After 15yrs,whats new?

Discussion in 'Getting Started' started by jambo101, Mar 19, 2007.

  1. jambo101

    jambo101 Member

    I;ve been out of the hobby for close to 20yrs and just now thinking of resurrecting the hobby.From some of the threads i'm reading there have been some changes in the wiring and power dept.Would appreciate a recap on some of the new improvements in the hobby and how it will affect my old Atlas;athearn and Bachman engines.And will my 20yr old controllers still function with these new improvements.

    It was Grewsomes post in track planning that got me wondering.

    Grewsome wrote
    " I was a modeler back in the dc days. It was a pain to wire, but if your a gadget freak like me, pushing all those buttons and flipping switches was a lot of fun."
  2. doctorwayne

    doctorwayne Active Member

    The DC side of operation is still alive and kicking, just as it was 15 or 20 years ago. The major innovation in operation is DCC, where a constant voltage is applied to the tracks, and each loco is fitted with an onboard decoder. An operator uses a handheld throttle to send a signal, via the rails, usually, to that particular loco, which determines when the loco moves, its speed, and direction, and in many cases, which lights operate, and what sounds emanate from an onboard speaker. Decoders can also be used for stationary objects, such as turnout motors or trackside signals. Wiring is generally much simplified over straight DC, and many trains can be controlled, independently, even on the same track, by several operators. You can learn more in the DCC Forum.
    Personally, DCC holds no attraction for me, as I usually operate solo, and I want only one train running at a time. :D Other than this, lots of great new products in almost all scales, although a lot of is ready-to-run. As far as choice and selection goes, this is probably the golden age of model railroading, right now!

  3. myltlpny

    myltlpny Member

    Well, in my opinion, the biggest thing to hit model railroading in the last 15 years has to be DCC. Controling the trains digitally means much more realism and ease in running trains. Wiring of the layout is much simpler, too. Probably the hardest thing is to add decoders to the locomotives. Sometimes, especially on older locos, it can be a bit of "make it work". What I mean is sometimes you have to come up with the solution to isolating the motor and running the wires. Not difficult after your first two or three.
  4. IAIS 604

    IAIS 604 Member

    Besides DCC, there is fantastic detail and sound!
  5. Nomad

    Nomad Active Member

    Jambo, I got back in the hobby about 2 years ago after about 30 years away, so I was just like you. I use dcc now, and would never go back. The first thing that impressed me about dcc was seeing all my engines sitting on the tracks with there lights going at the same time. You would never have seen that with dc wiring.
    Dr Wayne is right, this is the golden age of model railroading. But, we still have buttons and levers to use if we want. By the way, what kind of controllers do you have? And have you gone to a hobby store and looked around? The detail on the locomotives and cars is fantastic compared to what we used to have.

    Welcome back and good luck.

  6. abutt

    abutt Member

    Like Doc Wayne, I'm still into conventional DC operations. I think a big advance has been in the number of really quality building kits out there using laser cut shapes and the like. once you get the trains running, being able to really improve the visual quality of the buildings and industries you're serving is a real kick! I use the trains and their operations as the "thread" through the creation of all the scenery and buildings that is my real love in this hobby.
  7. Jim Krause

    Jim Krause Active Member

    The advent of DCC systems, greater availability of quality, ready to run equipment, sound systems (related to DCC but available for DC systems) are just some of the big changes. Your older loco's can possibly be converted to DCC but will take some work. The biggest things are isolating the motor and making room for the decoder in older engines. Just depends on how you feel about keeping your old favorites. If they are just toy quality stuff you might be better off putting them on a shelf and buying new for operational reasons.
  8. Russ Bellinis

    Russ Bellinis Active Member

    Athearn locomotives are fairly easy to isolate for dcc. I'm not sure about the older Atlas, and the Bachmann may be toy like and not worth trying to convert. Basically the changes since you were active in the hobby is that after years of foot dragging and doing nothing, the NMRA finally came out with standards for command control. At the time you were last in the hobby command control was available, but it was only made by 2 companies and there was no compatibility or interchangeability between the 2 systems. When the NMRA came out with standards for digital command control, it opened the way for numerous manufacturers to get into the market with decoders that are universal, and opened up the tremendous market for command control we have today.
  9. 60103

    60103 Pooh Bah

    Other events: finer track is more generally available and there is more selection.
    Athearn may have stopped making kits.
    Locomotives are noisier than ever and people pay extra for it!
    O scalers are running trains on HO gauge track and calling it On30; HO scalers on N gauge track and call it HOn30.
    Much of the latest equipment is available quite promptly in HO and N.
    Everybody runs little blue engines with faces on the boiler front.
  10. rogerw

    rogerw Active Member

    lol I like it 60103

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