Moving to DCC

All,
I'm thinking of jumping into DCC. My currently layout has two ovals, with many insulfrog turnouts, and a number of isolated sections (at the end of sidings/station platform area).
Does the collective expertise of the group recommend:- 1) i use electrofrog turnouts ? 2) get rid of the isolating sections ? as part of the move to DCC.
I also have a Reversing loop, which I understand will require a special module, which I don't see in the new Hornby range - can I use a Lenz one? (ie are this kind of thing interchangeable?)
I'm limiting scope to just the track and loco's right now, not doing point motors, but I do want to expand the system in later years, preferably without dumping it all and starting again. I was thinking of the new Hornby Elite, or perhaps the group can recommend alternatives. My budget is not that big - perhaps 200 including 5 decoders (am thinking Lenz gold in this case)
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
Ian Cornish wrote:

I strongly suggest you join the DCCUK Yahoo group.

For a new layout, I would recommend Electrofrog.
For converting an existing layout I would keep what you have, at least in the first instance. If you already have problems with short locos stalling on your points then that would be a good reason to consider changing to electrofrog. You should get much better slow running with DCC so if you have any locos you know to be marginal then you may see these locos stall on insulfrog (lower speed, less momentum to carry them forward).
Electrofrog will need wiring correctly - see http://www.wiringfordcc.com/ - the same is true when used on DC but the symptoms are potentially much worse on DCC with multi-amp boosters.
That site also suggests some jumpers that can be fitted to insulfrog to improve reliability but they are not absolutely required.

Just close the switches so that they are not isolated.

Yes.
More reason not to replace all your points, or is that just the budget for the electronics?
MBQ
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

Good advise, though they can sometimes start speaking Klingon to a new convert expecting him to understand all.

Good advise, mine too. However, do an internet search for the converstion to make peco points not reliable on the wiper contact and convert your points, it gives much better performance

Indeed, all very good advise.
You should get much better slow running with

ust close the switches so that they are not isolated.

Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
Ian Cornish wrote:

Another reason to keep the isolating sections is that you can use them to stable non-chipped locos. You can usually run one DC loco under DCC by selecting address 0. Don't try it on anything with a coreless motor, however.
MBQ
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
snipped-for-privacy@hotmail.com wrote:

How do I know if I have a coreless motor ?
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
On 12/01/2006 18:58, Ian Cornish said,

I think the answer is pretty much that if you haven't built it yourself with a coreless motor then it hasn't got a coreless motor!
--
Paul Boyd
http://www.paul-boyd.co.uk /
  Click to see the full signature.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
"Ian Cornish" wrote

1) DCC should work well with both Insul and Electrofrog points, although there is a general consensus that Electrofrog gives better running.
2) Why bother - just turn the switches on.
There's nothing magical about DCC requirements except you don't need separate electrical circuits for each track.

Why are you considering Hornby's DCC system? No-one has any experience of it todate and I'd want to be looking at one of the established brands at this stage.

Take a long look at the Lenz Compact and their 'Silver' decoders (these are GBP4.00 cheaper than the 'Gold' version and have virtually all of the same features). You'll be around your two hundred pound budget when discounts are taken into account, and you'd be getting a tried and proven system.
John.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
John, You sold me on the silver. ! I'll have one please !
Andy
Take a long look at the Lenz Compact and their 'Silver' decoders (these are GBP4.00 cheaper than the 'Gold' version and have virtually all of the same features). You'll be around your two hundred pound budget when discounts are taken into account, and you'd be getting a tried and proven system.
John.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
"Andy Sollis- Churnet Valley model Railway Dept." wrote in

If that's an order Andy, I need to you confirm it off-group please.
John.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
John Turner wrote:

All,
Thanks for this input...
Have joined DCCUK now...
Now I know the Hornby stuff won't be out until Q4, that means I'll be looking at Lenz or others.
On the reversing loop, do I need the LK100 Reverse loop box, or can I suffice with the DPDT switch I currently have (The loop just runs across the middle oval, and the track is totally isolated, except through a centre-off DPDT switch to control the direction of the juice.)
TIa
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
wrote:

Your DPDT switch will work just fine, and unlike DC you can switch it while the train is running. Of couse like DC you will get a short if you forget to switch it.
Using an auto reverser like the LK100 you don't need to remember, The auto reverser does not have to be from Lenz, the new one from Gaugemaster is worth a price check.
An alternative method is to use the points at each end of your reversing track to set the polarity, can be equally foolproof and quite a bit cheaper than the auto-reversers.
Keith
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
John Turner wrote:

I've been mulling the idea of changing over to DCC for a while. This will beem like an obvious question but I can't work it out!
If my locos have seperate head and tail lights how many functions does the decoder need? Do I need one function for red and one for white or can I get away with a single function?
peter
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
"naked_draughtsman" wrote

