DCC Dilemna

Discussion in 'FAQs' started by jimnrose, Jul 4, 2002.

  1. jimnrose

    jimnrose Member

    I just burned out my MRC Command 2000 controller and need to either replace it, repair it or switch to another brand. I wEnt with MRC TWO YEARS AGO, because 10 locos sounded like a lot plus I wasn't focusing on sound control and the price was right. Atlas has a new system in the same price range. Does anyone know its features or if MRC is upgrading its product? Thanks, Jim
  2. rich maiorano

    rich maiorano Member

    hey will be keeping and eye on this myself dcc is in the plans for my layout :cool: rich
  3. rockislandmike

    rockislandmike Active Member

    Okay, I know I sound like a broken record, but you may wanna check out the Digitrax Zephyr as well.
  4. Catt

    Catt Guest

    The origonal MRC is not upgradable,they have a newer version out now but it is a different system.

    The ATLAS system is a Lentz (sp) system and as such is upgradeable.
  5. alkcnw

    alkcnw Member

    Hey Jim, I have the Command2000 myself, like you said the price was right and it was easy to start with. From what I've heard though the grapvine is that the updated version is'nt as good as the first. If something ever happens to mine I would have to echo Mike and go with Digi-tracks!!:eek:
  6. jimnrose

    jimnrose Member

    Thanks fpr your inputs. Eventually I'll switch systems but for now I'll have MRC repair the unit (total cost $35 including shipping in both directions). It will be another 2 years before I'll be looking for the additional features and with any technical product, the cost will come down and the features upgraded by that time. Also I'll hopefully be more informed when selecting my next system.
    Take care, Jim
  7. Vic

    Vic Active Member

    Jim I don't have DCC but a friend of mine purchased a Digitrax system last year. I have quite a lot of operating time on it and I think that it is really first class. I've got quite a lot of $$$$ tied up in sound, none of which is DCC compatible, otherwise I would go to it.
  8. Gary Pfeil

    Gary Pfeil Active Member

    Rockislandmike, Thank you for sounding like a broken record! Now I don't have to.

  9. jimnrose

    jimnrose Member

    I thaught I'd let you know that MRC repaired the unit without charging for either the repair or shipping; I'm impresses. Long term, I can select a control system that will provide more functions plus allow for more addresses, but for now I'm back on the rail. Take care, Jim
  10. shamus

    shamus Registered Member

    Hi Jim,
    Glad they repaired it for you.


  11. Vic

    Vic Active Member

    Great Jim, Glad thing are rolling down the rails again. Sounds like MRC is very concious of customer service:)
  12. alkcnw

    alkcnw Member

    Hey Jim, Thats really good to know, in case mine goes out in the near future!:eek:
  13. Gary Pfeil

    Gary Pfeil Active Member

    I'd like to mention that Digitrax has excellant customer service as well. I bought my chief system several years ago, and when they first came out with the DH121 decoder, I bought several. One day when a short was caused on the railroad, one loco which hadn't even been selected started moving backwards. I had to shut track power off to stop it. When I turned power back on, it was ok. To make this brief, Digitrax first replaced my chief (DSC100) then later, when it was apparent the chief hadn't been at fault, replaced all my DH121 with DH140 for free. Even tho only one DH121 was defective. For those who don't know, the DH121 listed about $20, the DH140 about $40. The only other time I've called them was when I was having a problem programming a Soundtrax decoder, they helped me with that as well.

  14. marty w.

    marty w. Member

    Gary - Did you install the soundtrax yourself?
    Was it very hard? Are you using the sound and decoder as one unit or a decoder and the soundboard?
    I'm really want to add sound to my loco's and understand that the placement of the speakers can be somewhat difficult.
  15. Gary Pfeil

    Gary Pfeil Active Member

    Marty, Yes, I have installed several, all in steam. And all in the tenders. How difficult it is depends on your soldering skills. Other than soldering, there is nothing particularly difficult. Finding or making room can be a problem depending on the model. My most recent installation was in Bachmann's Vanderbilt tender, a tight fit, but it turned out to be an easy job. I could post some photos of the install if you would find it helpful. Most tenders have sufficient room for the decoder and speaker, with the speaker going under the coal bunker and facing up. I used the relatively new N scale decoder for the Vanderbilt tender and it worked well. My other tenders fit the regular decoders with no problem. A diesel installation would require more effort to fit, I haven't tried one yet. There are photos of diesel installations at www.ttx-dcc.com

    When installing the decoder in the tender, several wires need to be run to the loco from the tender. I have standardized on five wires. Two for the motor, two for the headlight, and one for track power. Some of the newer steam locos have pickup from both rails on the loco, these use 6 wires. For my 5 wire installs, I use 5 pin connectors, with the female fastened in the tender, and the male at the end of a cable from the loco, allowing me to unplug and seperate the units. The 5 pins are in a row, and the ones I use are not indexed, so I use the outer two for the motor, next two for the headlight, and center for track power from loco. This way if I plug in reversed, I won't accidently connect track power to the decoder output, probably a bad thing.

    To sum up, if your soldering skills are good, you should have no problem. If you need help on soldering, ask and I am sure several people will respond.

    Good luck.

  16. marty w.

    marty w. Member

    Thanks for your info.
    Soldering is no problem.
    I have just gotten into DCC (this past Saturday) and installed 2 plug and play and 2 solder type decoders over the weekend. No problems.
    I'll check out Tony's web site and get some idea's.
    If you have the time, please post some pic's.
    Thanks again for your help.
  17. Jim de Bree

    Jim de Bree Member

    I purchased a North Coast System over the weekend. I had trains running in ~30 minutes. The hand held controller i great, programming is simple. If you are looking into a new system, I highly recommend this one. :D
  18. Gary Pfeil

    Gary Pfeil Active Member

    Here is a photo of the speaker and decoder in the Bachmann Vanderbilt tender.

    Attached Files:

  19. marty w.

    marty w. Member

    Thanks for the pic.
    Very nice and neat.
    I have a DSD-AT100LC on order and speaker. Hope to have it by Friday, so I can install this weekend.
    Thanks again for your help.
  20. Gary Pfeil

    Gary Pfeil Active Member

    Marty, good luck with your install. That's a plug and play decoder, isn't it? I guess the real challange is the speaker install. Let me know how it turns out.


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