Re: Newbie question on DC/DCC control

Marty Hall wrote:


Marty
DCC is a great way of controlling a model railroad. It was actually designed for handling small layouts like yours so I believe you will find it very enjoyable.
The selection of a system is a very personnel choice. The key is how enjoyable you find the control. The look and feel varies greatly between the various systems.
I usually do not make recommendations but in your case I might wait till spring and then choose the new Bachmann system.
I have been beta testing this system and I think it will become a very popular system for small layouts.
Atlas, Digitrax, and MRC are also good choices but will likely cost more.
You likely do not need a high end system such as the Chief, Powerhouse Pro or Lenz-90/100 but these systems offer a lot more than the entry level ones.
--------------------------- Stan Ames snipped-for-privacy@attbi.com
DCC Evangelist, DCC Book co-author, married to a DCC manufacturer rep Home page with Disclosure Statement: http://www.dccsig.org/sra /
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I converted to DCC several years ago and am very glad I did. My only mistake though was going with the Atlas Commander system instead of Digitrax.
The Atlas system is fine and works with no problems however, as George Goble used to say, I feel like a pair of brown shoes in a room full of tuxedos. Everyone else has Digitrax and they can't help me with my Atlas programming questions. I often have to go to them to program my Digitrax decoders on their Digitrax systems so I can run them on my Atlas layout.
My suggestion is to go DCC and go Digitrax because if you stay in the hobby long enough you going to get there eventually.
By the way, my "layout" is nothing more than a large oval with a Figure 8 in the middle, but some day...
Carter

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But if the layout would require several blocks with DC, it's a good idea to still wire them separately for DCC. Makes troubleshooting a lot easier. Of course, you only need an on/off switch (or a screwdriver) instead of an on-off-on. But even there, wiring as if you were using DC makes it possible to run either way.
And "better" on a small layout depends on the design and the use. Multiple operators need DCC. Single operators don't. Even with two operators, DCC isn't always required. If you have one block for the yard, one for the mainline, and maybe one for a branchline, DCC is overkill. But if you like it better, it certainly doesn't hurt.
The DC vs DCC question has been pummelled to death in this group. It'd be nice to have a definitive answer. But like most things in life, the answer is "it depends".
P.S. I'm currently building a 2' x 6' "exhibition" layout. DCC? You gotta' be kidding :-).
--
Where ARE those Iraqi WMDs?

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I have a single engine layout as I am modeling a real shortline. I still went with DCC and bought an older Digitrax at a reduced price. The reason is I have all hand throw switches so don't need all the functions. I also use the UT-1 throttle as a switching layout the big knob is great. I bought Digitrax as all the other people in this area are using it and for running equipment on each others RR. I called Steve's Depot and talked with him for about an hour before buying the DCC unit. You may want to do the same. He is very knowledgeable and doesn't try to sell you just what he has. Very satisfied with his service and have bought the decoders from him as well. I looked at the tethered DC units but they were almost the cost of the DCC system for a good one. Good luck.

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My first layout in the modern era (that is, after I stopped HO modeling in 1965 or so, and resumed in 1996) was a 4x8 stock plan from Atlas 10006/83 (see page http://www.atlasrr.com/Code100web/pages/10006.htm ).
I built it initially with the suggested (by Atlas) common rail block control. But my 6 year old (at the time) basically could not run the trains with all the switch blocks between power packs, etc. So, I bought a Digitrax Empire Builder (I had bigger thing in mind, the Zephyr would be OK nowadays), closed all the block switches and connect just the two wires to the layout power bus. Bingo: worked immediately on the two engines I had converted to DCC (Athearn GP38 with a DH121). Easy for my daughter to run, also with the UT1 throttle and its big knob.
I recommend using DCC. Most of the systems are upgradeable to more complex layout and control requirements, and the NMRA compliant DCC decoders fr om Digitrax, Soundtrax, TCS, Lenz, NCE, et al are all compatible. Unless your layout is just an oval, you will like the ability to have multiple locomotives on the tracks even if you are only running one now. No block switches to throw, etc. If you continue in the hobby, your initial investment can be reused essentially forever. I still have all the stuff from my original Empire builder. I just added a DCS 200 booster, a couple of PM42s for power district management, etc. Nothing has been discarded.
I now have a bigger layout; schematic at http://home.earthlink.net/~edoates/id1.html ), where DCC is essential to me.
All this said, there are many block control (DC) adherents, and you should listen to them, too.
Ed.
in article bvbu75$6as$ snipped-for-privacy@murdoch.acc.Virginia.EDU, Charles Callaghan at snipped-for-privacy@virginia.edu wrote on 1/29/04 1:30 PM:

