DCC? should I or not?

Having just started a new layout and coincidentally a much better paid job I'm undecided what system to go for. I have quite a bit of old DC stuff but
it needs replacing in any case. Is there a simple DCC system anyone can recommend? At the most I will have 3 locos on the layout at any one time (its an industrial/shunting type thing) and I dont need to control points or signals. Any suggestions? Mike H
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jimedvic wrote:

IMO you don't need DCC.
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Well, yes. But this is a hobby. It's not about what you need :-) it's about what is fun.
On a small layout with 3 locos, I would go DCC. For three locos a small layout will have tiny blocks, and the operator(s) will spend more time fiddling with 3-throw switches than playing trains. With DCC, the wiring of a small layout will likely be simplified, and during operation you can think about trains and not about how the track is wired.
That last point is my test for a correctly wired DCC layout -- if you think about the wiring correctly during construction, you should *never* have to think about how the track is wired during normal operations. (Debugging shutdowns is outside of normal operations.)
The Digitrax Zypher is hard to beat for small layouts.
-dave
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On Tue, 28 Sep 2004 17:53:32 -0400, Wolf Kirchmeir

IMO you don't /need/ a railway layout at all.
Me, I have a layout. And DCC :-)
Guy
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I've been running DCC for over 6 years now.
Since money doesn't appear to be an issue, the real questions are "How many operators will you have?" and "Do you want to park the unused locomotives in exactly the same place every time?".
If your want more than one operator at a time, or want one train to run continuously while your shunter darts on and off the main, then you'll probably want DCC. If you want to not have to worry about exactly where a locomotive is parked when you stop one and start another, or want to be able to start a train with a helper pushing then dropping away, you want DCC. If complicated wiring of multiple tracks and selecting cabs bothers you, you want DCC.
If you're afraid to open a locomotive shell to get at the motor, or can't solder 4 wires, you don't want DCC. If you don't care about the freedom of operation from the above advantages, you don't need DCC.
Don't let size fool you. DCC can be even MORE fun on a small layout. I was operating one of the small vac-formed Noch layouts a couple of years ago for "Christmas on Campus" at our local college (College kids bring in city children who might not have a good Christmas that year... It's a big party!) and was using DCC on a 2x3 foot layout, running one train continuously around the loop while another darted in and out of sidings, running ahead, ducking in behind, even jumping from siding to siding in the opposite direction... all with only two wires feeding to the layout, and only 1 locomotive with a decoder installed. The kids ate it up... as did the Electrical Engineering majors! <<grin>>
Your old DC stuff _might_ be worth converting if it runs reasonably well, and of course you don't have to change the rolling stock/vans/coaches. If you're starting from scratch on a layout, a small DCC system won't cost you much more than wiring the layout to give you the same flexibility with analog control with three cabs and power packs... and you won't have to add rotary switches and rewire the whole thing if you decide to go to 4 locomotives.
Your best bets will probably be the Digitrax Zephyr system, or the smaller of the Lenz systems. (I don't recall the model number - see their web site.)
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Joe Ellis

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Joe Ellis schrieb:
[...]

AFAIK only numbers up to 99 could be programmed with the smaller Lenz-systems, and thats not much if you are trying to set something like max-speed with a range up to 255 ;-)
Hence I suggest the Digitrax Zephyr, which gaves you all programming capacities you need. The limitation of the smaller Digitrax systems is the number of simultaneous controlled locos (Ten will be enought for most smaller layouts). Two of your old DC-Controllers could be used as additional throttles.
See Digitrax-page: http://www.digitrax.com/prd_zep_basic_set.php
for infos about the Zephyr, with downlaod of the manual etc.
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Christian Lindecke
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On Tue, 28 Sep 2004 21:31:49 +0000 (UTC), "jimedvic"

Well I just went DCC and my layout is only 8ftX2ft with a grand total of three locos.
My reasoning was that with such a small space, and such a limited amount of locos, it will be important to get as much realism as possible from the layout. DCC allows me to park locos where I see fit without the need for sectional switches, and most important to me, the abilty to have running lights on all locos at all times. (if I want) I also quite fancy having on-board sound at some stage too, especially once I get my high-level line and DMU up and running.
Pete
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but
or
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jimedvic wrote:

If you decide to go with DCC, I'll throw in a plug for Uhlenbrock controllers which are not often seen in the UK. On smaller layouts, the Daisy or Fred are particularly good. (I think you need either a big master unit, or a "Daisy system", plus as many Freds as you feel you need).
I've operated a layout which uses original Fremo Fred's (slightly different to the Uhlenbrock units which are derived from the Fremo design - serious DIY electronics people can get the Fred design from the Fremo website and build their own). The Fremo Fred is beautifully simple; a speed regulator knob, direction switch and a few tiny function keys. No typing in numbers or scrolling up and down lists to select a loco. Loco selection was done by which controller was selected; there were five Freds each matched to one of the five locomotives. Plug in the Fred anywhere (telephone style sockets) and start driving. Put the Fred down, and select another for a different loco.
- Nigel
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Just the type of layout that benefits from DCC.
Have a look at EasyDCC. www.cvpusa
I know of a pre-owned EasyDCC that's up for sale if you're interested.
jimedvic wrote:

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Well, it looks like I may well be a convert! At the moment I'm tempted by either the ZTC system or the Digtrax. Both seem to offer me what I'm looking for although purely on the cosmetics I prefer the ZTC. As the layout is still at the bare baseboard stage I think I'll hold off for a few weeks until I've been to some more exhibitions and hopefully had chance to see them in action. (Gives me more time to finish some loco kits too!) Mike H
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Ive been extremly happy with Digitrax, not one problem or failure. Their Z decoders fit a treat in most Locos inc. the Terrier Rob

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"Rob" wrote

Hi Rob,
Your advice is sound for someone living on your side of the *pond*, but here in the UK Lenz are the market leaders and very highly thought of too.
The downside with Digitrax here in the UK is that back-up is nowhere near as easy to find, whereas the number of Lenz dealers is increasing on a weekly basis.
John.
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Good point... Digitrax office is about 10 miles from where I live..

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ZTC is very pricey compared with the others offering the same or more.
As I suggested before, look at EasyDCC. If you like the 'cosmetics' of ZTC then you should like EasyDCC.
jimedvic wrote:

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but
or
Another (eventual) advantage of DCC will be automatic control of couplings. When that becomes more prevalent, then the one biggest drawback of all model railways (coupling wise) will be gone - the inability to uncouple wherever you want. DCC auto uncoupling will effectively see the ability to run a model railway much more like the real thing than ever really previously possible.
Anybody any gen on such systems already available?
Ian J.
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<<snip>>

"..eventual...??" <<grin>>
There's an outfit here in the US that has been demonstrating it at train shows for a couple of years... in N scale. It works beautifully!
See the web site:
http://onlyNdcc.com /
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Joe Ellis

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