Model Railway Forum banner
1 - 18 of 18 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
642 Posts
Hi there I have been reading all the threads about dcc controllers and I must admit I am a little confused about which controller to go for.

I'll give you the run down of what I have and what I want to be able to do and also what I would ideally want to spend. Maybe you guys can help me out.

I am running an N gauge layout with Kato unitrack.

I have the following locos.

2 x dapol virgin voyagers

1x drs farish class 47

1 x new gner farish hst

2 x farish class 60s

1 x farish class 57 thunderbird

1 x ews class 08

1 x drs class 20

1 x bachmann santa fe 0-6-0 shunter

2 x dapol dummy ews class 66

2 x dapol ews class 66.

I have 6 dcc friendly locos yet to be chipped (as I haven't decided what chips to get).

I want to be able to run the locos independantly this is the reason for going dcc without having a mess of wires. but I also want to run my drs class 47 and 20 double headed on a flask train.

I am also wanting to be able to add sound to some if not all of the locos in the future.

I reckon I want to be able to spend upto £250 on a controller.

I know for that price I will not be able to run all the locos at once which isn't that much of a problem but I am a little nervous about all the buttons and other terms like cv's and all the other jargon.

Please could you guys help me out please...
 

·
Just another modeller
Joined
·
9,983 Posts
Hello

You asked about a DCC system that would suit your requirements / Budget / running proposals.

I'd strongly recommend the NCE PowerHouse Pro system as the most user friendly, comfortable to use and sophisticated system which also suits your budget. It is easily added to with added controllers etc if you wish to do so

It has several advantages for you:

Default track voltage is sensible for N (and other scales) - many DCC systems "out of the box" are set to 16v and above, the NCE is at 13.5v appx. Perfect for N as well as HO/OO

Has a broad function range adequate for all sound needs, has superbly smooth control. It has three ways to consist loco's and is perhaps the best there is for "consisting" purposes.

The unit is updated regularly by the Mfr so you can always have an up to date unit even years after purchase. (no need to send it in - they issue a new processor at nominal cost)

Computer interface built in if you want to add computer control

NMRA compatible in all areas.

VERY reliable, with no "issues" in relation to control and quality.

It will run MANY more N scale locos at once than your current plana asks for.

there is ZERO compromise in this system - it is in my opinion one of the very best there is, and at the price, it is simply unbeatable. It is the brand now chosen by some of the biggest clubs world wide and is growing faster in sales than any other US brand by a looooooong way.... all based on quality of performance!

COST: Bromsgrove models quote £260 on their website.

Decoders:

Size as always is an issue with N

My recommendations:

If theres a little room available:
The TCS MC2 with back EMF. Absolutely stunning slow running and very low cost

If there's almost no room:
The ESU LokPilot Micro: Aslos excellent: more expensive, but a little tinier

Sound decoders for N:
ONLY real choice is the ESU LOkPilot - fortunately its excellent in every way and can be programmed to any loco as long as the seller has the soundfiles available!!

Regards
Richard Johnson
DCCconcepts

<You asked>
I have 6 dcc friendly locos yet to be chipped (as I haven't decided what chips to get).

I want to be able to run the locos independantly this is the reason for going dcc without having a mess of wires. but I also want to run my drs class 47 and 20 double headed on a flask train.

I am also wanting to be able to add sound to some if not all of the locos in the future.

I reckon I want to be able to spend upto £250 on a controller.

I know for that price I will not be able to run all the locos at once which isn't that much of a problem but I am a little nervous about all the buttons and other terms like cv's and all the other jargon.

Please could you guys help me out please...
[/quote]
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
642 Posts
Discussion Starter · #4 ·
[quote name='Richard Johnson' date='24 Aug 2007, 03:01' post='34523']
Hello

You asked about a DCC system that would suit your requirements / Budget / running proposals.

I'd strongly recommend the NCE PowerHouse Pro system as the most user friendly, comfortable to use and sophisticated system which also suits your budget. It is easily added to with added controllers etc if you wish to do so

It has several advantages for you:

Default track voltage is sensible for N (and other scales) - many DCC systems "out of the box" are set to 16v and above, the NCE is at 13.5v appx. Perfect for N as well as HO/OO

Has a broad function range adequate for all sound needs, has superbly smooth control. It has three ways to consist loco's and is perhaps the best there is for "consisting" purposes.

The unit is updated regularly by the Mfr so you can always have an up to date unit even years after purchase. (no need to send it in - they issue a new processor at nominal cost)

Computer interface built in if you want to add computer control

NMRA compatible in all areas.

VERY reliable, with no "issues" in relation to control and quality.

It will run MANY more N scale locos at once than your current plana asks for.

there is ZERO compromise in this system - it is in my opinion one of the very best there is, and at the price, it is simply unbeatable. It is the brand now chosen by some of the biggest clubs world wide and is growing faster in sales than any other US brand by a looooooong way.... all based on quality of performance!

COST: Bromsgrove models quote £260 on their website.

