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which dcc is recomended?

2375 Views 7 Replies 5 Participants Last post by  Dennis David
out of curiosity (and being new to this subject) I was wondering which dcc is most popular and most recomended. Ive just read some of the comments regarding the Hornby one and there seems to be some disapointments in it. (Correct me if Im wrong).
So what do you good folk recomend for someone just gettting into dcc?
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Are you here to cause trouble Antony

- Just joking...

If you take a brief look through the DCC section, you will see that it is a very emotive subject.

Generally owners of a particular brand will promote the system that they bought. Most of the time, these users will not have tried many other systems. Very few people in fact, including shops, have hands-on experience with multiple systems.

Take a look at the DCC systems chart and look through some old posts.

Popular brands with DCC systems are (in alphabetical order): Bchmann, Digitrax, Hornby, Lenz, MRC, NCE, Zimo, ZTC

Some opinion (mentioned here and elsewhere): Lenz started the ball rolling, Digitrax appeals to the American market, Zimo is expensive, Bachmann is entry level, Hornby is the new guy in town, MRC is badly documented, NCE is badly marketed, ZTC looks good, but has functionality issues. - Elements of truth in all that, but opinionated all the same as there will always be someone else with an opposing opinion just waiting to shout you down.
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It all depends what you are trying to do, and what sort of layout you have got.

If you are trying to run a huge US basement empire 60' x 30' with an operating team of 15 , your requirements are going to be very different from someone who's got an L-shaped GW branch line terminus in one room at home, which they operate on their own

And a large exhibition layout based on Southern 3rd rail EMUs will have different requirements again

Most of the major brands offer several different systems pitched at different levels


- how big is the layout (if small you may not need a system that supports dozens of cabs , or delivers large amounts of amps. You won't want computer control on a small layout)
- Steam or diesel? (Lights are largely irrelevant on British steam)
- Are you interested in DCC sound ? (sound decoders are expensive, and they require lots of functions to support them)
- Do you want to double head, or have multiple unit working (if so you'll need consisting)
- How far do you want to play about with decoder settings? (some cheap systems offer minimal programming)

- Do you want your system to be compatible with some other DCC layout (eg in a club)? This may affect which manufacturer you choose (though anyone's decoders should work with anyone's systems...)

One factor may be accessibility. Most decent model shops have a Gaugemaster agency anyway , so the Gaugemaster [MRC]Prodigy Advance is widely available in shops . So, for obvious reasons, is Bachmann's basic EZ DCC (and presumably their Dynamis system when it arrives). Clearly lots of shops will stock the Hornby Select (and presumably the Hornby Elite when that arrives). Lenz, traditionally the leading brand in Britain, is available from quite a number of advertisers in the magazines.

Some of the other systems are more difficult to source and may be available from a few specialist retailers,or just the UK agent, or might even have to be bought from the US or Germany or even over eBay.

There's a very good argument that if you're not confident exactly what you want , you should sit tight for a couple of months and do a bit of research before buying. Several new systems seem to be on the brink of release. Hornby's better-spec system, the Elite, and quite possibly the new Bachmann Dynamis about which little is known. Someone seemed to think Lenz might make some kind of move at the Nuremburg Toy Fair in the spring

There is still limited users feedback about several recently released systems like the Select and the ESU ECoS (one of the systems you might have to source from Germany)

Give it 3 months and some of the smoke might have cleared
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Thanks guys. And no Doug I was not trying to cause trouble.
Just genuinely interested. As I have said else where in a post, my son is the one actually interested in trains but he does seem to come to me for a lot of info regarding them so I thought Id better start getting some fact straight in my head.

I guess if I was going to go back to model railways I would probably opt for a full computerised system as I am very much into my computer. And yes I am aware there is a world of difference between computerised system to dcc system.
But getting back to the topic (and since Christmas is getting closer - and money even scarcer), I opted to buy my son the Bachmann dcc system. the fun part is about to come as I have to somehow get hold of a couple of his locos without him knowing and fit the new decoders for him. As he is waiting to move home soon his layout is dismantled but from what he has been telling me he intends to set the scene towards the end of WW2. So it will be steam. I believe he is going to attempt to model a station which no longer exists - and as this is his first real attempt at something like this - a real challenge. His choice seems to be based on the fact that not far from us there used to be an airbase which had its own line linked to the main line. I presume that this was used to ferry in aircraft parts etc. And this is what he plans to do. ( I guess I get to build the aircrafts as that is something Im interested in
Anyway enough of my rambling - thanks for some ideas and suggestions.

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Most DCC systems have computer integration of one sort or another.

I use the PC to configure the decoders and keep track of the locos on my DCC system, but I don't use the PC to run the layout or to switch points. PC integration is what got me interested in DCC about 7 years ago, although it has only been recently that it is working the way I like it.

Regarding the fitting of decoders, try it yourself, it is not too difficult. Check out our Reviews section, there are a few examples there on how to go about it. Some shops also offer a decoder fitting service. Ontracks has a free service, but I suppose that you have to get the loco and decoder with them too.
Thanks Doug. Someone in another post has already give me a lot of good info on fitting the decoder so as soon as I can get hold of one of my son's locos I shall have a go

QUOTE the ESU ECoS (one of the systems you might have to source from Germany) Available from South West Digital
QUOTE so as soon as I can get hold of one of my SON'S locos I shall have a go

Better to experiment on your son's locos first.
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