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In depth idiot
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8,346 Posts
Probably cheaper than any other 'keeps you young' formula!

But I find myself still being drawn to analogue. After all that was my childhood! I remember watching my dad teaching me how to service a locomotive with tips and tricks along the way...
The loco mechanisms remain 12V DC, and it is essential these perform well whatever control system is used, so all you learned earlier remains relevant.

Alternative control systems such as DCC have caught on for a reason. On my return to the hobby at much the same age as you are now, I was sceptical of DCC as the DC layout worked very well, but friends persuaded me to try it. The intention had been to trial DCC for a year or more alongside majority DC operation - I had a switched section layout which made this simple - but a couple of hours operating three decoder fitted locos over the weekend, and my order for 60 decoders went in on the Monday.

As you may have noticed, the selection of locos (and stock) has expanded dramatically; and the ability to park as many locos as will fit on any vacant length of track with no isolation required, still puts a smile on my face.
 

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In depth idiot
Joined
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8,346 Posts
...as an aside, I am told that a momentary short circuit can shut down a DCC layout...
It can, and this is necessary to limit damage due to the high current potentially available on DCC systems. I wouldn't consider the LENZ/NMRA DCC system for H-D three rail. This 'shut down' is no problem on a 2 rail layout, the incidents causing this are typically a derailment, or running a train onto a point in the trailing direction, not set for that route: and it's very helpful that the system shuts down. On a well designed and carefully operated layout these are rare occurrences.

Now, Marklin provide their own proprietary equivalent digital command control system, and as Marklin is still three rail, I imagine they have some way around this problem. While my ignorance of the Marklin system can only be described as boundless, it would be possible for the points to have some electronics which manage the short locally at high speed; the same principle is used in DCC to rapidly correct shorts on 2-rail return loops to prevent system shut down as a a train runs round a return loop.

I agree it’s very impressive but it’s expensive.
And as ever it's for the individual to assess the value for money. Costs more, but you get a mountain of capability for the money.
 
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