DC fundamentalist

Discussion in 'Getting Started' started by jambo101, Mar 21, 2008.

  1. jambo101

    jambo101 Member

    After a brief frustrating trip into the world of DCC I've decided i'm going to stay with the DC for several reasons.
    Maybe every one else gets all this tech stuff but i dont.
    The novelty of realistic noises wears off quickly as you realize that your 80 ton engine is only 6" long and made of plastic,plus the noises become rather redundant after a while.
    When problems arise this DCC system adds a whole new level of complexity that can be hard to define/diagnose and fix.
    I can see the benefits of this system if running many engines on a super size layout in maybe a club type setting but for mere mortals like me who think a 4'x8' layout is large and running just 1 or 2 engines the cost and complexity of DCC just arent worth it.
    As for the extra wiring a DC set up requires i never had a problem with it in fact i kind of enjoyed the extra hands on experience of making all the wiring neat and tidy and its something i understand,
    I'm hoping the trend toward DCC equipped merchandise will bring the price down on the products that are only DC.
    So that is my take on DCC after getting my first locomotive with factory installed DCC and sound and trying to run it on a DC controller,maybe not the fairest trial of DCC operation but from what i see i'm not enthusiastic about taking it to the next level and buying a $500 controller and then having to deal with all the technical aspects that can go wrong as well as the usual mechanical glitches.
    Any one else share my take on it or am i just an unadaptable dinosaur:mrgreen:
  2. N Gauger

    N Gauger 1:20.3 Train Addict

    I agree with you.

    -- I made the exact same decision years ago, for almost the same reasons. A 9 x 12 foot G layout is not worth the time or aggravation to use DCC.

    Maybe in the future, but not yet..... :D :D
  3. Herc Driver

    Herc Driver Active Member

    I somewhat feel the same way...with the new shelf plan I'm designing, it will run straight DC and be "upgrade-able" to DCC in the future. But right now, I'm happy knowing I can run it the way it is with DC and start the long process of converting to DCC - adding the controllers and cards as time and money permit.
  4. RobertInOntario

    RobertInOntario Active Member

    I'd expect that I'd run into many problems too if I tried DCC as well on my 4x6 layout. I've put it off for several reasons: 1) I have a small layout; 2) over half of my locos are old, i.e. from the 1960s and 1970s; 3) the cost and complications wouldn't make it worth it.

    But it would be nice to be able to park (i.e. stop) one train on a line while running a loco on the same line. I guess there are ways to do this with a DC layout, which I might look into in time.

  5. jambo101

    jambo101 Member

    If your layout is wired with a couple of blocks its as easy as flipping a switch.
  6. nachoman

    nachoman Guest

    I agree about the sound part. I know that after a few weeks, I would be tired of it. People say their sound systems sound great, but to me they always sound a litttle cheezy. Granted, the technology to make that stuff is a great curiosity to me, but face it, you can't get very realistic sound from any speaker that will fit in an HO locomotive.

    There are tons of animations our railraods are likey lo never have - such as moving vehicles, walking people, realistic smoke and steam generators. If one makes traffic lights that switch from red to green - hey, that's cool - until you realize the idiot drivors with the green light are still stopped. Suppoose you find a way to realistically animate cars - that would be extremely cool - until you realize the pedestrians on the sidewalk never cross the street.

    For me, having exhaust sounds come out of my engine just draws attention to the fact that there aint any exhaust coming out of the stack. Thus, the cheese factor. Sound is for the folks who want to make "choo choo" sounds with their mouth but are too embarrased to do so :D. I, for one, am not embarrassed :)

    But DCC is more than sound. I am building a 4x8 and plan to switch to DCC once I get all the track layed for several reasons:
    1) I have some dual-gauge track, and DCC should simplify things there.
    2) I want to be able to doublehead with ease
    3) I would like to be able to turn headlights on or off on my locomotives. In my era, locomotives did not commonly run with headlights during the day.
    4) I want visitors with DCC locomotives to be able to run their trains.

    Because I am not interested in all the functions, I am considering getting a cheap bachmannn system to sart out. That will give me the feel for things. If I decide later I want something more, the bachmann system can be used for temporary holiday displays or re-sold on ebay.

