NCE vs Digitrax

I was hoping those of you who own either NCE or Digitrax could offer your reason(s) for choosing that brand, what you have enjoyed about
its features, and what components [throttles, boosters, decoders, etc.] you opted for.
I see both brands at many of the train shows. Both appear to be very impressive. The two cab control offered by Digitrax might not be a feature I would make use of, but perhaps I am under estimating its usefulness.
I believe each is able to communicate with DCC decoders from many different brands.
Thanks! Matt
You're welcome to e-mail me directly if you prefer. mc snipped-for-privacy@yahoo.com
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mc snipped-for-privacy@yahoo.com wrote:

NCE
Thunderbird Model RR club in Phoenix studied several options before choosing NCE. Digitrax was one of the first they eliminated - too much proprietary stuff, very poor customer support. Ponderosa North club that I belong too also chose NCE after trying both, and I chose it for my home layout. 2 other members have also. I have the Power Cab setup with a Smart Booster (3 amp total), am looking at adding a DB3 Dumb Booster such that I can put 3 amps on each half of the layout. 4 power districts; we run up to 4 locos during an operating session (layout is around the walls 12 x 18, mostly designed as a switching layout). Club portable layout will run 3 locos without sound plus one with sound at the same time. I only have one sound loco but don't use it during op sessions on my layout (will be adding one shortly tho). My layout uses the Power Cab plus 3 throttles (one with a toggle switch that makes it two throttles in one unit). Note that the Power Cab with Smart Booster setup can only handle a total of 4 throttles, numbers 2-3-4-5.
I (and all in the club who use the NCE throttles) much prefer the ergonomics of them over the Digitrax ones. One club member does have Digitrax, and we do operate on his layout from time - don't know how the others feel, but to me the push buttons on the Digitrax throttles are a bit small, and I personally don't care for the feel of them when I'm using them.
HTH
Matt (also)
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mc snipped-for-privacy@yahoo.com wrote in
Our club is Digitrax. Digitrax has several good attributes, but is a little rough around the edges for some people's taste. For example, almost all digitrax equipment is compatible with future versions. That means if you have a Zephyr set and a Super Chief Set they'll work together and you'll get expanded capacity on your layout. The throttles are likewise compatible.
Loconet is one of Digitrax's key features. Accessories, throttles, computer control and the like can be done via Loconet. For large layouts, you can spread your boosters around the layout to keep track busses short(er).
I have no experience using NCE systems, but one of the key differences often pointed out on the Digitrax Yahoo! group is how Digitrax and NCE handle their throttle networks. The NCE throttle network is a polled system, meaning each device in turn is asked "Do you have a command for me?" while Digitrax uses a broadcasted mechanism. When a throttle has a command, it's transmitted.
If all you're doing is using DCC at home and won't take your equipment to other locations, either system will work. If you'll be taking your equipment to other locations, Digitrax doesn't require much to get it to work. Just make sure your Radio address is set to the layout's address (if you're using radio), plug in and start playing.
Puckdropper
--
If a train horn blows and no one is around to hear it, did it really blow
at all?
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I like the well thought out operation of the NCE system better. Particularly if you have a lot of diesel consists set up. With the NCE system, when you set up a advanced consist, both ends of the consist are remembered by the command station. If you have a consist sitting on a East - West track you can select either end to control the consist. Select the East end loco and forward direction and the consist moves East. Select the West end loco and the forward direction and the consist moves West. Other systems require you to setup the consist in one direction or the other.
Stuart Sabatini Palm Coast, FL

