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Beginner in DCC

6955 Views 28 Replies 10 Participants Last post by  mikeg
Hi all
I'm a total novice where DCC is concerned, so please be gentle with me!

The last time I had anything to do with DCC was in the 1970, when Hornby introduced their Zero One system. While this worked reasonably it did suffer from large chip size, motor incompatibility (Some motors overheated) and high resistance rails to wheel connections causing loss of data signal.
I am about to start wiring my new layout and until now I had only thought about a conventional common return DC system. However, I can see the advantages of DCC - two or more loco's running on same track etc.
If I decided to go down the DCC route what would you DCC experts suggest…
1) Do I buy two of everything - one setup (DCControl system) for the down line and the another for the up line etc or is one control system only needed? If one system how do you control up and down trains together without separate controllers or being a multitasker? My brain only works in 'slow mode' these days, so knowing which loco has what address is mind-blowing to me when perhaps four or more trains could be thundering around the layout on two tracks in differing directions!
2) Would my stock (some early 1990's locos - Hornby, Lima, Bachmann etc) run on these newer systems of DCC ok.
3) Are there still problems of 'loss of signal' due to high resistance connection (wheels to rail) which causes poor performance?
4) What general information - Web based, DVD or book form do you suggest for an electrically sound, but novice DCC beginner?
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Have just got the Gaugemaster Prodigy unit and am very pleased with the control, I started with a ROCO system but it could not cope with the power load from my O gauge locos and has burnt out. The prodigy seems to be coping and is much quicker to react to shorts. The only down side is that there is no computer interface avaiable and MRC have said they do not expect to produce one, have not asked Gaugemaster the same question.

The prodigy has programming on the main, a programme track and the programme track can also be used for reading the settings of the chips if these support this function. Also the knob is continuous so when changing locos you do not have to match the speed steps it carrys on from the last one used. The knob can also be set for a yard function which means it will control direction as well, very useful when shunting, works like my old H&M but with 100% better control.

I would be careful with electrical goods from the states as the supply over there is not the same voltage or cycles (Hertz?) and when you add the cost of a new adapter and possible import tax the cost is the same as in the UK and IF anything should go wrong you haven't got the same service as with Gaugemasters return policy.

Hope this is helpful

mike g
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