Chooseing a Decoder

Discussion in 'DCC & Electronics' started by green_elite_cab, Jan 30, 2006.

  1. green_elite_cab

    green_elite_cab Keep It Moving!


    I just ordered MRC's Prodigy Express DCC system, and now i'm looking for decoders. I was looking into Digitrax's decoders, but i know there are others out there.

    While i have a big locomotive fleet, i wanted to convert locomotives like my ALP44 to DCC. I have a bunch of similar quality locomotives (Athearn RTR AC4400, Genisis SD75M) I also have a bunch of Athearn Standard locomotives. What decoders are best for these engines?
  2. Woodie

    Woodie Active Member

    Dunno what's best for you and I suppose that is a decision for yourself. But for my first decoders I went for the pretty basic ones first. I have a NCE system, so just went with their basic 3 function (front/rear headlight and single function) decoder (no plug, just wires), and wired them into half dozen locos of varying quality. (I have no DCC ready/NMRA plug fitted locos). I've found them OK as they have all the torque stuff (acceleration/deceleration/start voltage/kick strength & depth etc) and OK on price. Had no probs with the size and fitting them in to the locos I've done so far as well. I bought a "10 pack" which gives you a bit of a discount over the single decoder price.

    And I've not blown any of them up............................ yet **crosses fingers** :thumb:
  3. billwv

    billwv Member


    If you want loco's to creep smoothly at less than 1 smph go Lenz gold or silver. I have three installed and they run much better than others I have tried--well worth the extra cost if you want good slow speed.

  4. green_elite_cab

    green_elite_cab Keep It Moving!

    My problem is i see all sorts of features, and i haven't a clue what it all means. I don't want to get stuck with something i don't like. for example, the x2f coupler has a fancy name, but we all know those are horrible. basicly, i don't want to get caught in that situation.

    I am just trying to buy what i can afford, but i want to get the best i can afford. I don't get alot of money that i can buy decoders with, so if i do get something, i want to get the best possible for what i am useing it for. for example, i have an SD75M from Athearn Genisis. I want to be able to have its ditch lights flash, not just directional lighting and on and off.

    I feel spending a little extra on a better decoder is better than buying a lesser decoder and a better one, all for one locomotive. i'm very money minded, i don't like to put money into something i'll replace in the near future.
  5. Gary Pfeil

    Gary Pfeil Active Member

    I'm pretty sure you don't want to go this route, but will mention it: the Sountrax Tsunami, $80, and diesel not released yet, but supposedly this summer. I recently installed a steam version and the manual
    (scroll down to page 31)
    shows how to program ditch lights to activate for grade crossings when you blow the horn. How cool! Almost makes me want to add ditchlights to a steam loco and run it as a current day restored loco. When the diesel unit comes out it will be an option, start saving now! Modeling the 50's I have no use for ditch lights, so am not sure which regular decoders to recommend, sorry.
  6. green_elite_cab

    green_elite_cab Keep It Moving!

    but trains did have gyralights then right? although you are right, i don't think i can afford it. my only hope on that would be is my mom gives me $120 or so whenever a train show comes around, si that would be the time to grab them. MRC is actualy sell ing a 3 pack of sound decoders for $60, which would make me totaly broke, but i'd have the decoders. However, even though its a sale, it scares me they would sell it that cheap. i wonder if there is something up with it. you usualy get what you pay for....

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