--
Ed Oates
http://home.earthlink.net/~edoates
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It's really pretty interesting that up until now, it's always seemed to be folks saying that DCC is for large layouts. It was like that when I got my NCE system a couple years ago, and I had only a 4x8 layout...
Can't really figure out why, except maybe having piles of locos and lots of interesting stuff on bigger layouts. But, with block control, somebody could switch on one end and run on another. Hard to do that on a dinky layout, the blocks would be smaller than the train....
Kennedy
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For a first layout start with DC, its easier to fault find and cheaper. If you decide to go DCC the DC controller is useful for testing locomotives before installation of decoders. You will find most of the wiring is reused if you change to DCC.
--
Terry Flynn

For HO scale track standards go to
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Terry Flynn wrote:

But for the ultimate in realism you want to go with clockwork powered engines, and stop at every coaling tower to insert the key and wind it up to full.
--
Steve Caple

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Steve Caple wrote:
>> DC produces as much realism, > > But for the ultimate in realism you want to go with clockwork powered > engines, and stop at every coaling tower to insert the key and wind > it up to full.
LOL! Good one!
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the
DC is not necessarily any cheaper. The Zephyr system from Digitrax is about $160, and decoders are anywhere from $10-$25. A high-end DC pack can go up to about $500. It just depends on what you want to get.
A low-end DC pack is cheaper than a low-end DCC set, but I wouldn't be caught dead with most cheap DC packs. My Spectrum DC pack can't even run the train it came with at rated scale speed.

You're expecting he's going to keep his layout that small forever? He said he was *starting* with a small layout. As his layout grows, his wiring will become more and more complex with DC, and he will need to design in isolated blocks.
It is

http://www.broadway-limited.com / http://www.tonystrains.com/locomotive/index.htm
The guy's a newbie. If he's a newbie, he's going to be buying locos. May as well buy locos with DCC built in. I think we all agree that BL locos are not any more expensive than non-DCC locos of the same level of quality, *and* they also have sound. If he doesn't want anything BL has to offer, just have Tony's do the work.
Or just buy DCC ready. Real difficult to install that decoder. "My goodness, how do I fit this plug into its matching socket?!"
This is a non-issue, especially for a newbie who's buying new locos.

independent
And momentum, and throttle response curves, and sound effects (if installed), and consisting, and constant lighting, etc. etc.
Wind-up toys have as much realism as DCC too, except for all those things.

All track plans are suited to DCC. Some are *not* suited to DC.

Easier to find?? You can find DCC equipment anywhere! I won't even bother listing urls; throw a rock and you'll hit a site or find a local hobby shop that sells DCC.
I just see no reason not to go DCC. It gives you more options (you can even run DC on a DCC layout if you want), more flexibility, more room to grow and I think it's just more fun to watch your trains actually run prototypically. If you're worried about spending $160 for a DCC setup vs. $100 or whatever for a decent DC pack, then I don't know what to tell you. $60 in the grand scheme of a layout, considering all that $60 is going to buy you, seems like a pretty small investment to me.
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Jim Bernier wrote:

I wonder about the new Chicago Museum of Science and Industry layout. It was so costly it seems like they must have gone DC and tried to automate that.
--
Steve Caple

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Is theremore than 1 train running on each loop? No real need for automation....
Jim Bernier
Steve Caple wrote:

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Jim Bernier wrote:

Sure, and you don't need pesky signals like the prototype does.
Greg.P.
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I got a bunch of NJ International sound modules back when they were making them. Not really complex devices but they do make a chuffing sound that varies according to the track voltage. They ran at about $15 each as I recall.
-- Bob May Losing weight is easy! If you ever want to lose weight, eat and drink less. Works every time it is tried!
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NJ International modules for about $15 back when they had them. The secret is to make the sound only loud enough to be heard when you are somewhat close to the loco. Hearing a sound system across the room is inviting problems with being able to reproduce any kind of sound well. With a system like the PFM system, the sound is best sent to a large speaker under the railroad and the loco both if you really want to hear the stuff loud.
-- Bob May Losing weight is easy! If you ever want to lose weight, eat and drink less. Works every time it is tried!
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wrote:

No way, Terry, I know you love DC but even you cannot say that wiring for progressive block control is easy. The club DC layout ( 9 metres x 5 metres, about 50 metres main line, double track ) only has about 8 blocks in each direction, about 40 blocks for the yards, all wired back to control panels, used about 500 metres of twin core wire ( + dropper wires to each piece of track ) and took over 6 months to wire and troubleshoot. I will never be so stupid as to do that again. In contrast, my home DCC layout ( 6m x 3.7m with centre peninsula , 30 metres main line, single track with 4 passing loops/stations ) used about 30 metres of main buss wire with every piece of track joined to it with droppers, about 4 under layout section isolation switches. Most of the wiring time was spent soldering droppers and it was running in a week. I will eventually get a PM42 to split it into proper power districts to stop derailment shutdowns, maybe 20 metres more buss wire. With friends, I have had up to 10 trains running, on my own, 3 is all I can safely manage.
snip

Then how does it produce as much realism if lights are not independently controlled ?

Very difficult to match different makes/gearing with DC to get to run at same speed

With a stationary loco? OK, you can put a bridge across the motor to increase the start voltage or some other fiddle to keep enough voltage on the track to run lights but that is more complicated than installing a decoder. Why bother with DC constant lighting ?

snip
Agreed, generally, the smaller the track plan, it is less suited to DC for running more than one loco.

No block switching ? what about the hidden yard , no blocks in it ? Only 2 trains on the layout ? BORING BORING
    Zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz Snore
And do the public really like watching it run ? How about a goods yard with constant shunting (switching) action ? They maybe spend about 30 seconds watching a roundy-round, whereas some people will spend 5 minutes or more watching shunting and asking questions.
That same layout, with a goods yard, could have 4 operating trains visible at any one time, one Zephyr, 3 UT1s, 4 operators having fun, and lots of action for the public to see. And ONLY 1 BLOCK if you really, really want it simple ( not recommended though )

Not in my opinion, the wiring is too complicated if you want to run more than one loco. Cheaper ?? what is your leisure time worth to you ? If you love to spend lots of hours doing wiring, go for it, I prefer to spend my time running trains or building something, wiring is not my ideal pastime. Alan in beautiful Golden Bay, Western Oz, South 32.25.42, East 115.45.44 GMT+8 VK6 YAB ICQ 6581610 to reply, change oz to au in address
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One of the things that I do to control the speed characteristics of a loco is to weight it. You want to weight a loco so that it slows down to about half speed before starting to slip the drivers. When you do this you end up with locos that, by themselves, can run at different speeds but when you start pulling a load together, the fast loco tends to pull as much of the load as possible and the slower loco takes up the rest of the load. You also do want to doublehead locos only when it really is necessary to do so. Otherwise, the locos will be just fighting with each other.
-- Bob May Losing weight is easy! If you ever want to lose weight, eat and drink less. Works every time it is tried!
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On Thu, 12 Feb 2004 07:01:34 +1300, Gregory Procter

Yeah? So what's the downside?
Jeff Sc. Duck And Run, Ga.
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not.fishplate wrote:

The internal walls are 6" thick reinforced concrete!

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Gregory Procter wrote:

Shaped charges, that's the ticket.
--
Steve Caple

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