DCC or DC to power trains

Discussion in 'Getting Started' started by Edavillenut, Mar 11, 2003.

  1. brakie

    brakie Active Member

    Here! Here! I agree with that! I have always said DC/DCC a modelers choice..:D See my first reply...
  2. Lightbender

    Lightbender Member

    Hardly a cheap or easy way to run trains but I do have to mention computer controlled DC as no one else has. Most of the advantages of DCC I & II can be achieved with computers and relays. DCC III is another matter but will we be allowed to have it?

    A DC toggle switch systems only allows 2 trains. No wonder DC gets a bad rap when this is your comparator. DC isn't particularly cheap if you make a useful and friendly system. For instance, 6 position radio button block switches at $30 each would make ones block requirements frugal. What I like about DC is that I can get bits anywhere and I'm not tied to any manufacturers idea of how to do something.

    If I'm going to put computers in my trains I want them to be a lot smarter than any that are currently being offered as decoders. An IP address would be useful. At a minimum a train should know where it is and where other trains are. How else can collisions be avoided. The number one reason I do not change is the same reason the big boys use blocks. It prevents collisions.
  3. Woodie

    Woodie Active Member

    I'm not running DCC......... yet. But will, I assure everyone. Main reason for not doing so at the mo? $$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$. For 25+ locos that I have.

    However, what I am doing, is wiring my layout accordingly. I'm using "blocks" with each block having a "centre off" switch, and using 2 DC controllers. Each block can then be switched to either DC controller. When I do move to DCC, just replace one of the DC controllers with the DCC powerpack/booster and controller and/or :eek: a computer :eek: .

    I run a dual mainline, so even when I do go DCC, I can still run one mainline DC, and the other DCC, or all on DC, or all on DCC. :D
  4. kjd

    kjd Member

    ezdays wrote:
    ...bought a second one. Now I can run a railroad, once I learn how to set up my blocks:rolleyes: I posted ....

    So did you ever figure out the blocks? I used DPDT toggles. Cab A is on one pole of the switch, Cab B is on the other and the two center terminals go to the track. On my last layout, I wanted to run helpers so I went DCC and I don't think I will go back to DC, the versatilty is where its at.

  5. RailRon

    RailRon Active Member

    Just an addition to Tony's (Lightbender's) remark:

    Computer controlled DC is even commercially available. Gahler & Ringstmeier is a German firm which offers modular systems of that sort.

    A computer keeps all the blocks under surveillance and follows all the trains around the layout. It only allocates the next block to a train when it's free - like on the real thing.

    IMO, this is great for a layout where you want to run lots of trains on long mainlines. However when you have a switching layout and/or a big yard/engine terminal, blockwise this can get quite complicated - and VERY expensive!!! This is where DCC has one of its big advantages.

    Just for anybody interested - and you should understand German! - here is the website of this Gahler & Ringstmeier sytem.

  6. sumpter250

    sumpter250 multiscale modelbuilder

    I'm glad this thread got started, now I think I understand....
    Direct Current / Direct Current Confused! :D :D :D
  7. Mike Desira

    Mike Desira New Member

    my half penny's worth on the dcc/dc issue

    I'm a greenstick newbee when it comes to MRR but I'm quite comfortable in the company of electronics.

    ATM I'm rooting about gathering as much info on OO/HO as I can which I hope will lead me to knock up a half decent layout..............

    Given the constant development of electronics, and after gauging the current situation of DCC, my guess is that it is still in its infancy and still rather expensive for the features it offers. Now look what Bachmann brought out. A really inexpensive DCC system, but only for those who do not want to fool about with the CV settings, cos the unit cannot do much more then change the loco "address" number. Also, DCC systems tend to be firmware driven, so that a degree of redundancy is built in, but look at MRC's Prodigy Advance ......Tony's trains found out a readback glitch and MRC apparently fixed it. But what about the already-issued units? Will MRC foot the bill for an upgrade since they had in fact shipped faulty units, or will they stick to the usual "you got what you bought" and you'll have to foot the bill?

    I am now waiting for confirmation from my chosen supplier to guarantee that the unit he'll sell me will be the upgraded one...........

    However, I'd still go for DCC loco control due to the flexibility it offers. With regards to track switching, I'd say go hard wire. Unless you're really rabid over a portable have-all cab, nothing beats throwing electrical switches on a control panel with the accompaning LED's showing the current status.

    A clinical push button matrix on a cab simply does not say it at all to uninformed me. Also, how much does it cost per point to go DCC on the snappies atm?

    so to recap...........DCC locos, hard wired switches.........YEAH!!!!!!!!!
  8. CalFlash

    CalFlash Member

    I suspect they will upgrade units purchased after a certain date for free and nonimal charge for other. I know that is what NCE is doing with their new EPROM.
  9. Oldmax

    Oldmax Member

    :confused: :confused: :confused:

    I use Aristo trainmaster System ,Have 3 train controls, 2 Switch controls (10 switches), 1 Trolley Control (Auto Reversing) ,& 1 LGB 1 amp Man. control) , But will use DCC on next layout.
  10. CalFlash

    CalFlash Member

    Lots of people use the excuse they have too many engines to convert. I just figure on doing a few at a time. Actually one day I think I did 5 - IT'S REALLY NOT THAT HARD! If you have 100+ engines, you're a collector anyway and it doesn't matter what you power them with because you probably won't do either.
  11. ausien

    ausien Active Member

    After reading every word in this thread, I think I will stay with, and enjoy DC. For the simple reason as rick/ rsn48, said it best in post33.... DC runs trains..... dcc runs empires, I retired from work so I would not run an empire(someone elses). I cetinly wont be runing trains like one. one throttle double headed sd40-2s string off waggons on one track. and a friend with his train on other, and someone shunting in the yard, to me =fun with FRIENDS...Have a good one...steve
  12. grumbeast

    grumbeast Member

    Having to juggle the needs of my faculty on a daily basis (I'm sure Val and any other educators out there will understand what this means!) I naturally tended towards a compromise for DC/DCC.

