Author Topic: DCC for Home N Scale  (Read 2076 times)

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Puddington

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DCC for Home N Scale
« on: September 09, 2009, 08:21:24 AM »
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As I approach the re-building of the PVR I am toying with the idea of DCC.."THUD" (That sound you heard was Lee falling off his bar stool)

I would like opinions from the local gentry about their experiences with the selection of a DCC system; given the following conditions;

1. layout will be small - 10 x 12 room; round the wall with a penisula, single level w/ hidden staging - continuous run option; but lots of switching.
2. owner isn't electrically inclined, nor interested in mega programming - plug and play is the limit...
3. over 100 loco's are currently on the roster so I'd like the option of either Dc or DCC op's...


Any random thoughts would be appreciated.
Model railroading isn't saving my life, but it's providing me moments of joy not normally associated with my current situation..... Train are good!

Ian MacMillan

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Re: DCC for Home N Scale
« Reply #1 on: September 09, 2009, 08:36:12 AM »
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For me when I bought my DCC system many moons ago it was based on what was the most popular and most vocal at the time, and that was Digitrax.

I am still very satisfied with that decision and continue to use the boosters from my old Empire Builder system.

I have used decoders from Lenz and NEC and I like their products. However oddly for being Northeast companies, I have a hard time finding them stocked in the LHS's up here....odd. Sometimes I just need to have something now instead of wait a day for it.

I actually also really like the NEC systems. I have used the wireless and I was impressed with it, but I am going to stick with Digitrax mostly because I have mastered its learning curve, I have a crap load of their stuff, and 90% of the layouts in New England that I visit or can visit have Digitrax so bringing my own throttle is no issue.
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wm3798

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Re: DCC for Home N Scale
« Reply #2 on: September 09, 2009, 08:48:48 AM »
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The DC/DCC option shouldn't drive the decision.  Running N scale engines in analog mode on a DCC layout isn't a good idea for a lot of reasons.  If the layout is small, then start converting your fleet in a small way.   A passenger set, a road freight set and a couple of switchers will keep you amused, then over time, convert those that you wish to convert.  I used to know a guy that did chip installations... If I think of his name I'll let you know... ;)

For simplicity, I've heard that the NCE system is very user friendly, but as a user of the MRC Prodigy Advance, I can highly recommend it.  Very straightforward in both set up and function.  It has a couple of quirks, but don't they all?  They also have a very affordable full function wireless option, which I'm hoping to be able to add at some point.  I think from a cost standpoint, MRC is also the most affordable for the features that you get.  Another cost consideration is that you can use standard cat-5 computer cable and 8 pin phone jacks for your control bus.

While the MRC does not support analog operation, again, this isn't necessarily a bad thing.  If the layout is small enough, you could always wire a DPDT into your power supply bus to switch it back and forth from DCC to DC.

I'm gradually getting used to Digitrax systems, but I still get chills when I see the equipment set up and the instruction manual.  I'm sure their basic system is as accessible as the other entry level rigs, but again my experience with them is limited.

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John

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Re: DCC for Home N Scale
« Reply #3 on: September 09, 2009, 10:13:13 AM »
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Most of the wireless systems are not an option for Simon .. he lives in the UK, and there are some legal issues with transmitters ..

wm3798

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Re: DCC for Home N Scale
« Reply #4 on: September 09, 2009, 10:43:14 AM »
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While Canada is still a part of the realm, I don't think that will affect Pud, as he lives in Ontario...

Lee
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John

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Re: DCC for Home N Scale
« Reply #5 on: September 09, 2009, 11:51:44 AM »
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While Canada is still a part of the realm, I don't think that will affect Pud, as he lives in Ontario...

Lee

Oh crap .. must have another cup of coffee to wake up ..

Ian MacMillan

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Re: DCC for Home N Scale
« Reply #6 on: September 09, 2009, 12:46:57 PM »
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While Canada is still a part of the realm, I don't think that will affect Pud, as he lives in Ontario...

Lee

Oh crap .. must have another cup of coffee to wake up ..

Plus, Simon lives in Canada now...no longer one of those mysterious foreign country guys from the other side of the pond.
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Ntrainz1

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Re: DCC for Home N Scale
« Reply #7 on: September 09, 2009, 09:26:45 PM »
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I'm looking for the same information. I have a point to point layout, about 10 locos and just one operator. My DC powerpack/throttle recently failed, so since I am going to be spending money, I was wondering if I should upgrade to DCC. I like walk around control so I was thinking about wireless.