  7. jambo101

    jambo101 Member

  8. doctorwayne

    doctorwayne Active Member

    I agree about the sound aspect of DCC. While I'm amazed at what can be done, I had enough "sound" working for almost 40 years in a steel mill. If I want train sounds, they're in my head (along with those dang voices). ;) :-D As for train control, I strongly feel that every train that's running should have its own operator, and as a lone operator most of the time, only one train runs at a time. I'll eventually divide the layout into two or three blocks so that I can have multiple operators, but that's not a big priority. As for doubleheading, I have no problems running any combination of locos on my layout, and most trains require at least two locos. DC (Dinosaur Control) suits me just fine. :-D:-D

  9. Russ Bellinis

    Russ Bellinis Active Member

    The modular club went over to dcc a couple of years ago. It is great for a club. There was a bit of a learning curve involved with it. We bought the Easy DCC from CVP Products and it works great. We have had a few up grades done to the system since we bought it, and the biggest problem for us is with the latest upgrade, we can only run 8 throttles at any one time on the layout. The wiring is actually a lot simpler for dcc than it is with dc if you are going to run more than one train because there is no need for block wiring with dcc. The only complicated wiring needed for dcc is isolation of reversing loops, wye's, turntables etc.

    That being said, my plan on my home layout is to run dc with a Crest Train Engineer remote wireless system. It will only work with one train, but my home layout will be a 7' x 9' L shaped switching layout on top of a book shelf. It is a radio control system, but it controls all of the track on the layout, so any locomotive on any track on the layout will respond to the throttle. With a layout running 1 engine, I don't need to isolate anything into blocks. I may buy a small basic dcc system to allow me to program locomotives for use on the modular club set ups. I would probably set up one programming track with a double pole double throw center off switch to allow programming when not using that track for switching operations.

    In the final analysis, in my opinion, dcc is great for a large layout running a lot of trains simultaneously. For the small layout running one train, I think it is overkill.
  10. baldwinjl

    baldwinjl Member

    I'll agree there. But as soon as you add train #2, I will disagree, quite loudly. DCC is at it's best on a small layout, with multiple trains. IMHO.
  11. baldwinjl

    baldwinjl Member

    And if you choose to do that, you will probably decide that DCC isn't worth the money! For a little more, a Zephyr or PowerCab gives you a fully functional DCC system, with much less likelyhood of getting frustrated by what your system can't do.
  12. UP SD40-2

    UP SD40-2 Senior Member

    baldwinjl, i COULDN'T AGREE WITH YOU MORE:thumb::mrgreen: .(except I'm a MRC Prodigy Express/Advance guy:119: )
    I have been watching this thread all afternoon, biting my tongue the whole time:eeki::119: .

    After MUCH thought though, despite the fact i STRONGLY DISAGREE with SOME of the "excuses" not to go DCC, i have come to this conclusion: it really doesn't matter what your running, as long as your enjoying this hobby:winki::mrgreen: .

    The biggest problem i think folks have with DCC is that at first it seems real complicated, a real daunting task to learn how to use it when looking at it as a big picture:frowns: . what i found helped me was to just STOP, take a deep breath, and break it down into steps:winki: , i highlighted the points i knew were most important, so i could easily find them for future reference, doing that made things MUCH easier:thumb: . i can honestly say i would NEVER go back to DC, no matter what size layout i am running:winki: .

    for some, they are completely happy with DC, and quite honestly, thats OK, theres NOTHING wrong with that:thumb: . the cost of converting all those old engines could be quite expensive, and the task of converting some of them, well, i wont kid you, sometimes it has been a real pain:oops: .(though i have wired my dads layout to run DC or DCC with the flip of a 2 toggle switches, so he could run his "old" engines without converting them:winki: )

    For some, they perhaps want to try DCC, but don't have someone there with them to help out, and it really might be hard for them to learn on their own, or perhaps the thought of doing their "homework", by asking questions, that sometimes don't get answered because others might not know the answer, OR looking things up on the net, is more then they really want to have to do, so they just end up throwing in the towel.

    It can be an expense to go into DCC that sadly some of us cant afford to do:frowns: . and getting the cheapest DCC system as far as I'm concerned is NOT the answer:cry: , i agree with baldwinjl, 99.9% of the time it will just frustrate you because of all the things you CANT DO with the cheapest system:roller:wall1 .

    PERSONALLY, Model RRing was starting to get a little "boring" to me:eeki: , until i seen what the wonders of DCC w/sound brought to this hobby:thumb: . i am one of those "i can do ANYTHING" guys:119: (well, just about anything...:oops: ), so i made it a personal commitment to learn all the DCC i could that would make me happy:winki: . DON'T get me wrong, i DON'T know everything about DCC:oops: , but i know JUST ENOUGH to make MY model RRing experiences fun for ME:thumb: . QUITE HONESTLY, it was the sound that DCC brought that kept ME in this hobby:winki: , it brought a whole new level of running for me:winki::mrgreen: , and without it, i probably WOULDN'T be here today:cry: , i think i would have dropped out long ago:eeki: .