Decoders:

Size as always is an issue with N

My recommendations:

If theres a little room available:
The TCS MC2 with back EMF. Absolutely stunning slow running and very low cost

If there's almost no room:
The ESU LokPilot Micro: Aslos excellent: more expensive, but a little tinier

Sound decoders for N:
ONLY real choice is the ESU LOkPilot - fortunately its excellent in every way and can be programmed to any loco as long as the seller has the soundfiles available!!
Regards
Richard Johnson
DCCconcepts

Thanks richard,

I have been looking at that one and I was wondering what the difference is between that nce controller and the gaugemaster prodigy advance controller is as they both look relatively similar.
 

·
Just another modeller
Joined
·
9,983 Posts
Hi

You asked: I have been looking at that one and I was wondering what the difference is between that nce controller and the gaugemaster prodigy advance controller is as they both look relatively similar.
[/quote]

** The gaugemaster is an attempt to capitalise with the runaway success of the PowerHouse Pro by imitating its look, but its a pale imitation of it I'm afraid - the similarity ends at the looks. The NCE is a far superior product

Richard
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
642 Posts
Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Ok then what about the digitrax Zephr for being a starter controller.

Would you rate it as it looks like my existing kato dc controller
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2 Posts
QUOTE (harkins77 @ 26 Aug 2007, 16:13) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>Ok then what about the digitrax Zephr for being a starter controller.

Would you rate it as it looks like my existing kato dc controller

I cannot really comment on the Zepher but their Super Chief is a class bit of kit and well worth the extra bunce.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
642 Posts
Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Ok thanks for the suggestions about the controllers I'll take it all on board.

With regards to my points being controlled with it being kato track I currently use my Kato controller with some control switches that join to the side to create a bank of switches.

Should I still use my kato dc controller with the point switches to move the points or will I need to find some other way of switching them over using my dcc.

The points from the shelf already have the wires coming from them that just plug into the switches so no current goes to the track from the controller as far as I am aware, and then the switches then plug into the side of the controller like the old hammant and morgan duettes used to do I think it just moves the lines from one track to the other but please correct me if I am wrong please as I don't want to fry the point motors.
 

·
Just another modeller
Joined
·
9,983 Posts
You asked... Re the Digitrax Zephyr

[/quote]
Would you rate it as it looks like my existing kato dc controller
[/quote]

Sorry: I missed replying to this.

Yes, I like the Zephyr too: The fundamental difference is a small power difference in favour of the zephyr, and little more feature level on the NCE. (but there is nothing critical left off the zephyr really).

Both are a great place to start with DCC, both have good expandability! I really do like the zephyrs brake action with a separate programmable (for delay) braking switch.

Price of NCE starter set and Zephyr is very similar.

Regards

Richard
 

·
No Longer Active.
Joined
·
13,319 Posts
QUOTE (harkins77 @ 28 Aug 2007, 04:50) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>Should I still use my kato dc controller with the point switches to move the points or will I need to find some other way of switching them over using my dcc.

You can still control the points as the existing arrangements - many (including ourselves) continue to power points & other accessories "pre-DCC".

My advice would be to get used to DCC & then make the desision to go DCC for the points or not.
 

·
Ian Wigglesworth
Joined
·
750 Posts
QUOTE (Richard Johnson @ 28 Aug 2007, 06:11) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>You asked... Re the Digitrax Zephyr
Would you rate it as it looks like my existing kato dc controller
Sorry: I missed replying to this.

Yes, I like the Zephyr too: The fundamental difference is a small power difference in favour of the zephyr, and little more feature level on the NCE. (but there is nothing critical left off the zephyr really).
Both are a great place to start with DCC, both have good expandability! I really do like the zephyrs brake action with a separate programmable (for delay) braking switch.

Price of NCE starter set and Zephyr is very similar.

Regards

Richard

I had the Zephyr for about a week, bought it very cheap off ebay.
It's very nice to use, but IMHO I think the NCE Powercab is much more user friendly, it's easy to add extra cabs and of course with the Powercab you have the Macro function(will set a route of upto 8 points which can be linked to other macros!)
Richard thanks for the PM about the Powercab Recall stack! Thought of a work around which is cheaper than going up to the PHPro box which would be wasted on me, buy another Pro Cab!
The Powercab would control 2 locos the Pro cab handset would control another 2 locos and I would have the two LCD screens to see what was under control!

NCE PowerPro Manual

Harkins77 sorry for the thread hijack, can you wait until Warley?
I only ask as there will be many DCC systems to try and you really do need to try before you buy, it really is the only way to know what YOU find comfortable with using, plus......the Bachmann Dynamis MAYBE available by then!

Ian
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
642 Posts
Discussion Starter · #12 ·
With my layout being mr first in DCC I was thinking of going for the hornby decoders due to the price and this being my first time doing dcc. But with regards to the controller is the Elite that bad to work with as I have been away from modelling for a while or is it not bad as all I want to be able to do is run 3 loco's now due to the size of the layout with directional lights. Or am I wasting my time if anyone can give me a choice of cheap dcc controllers that I can use for a first time then it would be appretiated.