If you want to be able to operate both independently then you need two functions.
John.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
On Thu, 12 Jan 2006 19:03:12 -0000, "John Turner"

And two for the other end if the loco is reversible.
Most decoders have two functions that can be set up to operate from one control but direction dependent. You can use these for either head or tail lights then use two independent functions for the other. this lets you turn the tail lights off when coupled to a train and keep the headlights on. Keith

Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
wrote:

But be aware that the latest r-t-r releases fitted with head and tail-lights don't have "4 function" lights. The usual standard is to have headlights at one end and tail lights at the other wired to function 1 and the opposite head and tail to function 2. There are modifications to be done to the internal circuit boards to make the tail lights work independently from function 3 & 4. Instructions for at least the Hornby 31 and 60, Bachmann 57 & 66 are well documented either in this newsgroup or on DCCUK.
Cheers, Mick
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
All,
I'm thinking of jumping into DCC. My currently layout has two ovals, with many insulfrog turnouts, and a number of isolated sections (at the end of sidings/station platform area). Does the collective expertise of the group recommend:- 1) i use electrofrog turnouts ? 2) get rid of the isolating sections ? as part of the move to DCC.
Ian, As suggested, flick the switches to on, and look at a Lenz system. You can also use a computer I see so have a look at SPROG II for programming on your computer. Dead easy, our again Lenz do a similar unit.
See JT at 53a, He'll not sell you anything you don't want.
Andy P.S. Think I have insulfrogs on my DCC layout. I don't remember !
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

As long as you buy a system from one of the Big-4 you should be fine Digitrax, Easy DCC, Lenz, NCE. All of them work fine and differ mainly in user features and options- and not very much in that area either.
Before you start fretting about reversing loops, take a few moments to look at the features of your system of choice. Some of them have built-in reverse loop functionality. In any case, there are several ways to handle reverse looping either manually or automatically, either of which is easier than doing it with straight DC.
Assuming that your system of choice does not have built-in reverse loop functionality: The simplest way is to isolate the loop at both ends and use a manual DPDT switch. As soon as the train is inside the loop simply throw the points and flip the switch. Since "forward" is always forward with DCC, you don't have to instruct the loco which way to go. Whichever way it is going when you flip the switch, it will continue to go after. Very much unlike conventional DC, where you control the track and not the train. It is a simple matter to orient the switch such that the handle indicates the direction from which the loco enters to avoid momentary short circuits.
If you are a bit more electrically creative, you can integrate the points and the polarity switch into a single switch such that they are perpetually in correspondence.
If you simply loathe doing electrical work, and have plenty of money, you can buy modules to perform this task. But you still have to hook them up yourself !!!
I have been a Digitrax DCC user for eleven years now and I would never go back to conventional DC by choice. It's not for everyone, but if you can use it, it's wonderful.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

Hmm, I wouldn't put the Bachmann system on any list of mine, but agree that Digitrax & Lenz are generally regarded as first rate. I've not come across NCE in the UK.
Gaugemaster have recently started selling a rebadged MRC Prodigy DCC system and it seems to have been readily accepted so far. Do you have any personal knowledge or experience of the USA produced MRC system?
John.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

Question mark? None of the ones I listed are Bachmann
Easy DCC is the child of Keith Gutierrez who was the fellow who "invented" CTC16 here in the states in C.1974. CTC16 metamorphosed into CTC80 by the time Digitrax and Bernd Lenz came along with DCC. CTC16 was a very early form of train control that was improved upon by DCC. Go here to see more: http://www.cvpusa.com /
NCE is North Coast Engineering. NCE produces an excellent product that is much used and respected in Australia. http://www.ncedcc.com/ncetest/nce2.htm
As regards the USA produced MRC system; It is not held in very high regard, and is generally considered "second tier" in the DCC line-up. It works, but just, and is beset with limitations. I do not know if the UK MRC is the same, better or worse. I have only used the MRC system at trade shows, and do not care for it at all. I would not buy it willingly.
If your UK method of operation differs markedly from the way we do it here, then a system with what are perceived as limitations over here, may not be limitations for you. As a UK modeler and hobby dealer, you are in a better position to determine that part of the equation than am I. I still have much to learn about the operating of UK prototype railroads and UK model railways.
What I do know is that the four systems I mentioned are full-featured systems that will allow the operator to do anything that can be done with DCC. They are, in the present day context of the word, unlimited systems. Lenz probably has the least number of "features" of the four, Digitrax, the most.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
Sorry I was confusing Easy DCC with Bachmann's E-Z Command system.
Easy DCC and NCE are not generally available in the UK.
John.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

Polytechforum.com is a website by engineers for engineers. It is not affiliated with any of manufacturers or vendors discussed here. All logos and trade names are the property of their respective owners.