made in the last 10 years or so;
new engines pull a lot less amps).
A "slot" in DCC terms is an address that the "brain" of the system can
"talk" to. The Z can only talk to 10 loco addresses at the same time.
Therefore, the Z has "10 slots". When you dial an address into the Z's
throttle or any other Digitrax throttle (DT100, DT300, DT400, UT-1, etc.),
it takes up one slot.
When engines are only sitting there, and have not been "addressed", they
do not count against the slot as there is no throttle assigned to that loco.
Unless they are part of a consist, then they remain active until they are
The way around this is that when you make consists (or "MU's"), you
program the second, third, whatever, locos in the consist to the same
address as the lead loco. Then, all 2, 3 or 4 engines will only use up one
slot. Then it's possible to run up against the 2.5 amp barrier.
I have used 10 engines at one time on my layout, and at no time did I
have amperage problems. My engines were mostly LLP2K and Atlas.
Paul A. Cutler III
Weather Or No Go New Haven
One think you need to do is have a rough idea of what your layout will
look like. Or maybe just a idea of the square footage you have available.
It's then easier to just guess the amount of track and engines that might be
Current available from one booster is not a limit as you can always
divide the layout into a couple of block and add another booster. You are
looking for somewhere to start and the Zephyr is as good as any. If you
have the funds available then start with the Chief.
I started with a Chief (as I said, long ago) and bought used DB100a's on
ebay for additional power blocks. You could (if funds dictate) start with a
Zephyr and add a DB150 (or DCS100) later. You would then simple make the
Zephyr a booster and the DB150 the command station.
The only item that Digitrax made that's not usable with all the rest of
the system is a very early throttle (and you can buy an interface for that
if you want).
Excellent, thanks for all the feedback. I'm fairly certain
I'm going to start with the Zephyr and then add on as time
goes... Zephyr seems to offer quite a bit for the money.
I've seen 159.99 as the best price so far, anyone found