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DCC Command Stations & Controllers

118646 Views 10 Replies 7 Participants Last post by  Jim S
ashleyh made a good suggestion of putting together a users review / guide of the different DCC systems around. In this day and age of word-of-mouth marketing, this could be good if it is honest and positive. I'll pin this and make an index on this first Post, linking it to the various systems that members are using.

Lets keep the information specific to the systems that we are using. Give info honestly and list features that you use. A resume with positive and negative points could round off the post. Give an overall rating too if you like. Use these images:

Problems that let the system down and limit usage
Does what it says on the box, but could be better
Good, with one or two small issues that could be addressed

DCC Command stations & Controllers

Lenz Set 100 by Doug
Arnold DCC Controllers by Doug
Digitrax Super Chief by Makemineadouble
ESU Ecos 50000 by neil_s_wood
Bachmann Dynamis by ashleyh
NCE Powercab by wiggy25
Hornby Elite by wiggy25
ESU Mobile Control for ECoS 50100 by neil_s_wood
Roco Multimaus Pro Review by Moonraker

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The Digitrax Super Chief Radio Equipped Set

See specs here

My background in DCC started in 1994, my first system unfortunately wasn't Digitrax. What attracted me to the system initially was a third party fast clock
but when my UK manufactured system burst into flames for the second time I decided it was time for a change.

I've been using this DCC combination since 2000. In that time the Digitrax units have given total and complete reliability. Maintenance has involved the replacement of the Batteries in the DCS100 command station. The great strength of Digitrax is loconet the command bus system which is identical to a computer network cable. This enables the command station to talk to the various components in the system, and unlike other systems enables them to talk back to the command station. My particular system also has radio control, I was able to use this illegally while residing in another country. You can of course use the system without radio control simply by using a trailing cable, or switching Infra Red. An approved Radio control system will be available for the UK this year (2007).
The handsets with Digitrax are a pleasure to use. The DT400 throttle is common to all Digitrax systems and is fully interchangeable. It features two knobs to enable control of two loco directly while memory allows the user to recall up to 16 loco's at the turn of a knob. Functions F0 - F12 are currently supported, plus a full range of commands to work turnouts and signals from the handset. The Display is clear and simple to understand. Programming is also via the handset and this allows 4 modes of programming. Direct, ops mode, paged, physical register mode. Digitrax also offer the UT4 which a much simpler throttle suitable for visitors and the young who may not understand the more complex DT400. Documentation for the system is excellent and it's well supported by a wide range of ancillary system components from stationary decoders to occupancy detectors,auto reverse units, and a vast range of mobile decoders. Finally Digitrax has Transponding which means with the right equipment a locomotive can be identified anywhere on the system. Commands are common through the range of equipment, even down to the Zephyr starter system. My system has stood the test of time without ever having a software upgrade or the unit having to returned to the factory for repair. It does everything one can expect of a system costing less than £300 excluding a transformer.
Digitrax is the worlds most popular DCC system. I confidently recommend this system to anyone looking to make a start with DCC. I haven't list the capcity of the system as anyone intrested can view this on the Digitrax web site. My system is 5 amps and together with the DB150 booster was powerfull enough to run 80 odd loco's on my layout over 25 of them with sound. There's a choice of three voltages, and I consider this to be essential on any top class system

I rate my system

Loconet the best cab bus system available
Well made
Simple but Suffocated
Easy loco programming with all possible modes
Ultra Reliable, dependable
natural progression and interchangeability throughout the product range
Strong range of supporting product
No longer classed as expensive, especially with the weak US Dollar
Brilliant support via the discussion group on Yahoo
Love the handsets they are real class
Strong web site also offering good advice and support in ENGLISH
Good local support in the UK
A growing range of Dealers
Variable voltage

Documentation while comprehensive can be daunting for the beginner
9 volt batteries used to power untethered handsets so you need rechargables

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