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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Guys,

I'm pleading for help!! Im a novice to this and ANY support would be greatly appreciated!

I've spent on a few $$$'s on this hobby and I'm yet to even lay a track piece on the table! Call it a building up phase - buy everything and then begin the project.

I'm STUCK on the controller issue - that is, how do I control the spee of my train! What method do the 'experts' suggest? I dont particularly want to go to DCC as i've spent enough $$$s but if I have to I'll consider it.

What suggestions are there out there for powering my set? Im slowly learning the electronics side of things, so go easy on me when asking the questions.

Im something simple, effective and reasonable priced.

ANY help will be appreciated!

P.S - a local shop suggested the digitrax system, but he done my head in with trying to explain it to me.

Stets
 

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Surely if you are not sure about going DCC then why not stick to good old DC! You can get loads of different controllers for this method of propelling your electric engines. Gaugemaster do many different controllers as do Hornby and you could even look on ebay for the old H & M controllers which in my opinion are pretty bullet proof! I have a couple myself and must be over 40 years old.

Try this website

http://www.gaugemaster.com/

Or this one

http://www.hornby.com/

Hope this helps you

Kind regards

Paul
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Paul,

Im actually wanting to go simple DC - was planning to go all the way! Then the local dealer threw a spanner in the works by telling me to go Digitrax. Not sure if he wanted a sale, but I must admit, he has been helpful to me.

If I go DC, I want to make the switches for the turnouts and go through all the wiring fun and games. But then I dont know where people get their control panels from.

Decisions, decisions, decisions!

Im aware of those 2 site you gave me, but the gaugemaster one confuses me. I think the british system is less liked in Australia as opposed to the American systems.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Just to add some further information before the influx of quesitons my intentions are as follows;

Just one train set. Loco and rolling stock.

Plan is to replicate the Western Maryland Ry. track plan from Model Railroader with a few changes to it.

Can someone tell me the pro's and con's to DCC vs DC? Why would I opt for either one?

Stets
 

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Hi
Some of the text below is (unashamedly) taken from another web site and submitted by Rog(RJ)

I have removed any 'make specific' text and added a few additional comments myself (I'm a former dc user now converted to DCC)

DCC
Pros.
Excellent control, multiple trains on the same piece of track with individual control of each loco.
Lights on locos (if fitted) can be on at all times, same for carriages
Simpler wiring. (at least when you start) Although it can get more complex, depending on how you progress.
No isolating sections or Cabs needed.
Using NMRA conformant equipment (most of it is) will mean intermixing of devices is fully possible. Even some non conformant items still intermix ok.

Cons.
Each loco needs to have a decoder fitted. Certain models (like a 2/3 car DMU) will need more than one decoder, or a connection between cars, to allow lighting to be DCC controlled.

Decoders cost from about £8 (basic no frills) upwards. I believe the Lenz gold decoders are now about £30
Older locos may need a more expensive decoder as they use more power than the modern motors and the decoders will need to be soldered in (AKA hard wired) Old split chassis locos (Bachmann) can be very difficult to convert

PS
DCC ready means the loco is ready to have a decoder plugged in.
DCC fitted (or on board) means a decoder is already factory fitted."

DC
Pros
Virtually all locos are sold for immediate operational on 12v dc power. Even DCC fitted locos can normally be run on 12v dc tracks without problems.

Cons
Only normally one loco per track/controller.

Need to provide isolating sections to allow locos to be stabled or held while another loco is operated on the same section of track.

Wiring needed is normally much more once beyond the basic train set configuration.

Overall, all I have to say from personal use that a DCC system is far better than dc.
 

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There's not much difference in the price between the Hornby HM2000 DC controller and a basic DCC controller, except that you can do much more with a basic DCC controller.
You don't need to 'hide' locomotives that you're not using in electrically isolated sections of track with DCC.
The wiring can be much simpler with DCC, which means you don't have to buy as many switches.
The NCE DCC system would be my choice. It seems to do more and is simpler to operate than other DCC systems.
Take a look at these great videos discussing the good, the bad and the ugly of DCC.
Video link to DCC clinic at the NMRA convention. http://tinyurl.com/dylh2s
 

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Hi Stets

This may help, I gather you live in Australia and if so what city? My suggestion is very simple contact Richard at DCC Concepts and he will help you. www.dccconcepts.com.

I can give you many reasons but let me tell you a little story. I went to see Richard to buy an Ecos controller (one of the top controllers and expensive) which he had in stock. He talked me out of it and gave me many reasons and pointed me towards another controller which in the end was far more suitable. I walked out of the shop pleased not because I had an extra $600.00 in my pocket but I had found someone who really knew DCC and was honest.

I am not going to suggest a controller but you will be surprised the questions Richard asks you. Be honest and I'm 99% sure he will recommend the best one for you.

Anyway worth contacting and here is a link of DCC simply explained on video. I made this while at work, I was bored! It may or may not help.


