The old chestnut -- DCC

Well being in mid scrap of my DC system and having sold off most of the locos it occurs to me that I can still have a smaller outfit and
try this DCC lark. Question! Which is the state of the art and recommended kit?
regards
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Sailor wrote:

State of the art is sound, wireless connection between handheld controller and base station, with a couple of wireless-direct-to-the-loco systems on the horizon.
Recommended: any system that won't damage your wallet beyond repair, and that conforms to NMRA standards and recommended practices. The latter allows you to mix and match decoders (chips) etc as you wish.
Eg: Lenz, Digitraxx, MRC, NCE, Bachmann Dynamis, Hornby.
FWIW, I'm going with MRC on my small shelf layout. Just have to tune a couple of turnouts so passing wheels won't short from running rail to open point. May have to rebuild them.
HTH
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"Sailor" wrote

The first question shouldn't be which system - it should be why do I want to switch to DCC? I'm not saying don't switch, just be sure WHY you want to go along that route.
DCC is now 25 year old technology (albeit somewhat refined), and I'm not totally convinced that it represents anything other that a relatively short-term future for model train control.
We can't be far away from the time when small, quickly rechargeable batteries & some form of remote control might offer a better option. Such a system would eliminate both current pick-up issues and the need for track wiring.
John.
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wrote:

There aren't any batteries available at the moment or in the near future that could fit in an OO loco and give a decent running time. It's the same with electric cars where it's the battery technology that is holding back the development.
Fred X
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Fred X wrote:

May be a power to weight ratio thing for cars But Model locos don't have to be 12v and there are some small rechargeable Batteries in cameras and such. Although a 10 hour exhibition layout would need team off Volunteer recharges
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Trev wrote:

12v and there are some small rechargeable Batteries in cameras and such. Although a 10 hour exhibition layout would need team off Volunteer recharges
I agree with John, present day DCC is a a phase. We'll see direct to loco wireless control (digital, so the DCC standards won't disappear entirely), battery powered, but with power on the rails just to (re)charge the batteries. That's an advantage MRR would over RC vehicles and planes. ;-)
The batteries are available now, I think. Eg, an ad offers the RC people batteries from 7.4V to 11.1V, 3300mAh to 8000mAh capacities. The pictures aren't scaled, but I'd guess they would fit nicely into an HO/OO diesel or a medium sized tender. Might have to MU diesels, considering the amount of space a motor takes, not a problem for US/Can prototype, a little harder to justify fo UK outline.
Now I bet someone will "patent" this obvious development of a the technologies we already have. You saw it here first, folks! I claim ownership of the concept. Har har.
cheers, wolf k.
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On Wed, 19 Aug 2009 13:24:22 -0400, Wolf K wrote:

Wireless control? That sounds complicated - it would have to be digital, and at a high-ish frequency for exhibitions where there could be hundreds of locos in range. Would it cost a lot more than track-based DCC, at least for smaller gauges?
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James Goode wrote:

[...]
Please reread my post, specially: "We'll see direct to loco wireless control (digital,...)..."
A network is a network is a network. Wireless just means that the members of the network don't use wires for sending messages to each other. No problems with many laptops or iPhones, etc, in the same room, so why should there be problems with wireless-capable decoders in li'l locomotives?
Cost is relative to need or desire. Technically, wireless direct-to-locomotive is feasible now. Cellphones (mobiles) etc have very small transceivers in them - most of the device's bulk consists of keyboard and/or display. The main engineering problem is to arrange the transceiver and decoder circuitry so that it will fit the usual decoder form-factor. That will be the main source of cost.
OTOH, G gauge locos are large enough that a small cellphone would fit inside one. IOW it's possible to hack a cellphone to control a locomotive. If model railways had greater appeal for the under-30s, the hack would have already been done. May it _has_ already been done... ;-) It's mostly a programming job, you'd have to write an application that translates incoming data into signals for a standard decoder. One advantage: such a setup would make it simpler to address a locomotive, since it would be the cellphone's number.
Keep in mind two things: a) a DCC decoder is actually a small computer, designed to do a few jobs without further programming, but otherwise behaving like any computer connected to a network: it responds only to input signals intended for it, and ignores all other network traffic. Present-day DCC uses the rails as the network wires, which is not an ideal solution, to put it gently. Wireless would provide cleaner signals much less prone to degradation and corruption.
b) "Smart phones" (iPhone, Blackberry, and their competitors) are actually handheld computers of really quite amazing power - more than a typical desktop of a few years ago! A decoder is much simpler than a cellphone, so it should be much cheaper to build a wireless version, even in the (relatively) small quantities desired by the model railway market.
That's enough speculation for this evening. Yawn...
Good night all. wolf k.
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airsmoothed wrote:

