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Makemineadouble accused me on a different topic of being in denial over DCC. Perhaps he's right, all I do know is I have far more questions than answers on DCC. What I do know is that having just started track laying on my latest layout, now is the time if I intend to change.
I am listing some questions below, respond to any you think you have the answer to, I'll be very interested.

1. Will it be too expensive for me, bearing in mind that I've got to buy another twin controller for DC anyway?
2. Is wiring a lot easier with DCC ?
3. Is there anything I can do with DC that I can't do with DCC ?
4. Can I have two operators doing different things at the same time on my layout with DCC ?
5. Which system should I use ?
6. Do I need different decoders for different functions ? - all I really want is loco control, lights and sound.
7. How do I control my points ? - I'm using Peco code 100 and Peco point motors.

There is probably much more I need to know, but to have clear answers to those 7 will be a good start.
 

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Hi Gwent rail
As a fairly recent convertee myself I can relay the following and hopefully dissolve any issues you might think you're heading towards.


If you understand how a DC powered layout is wired then DCC is 10 time easier!


To answer your questions in order...

1. Not too expensive, but you will need to add between £10 and £28 per loco for a decoder, depending on the type chosen.
2. Yes, you run a 'Bus' of two wires all around the layout and tap into this bus everywhere a track feed is needed. Soldering connections to the bus and rails is best.
3. No, if it can be done in DC it certainly can be done with DCC and much more too! (Double heading [Consist], no isolating sections for sidings needed, the ability to take one loco up onto a stationary one anywhere on the layout etc (the list goes on).
4. Yes, two or more 'Cabs' can work most DCC layouts (My system allows 99 operators or 'Cabs') However, this will depend on the system chosen, So read the reviews. A good general review is in the September issue of Model Rail now out in the book shops. Alternativly buy a dedicated book on DCC.
5. That depends on your finances. There are far too many systems to compare here and the cost of the system and future expansion capabilities are up to you. Consider what will you want in the future? - PC control etc. Basic "Starter" DCC packages range from around £80 and go on up past £500. I use the MRC Prodigy Advance (Sold in the UK under the Gaugemaster brand) but I imported mine from the USA.
6. Normally no, but this depends on what you want the decoder to do? Basic decoders give motor control and usually one or two other outputs which can operate loco head and tail lights etc. Remember, like everything in life you pay for what you get! If you want suburb motor control with additional motor controls (back emf motor control for example) you could pay upwards of £28 or more (e.g. Lenz Gold series) Shortly, Hornby will be introducing their DCC systems and their decoders are reported as being around £8 each! Personally I like the mid range features of the Lenz Silver decoder which sells currently for around £19 each.
7. However you like…Continue to use conventional power to do this via normal switches or a mimic panel etc or use DCC control from the DCC 'Cab' powered via the DCC bus into dedicated Point decoders (Again you will need to check the chosen unit is able to undertake point route setting).

Myweb site may offer some ideas of what can be done, how it's done etc. My Webpage
 

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Brian has answered your questions.

Look too at the links at the top of our DCC section. You'll find Systems comparison, Jargon buster, FAQ etc.

Many modellers have been in the same situation as you, so you're no alone. I've been running DCC now for about 6 years and really like it. I have a bunch of Arnold DCC controllers, but I use a Lenz 100 set for my layout. I have a problem when the likes of Bachmann say "Run your loco in on DC first" - how do I do that...?
 

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Hi, Doug as to running in locos, get a rolling road and a cheap dc controller, I take it that your system does not allow DC as its the same as mine. Quite pleased with the prodigy, but have issue on time it takes for gaugemaster to replace decoders, now 4 weeks, lenz is by return of post from Mckays in scotland, good service for the three I have had to send back. Thought I would try the gaugemaster as cheaper but 1 in 3 has gone wrong, so will change to Lenz silvers as Mackays have recommended.

Gwent Rail, have a look at LisaP4's web site as their is a table of all the DCC systems and its difficult to advise which to use as you need to try before you by, so if possible go to exhibitions and check out the DCC layouts, most exhibitors will let you have a go, I started with a Roco system, but that proved to be under-powerd for O gauge and I burnt it out. As I had bought it second hand at a fair price I was not to worried, but it convinced me that DCC was for me.

Hope the above is of help.

regards to all

mike g
 

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QUOTE Makemineadouble accused me on a different topic of being in denial over DCC. Perhaps he's right, all I do know is I have far more questions than answers on DCC. What I do know is that having just started track laying on my latest layout, now is the time if I intend to change.

Sorry for the delay in replying I'm just back on line " the vugarities of dealing with BT broadband and their back street operation in Bombay, they need a seperate forum just of it's own". It got to be the worst call centre in the world, for a company that specialises in communication it's totally utter crap.