Best of luck.

m
 

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Hi Stets,

The position you are in is ideal to do your layout in DCC, as has been outlined by previous postings it has far more advantages over DC, a good system is the NCE powercab .......... less cost than a DC three track controller, decoders from TCS will give you good control and ease of use in your locos.
 

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Hi Stets

What you are thinking of doing is a bit like having the opportnity to buy a new cycle and selecting one which has only one gear when, for a little bit more, you could have one with thirty gears. You obviously have no controller as yet and its gonna cost a few quid (dollars) to set yourself up with some reliable DC kit when, for almost the same (maybe a little bit more), you can get a decent DCC starter set (eg NCE PowerCab).

In my experience, once you've got your layout down, it's the controller which makes the difference to the enjoyment level derived from it and I'm sure, if you don't take this ideal opportunity to set yourself up with DCC then, within a very short space of time, you will seriously regret it and probably end up spending more cash on DCC anyway. Think of it as now having the choice between buying an analogue 12" black and white tv or a full blown 42" digital plasma with cinema surround sound - you may think you want the 12" b&w but in the back of your mind we know you really want the 42" plasma.

I am a DC to DCC convert who resisted the move quite voiciferously claiming it "has little or no advantage over DC" as I had just about everything you could want with DC. But, now I've switched over, I can't begin to put into words how much more enjoyment I get from my layout - seriously, and the difference is similar to the step up from clockwork to electric models. If we carried out a poll on this forum of members who had switched from DC to DCC asking how many regreted the move the answer would probably be none.

'Being put off by what sounds like complicated technology?' don't be. You don't have to know anything like all of it, just a few basics that's all you need. Once you get into it, like so many things, your natural interest will grow and develop your knowledge base, this is a growing technology, most manufacturers are now starting to develop new ideas and products to increase our enjoyment so, why choose to miss out?.

Done my preaching - so I'll get back in my box.

Mike.

MODS - This is a duplicate thread.....
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Guys.

Ok ok ok, you've sold me!

Martin, Im from Melbourne, Victoria. I will make the call to Richard and get his advice.

Mike, I might go the 50 inch Plasma! You done your job preaching. Thanks!

Next question - does that mean I need a loco that is digital?

Second question - Digitrax DCS50 (Zypher) or this NCE Powercab? Do we need another poll on this one?

Keep up the great advice!!!

Stets
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Sorry,

Third quesion..... this NCE Powercab - what do I need to be up and running? Power supply? Handheld wireless controller? Anthing else? Is there a starter pack available?
 

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QUOTE (Stets @ 11 Mar 2009, 10:29) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>Sorry,

Third quesion..... this NCE Powercab - what do I need to be up and running? Power supply? Handheld wireless controller? Anthing else? Is there a starter pack available?

Hi Stets,

The Powercab comes complete .... all you need is a shaver adaptor to plug in the tranformer from the control ..... one came with mine when i purchased it ...

For more information ring Digitrains they can advise you more if you need further clarification.

http://www.digitrains.co.uk/

They do have a layout set up with various controls to try and attend several shows throughout the year ring to confrim if the demo layout is to be at the show if you are to attend any of them or pay them a visit if your near .... scroll down the link there for dates.
 

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***No shaver adapter needed in AU - its complete as is. Yes you will need to chip your loco.

Both the zephyr and the Powercab are about the same price and both are competent, but the powercab is a far more modern unit, has far better/more current software and wider capability, plus a very clean upgrade path with no compromises.

Nick - why would you advise an AU customer to contact Digitrains in UK?

regards

Richard
 

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QUOTE (Richard Johnson @ 11 Mar 2009, 14:07) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>Nick - why would you advise an AU customer to contact Digitrains in UK?

regards

Richard

Richard ..... i wasnt aware that Stets was in AU until i read back his posting
contacting you is his best bet in AU for advice
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
Richard,

Was meaning to contact you today after Martin posted his reply.

Not sure what Shaver adapter is, must not be important anyway since you advised its not required.

What would I need to go the PowerCab? Im assuming you get the controller and power supply in a box. Anything else required?

Do you want to give me a price or you can email me.

I'm reading between the lines here, and you're favoring the PwrCab over the Digitrax.

To all others, thanks heaps for your advise. Its been very informative.

Last but not least, Im assuming the PowerCab works on a Hornby and Peco flexitrack? Or is this totally unrelated?
 

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***HI

I've PM'ed you on commercial things so we don't stray too far on list... but answer the specific questions above here for the sake of thread completeness.

1/Power cab is very complete - all you need to connect it to the track and start running trains is in the box (except of course the loco controller)

2/re type of track, it really doesn't matter... the same units are ok for any track gauge or brand.

3/re shaver adapter, its the sort of thing you buy to adapt plugs from one countries design of power point to another, most often called a shaver adapter as pre-rechargeable batteries, international travellers used to need them so they could plug in their shaver.

4/ Shaver adapter is not needed by you as PowerCab and any other product leaves us ready to plug into an AU standard mains socket (a requirement of law/safety regulation here)

5/ Yes, the Zephyr is quite competent but the PowerCab is clearly / easily shown to be a superior product

regards

Richard
 
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