dcc newbie

Discussion in 'DCC & Electronics' started by zachary, Mar 2, 2007.

  1. zachary

    zachary Member

    Hello i am looking into getting a dcc system. I would like help chosing a dcc system i am going to be building a 8x12 ho scale layout and i ethier want a nce powercab or a lenz or mrc i want to be able to run sound with it and need info fairly quick thank you zacharyf
  2. oldtanker

    oldtanker Member

    Zach, there are so many options I don't know where to start. You will hear a lot of "I have this one" comments.

    I currently have the Bachmann EZ-Command that will be replaced this spring with a better control. I'm looking at both the MRC and the Digitrax system because after asking the same question you did and then doing a lot of research I found that they will both fill my needs. I guess when the time comes to buy price will be the selling point now that I know what I want.

    There are several Yahoo groups that are set up by brand name and a couple of general ones. I'd check the general ones first, really look at the "help" ones and the replies. That will give you an idea of problems others are having and how simple or complex the solution is.

    THen you can to listen to the this brand is the best stuff.

    Hope this helps.

  3. MadHatter

    MadHatter Charging at full tilt.

    I've used the Digitrax Zepher on my friends layout and will on mine (I recently bought one too)- I find it very easy to use. I've also had the pleasure of using the other Digitrax products at another friends layout and have never battled with it, they just show me what to turn and to press and I'm off!
  4. John P

    John P Member

    Zephyr all the way

    I've been using my Zephyr for the past 5 months on a daily basis-love it-does everything I need it to do now and in the foreseeable future. The only issue I had was with the programming track circuit but it was repaired under warranty no questions asked-excellent service from Digitrax:thumb: . I would recommend purchasing a hand held controller as well-UT4-it will allow for a little more mobility around your layout and for a second user to operate. I can run three separate trains on my layout on three independate tracks-I've had as many as 7 locos pulling 55 cars-one 4 engine consist pulling 25 cars-one 2 engine consist pulling 20 cars-and a single engine pulling 10 cars-all weighed and with 2.8% grades-I overload it when I ran the throttles higher than 75% but any faster then that and
    things get a little hairy anyway:D

  5. I would recommend either NCE or Digitrax personally. I have a Digitrax Zephyr system myself, along with a couple extra components for block detection and controlling my switch machines.

    The main reason I chose Digitrax was because I wanted to do computer control and automation. I believe Digitrax is the best choice for this because they have the components to do all aspects of it easily in single units (block detection, switch control, signalling) and their network architecture is fantastic, easily the best I've seen out of all the manufacturers. It's basically an computer LAN (almost exactly) and everything networks together really nice and easily and interfaces with the computer beautifully. Most other systems have more limited polled bus architectures and need a separate command bus and feedback bus (Lenz and NCE included), but with Digitrax it's all in one network.

    However, if you don't want to do computer control and you just want to run your trains, this doesn't really make much difference to you. I'm in Toronto, and up here my local train shop pushes NCE because they're in New York and they can get fast service whenever needed and they've had great experience with them. I've also had a chance to use both NCE and Digitrax throttles, and I will admit I like the NCE ones just a little bit better. They have nice, plain English labels on the common buttons (lights, horn, whistle, etc) and I like the thumb wheel for speed control, but both of them are very easy to use. Of course, since I use my computer to control everything, that basically becomes my throttle so I don't even need separate throttles for my system personally. :p

    If Digitrax isn't on your list, I'd recommend NCE in that case. I haven't really had any experience with Lenz or MRC, but either NCE or Digitrax would definitely suite your needs fine. If it's a relatively small layout, you'll probably be fine with just the basic starter set from either company. You can run 5-7 trains or so before you'll need additional power.
  6. zachary

    zachary Member

    hello again thanks for all the replys i think iam going to choose the nce powercab and when it comes out the computer adapter so i can program my decoders a lot easier do any of yall know when the powercab computer adapter is coming out thanks for all your help zacharyf
  7. Dansco

    Dansco Member

    Picked up a used Atlas commander with two additional throttles, expansion pannles, and power supply for under $100 on ebay. This system only supports four functions and 99 locos, but I love it. Up an running in 10 minutes, no problems. Full programming etc.. Completely happy with it. Im a musician and amature sound engineer, I just cant get into the little "sounds" form little speakers. I listen to music / headphones when Im playing, eh-hem, working with trains...

    The atlas commander is compatible with Lenz stuff, computer interface simply needs a PC with a modem for basic decoder setup. If you want to call Steve at mainline trains in forest grove oregon (google it) he has a used system that is getting dusty that Iv been trying to get my co worker to buy!

    Thats my $0.02 (worth every penny!)
  8. Dansco

    Dansco Member

    FYI: If your married with kids, multiple throttles and engies should be a MUST HAVE and be part of your initial purchase. My wife LOVES it when I take one or two of the kids off her hands to go down stairs and play trains... real good times. This was more important to me than just about any other feature.

    For what its worth, Im running bachmann and lenz decoders with my atlas commander, no issues.
  9. zachary

    zachary Member

    no im not married im only 16 and im going to be starting my layout sometime this year and want to go ahead and get my dcc system and a sound decoder and some track to do a little train runing in zacharyf
  10. NYNH&H

    NYNH&H Member

    Digitrax Zepphyr is the way to go. It is by far more expandable than any other starter system. The PowerCab is pretty much a joke with only one additional throttle, but the Zpehyr is a "mini Chief", as it pretty much has the same features other than the amount of power and memory as the Super Chief. It supports ten throttles, and Loconet, which is far superior to any other system on the market. I have it and a pair of DT400R's, and I love it.
  11. Fluesheet

    Fluesheet Member

    If you are going to be using sound, considering a computer to manage the CV's is an excellent idea. I'd suggest giving NCE a call directly to find out when the PowerCab with a USB port is scheduled to be released. You can also try Dugan Gorman at Miniature locomotive backshop - he has good DCC product knowledge in general, and NCE specifically.
  12. rogerw

    rogerw Active Member

    Just my 2 cents. I went with the easy dcc by cvp heres the link http://www.cvpusa.com/ they have been around for 10 plus years. It has computer interface/control . My starter system was $270, I went with the 5amp power booster which will feed many locos. It comes with two cab controls and Its very expandable but the only down fall is no loco net. I you go to their site and click on documentation there is a user manual you can look at to see what it can do. Thanks Roger
  13. zachary

    zachary Member

    rogerw i have looked at that system and i dont like it because i dont want a base staionf type of controler i want a handheld throtle i can hold in my hand
  14. zachary

    zachary Member

    hello sorry to pull this thred back up i went down to the little choo choo shop in spencer nc and picked up a digitrax zepher starter set and i am haveing a blast with it zacharyf
  15. MadHatter

    MadHatter Charging at full tilt.

    zachary- that was an excelent choice!
  16. Fluesheet

    Fluesheet Member

    Welcome to DCC! I am an NCE user now, but have previously owned Digitrax - the only problem I ever had with it was ergonomic. Have fun!
  17. zachary

    zachary Member

    hey guys thanks for all the complements i really like it fluesheet nce was my second choice but decided on digitrax because the entry system is able to be plugged into a computer zacharyf

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