Any basic, no frills, aka cheap, 3/4 "function only" decoders?

Discussion in 'DCC & Electronics' started by S/390, Nov 21, 2006.

  1. S/390

    S/390 New Member

    Inspired by a discussion on Digitrax groups, I'm thinking of using a simple decoder to drive each of my 3/4 aspect signal heads. LED signals require very little power. This seems like a DCC natural, power and control of the signal directly from the track bus.

    The big advadtage is no more 10 wire cable going to every corner of the layout. Mount the signal, plug it into the tiny decoder, connect the decoder to the rails, instant DCC signal!

    The disadvantage, cost... Even though they are designed as "mobile" decoders, the Digitrax TF4, Lenz LF100XF, and TCS FL-4 can all do this job, But every one of these has "extra features" that are useless in a signal driver. The TF4 has transponding, kinda silly for a signal since it never moves... The others have things like special lighting effects. Blink would be a nice option for a 4th signal aspect, but all the other effects are again, useless for a signal. I'm sure these extra features all add to the cost of the decoder.

    If I use the SE8C for signal control, my per head cost is about $10, after you include the cost of "mounting kits", connectors, cable, etc. I think I can do it for a little less using the RRcirkits Tower, but not much less.

    I've found the TCS FL-4 for about $15, the others are a few dollars more. If only I could find a simple, basic, 3 function decoder in the $10 range, then I see NO disadvantage to running "direct control" signals.

    Suggestions? Comments?

  2. interurban

    interurban Active Member

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