OUTCOME -- Can DCC railroads be controlled by computers?

Some things are becoming clear to me. This DCC computer stuff is an exercise in control theory and is really rather complex and not
suitable for 6 year olds in the least. It may be interesting for 14 year olds, or for 74 year olds. I think that it is fun, but so is programming of money making useful websites.
So... At this point, I think, I should stick with simpler concepts than this DCC approach. Since my son has interest in model railroads,I will simply expand the Life-Like railroad system that he has and maybe add some doodads like a railroad gate that I made for him a year ago, etc.
i
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At Tue, 03 Apr 2007 20:13:50 -0500 Ignoramus322

At this point, all your 6 year old son needs is go/stop 'knob' and buttons for the whistle/horn/lights, plus buttons for the turnouts. This can be DCC or not (not his concern at this point). Hand helds for DCC or plain DC that have these knobs/buttons are available. Whether you opt for a basic (self contained) DCC 'system' or not is your decision, but might be a good long term solution (start small and add incrementally, just like the rest of the layout). The DCC system at this point would all be 'manual' system (i.e. no computer involvement) -- just a hand-held throttle ( go/stop 'knob', whistle/horn/lights buttons) or two (for a friend), a command station/booster box, power transformer, and a few decoders (one per loco). Wire the 'small' layout as a single power district, minding reverse loops and other special trackwork issues. There are (simple) 'automated' solutions to things like reverse loops -- simple things like relays controled by turnout position sensors -- most turnout motors allow for or include SPDT switches which switch with the motor and thus the points. If/when the layout grows, get a booster unit and a second power district can be set up, etc. (Years) *Later* one can start to *think* about computer control involvment, depending how interest develops.
One thing about going DCC at this point is in fact social: get *two* hand-held throttles and have (at least) two DCC decoder equiped locos and your son can have a friend over and each can operate *separate* trains *at the same time*. Or *even better* you can operate one train while your son operates a second train and you can teach him how things work on a real railroad when two (or more) trains are sharing trackage -- ie basic rules of the road: the meaning of block signaling and how trains pass each other without becoming wreckage...

--
Robert Heller -- 978-544-6933
Deepwoods Software -- Download the Model Railroad System
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That's all very good. I think that he will be ready for this in about a year. Definitely worth exploring. Thanks a lot Robert.
i
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Ignoramus322 skriver:

I totally agree. But the control issue is the same on a non-DCC computer controlled layout.

No, you actually should stick to the DCC system. It gives a lot of advantages. You should just forget about the computer control. Robert Heller gave you some iedeas of why and i suggest that you look into running stock equipped with sound decoders, ability to control light and so on.
Klaus
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"Klaus D. Mikkelsen" wrote:

Nothing wrong with computer control of DCC, other than programs or programming.
I have Arnold, "Central Unit" plus "Computer Interface". It's horribly clunky as far as loco control goes as it's 14 speed step but it drives ordinary DCC accessory controllers in just the same way the latest (recent anyway) DCC controls do.
Regards, Greg.P. NZ
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My suggestion is a computer controlled layout is best for an automated layout. Whether you choose DCC or analog is a your personal choice as he only wants it to do something unless you intend for him to assist you in building it.
Cheers, John
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wrote:

My 3 cents...
You can make DCC as simple ($$ cheap) or as complex (lots-o-$$$) as you want. Simple - a Bachmann EZ Command system where you can control up to 10 locos with a push of a button (from 1-10), and a turn of the speed control knob. No harder than turning on a TV and selecting a station. Complex - a fullblown Digimax, Lenz, NCE, or NRC system where you can program and control everything, including from a PC.
Also I think you underestimate the abilities of 6 year olds... most 6 year olds I know could kick my butt with the video games. ;)
Doug
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stealthboogie wrote:

That would be DCC making your layout as simple as _it_ wants for a cheap price or DCC making itself as expensive as it wants for a model railway system as complex as you want.

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