Well, I was thinking about going DCC, but all this talk of low address
and high address and will it or won't it is putting me off. I thought
DCC was DCC was DCC. Isn't there supposed to be a standard for all this?
Nope, until it all works together to a common standard, I'll stick with
plain old DC, methinks.
There are standards. Short addresses can be 1 - 127 and long addresses
can be 1 - 10239. A bit in CV29 determines which type of address a
decoder will respond to. It's not difficult to understand and any
decoder that does not support this is not compliant with the relevant
bits of the standards (long addressing is optional but must be
implemented in full to be compliant).
When it comes to the user interface on the command station, some
manufacturers have, however, chosen to interpret the standards in their
own way and restrict users to, say, short adresses of 1 - 99 and long
addresses of 100 - 9999. They call it "differentiating" their product.
I call it deliberately confusing the user so that they stick to one
It does work to a common standard. Despite the confusion over
addresses, any compliant decoder can be made to work with any compliant
command station. At the same time, manufacturer specific features such
as transponding are allowed to co-exist with plain vanilla DCC.
"Paul Boyd" wrote
There really should be, and until there is universal compatibility and a
genuine 'plug & play' option then I think it acceptance is likely to be held
I've heard today that Hornby may well go along the route of fitting a
decoder to ALL of their locos. This I think will be a great mistake as
firstly it will undoubtedly add to the retail price, and secondly is
unlikely to be of a high enough spec to suit all DCC users.
There's also the issue of using chipped locos on analogue systems, where
locos fitted with feedback decoders will not always operate satisfactorily
with DC feedback controllers.
Yes, there is, the NMRA Standards and Recommended Practices for DCC.
Unfortunately, a number of manufacturers have decided they Know Better,
and refuse to play nice. Hornby is one of these; Marklin is another.
Note that both try to lock the buyer into their "systems", which is no
longer a good marketing strategy. You either produce stuff that will
play nice with other mfr's stuff, or you risk going under.
Actually, Hornby did go under, and so did Triang (who bought Hornby),
and so did Lionel, and more recently Marklin did too. Serve them right
IMO. The buyers of the Hornby marque seem poised to make the same
mistakes as the original. Dumb, if you ask me. (Don't mind me, I'm
feeling extra grumpy this morning.)
Stick with Lenz, Digitrax, NCE, Bachmann (limited, but
standards-compatible), MRC, and even Atlas.
DCC is 10-year-old technology on its way out.
Sending control signals via a rolling contact is inherently
unreliable, and the high-current square wave is not
Look at computer developments, and wait for the next
generation of wireless controls using the track for power
only -- not power + control signal.
The key underlying standard is the protocol and packet format that every
decoder, command station etc must comply to. As far as I can see the
Hornby decoder and command station meet these but are restricted in what
you can do with them which is price performance trade off. So pick the
system that meets yours. A system is only non-compliant if it won't work
with these protocols OMHO.
Granted, but ---
DCC is a software spec, not a hardware spec. NMRA does recommend wiring
harness colours and format, so that any decoder can be plugged into any
loco. IMO, the DCC spec is just as compatible with wireless signals as
with rail-carried ones.
That's why the protocol was designed to, and does, overcome the
problems, very effectively.
Eh? If you mean EMC problems then say so. It has little to do with the
environment in the normal sense of the word. Can you give any
references to documented and verified cases (rather rthan urban myths)
of DCC causing any problems?
The power pickup is still through your inherently unreliable rolling
contact. Just look at DC.
Where will the antennae fit on the loco without looking hideous or
preventing the use of tunnels?
How will it work when fitted to an O gauge brass or white metal loco
without spending a fortune tuning the antenna system?
What qualifications do you have to be able pontificate on wireless DCC?
Just because you can buy a bluetooth earpiece for your mobile 'phone,
it doesn't mean that it, or any similar technology, will be applied to
model railways in a way that can produced economically for the mass
Actually it is 30 year technology - Lenz patented if around 1978.
Rolling contact is inherently what we have in wheeled vehicles rolling
on metal tracks.
Possible alternatives are;
- self-contained battery power, which is more expensive and often not
- power transmission by induction, with potential health hazzards.
That's a problem of 30 year old technology - more environmentally
friendly wave forms are now practical.
It seems to me that we're doing quite well with power + control signal
through the track and that there are more than enough signals floating
through the air already.
The short address of those decoders probably is 3. The other system will
have set the long address to some greater value, but the Compact doesn't
read that. The decoder won't run with a Compact until you have
programmed a new address which will probably also flip the bit in CV29
which selects between long and short addresses. Note that the Compact
can program any CV regardless of what the address is set to (even if
set to a long address which is obviously outside the Compact's address