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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I am about to build a new layout in my Garage it will be 5 x 2.5m wide with central core for operation. OO Gauge

The design will have 4 lines 2 up 2 down with sidings and turntable with engine houses based on GWR at 1953.

I intend to have it created for DCC in mind.

I have no idea as to what sort of equipment I will need but I see Hornby has a point controller which I believe only can handle 4 points on this. I have looked at SEEP which has a controller for 42 points.

I wish to have say 4-5 trains running. Point Control and lighting for various areas on the track.

Can your members guide me into the right sort of equipment that would satisfy my requirements.

I am assuming that a trasformer for the lighting (type unsure), DCC Controller (Type Unsure) and a Points Controller. But I am about 10 years behind in what is available.

Oldtrain
 

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Welcome to MRF.

If you have a trawl through the DCC section you will find loads of information, tips & advice on DCC.

Most experienced DCC users have their own favourites regarding controllers, decoders & so on. I currently use Fleischmann Twin-Centres on our exhibition layout St.Laurent & a variety of Lenz, ESU & Bachmann(re-badged ESU) decoders. On my garden railway I use a Lenz LH100 & Gold Maxi decoders. If starting over I would choose either an ESU ECOS or a Viessmann Commander for SL or the Roco Professional (wireless) when it's available for the garden railway.

IMHO, the first thing you need to decide on is consule/desk based or hand controller.

If you start with an entry level controller then look into how it will fit it when you want to upgrade.

Most accessory decoders have four outputs - if they had more you would require far more wiring as the accessories would then be further apart, defeating one of the avantages of DCC.

Some people (including myself) use conventional control for points & separate feeds for static lighting.

If you take your time to install separate power bus'es for the track & accessories as well as making sure that all the connections are good you will achieve reliable running.

Any questions then just fire away - someone here will have the answer (sometimes more than one !)

Hope this helps.
 

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Welcome oldtrain

I was in your position about 4 years ago and my advice as regards the type of system and make to buy is do a lot of research and get some hands on use with the different equipment before you decide. I have an eyesight problem which made it difficult to see some of the displays clearly and finished up buying an ESU ECoS not only for the display quality but also it had the features I wanted, was upgradeable via the internet and although nothing is future proof would last technology wise for some time. It is also easy to backup the stored data onto a Mac or PC using an Ethernet cable and a web browser, Safari Firefox and IE all work well with it.

If you are contemplating any computer tie up make sure you have the corresponding ports on your computer, (on today's machines they are USB or Ethernet), I am not sure of any DCC system that yet uses Firewire. Some DCC systems use RS232 which is no longer fitted to computers as standard and although you can buy converters it is easier not to have to use them. Having said that the NCE system, which uses RS232, is a good and very popular system.

I fully endorse every thing Brian has said especially considering using a conventional point control system as the cost of accessory controllers soon mounts up. You can always convert point controls later as required. For example to control my pointwork I am using ESU SwitchPilots (handles 4 points) which cost £25 each (probably gone up again since I last looked) and need about 11. I am also using LDT RM GB 8 Feedback modules which run out at about £50 for a module of 8 track inputs. For these I am putting the wiring in place as I lay the track and connecting to the track bus initially then will divert to the modules as I can afford them.

IMHO it would be better to spend money on a potentially more comprehensive system and only use it to control the locos initially than try to do everything at once and compromise on what you really want.

You haven't given your location but if you are in the UK this company takes a working demo unit to the shows and you can have a go with the different systems http://www.digitrains.co.uk/ The site has a list of shows they are attending.

I am sure there are others who will be able to suggest other dealers with test setups.

If you don't have it already this is the ESU link http://www.loksound.com/
You may be interested in this one as well http://www.ldt-infocenter.com/english/home_frame_e.htm

Hope this helps and not confuses

Chris
 

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Hi oldtrain and welcome to the MRF from another GWR modeller, though I work in N Gauge.

Like others before me I would recommend that, at least for now, you look at what will suit you best for train control and stick to a conventional mimc type control panel for accessories.

While the idea of controlling everything from your main DCC controller may, at first glance, seem appealing it is not as intuitive as having a simple switch system on a control panel to operate points. Everytime you want to change a point you have to first of all remember which accessory decoder operates which point then call up its number on the controller. By the time you get around to activating the point the moment has gone, along with the train you were going to switch to another line.

I don't want it to sound as though there is only one controller to get, because there isn't, but I too purchased the ESU ECoS and am extremely happy with it. A few teething troubles with the LCD display but that was soon fixed (a simple loose edge connector) and now its fine. While Hornby do make DCC controllers, there are many other excellent controllers available now and, whether you are going for a hand-held or a console type, the advice is still the same. Either go to an exhibition where DCC controllers are being demonstrated or to a model shop which specialises in DCC controllers and try several of them to find which suits you best. Also have a look at the DCC controller reviews here http://www.modelrailforum.com/forums/index...;page=DCC-Chart

If you are looking for ideas on control panels have a look at my workbench photo album for photos of the one I have built. It wasn't difficult but is so simple in use that I wouldn't even think of going over to DCC point control.

If you go the 'conventional' route then, in addition to the DCC Bus, you will need to install a 16v power bus to operate point motors and a 12v bus to power lights etc.

Good luck with your project and keep us posted on your progress, preferably with pictures. If you need help or advice at any time don't hesitate to post it on the forum. Someone will always be along to help out.
 

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One factor you will need to consider is that a layout of that size with 4 or 5 trains running will require a substantial power output and as many throttles as you can muster.

I have invested in Digitrax. In this range you could use the same as me with Super Empire Builder and Zephyr together or alternatively, the Super Chief and a couple of UT4's. The former gives three amps and the latter five amps.

I would think that three amps would be a minimum for your layout.
 

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Hello and welcome to the Forum Oldtrain

Most DCC systems will be able to run 5 or 6 trains with ease , controlling them on different tracks can be a challenge sometimes. There are different automated solutions available - from sectional automation units to full computer control .

The possibilities with DCC are just endless. So you have a bit of light reading to do


Everybody has their favourite system , I use a Roco MultiMAUS through a Lenz LZV100 system plus linked to the Computer for programming locos . I have no layout at present as most things are in storage for a pending house move (sometime soon I hope) But since browsing on this forum I have changed my plans considerably , reflected on previous mistakes , honed my skills and improved my modelling and will be much better prepared when starting the next big project. Thanks to all the experienced and helpful modellers on this Forum.

Regards

Zmil
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Expat,

Looked at your details on point control and like your design.

Can I ask what type of sitches you used and light control.

I think this is the answer as I have 18 plus points to consider.
 

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Hi again Oldtrain.

The DPDT switches, the 6 pin chasis sockets and plugs and the sub-miniature push buttons all came from Maplins.

The push button switches used for the scissor crossings, the MASTERswitches, and the bi-colour LEDs all came from Richard Johnson at DCC Concepts in Australia. Richard does, I believe, have and agency arrangement with a model shop in the U.K. - I think it is Bromsgrove Models, but am not 100% sure on that. Try dropping him a PM for details.

The top panel for the control panel is 3mm white acrylic sheet (the sort used to make illuminated shop signs) and the design was done on an Excel spreadsheet. If you want further details of how that was done, drop me a PM, though I seem to remember I did detail the method in one of my Control Panel posts.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Expat,

Many thanks for the Info.

I have a Maplins in Farnborough, Hampshire and I will make contact with Richard.

Thanks again.

I have just completed the first day of installing the base board and I ache from all the work.

But I am seeing the beginning of a great layout thanks to you and the forum for their help.
 
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