At this moment in time money is tight and I would just like something that would run 3 locos wih lights and possibly in the future add some sound to the locos.
I know that many people are suggesting controllers that are around 250.00 upwards in price but I am a single income person with 2 kids and a wife (that is always nagging about how much I spend on railways) and I just cannot justfy to massive outlay the dcc system. Please someone suggest something to me that.

I have seen the Dynamis advertised but with it being new I'm not sure wether to just wait for any bugs to be found or go for a controller that as been out sometime and all the bugs have been corrected. Is there anything that is Dynamis money but has been out for a while that would be a good controller for the new dcc user?
 

·
Just another modeller
Joined
·
9,983 Posts
Hi
You asked:

I have seen the Dynamis advertised but with it being new I'm not sure wether to just wait for any bugs to be found or go for a controller that as been out sometime and all the bugs have been corrected. Is there anything that is Dynamis money but has been out for a while that would be a good controller for the new dcc user?

Response:
Given your requirement I'd look at the NCE PowerCab and the Digitrax Zephyr. Both around £100, both full featured and both well proven products.

I'd also avoid the Hornby decoders. They have very low power handling and still have some problems.

Instead, buy the new TCS T-1 with Back EMF where there's a bit of space, and for tight installs, the TCS MC-2 with back EMF. Both are very reasonable cost and have truly great performance plus an exceptional warranty.

Richard
 

·
No Longer Active.
Joined
·
13,319 Posts
QUOTE (Richard Johnson @ 29 Aug 2007, 16:10) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>Instead, buy the new TCS T-1 with Back EMF where there's a bit of space, and for tight installs, the TCS MC-2 with back EMF. Both are very reasonable cost and have truly great performance plus an exceptional warranty.

Richard

Hi Richard,

Can you tell me if the TCS T-1 & MC-2 respond to Asymmetric braking sections and/or constant braking distance (as per Lenz Gold/Silver & some others) please ?

I have e-mailed TCS a couple of times now & had no reply.
 

·
Ian Wigglesworth
Joined
·
750 Posts
QUOTE (harkins77 @ 29 Aug 2007, 15:28) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>With my layout being mr first in DCC I was thinking of going for the hornby decoders due to the price and this being my first time doing dcc. But with regards to the controller is the Elite that bad to work with as I have been away from modelling for a while or is it not bad as all I want to be able to do is run 3 loco's now due to the size of the layout with directional lights. Or am I wasting my time if anyone can give me a choice of cheap dcc controllers that I can use for a first time then it would be appretiated.

At this moment in time money is tight and I would just like something that would run 3 locos wih lights and possibly in the future add some sound to the locos.
I know that many people are suggesting controllers that are around 250.00 upwards in price but I am a single income person with 2 kids and a wife (that is always nagging about how much I spend on railways) and I just cannot justfy to massive outlay the dcc system. Please someone suggest something to me that.

I have seen the Dynamis advertised but with it being new I'm not sure wether to just wait for any bugs to be found or go for a controller that as been out sometime and all the bugs have been corrected. Is there anything that is Dynamis money but has been out for a while that would be a good controller for the new dcc user?

The only ones to go for really are the NCE Powercab which, as Richard has said is a great bit of kit for not much money.
The Digitrax Zephyr which again is a nice little unit console style with rotary lever for speed and a seperate brake switch, although like I said earlier I believe th ePowercab is much easier to use.
The Hornby ELite is not too bad at all really, the functions are a pain to operate though and I'm hoping Hornby do release a firmware update which will solve this issue. amongst the other bugs.

For real cheapness, then you can always go for the Bachmann EZ-command which will control your three locos and lights.

A little more expensive with quite a few more issues depending on the type of decoder is the Hornby Select, this will also control the 3 locos, and lights, and also control points as well if you choose to.

Like I said earlier you really need to try before you buy.
If at some point in the future you look to upgrade then I would seriously consider the Powercab.

I have used all of the above controllers, except for the Select and I still have the Hornby Elite, NCE Powercab and the Bachmann EZ command(which first started me off in DCC)
I do prefer the Hornby Elite as I prefer the console type layout with control of 2 locos, but the function operation is the deal breaker, so at present re-installing the Powercab. Whats the betting Hornby then release a firmware update for the function control!!

Ian
 

·
Just another modeller
Joined
·
9,983 Posts
Hi: You asked: Can you tell me if the TCS T-1 & MC-2 respond to Asymmetric braking sections and/or constant braking distance (as per Lenz Gold/Silver & some others) please ?

**As far as I know, no. They have brake on DC which works fine but AFAIK, only EU made decoders from Lenz and ESU or Zimo have the assymetric braking function.

Richard
 

·
Just another modeller
Joined
·
9,983 Posts
No Probs Brian

You said: Thanks Richard for the quick reply - that's a pity - I would love to try them if they had that feature.

** A shame as they actually do have better slow running than Lenz Gold and silver :)

I tend to ignore such features as assymetric braking etc as having fiddled withthem all I now think that external control is always going to do it better. If your computer software or system can track the loc, then it can tell it to slow down and stop without needing assymetric braking or anything added at track level other than a signalling system with detection of some kind.

I use RFID for identity and optical detectors... no need for any other stuff at all other than a good decoder!

Richard
 
1 - 18 of 18 Posts
Top