    I had a dual cab system set up and found myself with the opportunity and cash to get a start in DCC so I made sure each section was completely isolated and replaced one DCC cab with a Digitrax Zephyr. Now as $ and patience can afford it I can upgrade my locomotives, and (and here's the big plus) I can still run some of my older (and quite cool.. but a HUGE nightmare to convert) locomotives. So I think I've got the best of both worlds. It's also useful to be able to isolate track sections even for DCC (I'm still not really comfortable with loco's sitting on powered track all the time). So ultimately, as I get brave and convert, or as I get lucky and buy DCC I can have pure DCC sessions by switching each section to Cab B

  13. TinGoat

    TinGoat Ignorant know it all

    Aristocraft Crest HO Train Engineer

    The poll dosn't have a "None of the above" option...

    I'm using DC right now, but I'll be going with the Aristocraft Crest HO Train Engineer

    For operating module layouts on DC, you need to set up temporary control panels and cabs. There are the sometimes hard to find Cinch Jones connectors and/or other plugs and wires. And all sorts of bus wires.

    For operating module layouts on DCC, you need to make sure that your Throttle Bus is compatable. Most use RJ-11's, and some use Coaxial Cable while there are some that use proprietory systems. So you need to make sure that every one can connect.

    For the Aristocraft Crest HO Train Engineer you just need a clean 12VDC. With power to the rails, you can use your old DC power pack set to full throttle, a simple 12V transformer that is rectified, or even a car battery. The power can come from the rails, or from batteries on board the train/loco.

    Of course, in O scale (On30) there's a lot more room for batteries on board the train than in HO....

    But for On30 Modules, R/C appears to be the best option for me. And the price for the Aristocraft/Crest system is on par with DCC...

    However, the drawback is that there are fewer features and no sound...

    Then again, with battery power, you never have to clean the rails or worry about reverse loop polarity... Look ma, no wiring! :eek: :eek: :eek:
  14. Tileguy

    Tileguy Member

    The next big step will be fuel cells according to Terry thompson's editorial.
    Its already being looked at by manufacturers.No more electrical worries with running trains.Signalling and turnouts yes,motive power that actually needs to be refueled is intriguing isnt it ;)
  15. dhutch

    dhutch Member

    Unfortunately, your little numonic (sp?) is floored, because DDC is actually AC!!
  16. phoneguy

    phoneguy member

    I just got back into MRR this year. I haven't started building my layout but have a small shelf with some switches on it. I'm going to use dcc for the layout and the shelf is a test bed for decoders and switching. I have some ground throw and some powered; on the layout only those switches I can't reach will be powered, and not by decoders. So I'm using dcc for trains and dc or manuel for switches.
  17. rsn48

    rsn48 Member

    "The turnout would have decoder and turnout as one. This should not add much to the price since the decoder has one function, to throw the rails.
    A seperate controller for turnout specific. It could be something that can be palce on a controll panel, wireless or tethered."

    This is a statement I pulled from the Atlas forum in 2003; you will find it further back in this thread in one of my posts, dated 2003. In the latest MR I noticed an add for Tortoise turnouts with a snap on decoder, for detection and throwing of points. I'm impressed.
  18. dhutch

    dhutch Member

    Im also using DCC for the trains, with std electic opertaion of points, using a 12v power pack and double-throw center-off switches (with built in return to center spring)

    ZTC (UK) do a triple turnout decoder that will power electromagnitic "snap" motors, or (with a small addapter) the two wire tortouse units
  19. 60103

    60103 Pooh Bah

    One of our club members has a situation where he decided that DCC would not work. He dug out his crawl space for the railway and then expanded into the next room. The first room has a large double track oval with some extra junctions and things that lead to 3 turnaround loops in the other room. (Plus yards that aren't finished yet.)
    He decided that DCC would not work as there is no way to follow the train around. So we each control a section (or 3) of track and pass the trains back and forth as signalmen rather than engineers.
  20. Gary Pfeil

    Gary Pfeil Active Member

    David, I'm not sure but that sounds somewhat like the way I plan to run the NYC part of my layout. We've run it that way a couple times so far, although I usually run by myself so operate in the more conventional way. In my case the layout is U shaped, two peninsulas with backdrops dividing each one into two scenes (freestanding). So I have four visable scenes and fairly extensive staging on the bottom level of each peninsula. My somewhat limited aisle space is intended for use of the operators of the JGL on the top level, the NYC is mostly just main line running, along the HUdson River. So, an East end and a West end "dispatcher" (not sure the term dispatcher is correct for my use here) bring trains out of staging, on a schedule, they are seated near each end of the visable layout, and only see their train thru the first scene. They then pass control of the train to the other dispatcher. This is the part that sounds like what you talked about. However, in my mind this situation makes great use of DCC. A dispatcher selects a train with his throttle, starts it in motion and verifies its speed as it goes by. He then "dispatches" it (Digitrax's term for releasing a selected address back to the system) and it continues on its way, not assigned to a throttle. The other dispatcher then selects it and gains control of it. When it passes thru his scene, he then directs it to a staging track at his end. Doesn't sound like as much fun as the more usual follow your train around, always in sight type operation, but there is enough volume capacity to keep things busy, and operators switch "jobs" a couple times during a session to get to do other things as well.


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