Thanks.

Bob.

wm3798

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Re: DCC for Home N Scale
« Reply #8 on: September 10, 2009, 08:06:44 AM »
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Bob,
At the risk of sounding like a Mac person in a room full of Windows, again, I can highly recommend MRC prodigy advance for your application.  It's a great value, wireless is available for about the same price as a not so wireless Digitrax system, and it's very easy to set up, learn, and use.

Lee
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Lee Weldon www.wmrywesternlines.net

davefoxx

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Re: DCC for Home N Scale
« Reply #9 on: September 10, 2009, 09:11:03 AM »
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Puddy,

I'm with Lee.  Running DC locomotives on a DCC layout is not only hard on the motors (overheating), but the squealing sound the motors make because of the AC current flowing through them will drive you bonkers.

As far as which DCC brand to purchase, I say get whatever is most available in your area and/or is what your friends are using.  For example, my LHS stocks Digitrax.  If I need a decoder in a hurry, I can get one without much delay.  Likewise, Brian Carhart (RockGp40) brings his MRC throtlle to ops sessions at Lee's, so we can run more trains.  I would consider these factors in addition to the characteristics/quirks of the DCC systems themselves.  That said, all DCC systems have pros and cons, as Lee pointed out.  He's used to his MRC system, which is greek to me.  I have Digitrax, which is a foreign language to him.  It's all about what you're used to.  Either system will work fine, once you've grown accustomed to it.

Hope this helps,
Dave Foxx

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Puddington

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Re: DCC for Home N Scale
« Reply #10 on: September 10, 2009, 07:24:15 PM »
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This is exactly why:

a/ I asked.

b/ I get the "willy's" when I think about DCC.............

I want simple and no one here has made that statement.. and I DO run a ton of locomotives; I like variety so I either have to mortgage my wife and child for decoders ( wait; is that legal.? Ah, nevermind, Line of Credit) or shelf a good deal of my fleet....Selection isn't an issue as I live an hour from North America's 4th largest city; Toronto, but the cost in Canadian peso's is high so, it's an issue......

I don't want to spend hours programming; I want to spend housr running.......

Is DCC worth it............?
Model railroading isn't saving my life, but it's providing me moments of joy not normally associated with my current situation..... Train are good!

wcfn100

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Re: DCC for Home N Scale
« Reply #11 on: September 10, 2009, 07:29:58 PM »
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It's probably is worth it.  There is a lot of up front $$$ and a learning cuve, but if you use it on a regular basis, it will become second nature and playing with the settings can actually be fun when you know how.

FWIW, how many people have you heard of going back to DC?


Jason

Bob Bufkin

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Re: DCC for Home N Scale
« Reply #12 on: September 10, 2009, 08:15:29 PM »
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Yeah it's worth it.  I was in the same boat 2 years ago and am still learning.  I've got a ton of loco's which don't have DCC yet and some probably never will.  Start with which one you really want to run first and go from there.

Now that being said - I've got a deal for you.  I just switched from a Prodigy Express to a Prodigy Advance 2.  You want the Prodigy Express DCC, it's yours.  You'll have to get a hand held throttle thou.  Anything to get a fellow N scaler into DCC.

Bob

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Re: DCC for Home N Scale
« Reply #13 on: September 11, 2009, 09:18:21 AM »
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Take Bob up on the Prodigy Express.  You can get a controller for about $60 US.  If and when you outgrow the Express' capabilities, you can "pay it forward" and get yourself an Advance2 with the wireless.

I can vouch for Bob's big heart and generous spirit!  (I also do most of his decoder installs, and he still likes DCC despite that!)

Lee
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Puddington

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Re: DCC for Home N Scale
« Reply #14 on: September 11, 2009, 11:05:03 AM »
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Yeah it's worth it.  I was in the same boat 2 years ago and am still learning.  I've got a ton of loco's which don't have DCC yet and some probably never will.  Start with which one you really want to run first and go from there.

Now that being said - I've got a deal for you.  I just switched from a Prodigy Express to a Prodigy Advance 2.  You want the Prodigy Express DCC, it's yours.  You'll have to get a hand held throttle thou.  Anything to get a fellow N scaler into DCC.

Bob

Bob: That's incredibly generous - I have sent you an e-mail.

Lee: decoder installs you say................................. ::)
Model railroading isn't saving my life, but it's providing me moments of joy not normally associated with my current situation..... Train are good!