Author Topic: Is DCC A Good Investment?  (Read 951 times)

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High Hood

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Is DCC A Good Investment?
« on: September 16, 2014, 09:03:25 PM »
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I'm wondering when it comes to model railroading, how wise is it to invest in DCC before a layout?

The reason is, I only have a table with a small oval on it to run my equipment.  I'm planning on primarily detailing engines and rolling stock for now until a different layout becomes feasible.  I don't have too many engines, but I think if I get a DCC system soon I can add DCC or even sound to my engines as I get them instead of having to do the whole fleet when layout time comes.  I wouldn't be able to do as much with the system as I would with a larger layout, but is that offset by already having a DCC system?

Your input is appreciated!

John

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Re: Is DCC A Good Investment?
« Reply #1 on: September 16, 2014, 09:25:24 PM »
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Depends .. its a good time to learn with an entry level set .. then when you finally build the bigger layout, its all ready ..

Rich_S

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Re: Is DCC A Good Investment?
« Reply #2 on: September 17, 2014, 08:09:22 AM »
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I agree, it's a lot easier and less expensive to start small before you acquire a large number of locomotives. DCC is not just for large layouts, I have a simple 24" x 80" Hollow Core Door layout and I'm using DCC. My layout is setup with a main line, a passing siding, an industrial switching area and a interchange track. I usually operate by having a main line train run laps, while I switch the industrial area which is off the passing siding. I then place those out bound cars on the passing siding. Next I pickup the outbound cars with the mainline train and drop off the inbound cars on the passing siding. So long story short, is DCC a good investment? I believe it is and even better for you, start now while you only have a few locomotives to equip with DCC decoders.

 

lajmdlr

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Re: Is DCC A Good Investment?
« Reply #3 on: September 17, 2014, 12:20:14 PM »
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High Hood
If you have not done so, highly recommend you go to your LHS, local club &/or home layouts. Ask to try to operate their DCC system. Once you get a "hands on" feel for DCC you'll be sold on DCC. Also try as many different systems as you can. That's the only way you can learn which one is RIGHT for you. My first experience was on a Digitrax system but ended up getting an NCE Power Cab. There are also Yahoo Group forums for each DCC system & DCC in general. Get on those to see which system has the most problems & which don't have alot of problems. Also find out which system has the best customer support - not only on availability of the system individual items but on dealing w/ any problems you come across.
Andy Jackson
Santa Fe Springs CA
LAJ Modeler

eric220

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Re: Is DCC A Good Investment?
« Reply #4 on: September 17, 2014, 01:24:28 PM »
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If you are already sold on the idea of DCC, I think your plan to jump in and upgrade locos as you get them has merit. I know Dave V got a system that was a bit overkill for his needs so that he would already have it when the time comes to build "the big one".

Another thing to consider when selecting a system is what others in your area are using. My Gandy Dancers are all DC or Digitrax. It's handy to be able to bring your own controller to an ops session if needed.
-Eric

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High Hood

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Re: Is DCC A Good Investment?
« Reply #5 on: September 18, 2014, 10:24:54 PM »
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Another thing to consider when selecting a system is what others in your area are using. My Gandy Dancers are all DC or Digitrax. It's handy to be able to bring your own controller to an ops session if needed.

Well I'm pretty sure I'm a lone wolf modeler.  Now there are some guys who collect trains around and I think I know a guy who does have a layout but I'm pretty much a lone wolf.

I do need to check out some DCC groups.  Personally, I think I'll research and wait until I have a certain number of engines then I'll go for a system.

djconway

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Re: Is DCC A Good Investment?
« Reply #6 on: September 19, 2014, 04:44:44 PM »
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Start small - 2 or 3 locos in your collection, and you are going to want to run them together or on the same track independantly.  My advice to folks starting out in model railroading is when you buy the second loco start thinking DCC. 

I have been in N scale since 1973 so I knew I wanted multiple loco operations (Helpers! & Heavy grades), but due to job and family commitments I have not been able to build that dream layout yet (started several and aborted part way into the project).  I did build a 30x80 hollow core door layout as a "test" in 1991.  In 1997 I converted this test layout to DCC and have never looked back.  If you are looking at sound and multiple unit operations you almost need DCC to be able to control the functions available in DC-DCC sound locos. Even as a "lone wolf" you will find times where it is nice to be able to control 2 or more locos on one piece of track.  Think of taking road power off a train with a small switcher and moving it to a fuel pit next to other units being fueled, or adding a helper to a train about to depart your yard.

I started DCC in 1997 with 1 ready to run DCC loco from Atlas and 2 Aztec SD 45 frames, after converting nearly 100 locos of mine and almost as many for friends, I still have a few to get done -- you never catch up, there's always another loco somewhare to convert.  Don't wait too long to pull the trigger.  Don't worry about being a lone wolf - I think we all start that way.

Ali Kenneth

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Re: Is DCC A Good Investment?
« Reply #7 on: September 20, 2014, 03:30:23 AM »
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A wholehearted yes! DCC does add $25+ to the cost of every loco but if you start small and use a starter set the initial outlay will not be too bad.

I have had DCC ever since i started modelling American prototypes and would not go back. I use the same set for both HO and N scale.

Alasdair

peteski

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Re: Is DCC A Good Investment?
« Reply #8 on: September 20, 2014, 11:56:08 AM »
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A wholehearted yes! DCC does add $25+ to the cost of every loco but if you start small and use a starter set the initial outlay will not be too bad.


Is that is US dollars?  If you shop around, there are new decoders available for around $17 US.
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CBQ Fan

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Re: Is DCC A Good Investment?
« Reply #9 on: September 20, 2014, 03:03:39 PM »
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I would suggest committing one way or another early on if you see yourself obtaining a large fleet of locos.  I have so many DC locos now that the cost and time is prohibitive.  I would much rather spend the money on additional equipment instead of upgrading current equipment.  I also am not interested in a hybrid layout with some DCC and some DC while I work to upgrade my fleet.  Not a judgement on DCC itself more of a comment on planning ahead early on to maximize your experience.
Brian

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reinhardtjh

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Re: Is DCC A Good Investment?
« Reply #10 on: September 21, 2014, 03:36:31 AM »
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One thing to remember is not to stockpile decoders too far in advance if you're not installing and running them right away.  Both the Digitrax and TCS goof proof warranties expire one year after purchase.  If you botch an install on a decoder that's been in your drawer for 366 days, then it's out of pocket for replacement.  Digitrax's page states a receipt/invoice from an authorized Digitrax dealer is required.  I don't see that requirement on the TCS web site.
John H. Reinhardt
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