Model Railway Forum banner
1 - 10 of 10 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
4 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi,
I have been modelling using DC control for around 20 years but as I am building a new layout I thought I should investigate DCC control for its obvious
advantages. I purchased an E-Z Command Controller and a Bachmann 36-553, 3 function decoder with EMF. I set up a couple of lengths of track, plugged in and tried some DCC ready locos I have. The Bachmann models : 56xx, Ivatt 4-6-0 and Crab all ran very erratically with jerky movements. I then tried a Hornby Q1 which ran very well with excellent slow speed control. I contacted Bachmann Technical Services who informed me that the problem was due to the Bachmann! motors not being compatible with the decoder's EMF CV settings and these would need adjusting-which I cannot do with the EZ controller. I was aware of the 36-552 2 function decoder so I suggested should I try one and the gentleman from Bachmann said I should. Armed with a 36-552 I tried this in the same locos. The result is that they run but there is an annoying humming noise from the motor, including the Q1, with which I was quite impressed with using the 36-553 decoder. Before I put the DCC controller and decoders on e-Bay and return to wiring sections with a bank of switches can anyone help and convert me back to DCC!
Thanks
Brian.
 

·
In depth idiot
Joined
·
7,685 Posts
I have little experience of Bachmann's DCC product, but while sampling the various systems on offer prior to making my DCC purchase it was very clear that the range of performance was large. The control systems varied in the quality of user interface, documentation and capability: the basic systems (and Bach's E-Z was one of these) were simply too limited in capability to be worth purchasing in my opinion. When it came to decoders, typically the capability and refinement increased with the price: the price range at the time was about £8 to £25, the performance range (just considering one aspect) went from 'jerky, no better than an incrementing switch between speed steps' all the way to a smooth creep into motion and seamless acceleration. It made a nonsense of buying the cheap decoders, particularly when the refined performance kicked in from about double the then lowest price.

Don't be discouraged from thinking about DCC from experience of low capability: there is much better available, and it is a joy to use. One major drawback: operating becomes so much fun you may not get on with modelling, or layout construction...
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
5,592 Posts
I'm surprised because most people get on quite well with the Bachmann product, which is very limited but robust. You have to accept that you have purchased one of the cheapest DCC sets with only a tiny mount of functions, and a whole amp of capacity !
. Rather than waste your money on switches and a DC transformer and recalling for ever after how you tried DCC and it failed you ( others will regard your failure as strange and might avoid you
) .....rather make a sensible decision and buy yourself a good DCC set-up, rather than an under performing children's toy. . There are many who will advise you on what you should buy - avoid them and for 10 quid buy youself a book called DCC made easy from Amazon. Then try to change your EZ DCC for the new Dynamis also from Bachmann you might be lucky if you bought from a Bachmann dealer rather then recovering it from a tip
. You should realise there are no free or low cost options, as with everything you get what you pay for, so be sensible and buy something that doesn't go Buzz, flash bang or wollop. Welcome to the 20th century DCC has arrived.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
201 Posts
Well said MMAD. I tried 3 or 4 controllers before i decided upon the one I like the most and asked if anybody had any notes about it. People said it was a good starter system. This is why i wont push the controller i decided up on because what i found easy, another club member found difficult to use.

For me i have 3 standards for decoders, these are either the ESU loksound, if i decide to sound chip the loco, or the Lenz silver for all other diesels or the Lenz 1000 seies (now the Lenz Standard) for the few steamers that I have fitted them to

I have had a few stemers who have had realistic steam pouring out from them, from Hornby and Bachmann decoders so I generally try to stear clear from them. (I have had 4 go on me, 3 bachmann and 1 hornby)

Dont give up on DCC Brian. I went DCC after trying it on Mostyn after hours at an exhibition i was helping to run and have not looked back since.

