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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I am building a 6' x 2' model of a modern branch line station and mineral sidings in 'OO' Gauge. I wish to operate the branch line and sidings at the same time, to have motorised points linked to light signals and to have street lights on the station platform and mineral yard. Can you please suggest a suitable controller(s) in which to invest?
 

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Hi,Im no expert but maybe a dcc system as you have lots of options with these and they are quite a good price,someone else may come up with alternatives soon ,cheers Frame. ie..Bachmann dynamis
 

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Dogsbody
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These days going digital seems to be the fashion. My layout is slightly bigger than the one that you are building and when I started it I used conventional analogue control very successfully befor converting to digital.

If you want two locomotives moving simulteaneously, it can be done with conventional analogue control by sectioning the track into different circuits and having two controllers.

Using digital control think of getting a controller that has two knobs, one for each train such as the more expensive Hornby offering.

The question in my mind is, can you operate two locomotives at the same time in such a small space without having accidents ? It's easier on a big layout because there is more time to react to an impending disaster. Even using scale shunting speeds, it doesn't take long to travel six feet so you'll have to be quick on the controls !

Lastly, the Dynamis set from Bachmann is a nice unit but having to use the same joystick to select a loco and then send a command to stop, slow down, or change direction can be a bit of a fiddle. No doubt you could get used to it with practice and have a well run layout, but could your friends when they bring their stuff over for a run ?

Hope this helps, Bob
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Thanks for the first two replies. Perhaps in the end it becomes a choice between the less expensive DCC controllers and engines and the advantages of more straightforward control of engines,track areas and points setting.

Is there any advantage from the point of view of co-ordinating light signals and points by using DC?
 

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Alan D
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I will eventually go DCC but at the mo I am using 2 H&M Clippers and an H&M Duette. I want to concentrate on building the layout first. I will be however getting Gaugemaster feedback controller as I have inclines. But if your layout is on the flat the Clipper or Duette are excellent and you can pick them up off ebay for about £10 to £15.

Cheers

Alan
 

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it boils down to a choice first...DC or DCC.

a branch line, of the size you state, in OO, might be a trifle small for operating two locos together?

I'd think low speed control and smoothness is the target to aim for.....DCC does apparently offer smoother low speed control than DC...I have yet to try a back-to-back comparison......but in the end, all depends on how much you wish to spend.

For cheapness, DC is still the better bet..no decoders to buy, no expensive initial hit.

However, it does require some thought regarding wiring.

For DC, I don't think the Gaugemaster products can be bettered at present.

I have several lying about.hand held, and fixed....they worked well with old Athearn swithcers, as well as Bachmann pannier tanks, so cannot be too bad...[shunting speeds]

I also have an NCE powercab, which I'm trying to get my head around........having to fork out around another twenty quid just to kit out each loco rather sticks in me craw, but, hey, that's apparently progress for you?
 
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Hi Dickens,

I'm an absolute novice with DCC but I go along with Frame69 in that DCC should give you more options and control of your accessories, points and locomotives etc. Plus, if you are just starting out with it and not converting layouts and locomotives, I believe it will represent fair value for money.

So, as a novice who has only ever used the Hornby Select unit, my views may or may not help.

Main features for the Hornby Select that we have include the address storing of up to 59 locomotives, 40 accessories and can run up to 10 engines at a time providing you have enough power.

We currently use 2 x Hornby Digital Select controllers connected together by a RJ12 6 pin buddy cable, so that two trains can be controlled simultaneously and independently on a 6' x 4' layout. I guess the result is similar to having a Hornby Elite, which has a few more features, and a better user display.

For example, with the Select units you rely heavily on numbers and button sequences and I personally struggle to remember or reference our locomotive addresses / numbers little own the addresses of multiple lights, points and other accessories, so I imagine a more detailed user interface / display would play a big part in simplifying the control of multiple tasks etc.

Our reason for having two controls connected together on the same layout was born from the fact that both my lad and I like to use the layout at the same time. So from the moment we converted it to DCC, it was evident that for our needs, dual control DCC is better suited to how we individually like to control the running of multiple trains on one layout.