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Thanks everyone.
All four of your comments mirrored my unscientific, untested observations that I have accumulated at a number of train shows where clubs were operating their modular RR using either NCE or Digitrax. Both systems are terrific, and owner satisfaction is equally strong.
As expected, the club members were very willing to talk about their system, show you the throttle, and demo its use. Most of the clubs that I have visited are using Digitrax. I think the NCE design and my anticipated home use are a good match. I am particularly pleased to learn how NCE handles an ABA and/or ABBA engine consist. I have three of those engine combinations in my planning.
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As I understand it, the consist gets its own address. On Digitrax, this is whatever address you've selected on the right nob (it doesn't have to exist on the layout) and this means that your consist is essentially 2+ power units made in to one.
If you select a specific loco on the left nob you can control its functions separately. So if you have an ABA set, you can set the two A units to the throttle and when you change direction turn off one headlight and turn on another.
How does NCE handle this?
Puckdropper
--
If a model tree falls in a model forest and no model person is around to
hear it, does it make a model sound at all?
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On Nov 16, 1:18pm, Puckdropper <puckdropper(at)yahoo(dot)com> wrote:

Yes, but only Heidi Klum can hear it.
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Yes, The consist gets it's own address. If you consist loco 1111 with loco 9999 there is also a consist address, say 20. In most systems when you setup the consist the system will remember one unit say 1111 as controlling consist # 20. If you select 1111 on the throttle consist 20 will move and you can control the lights on unit 1111. With the second knob (on Digitrax) you could select a second unit say 9999. Now since 9999 is in a consist you will only control it's lights since the command station does not associate 9999 with the consist. With an NCE system it remembers both 1111 and 9999 with consist 20. If you select 1111 it works the same as other systems and the consist moves forward. If you select 9999 it also causes consist 20 to move but in this case the consist moves in the other direction, reverse. In other words selecting 9999 causes the consist to move backward when you select forward on the throttle, but since you selected the unit at the other end it all makes sense. Select the unit on the East end and forward is east bound. Select the unit on the West end and forward is west bound. In addition the NCE system can be set to send function commands to the consist address when you select the 1111 or 9999 units. This enables you to control the sounds of a sound unit no matter where in a consist it is, Lead, Rear or anywhere in the middle.
Stuart Sabatini Palm Coast, FL
"Puckdropper" <puckdropper(at)yahoo(dot)com> wrote in message

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Thanks for the explanation.
That might be a better way to do it than consisting everything to one address, for as you pointed out any engine speed command can control the consist. It would eliminate the extra button presses required to manipulate functions and control speed.
Puckdropper
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mc snipped-for-privacy@yahoo.com (mc snipped-for-privacy@yahoo.com) said...

When I was looking into a DCC system, NCE was recommended from several sources based on what seemed to be a consensus that it had the best compatibility with other products (decoders in particular) and was easy to use and quite flexible in terms of addressing and consisting.
I went with their system and ended up getting the wireless PowerCab Pro since the shop I was buying from had a good price on it. I have since heard that their wireless products tend to be better than others as well.
I should add a couple of points from my experience with NCE. I have had no issues whatsoever. I have used a few decoders from Digitrax without any problems, and I have used the Lenz LS-150 accessory decoders for twin coil switch machines (a lower cost alternative than using six of NCE's Snap-It). The Snap-It is a better choice if you are powering two turnouts for a cross-over from one decoder as you can add an external capacitor for some extra oomph, but you can't beat the LS-150' price per output.
Here is what I believe is something that would definitely sell me on a company if I heard it before buying: I purchased an NCE Switch-8 accessory decoder that had a problem. The little rotary switch used to program each of its outputs was not working - regardless of its position, only the first output was being programmed. I emailed NCE to find out if I was doing something wrong or could do something to fix the problem. They responded quickly and told me the unit may have a bad trace or solder joint and asked me to mail it to them for repair or replacement. I did this and I received a working unit within two weeks (and I am in Canada, so there was no doubt some extra time involved in the shipping).
This sort of customer service is something I value.
To be fair, I did have a question for Lenz that was not clearly explained in their manual (I wondered if multiple LS-150s can be powered from the same AC source). They were quick to respond to my question (the answer was 'yes').
--
Calvin Henry-Cotnam
"Unusual or extreme reactions to events caused by negligence
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