DC fundamentalist

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

  1. tetters

    tetters Rail Spiking Fool!

    I don't know too many details. NCE has a USB Interface.


    They don't give you much info on it. As I understand it you need a decoder software program and USB cable to use it. That said, you can use the interface to program your decoder CV's and even accessory decoders. So instead of doing your programming with the cab you can use the computer to make the job easier. As for operating the layout with a computer, I'm not sure if it goes that far. The prospect has me intrigued though. I should add that I think with some properly designed software you could use the USB port to completely interface with your layout. I don't know if such a thing exists yet though.
  2. baldwinjl

    baldwinjl Member

    The physical act of connecting a computer to the layout isn't a big deal. Many DCC systems have the means to interface to a computer, DecoderPro and PanelPro can give you control. Thre is also a gizmo called Sprog which interfaces to that somftware, and to the layout, and can be used to run trains. Taking to the level of having thecomputer run trains is certainly doable, but I don't know any details along those lines.
  3. doctorwayne

    doctorwayne Active Member

    Will, I'm no wiring wizard, but I'm sure that that could be done with DC, though certainly not with the ease of DCC. It still ignores the fact that the passenger train effectively has no operator, so therefore no one enjoying the task of running it. I could duplicate that same scenario on my layout, merely by installing a twin cab control system, or I could run it as the layout is now wired by running the freight(s) and passenger train sequentially, as each town has a passing siding at the station. For me, the latter scenario is the preferred one, as I would get to enjoy the running of both trains. Another factor to consider is "control" as opposed to just "running". On my layout, that passenger train would be, like the freight, subject to several speed restrictions (in some areas, speed limits for passenger trains are lower than those for freights, too). DCC will easily run the train, as you note, but I don't think that it will respond to posted speed restrictions without operator input or some sophisticated detection electronics. DCC is overkill for my operating scheme, but perhaps perfect for a layout with multiple operators.
    I don't like the wiring aspect of the hobby, which is one of the reasons it's set-up as it is. My "blocks" are merely areas (passing tracks, sidings, or switching districts) where I can cut the power. A switch or two and a few feet of wire suffice. I also didn't need to run a bus wire for the power distribution. The most complicated wiring that I had to do was to accommodate different throttles into the jacks for the walk-around system, including DC, AC, and PWM systems, and that wasn't too difficult. Sorry, but no sale here. ;):-D:-D

  4. steamhead

    steamhead Active Member

    My $0.04 (2 from the earlier post....:mrgreen:)...I operated a dual cab, block control (10-12 blocks) system for many years, and I miss 2 things...
    1. The challenge of wiring yards, mains, reverse loops, etc...all properly blocked and getting them to work flawlessly..!! That was fun...
    2. The feel of flipping switches this way and that to set up a route for a train to follow....Made me feel like I knew what I was doing....

    That being said, I would never go back to DC. The ease and simplicity of setting it up, plus the added flexibility of operation (and I don't mean bells & whistles..) make me feel like I have real trains in my control.

    But...Like the man says...."To each his own...".:thumb:
  5. Starman

    Starman Member

    Jambo101 i have to agree with you i have thought about DCC and everybody tells me that is the way to go but i look at it like a car just because everyone say's to buy a ford if i like dodge that is what i will stay with so i guess i am not the only one still running DC.
  6. jambo101

    jambo101 Member

    If i ever get the space to build a large layout i'd probably give DCC a try just to make running multiple engines a little easier but for now its just one engine on a 5ft shelf.
  7. Russ Bellinis

    Russ Bellinis Active Member

    I have to agree with Dr Wayne. On my first layout back in the 1980's, I set up blocks and tried to run multiple trains. I discovered that I'm not very good at multi-tasking. In fact, I was totally incapable of keeping track of 2 trains at the same time. If I'm using a layout at a club or home where multiple operators will run trains in different directions simultaneously, then dcc is the only way to go. If I'm running 1 train by myself and will never have a second operator on the layout, dcc is a waste of money.

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