There is European chap (German I think) with battery operated DCC for controlling the Faller HO cars; these take small onboard batteries to power the chip and the motor of the car, the car receives instructions from IR transmitters for speed and lights, the cars even have distance sensing (avoids rear-ending the next vehicle along the queue !).
So, battery is possible, the question is whether its worth someone doing the quite large investment to tool up and make a system which actually works. Then they need to get the system adopted as a standard, otherwise we'll have a dozen incompatible battery radio/IR systems.
I remain unsure whether battery systems will really work in N, but don't see why they cannot be done in the majority of OO models if enough investment were made to develop the components; there isn't a massive loss of loco weight, one just substitutes batteries for the lead/mazak ballast weights.
- Nigel
--
Nigel Cliffe,
Webmaster at http://www.2mm.org.uk/
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Nigel Cliffe wrote:

That sounds like it'd be Paul from my local club. He's Dutch. He's an electronics bloke and adapts the models himself. Saves a fortune compared to the Faller models.
-- Rod
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"Fred X" wrote

I didn't say there was, I just suggested that we might not be far from the time when such technology becomes available.
If a loco need recharging after running for 10-15 minutes, then I don't see that as an issue providing it was possible to charge the batteries in-situ - possibly on a recharging track or through a simple plug-in charger arrangement.
I don't see this as being any more of a handicap than the real railway having to re-coal or water steam loco's, or add fuel to a diesel. It's not as if most enthusiasts have just one loco available.
John.
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That might be acceptable for a through station with fiddle yards at each end, or perhaps fiddle-yard to terminus (although 15 real minutes isn't a long time to shunt and reverse a train). On my walkaround layout (fiddle yard, two through stations and a terminus) locos spend much more than 15 minutes out on the road.
I agree that technology is moving so quickly that this approach, batteries, trickle fed from rails, with direct radio comms to the decoder in the loco, is likely to become common. It's just not there yet...
JohnD
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wrote:

Yeah, they'll no doubt sell it with a realism angle just like with Hornby's Live Steam system. "Watch your train run out fuel/steam inbetween stations, just like the real thing!" :)
Fred X
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Whatever happened the Hornby Live Steam range?
Died the not unexpected death?
--
Cheers.

Roger T.
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I think they announce a new loco about once every two years; but it does seem to me that it is the technological dead end / executive toy several of us predicted, by and large. An impressive achievement that they ( OK their Chinese subcontractor) could actually turn a hand crafted prototype into a manufacturable CE approved product though, IMHO.
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airsmoothed wrote:

As I've said before, I'm of the opinion that it was used to open new markets. I live in NL and I know that there was absolutely no Hornby presence in the shops before the advent of this system. Now there is. I'm pretty convinced that the novelty aspect forced people to want one and so the shops had to take up the rest of the range. The Hornby stuff arrived before the Bachman stuff and there's still note Hornby stuff than Bachman stuff in the big towns. -- Rod
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Yes, I imagine that the Live Steam range has probably been cost effective in terms of publicity generated for Hornby, there were features here on the TV news, BBC website etc.
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wrote:

I thought live steam was a great product but with limited market - to me it required a long layout (eg in garden) and wouldnt be of so much interest to collectors. Had an LMS Pacific been developed then may well have bought one and built a basic garden layout just for the fun of it.
Cheers, Simon
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The valve gear was too complicated to replicate in 1:76 live steam.
--
Martin S.

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wrote:

Thanks, I had been wondering why it wasnt done.
Cheers, Simon
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