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
Reply to
Sailor
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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
Reply to
Wolf K
"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.
Reply to
John Turner
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
Reply to
Fred X
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
Reply to
Trev
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.
Reply to
Wolf K
Yes, I appreciate the length of teeth involved but it just seemed something to poke about with once I actually finish building the room which may provide a site. My old room is now destined to become a bedroom (as originally intended).
The holy grail of batteries is still being sought (I was in my 20's almost 50 years ago when our navy scientists were starting the search), I can't see any signs of progress yet!
The question "why change" is simply that I have exhausted the techniques required for complex single handed operation with DC (single handed because no one I know this side of the channel is remotely interested in BR modelling). I reached the point where 6 trains running and one shunting became too much of a handful. The ramp up & down worked, the ToTs worked , all the points and interlocks worked and now ------ I have my very own Beeching period.
Is it then reasonable that Hornby have now made a working DCC system? Or, is it just a tad simplistic?
Regards
Reply to
Sailor
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?
Reply to
James Goode
I agree, although that infra-red system from someone along those lines ( boom boom) ( exactoscale?) seems to have gone nowhere. No more track cleaning!
In terms of battery life I'd suggest leaving the track energised, in sections at least, so that the batteries could more or less constantly trickle charge. A Bluetooth radio chip costs under a quid in moderate volume, combine that with a current DCC chip and you're most of the way there.
Reply to
airsmoothed
Yes, I appreciate the length of teeth involved but it just seemed something to poke about with once I actually finish building the room which may provide a site. My old room is now destined to become a bedroom (as originally intended).
The holy grail of batteries is still being sought (I was in my 20's almost 50 years ago when our navy scientists were starting the search), I can't see any signs of progress yet!
The question "why change" is simply that I have exhausted the techniques required for complex single handed operation with DC (single handed because no one I know this side of the channel is remotely interested in BR modelling). I reached the point where 6 trains running and one shunting became too much of a handful. The ramp up & down worked, the ToTs worked , all the points and interlocks worked and now ------ I have my very own Beeching period.
Is it then reasonable that Hornby have now made a working DCC system? Or, is it just a tad simplistic?
Regards
I would agrre with John --- > 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.
Reply to
simon
[...]
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.
Reply to
Wolf K
[...]
Hornby's first attempt at digital control were idiosyncratic. Their current system is NMRA-compliant. I've read mixed reviews of it, but based on those I would say it's a good starter system.
HTH wolf k.
Reply to
Wolf K
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
Reply to
Nigel Cliffe
"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.
Reply to
John Turner
"Wolf K" wrote
I'd spend a little bit more and get something more user friendly - maybe an NCE Power Cab or similar.
John.
Reply to
John Turner
Have got an Elite, works a treat doing everything claimed for it. If it has all the functions you want (inc computer connection) then go for it.
Picked up an unused Select for £30 recently, am using it just to control points cos simple for me and tot to use. If you just want a very basic system and prepared to be careful on which decoders you use (ie latest hornby) then its fine.
As stated it seems DCC stalled as to where going next and standards to use, so wouldnt buy anything more expensive than Elite without good reason.
Bachmann Dynamis is expensive for what it does esp with pro box - bet theres some very disgruntled users about.
Cheers, Simon
Reply to
simon
That's interesting. I've only really looked at the various adverts and some websites so far but NCE feels "right". I'll be off to see one or two specialists during the autumn but if you want to share your thinking about NCE I for one would be grateful (and yes, I know you said "or similar" but when someone names a product there is often a positive reason).
Reply to
Graham Harrison
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
Reply to
John Dennis
"Graham Harrison" wrote
I bought a Power Cab towards the back end of last year, but it remains in its box unused - mainly because my ancient Lenz system still works very reliably and does all I currently want it to do.
I was attracted to the NCE unit because others had said it was a very logical system to use - much more user-friendly than others appear to be.
The worst DCC set-up I've tried is the Hornby Select, it's not at all intuitive and many of the features appear to be real hit & miss as to whether they work first time, or whether you've to repeatedly ask the thing to do the required task. Might be a duff one I was playing with, but on the strength of that I'd say avoid. Don't think (from memory) that you can tweak CVs with it - and that's a real essential for all but very basic DCC operation.
John.
Reply to
John Turner
I'm pretty ambivalent about DCC, but the Elite looks like the best bet for my purposes, the only significant drawback, for some, I can see is that operation of the functions ( particualrly for sound locos) would be a pain.
Reply to
airsmoothed

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