    I -CAN- see why staying with DC has its merits for some:thumb::mrgreen: , but in the same token, lets ALSO understand why DCC(AHEM...perhaps WITH sound) has its merits for others:twisted: .

    :deano: -Deano
  13. steamhead

    steamhead Active Member

    I agree with Deano...If you're frustrated right now, you'd be selling yourself short by buying an EL CHEAPO system that won't allow you to fully exploit DCC's virtues. As far as wiring goes...I wired my current layout exactly the same way I've wired all my previous DC layouts, not knowing any other way to do wiring...(I even put in "blocks" to allow for future power districts).
    The only thing I had to learn when I got my DCC system (Zephyr) was how to set up an engine's address. That must have taken all of 5 minutes. Once I had that down pat :mrgreen: ...and running a few engines I figured it was time to start "tinkering" with a few CV settings.
    It's just like any other new thing...Take baby steps before you try to run. I get the impression that you jumped in the deep end without having learned to swim, and are looking for an incompetent life-guard to get you out....
    But whatever you choose to do...HAVE FUN...!!! :thumb:
  14. RobertInOntario

    RobertInOntario Active Member

    Thanks -- Yes, I'll have to set my layout up that way. Then I could park one train while shunting another one around. Rob
  15. jambo101

    jambo101 Member

    Not sure buying 1 engine with factory installed DCC and sound would qualify as jumping in the deep end,the salesman told me that this type of unit will operate just fine on a DC controller as it will configure itself to my controller,i believe that was also confirmed during a related thread,however the train runs erratically stopping and starting all by itself all the time making horrendous noises that sound more like a plea for mercy than imitation engine sounds:mrgreen:
    On a DC unit i would have an idea as to where to look to solve the problem,on DCC there are many pages of programming to consult in the owners manual all pertaining to programming procedures non of which tell me why the unit is acting erratically,we've gone through some likely scenarios as to whats causing the problems in the DCC section but i'm at a loss as to how to solve the problem short of buying the whole DCC system.
    Today i took the engine back to the place i bought it and we tested it on the test track,it ran perfectly of course and the salesman told me that it would be better to buy the whole DCC system.
    He was nice enough to refund my money.
  16. baldwinjl

    baldwinjl Member

    The problem wasn't DCC. the problem was the manufacturer (and more than one do it) claiming that the loco is really as useful on DC and it is DCC. They do it to sell stuff, but it doesn't always work so well, as you have discovered.
  17. steamhead

    steamhead Active Member

    Well...that had a sort of "happy" ending. At least you got your $$'s back...If you ever decide to tackle DCC, do it with the whole system...That's the way it was meant to be operated. The sound is just icing on the cake. Get the basics down pat, then do the frosting...
  18. rogerw

    rogerw Active Member

    Russ I also have the CVP system and am wondering why you can only run 8 throttles? The system should be able to use 99 throttles.
  19. FiatFan

    FiatFan Member

    Probably the wisest statement ever made in this forum.

    Another dinosaur here. My take on DCC and sound: For 25 years I had high pressure jobs in a very noisy factory, managing multiple priorities and basically being responsible that the factory worked. When I started back into trains I thought cool, they have sound now. Then I went to a train show and after five minute I was really irritated by the noise. After 10 minutes, I was ready to leave. So much for sound.

    I have a relatively small layout (9X13 around the wall) and a simple track plan. I use power routing through the turnouts. No extra wiring to kill the power on a siding that way. When I run an engine, I have the luxury of watching only that engine, whether it be on the mainline or doing some switching. I have two towns, each with a separate controller so if I ever do have a friend come to run trains, we can. I also have it set up so I can run laps with one controller for visitors while demonstrating switching with the other controller.

    I'm just enjoying the hobby.

  20. Russ Bellinis

    Russ Bellinis Active Member

    I may have forgotten to mention that we do not use any tethered throttles. All of our operation is done by wireless throttles. We have one receiver hooked up, and run in scan mode which allows only 8 throttles since 8 is the maximum number of receivers. The only way to run more than 8 throttles is to have more receivers because one receiver will only handle 8 throttles on 8 frequencies. We have tried "burst-2" mode in the past which theoretically should allow us to run 14 throttles, but the response was so bad that when we tried an operating session, nobody could get their trains to respond in time to get them stopped at the right places to work industries. We found ourselves using emergency stop constantly to keep from having trains running into each other. If we ran 2 receivers, in burst-8 mode we could run an absolute maximum of 16 throttles according to the Installation, Operation, and Reference guide, but CVP advises that the response in burst-8 mode is poor. As soon as you get more than 8 throttles in use, you have multiple throttles "stepping" on each other and response time gets bad.

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