Alistair
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
7,397 Posts
Some good points there. I think it's important to see the limitations of these starter sets. They are only there to give a taste of what DCC will do. If you want the full capabilities you will have to get a full spec system. Before you do this you want to read up on what all the functions are that are on offer and what you want from your system. Take your time while doing this and ask questions if you're not sure. The book MMaD suggests is a good place to start.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
133 Posts
Hi Y'all,

I was one of those who bought a ZTC a couple or three years ago. I was in the process of wiring up a loft layout with a triangle and a turntable shed area. It struck me that a lot of time and money would be spent on switches and cables etc. The DCC dealt with all that at a stroke. ZTC has its limitations and idiosyncracies but generally performs well enough. However, the V4.01 release that I have only seems to cater for F0 - F9, which is limiting where light and sound, which have both joined my layout. I have to state that whilst I do have DCC point control modules, from Lenz and SMD, I have retained Gaugemaster DC 16v AC analogue point control. I prefer SMD for distant point control, as it needs no power supply units, includes a CDU, and is powered off a DCC bus.

On the subject of size of loco collection, well, I have 60+, and these were converted over a couple of years. Some conversions were contracted out, the rest I have done myself - still learning, though.

Despite starting off with the ZTC kit, I feel that it has been better going down this path, rather than starting off with a cheap and cheerful kit. However, I will be moving on to something like a Ecos/Viessmann control unit. The latter, when it turns up seems to have very interesting features, including a mimic board.

Best thing is double heading or slow control shunting, not to mention light control and sounds.

Cheers,

Hugh
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
4 Posts
Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Thanks for your comments. I was hoping there was a 'quick fix' for the problems but it obviously comes down to the fact that the E-Z command unit is a waste of time and money!. I only building a small layout -12'x18" with a 4' fiddle yard and operaate mainly steam locos. My main requirement is smooth slow running for shunting, I am not really interested in lights and sound etc. This months edition of BRM magazine has a review of starter DCC systems and the NCE POWER CAB seems to offer a good basic system which will allow me to program decoders. Has anyone opinions/experience of this system-either good or bad! Also do I need to use better quality/more expensive decoders or will this system allow me to tweak the Bachmann decoders to produce smooth running with no humming!
Brian.
 

·
In depth idiot
Joined
·
7,685 Posts
The humming is a function of the decoder frequency on the output side of the decoder, a better control system does nothing to change that. Sample a decoder like the Lenz standard, which has the same high frequency (effectively silent) drive that won me over to the Lenz silver/gold, but now at a near budget price. This type of decoder will really exploit a good mechanism, and will deliver the fine control at low speed required for a shunting layout.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
201 Posts
now you mention the NCE Powercab. this is the second setup that I had. I have enjoyed using mine as it is quite simple to use. the only problem is that it needs an extra switchin unit to enable it to use a programming track. however both are available through Bromsgrove models. the NCE power cab gives easy control of things like points.

if you would like to know anything else i will try to answer any questions you have.

Alistair
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
166 Posts
QUOTE (longbridge @ 27 Oct 2007, 14:29) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>Thanks for your comments. I was hoping there was a 'quick fix' for the problems but it obviously comes down to the fact that the E-Z command unit is a waste of time and money!. I only building a small layout -12'x18" with a 4' fiddle yard and operaate mainly steam locos. My main requirement is smooth slow running for shunting, I am not really interested in lights and sound etc. This months edition of BRM magazine has a review of starter DCC systems and the NCE POWER CAB seems to offer a good basic system which will allow me to program decoders. Has anyone opinions/experience of this system-either good or bad! Also do I need to use better quality/more expensive decoders or will this system allow me to tweak the Bachmann decoders to produce smooth running with no humming!
Brian.

I converted to DCC after being in the hobby 50 years and have never looked back.

I did a very thorough review of the systems and TRIED them before making a decision.

I went for the NCE system and it is excellent. I also went for Zimo decoders which are a little more expensive but also very very good.

If you are within reach of Digitrains in Lincoln you can try six or seven systems on the same layout AND get sensible and impartial advice. I have no connection other than a satisifed customer who travelled from Poole in Dorset!!

Like everything else in life you get what you pay for!
 
1 - 10 of 10 Posts
Top