I'm pleased your considering DCC (Gwent Rail). If you do change the ultimate choice of system has to be yours. Beware every DCC user will pump his own system.
I'm a very satisfied Digitrax user and have been for the last 6 years.
So what system is right for you. It depends on the size of your layout, the number of loco's, how many you want to run simultaneously, are you going to operate sound, will you use route control, are you likely to want computer control. What type of handhelds you like, and more importantly what type of budget you have.
If your budget is modest, I suguest you wait for the Hornby Elite, and use this your starter system. I get the impression this will offer quite a lot of features for your Buck at a reasonable price. If you want to change in the future, you should have something you can recover some costs from. Ideally if you have a mate or nearby contact thats DCC already it might be a consideration in choosing a similar system this saves you reading the manual.

I think in your circumstances the cost of a DCC system isnt going to be a lot more than a good DC system.
Decoders arn't really expencive, I'm not a fan of Lenz decoders, as I prefer a wrapper, fortunately there is a vast array of decoders on the market, most close to or under 20 quid. I almost always have 15 to 20 decoders in stock as there are good discounts to be had by buying in bulk.
 

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>I suguest you wait for the Hornby Elite, and use this your starter system. I get the impression this will offer quite a lot of features for your Buck at a reasonable price. If you want to change in the future,

I was thinking that the Elite would be a good buy for an enthusiast to start with. When you outgrow it I think there would be large market of Select users trading up willing to pay a reasonable price. Is that a reasonable thought?

David
 

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QUOTE (Makemineadouble @ 10 Aug 2006, 00:48) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>Sorry for the delay in replying I'm just back on line " the vugarities of dealing with BT broadband and their back street operation in Bombay, they need a seperate forum just of it's own". It got to be the worst call centre in the world, for a company that specialises in communication it's totally utter crap.

Hi & completly off topic reply but it may be useful.

If you call a certain telecommunications company & get put through to someone in another country whose grasp of English (maybe because it's not their first language) is not too good, ask to speak to "someone in the UK" & (during office hours you will be transferred back to the UK !

Hope this will be of use.

best regards
Brian
 

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Just a few points after a few days away and now reading all the replies.
Thanks to you all, this helpful attitude was one of the main reasons I first joined the forum.

Brian, we ARE in the DCC forum, a debate in the incorrect forum was why I started this new topic. Your original comprehensive reply was very helpful and the kick off point for a lot of further research.

Thanks to Doug & Mike, I've checked out both leads, although was disappointed at the missing sections in our own DCC guide.

As far as the post from MMaD is concerned, I want up to 8 - 10 locos, though not all simultaneously, sound,eventual computer control, possible point control and I have no real hand-held unit preference.
I am tempted to wait for Hornby ( budget is not critical, but always a consideration ) but to do so would pose the question " what do I do in the short term ?" as I am at the track laying stage now. How will I wire my track ( if at all ) before I use DCC ?
The other consideration is "what decoders should I use ?" and should I fit them now or after I go DCC ?
All simple questions to the DCC expert, no doubt, but I'm trying to convey accurately the thoughts that go through a typical DC mind ( mine ) when considering and then postponing a decision on DCC conversion.
 

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Gwent rail
If you're really desperate to start wiring your layout and to see something running then do so to normal DC standards. i.e. install isolated sections etc. Later and if you choose to convert to DCC then a DCC bus run around the layout has all your rails connected to it. The insulated rail joiners in sidings etc will become redundant but can still be left in place! When you decide to convert, then is the time to buy as many decoders as you can afford. Perhaps the total amount for all your stock or if funds are running low then only two or three to get you going. The remaining unchipped loco's would have to be removed from the layout or left in a siding that hasn't been connected to the DCC bus and remains electrically isolated, until all locos are chipped.
While you're track laying and wiring (even for normal DC) remember to install insulated rail joiners after all electrofrog points, after the frog and in both of the rails that lead away from the frog. This is also an option that can be carried out on Insulafrog points too (Stops any possible feed back into the points).

Why not, while your running in your normal DC wiring, install a DCC bus now? This saves running it in later. I would recommend using mains cable internal wires (remove the outer sheath and use the Red/Black or Brown/Blue conductors) I prefer a 2.5mm (solid conductor) cable for my DCC bus wires. If in the end you decide not to convert to DCC the bus wires can be used for powering accessories - Building and/or street lighting etc or one bus wire used as a Common return etc.
 

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If I was about to get into DCC right now, waiting for Hornby would be very wise. It is expected before Christmas.

It should be cheap, have plenty of features and widely available. Decoders look very good value for money indeed.