All in all, we have found the little Select unit easy to use, simple to learn and we are more than happy with it for what we are doing at the moment, but it does have some limitations if you want to get the most out of DCC.

In time, I know we will outgrow this controller and like a lot of others have suggested, there are some very, very good controllers out there so until then, we will happily enjoy what we have and hope you enjoy your layout as it progresses in either DC or DCC


Cheers,
Darrell
 

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QUOTE (Dickens @ 13 Feb 2009, 15:37) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>Thanks for the first two replies. Perhaps in the end it becomes a choice between the less expensive DCC controllers and engines and the advantages of more straightforward control of engines,track areas and points setting.

Is there any advantage from the point of view of co-ordinating light signals and points by using DC?

No.

In a small layout DCC has advantages because the density of "motive power units" is likely to be higher and you do not need to plan in great detail before hand how long and exactly where you need your blocks.

You also have much better control over very slow running because you can adjust the CV's on the decoders to suit the characteristics of the motor of each unit.

This means you need to be able to read back CV's so if you choose DCC go for a decent system-such as the NCE.
 

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QUOTE (The_Docster @ 21 Jun 2009, 22:25) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>I will be however getting Gaugemaster feedback controller as I have inclines. But if your layout is on the flat the Clipper or Duette are excellent and you can pick them up off ebay for about £10 to £15.

I too have H&M controllers, 2 Duettes and they really are "bullet proof" I have a 1 in 40 incline on my layout and to be honest the Duettes still work fine on it.

Kind regards

Paul
 

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Alan D
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I agree with Paul even on a reasonably steep incline The H&M controllers will still pull, although on mine I think the incline is just a wee bit much.

But I would definitely go DC at the start because the cost of track is expenseive enough especially if you use some form of Set-Track. Then as the layout progresses you can chose other options. If you decide to go DCC later on, I believe you will get money back from Ebay if you get H&M or gaugemaster controllers and decide to sell them later on.

That's what this hobby is all about, - you will never finish it. Even when one job is complete you may want to improve something else as your skill level increases.

Cheers Alan
 

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I've used Guagemaster Handheld feedback controllers on all my layouts and they have been excellent. At shows I'm always being complimented on the quality of the running - people ask "how do you get them to run so slow ?"

I also have an H&M Clipper, but ONLY for loco testing. If a model runs OK on the H&M then on the Guagemaster it will be superb. I'd never use the older device on a layout though. In the 40+ years since it was built, technology has come on a bit !

As for DCC, well it's fashionable and if you want sound in your locos then I'd recomend it but otherwise I'm not convinced. Perhaps I'm just old fashioned !


Phil
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Thanks for the replies which I have caught up with after some time. I have bought a Lenz 100 and transformer, having decided to go the DCC route.

Never having soldered in my life I am now the owner of a soldering iron and am going to develop my skill at adding some drop wires to track and also putting together a programming / test track.

With two largely unused trains, an 08 and a Class 56, purchased over 20 years ago, and the help of my local Modal Shop I am going to try and fit basic decoders and see if they still run. If not then it is back to saving more pennies.
 

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QUOTE (Dickens @ 26 Aug 2009, 16:35) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>With two largely unused trains, an 08 and a Class 56, purchased over 20 years ago, and the help of my local Modal Shop I am going to try and fit basic decoders and see if they still run. If not then it is back to saving more pennies.

Make sure that they are running 100% before fitting decoders.
 

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No - please don't go down the 1960's H&M Duette/Clipper route. Technology has moved on a lot since then and you can get very nice NEW controllers from Gaugemaster for only a few quid more than the second hand stuff.

The running of your locos will be vastly superior and enjoyable.

I do own a Clipper, but only for testing chassis when building them. For layout use I always use a hand held Gaugemaster. And people compliment me on the running of my models all the time. If it runs OK on the H&M then given a proper controller will make it silky smooth.

Phil
 
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