DC or DCC?

Discussion in 'Getting Started' started by abutt, Jan 11, 2006.

  1. abutt

    abutt Member

    Am a lone operator of my railroad, which is a link line from the NH to the Penn. One way, with maybe 4 to 5 industry stops takes about 30 mins. Trying to decide whether switching fro simple DC to DCC is worth the effort...and the money. I don't think so, but would like to hear other opinions:)
  2. ezdays

    ezdays Out AZ way

    First of all, welcome to the Gauge.

    Now, on some other forum, you question might start a real nasty debate. But here, it has been addressed many times, and quite civil I might add. Some threads have exactly the same title as yours. You might try seaching for a few using the search feature at the top of the page. You're going to find that opinions are evenly split, but DC operations prevails over DCC by a bit. That doesn't mean either side is right, just that what they are doing works for them and how they run their railroad.
  3. zedob

    zedob Member

    Hi abutt, welcome to the Gauge,

    I'm a loner too and have always used DC for my layouts, but times have changed. I like the idea of simplified wiring (not that my trackplan is intense) with no blocks, but my biggest reason is for the sound. I run steam locos and I've always wanted a quality sound sytem and now I can kill a few birdies with one stone. For me, sound first, all the other bells and whistles second. Even then, I don't plan on using all of the trick stuff for anything.

    I have an MRC Controlmaster 20 power supply with throttle, which is great, no problems and my engines run smoothly. But, for $60 more (it was a liquidation special) I was able to purchase the Lenz 90 basic system. I'll have to spend more for my reciever w/sound, but i think it will be worth it. Since I only have two locos, I won't need to be "receivering" a whole fleet, so it is real feasible for me to convert. Anything after that is reciever cost per loco.

    my $.02
  4. abutt

    abutt Member

    Hi Zedob...We're practically neighbors. We're running the same: Controlmaster 20 and hand control. Were you able to utilize the Controlmaster 20 for power, and just add the DCC? That's what I'm not sure of...having to dump a very reliable system for another at this point in time. Your point of the sound is interesting. I run both steam and deisel.

    abutt (Allan)
  5. zedob

    zedob Member

    Hey abutt. The Lenz system should have more than enough juice for my layout, it's only 12" wide x 11 ft long. I'll keep the CM 20 for a future layout (under the Christmas tree).

    I have always longed for model trains with sound and other than me making them with my mouth, all of my locos have been quiet.:D

    http://www.soundtraxx.com/ manufactures the Tsunami , which is thier top of the line receiver. Tony's Train Exchange sells them for $80.00, which is not a bad price IMHO for a super reciever that is very flexible and small.

    I don't have any use for ditch lights, but I'm sure that that function could be used for something else.

    PS. I don't know exactly where you are in CT, but I know eightyeightfan is out of Torrington. are you planning on going to the "MRR show from hell" at the Big E grounds at the end of this month?
  6. abutt

    abutt Member

    Zedob...You've been very helpful and have got me thinking. Very dangerous to the bank account when one's retired. I'll look at the Lenz system more closely. I have the MR recent issue that describes most of the DCCs available.

    Many thanks again.

  7. jim currie

    jim currie Active Member

    :wave: welcome to the gauge.i tried DCC and found that good old DC was more suitable to my opperation.
  8. abutt

    abutt Member


    I'm 12 miles north of Torrington in Winsted, CT. And Yes, I plan on hitting the Springfield show. I just don't know which day or what time. I'm leaning towards wireless radio control for the engines, and now have to find out wehere I can get more info on that mode.

    Abutt (allan)
  9. eightyeightfan1

    eightyeightfan1 Now I'm AMP'd

    Welcome to the Gauge...And Hidi Ho nieghbor!
    I'm by myself when it comes to operating also, so its straight DC for me. But I've heard such good things about DCC, I'm thinking of making the switch.
    Where in Winsted are you?
  10. abutt

    abutt Member

    Hi Eightyeightfan 1...Like you, I'm thinking about changing my method of operation. I think digital wireless control makes more sense to me for the single operator, where DCC makes more sense for multiple operators and mutiple engines. Can you operate more than one engine simultaneously? I don't think I could.
    I'm off route 20, north of town on the way to Riverton. It's actually Winchester. I know you're in Torrington -- where abouts?
    Allan (abutt)
  11. eightyeightfan1

    eightyeightfan1 Now I'm AMP'd

    I' m down the street from Dick Coopers. Right across the street from Torrington Lumber Company.
    How far are you from the "Chicken Farm"?(I know it isn't a farm anymore).
    You go to Roger's?
  12. MasonJar

    MasonJar It's not rocket surgery


    Welcome to The Gauge!