If you want to get hooked up to DCC now, send me a PM and I'll lend you a spare Arnold controller until you get yours (I have 3 or 4 spare!) - you'll just have to pick up some decoders.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Thanks Brian, I'll definitely install both types of circuit, whatever I finally go with - nothing like hedging your bets, is there !!
Very grateful for the offer Doug, I'll be in touch after my holidays in 3 or 4 weeks time.
Now all I need to decide is what decoders to look at.
Off the fence and out of denial enough for you MMaD ? This is all your fault you know !!!
 

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QUOTE Why not, while your running in your normal DC wiring, install a DCC bus now? This saves running it in later. I would recommend using mains cable internal wires (remove the outer sheath and use the Red/Black or Brown/Blue conductors) I prefer a 2.5mm (solid conductor) cable for my DCC bus wires. If in the end you decide not to convert to DCC the bus wires can be used for powering accessories - Building and/or street lighting etc or one bus wire used as a Common return etc.

Good advice above, and I think a very sensible decision as well
not that you took much convincing
. Buy this months model rail, there is some good advice about suit case connectors. buy yourself DCC made easy for 10 quid from Amazon, and do a little research on the web. I'm also going to buy a Hornby Elite I think its going to be just the job for my US shunting plank in the study.

For superb running you need a track feed every track length, and every break of track IE. where there's a turnout. In practice last time, I did my bench work ran in the bus wires, and a few extra for lighting, turnout control etc, then did the track bed, laid the track and then connected up. In practice I did one running line first as I wanted something running. I have no inhabitions about soldering track feeds to the side of rails, they get covered by ballast anyway. If you get stuck I'm not too far from you, only problem is I hardly ever read a manual. Although I must admit I have read the Digitrax ones.
 

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Just to stick my oar in, I would recommend the Loco Multimaus which is coming soon. It's a cheap entry into the world of DCC and has many of the features that larger more expensive systems have without the extra cost. I have used the Lokmaus as my entry into DCC and would not consider using analogue control at all now. Difference between black and white and colour television. I am a bit wary of the Hornby as it doesn't offer too many functions and is aimed at train set users, specificaly Hornby train set users which have no features or functions. I like sound and lights and loads of features and Hornby are still way behind in this arena.

I have considered upgrading to some of the larger systems, probably the Ecos by ESU but am now wondering if I really need this as the Multimaus is so much cheaper and offers 75% of the features. You have to ask yourself what features are you likely to use?
 

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QUOTE (Doug @ 11 Aug 2006, 12:01) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>If I was about to get into DCC right now, waiting for Hornby would be very wise. It is expected before Christmas.

It should be cheap, have plenty of features and widely available. Decoders look very good value for money indeed.

Thats exactly the route I have now decided on. Being just in the track planning and laying stage, the Hornby Elite seems to have the best options, and the timing should be spot on. I have placed a pre-order with Hattons for one at £96...cant wait
... with any luck and good timing, I should just about have the track laid in time to connect it up (assuming it releases in September as planned
)

Thanks to Richard also for the Tillig catalogue; their track options look superb, and may sway me to buying Tillig over Peco. And as for turnout motors...hmmm...well it looks like Peco solenoids will suit with either PL13 or PL15 switches attached, or the equivalent for Tillig if I go that way.

Taken a lot of thought, but I think I have just about worked out the right combination now.
 

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QUOTE (pacman @ 11 Aug 2006, 18:01) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>Thanks to Richard also for the Tillig catalogue; their track options look superb, and may sway me to buying Tillig over Peco. And as for turnout motors...hmmm...well it looks like Peco solenoids will suit with either PL13 or PL15 switches attached, or the equivalent for Tillig if I go that way.

Taken a lot of thought, but I think I have just about worked out the right combination now.

Caution !!
The Tillig points require a latching point motor.

Whereas the Peco points have an over-centre spring which snaps the blades over to one side or the other, the Tillig points don't have such a spring. The switch blades are free sprung and require a motor or device to not only move them , but also to hold them against the chosen stock rail (just like the real thing).

If you want solenoid motors, try Seep; they do a latching version of their point motor with built in switch.
Alternatively, try a motor drive type. there are several makes available; the top one being Tortoise.

Here's a link to an earlier thread.

Tillig point motor

 

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QUOTE (Oakydoke @ 12 Aug 2006, 23:11) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>If you want solenoid motors, try Seep; they do a latching version of their point motor with built in switch.
Alternatively, try a motor drive type. there are several makes available; the top one being Tortoise.


The Tortoise is a good motor if you can find the room to mount it !

best regards
Brian
 

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QUOTE (pacman @ 11 Aug 2006, 17:01) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>... the Hornby Elite ... at £96...cant wait... with any luck and good timing, I should just about have the track laid in time to connect it up (assuming it releases in September as planned)
October now according to the ratailers I've spoken with.
 
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