Best DCC for N Scale???

Discussion in 'N / Z Scale Model Trains' started by Meiriongwril, Dec 29, 2006.

  1. Meiriongwril

    Meiriongwril Member

    I've followed some of the discussions on which DCC system is best/preferred on the DCC forum. I'm currently operating DC in N Scale, and wonder whether N Scale forum members have any suggestions for preferred DCC systems/non-preferred systems in this scale? (I got no reply on the DCC forum - presumably all HO folk there :rolleyes: )
    I own a Precision Craft EMD 7 that has a chip installed - though it's difficult to ascertain which systems this chip is compatible with. Does anyone know this, or should I contact PCM to find out?
    Also, I'm useless at taking locos apart (and indeed putting them back together), so do you guys out there know whether there are any folk who'll put in N scale chips without charging an arm and a leg...?![​IMG]
  2. nolatron

    nolatron Member

    I've used all digitrax decoders (and Digitrax boosters) in my n-scale stuff and have been happy with it. Digitrax as a decoder guide on their website, showing which brands/models their various decoders will fit.
  3. davidstrains

    davidstrains Active Member

    There are probably as many opinions on the "best system" as there are individual users. In other threads you have seen "you should determine what YOU want in YOUR system, check the feature set of the various systems, try one out at a club layout or train show if one is near, and then make your choice based on your experiences." I like the Digitrax Radio Chief. But that does not mean that the Lenz system, or the other systems might not work better for you. Digitrax was MY choice based on MY preferences.

    As for decoders -I use mostly the Digitrax "drop-in" decoders that replace the lightboard in many locos. see the recommended decoder list on the Digitrax site. No wiring required, just remove the dc light board, replace it with the DCC decoder, program it, and enjoy running your train. I understand that Bruce Litchfield at Litchfield Station does a good bit of DCC decoder installs but he gets backed up at times and books installs months in advance. See his site for info.
  4. Boilerman

    Boilerman Member

    I live in the US, model in N-Scale, purchased a NCE system and have been equipping my locos with Digitrax DZ 143 decoders.

    The Digitrax system was my second choice.

    I think that the Digitrax Decoders are better for N as the factory wires that they come with are a lighter more flexible gage than others that I have looked at with the exception of drop in decoders.

    I hope that this sheds some light on the subject:) .
  5. grumbeast

    grumbeast Member

    Shw mae Meriongwril

    Greetings from another Taff in North America (I'm from Caerfilli). Anyhow, to the point.

    I'm a reluctant DCC convert (I love it but found converting a nightmare). I use a digitrax Zephyr, which I would happily recommend, my larger Bendtrack group use Digitrax exclusively for controllers and all sorts for decoders.

    The reason I'm still reluctant is that I have a lot of trouble installing the hard-wired decoders, it seems to be an arcane skill. So I'm slowly building up a collection of loco's with the drop-in decoders. If a loco has a DCC lightboard replacement decoder (like most atlas and kato) then I'd say go for it, I manage to change these with a fair bit of success, its really not too hard.

    The other alternative is to buy locomotives that come with decoders already installed.

    Well I hope this helps!!!

  6. grumbeast

    grumbeast Member

    ooops posted twice, sorry!
  7. Boilerman

    Boilerman Member


    I have invested in a Milling Machine for modifying the frames of my locos as I have many locos that are not simply drop-in decoder installations.

    Yes, installations can be time consuming, one must have patience, good soldering skills with the understanding of electric wiring so you do not end up burning out decoders:) .
  8. Agatheron

    Agatheron Member

    I have a Prodigy Express system, which for an entry-level is great for my purposes. I've been able to operate three locomotives at once with no real issues... I should see if I can power up four at a time to see if I can hit the 1.6 amp limit. Yes, it's small, but then again my layout is an 9.5'x6' L-shaped layout that will be run by one person... maybe at best 2... I'm going to make room for it.

    For larger layouts, and the extra bells and whistles that come in the proprietary LocoNet stuff from Digitrax, it does look interesting to me... but the MRC Prodigy Express has an option of upgrading to the Advance... and at least for the time being, is about my speed as a newbie. :)
  9. Meiriongwril

    Meiriongwril Member

    Diolch yn fawr Graham - neis bod Cymro arall ar y fforwm!:thumb:
    My main concern is the large number of locos - some not so new, that I would have to convert. I think I'll stick to DC for now.....:(
  10. grumbeast

    grumbeast Member


    I still face the dilemma of many loco's to convert, I have lots of older stuff and difficult to convert ones that I'm just going to take it slowly with. One solution that I used to transition was to use DCC and DC, just not together. It really is easier to start DCC as early as you can, I think the days of DC are somewhat numbered with any new loco's coming out ready or pre-installed. If you have any former British outline stuff (I have a fair bit of Grafar) its seems that the UK is finally waking up to DCC and people are beginning to convert even older designs.

    Also don't forget that you can run 1 DC loco in address 0 on a DCC system and some of the better controllers will run on DC (they can autosense and switch as I understand) Is there someone that can confirm this?

    Best of luck

  11. berraf

    berraf Member

    I use Roco lokmaus 2. It´s quite cheap and have the possibilities that I need so for me it´s the best.

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