    If you really are just one operator with only one train/engine at a time on the layout, then I would stick with DC, especially if you are happy with the performance you are getting. When running one loco, you do not need additional blocks, so the most complicated wiring might be a bus to better distribute the power, and a few sections of track that you can turn off to "park" unused locos.

    If however you are interested in operations with a few others, sound, signaling, etc., then a switch to DCC might be for you.


    PS - I would delete your previous post - it is not a good idea to put your full (functional) email address on the web in "plain view". Members who are interested can send you an email by clicking on your user name and selecting the right option.
  13. abutt

    abutt Member

    Andrew...Thanks for your comments. Had trouble trying to delete my email address, but what remains won't do anybody any good.
    You're right about staying with DC if I'm always operating alone. But after joining this group, I'm finding almost next-door neighbors who are model railroaders, and sometimes I get lonsome. I now operate just the way you describe with holding blocks, etc.
    I've run across Aristo-Craft's wireless unit (I think made by Crest) Which states that one can introduce that system with no changes at all with your DC set-up. Hard to believe, but I will investigate.
  14. MasonJar

    MasonJar It's not rocket surgery


    I or any of the other moderators can remove that for you - I'll take it as you have requested that action...

    If you are running simple DC as you describe, or even if you are running with multiple cabs, it is relatively straightforward to replace any cab with DCC. You simply switch all blocks to that one cab, and turn on all the sections that have an on-off switch. The only challenge comes with reverse loops, but there are automated reversers that are easy to add/configure. I do not know if the Aristo-craft system addresses this.

  15. MasonJar

    MasonJar It's not rocket surgery

    Point for clarification...

    Are you talking wireless DC (which is what I believe the Aristo set is)?

    Or wireless DCC (you mention "wireless digital control" in one of your above posts)?

    Both are options - you can get wireless and/or walkaround in DC, and you can also go wireless with DCC.

  16. abutt

    abutt Member

    At this point I'm talking wireless DC. At present, with the CM 20 and hand controller, I have walk-around with four phone jacks and the momentum throttle. For sound I have the seperate MR sound unit for both diesel and steam. Maybe I'm just trying to find a way to spend money! When one asks an opinion about a MRR project, it usually means he's "on the fence"...and needs a push either way. I think I'm still on the fence.
    Anyways...I've been railroading all my life and never had the ability to talk to anyone else in the hobby.(I'm 75) Thank God I found you guys. You've rejuvinated the hobby for me all over again.:)
  17. brakie

    brakie Active Member

    From my own experience with industrial switching layouts my answer is no DCC is not worth it..Now if you plan to run more then one train then yes but,for solo operations no.

    You see there is no real advantages to DCC IF you plan to run one train or use POWER BLOCKS which is a fancy name for normal block wiring that is suppose to be such a bad thing about DC.

    As far as using QSI Quantum Locomotive Sound Systems this can be done by using a Atlas Quantum Engineer Controller which gives you the ability to use QSI Quantum Sound equipped locomotives on DC..

    I also forgot to mention the Quantum Engineer Controller controlls the hightlights..
  18. sumpter250

    sumpter250 multiscale modelbuilder

    For a one person operation, especially a switching layout, with walk around capability, I'd recommend staying with the DC system you currently have. Unless your walk around is causing problems, you don't even have to go to wireless DC.
    The benefit of DCC, for your situation, would be; constant lighting, sound, and walkaround for little extra expense (front panel plugs, and cabling). Digitrax throtles (most) come with infrared. All that is required is the infrared receiver (or two, infrared is line of sight)) for wireless walkaround.
    The QSI equipped locos run on DC, but aren't exactly DC friendly. For one, you have to open about one third throttle before they respond.
  19. MasonJar

    MasonJar It's not rocket surgery

    The Gauge is the best forum on the net (that's my unbiased opinion, of course ;))... I do hope you enjoy your time here!

  20. abutt

    abutt Member

    I think you guys have convinced me...I'm staying with the DC walkaround that I have. I'm going to leve this thread up for another 24 hours and then kill it. I have many other subjects I'd like to put forth.

    Thanks again.

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