DCC or DC to power trains

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

  1. 60103

    60103 Pooh Bah

    Gary: we were running this layout with 4 operators -- one on the 3 return loops, two inside the main loop and one on the junction. We've had up to 9 trains running, with the usual rear-enders as fast trains catch up with slow ones. We also have transfer blocks where trains wait until they are accepted (Wotcher, mate, there's an express on the ready track!)
  2. Relic

    Relic Member

    I,ve only been at this train thing for a little over a year, my layout is a rough circle about 12 ft. by22 ft. It,s powered by a pair of swap meet controllers that likely came from an old set. My locos are a mixture of Bachman F,s, a Bachman GP40, two Athern GP40,s a Athern GP35 and an Athern SW1200. My track is all Atlas, with the mainline sectional (for the clickity clack) and flextrack in the sidings and yard. Switches are for now all Atlas snaps. Maby I just don,t know any better but I have a lot of fun with this bunch of junk
  3. XavierJ123

    XavierJ123 Member

    I'm glad someone covered the topic of "planned obsolescence." That's a topic from my college marketing course that gets my goat. Perhaps it's true; you can't teach an old dog new tricks. I like DCC and the features and benefits that it offers but I have found a disadvantage too. With the new sound affects that are available I can't hear my train running. It's like driving your automobile with the radio on all the time. You can't hear what the automobile is doing. Without the DCC sound effects I can hear if something derails or doesn't sound right before the problem multiplies.
  4. Chessie6459

    Chessie6459 Gauge Oldtimer

    Currently I am using DC Track Power to power my trains.
  5. Will_annand

    Will_annand Active Member

    I too am using DC. train97 I know, "Old School".

    However, if some talented person could equip an N Scale 4-4-0 with a decoder, I would probably go DCC. :D
  6. CharlesH.

    CharlesH. Member

    I use DC as well. I have no intentions of using DCC until I have a bigger layout... and according to my plans, DC wiring for the "big one" is nothing short of scary!!

    (when I voted, the poll was exactly 50/50)
  7. heydoc

    heydoc New Member

    Dcc Wow!

    After eight years I was able to unpack all the railroad scenery, rolling stock, locos, track, tools, and sundry other items and start a new large layout. But now there was something called DCC. At first I thought it was way above my head and then the $$$ consideration. What about wiring? I remember all the wiring issues with DC. The blocks, the switches to throw to protect trains. And then the decoders. Several locos had been purchased in the last few years but not ever taken out of the boxes. And the older ones? How could I afford to equip them for DCC? Sell a kidney maybe? But to cut to the chase, I did decide to take the plunge and opted for a Digitrax Super Chief and man what a joy. Wiring was a snap, almost too easy. Plug and play decoders caused some problems, well Atlas, but not Kato. Why Atlas doesn't switch to the better Kato design beats me? All in all DCC is the future. What a great advancement. It adds tons of operating possibilities not to mention consisting. Consisting alone is worth the price. Can you tell I am sold on DCC? I still haven't installed decoders in my older locos, nor have I tried my hand at hard wiring yet. I may never, keeping in mind what Clint said, "A man should know his limitations."
  8. dhutch

    dhutch Member

    Yeah, it can deffornatly be done using the new, tiny, deocrders
    - However, the usual thing is to have a waggon behind it with the decorder in it.

    This is what i did, about 5years ago, when the smallest decorder was still too big. (Little ZTC one) The engine is the grafar 0-3-0 GWR pannier tank, now with a GWR vent-van running behind. i Just hotglued the coupling (its strong enough, but can be seperated if need be) and ran the four tiny wires out of the bottom of the engine lid, and into the van. And also the van has been fitted with wipers on the wheels for electrical pickup.

    Did a very simular thing with my 2-3-0 GWR Hall (also grafer) only it had the tender all ready

  9. Will_annand

    Will_annand Active Member

    One problem Daniel, those units are tender driven, so the motor is in the tender.
    I do not know however if there is room in the loco for the decoder?
  10. kf4jqd

    kf4jqd Active Member

    When I rebuild my layout. I will go to DCC. When I buy new locomotives, I try to get it with DCC already installed.

  11. kenabody

    kenabody New Member

    Yeah, I'm an old school DC boy myself. Just replaced two potentiometers in my old MRC locomotion 2500s. I don't know...DCC is intriguing, alright. But I'd still settle for a good steam sound system instead of $100+ sound decoders. When one of those goes bad, you'd better hope it's under warranty!

    All the loco manufacturers are touting DCC. They also play up the intricate detail now included on most steam locos. But mechanically, they leave a lot to be desired. Esentially, they are throw-away toys.
  12. piston_8

    piston_8 New Member

    The price of DCC is coming down. The cost of the main controlers are about the cost of a good DC controler. The thing that makes the conversion so high is the decodrs for each engine. I have both. I have two DC controls for my small layout and recently picked up an old Digitraxx Big Boy system from someone who upgraded.
    I love the DCC. I recommend to any one starting out to go DCC.
  13. LoudMusic

    LoudMusic Member

    I found this thread in a search a couple days ago and voted, which apparently reset its "most recent post" date but still no one has actually posted to it. It keeps showing up in the list I assume because people keep voting.

    So I thought I'd throw in a post :)

    I'm currently using DC while I get all the trackwork and general layout laid out. After trains run around the track I figure I'll retro fit for DCC - shouldn't be too much of a problem with my small layout.
  14. oldshutterbug

    oldshutterbug New Member

    This of course is a personal opinion but I had the pleasure of going to a Model Train Show at the weekend, the first time I had listened to loco's fitted with DCC, the first loco I listened to was an HO Big Boy, later I listened to many other DCC equiped locos, sadly none of them did anything for me, I guess I expected more, IMO its not worth the extra cost, once again I must say this is only my opinion, I am sure there are lots of folks who love DCC equiped locos.
  15. Jim Krause

    Jim Krause Active Member

    Our club layout has the capability to operate with both systems . Originally it was DC and then a majority of the members decided on DCC, with the understanding that one mainline would be left on DC power for those folks who just wanted to watch trains go around and around. I love the DCC when its operational. Since we are located in a museum and the display is open during museum hours, we have reverted to DC operation so that we could install a coin operated system for museum visitors. Basiclly, for a home layout, I think whatever you want is what you should have. There are a lot of possibilities that open up with DCC but now you can do a lot of those possibilities with DC too.
  16. Will_annand

    Will_annand Active Member

    From what I have seen of DCC systems, I would NOT want to go there. At our club we have 4 members "trying" to run DCC at home and we have wired the club's 12'x40' HO layout for DCC.

    Of the four fellows with home layouts, NONE have fully working layouts in DCC, there is always something going wrong.

    We had our club HO layout wired in Sept 2005, since then we have been "testing" the system. We seem to get about 45-60 minutes of operating and then the unit or the track shorts out.
    We get a short right from the get go. The shorts don't seem to be in the same section either. A large section of track that worked fine last week, all of a sudden develops shorts this week.

    We have lost 3 members because of the 14 months of problems, we are thinking we should have stuck with DC for the layout, but it is too late now, we have all this DCC equipment.
  17. rsn48

    rsn48 Member

    Even DC layouts go down because of problems

    When I read of problems such as you have encountered, many issues are raise. For example, have proper "procedures" been used when installing the DCC? What system are they using? Did they consider power districts so that when one section went down, the whole system didn't die? Did they use the proper gauge wiring for the main bus? How frequent are their feeder wires and what gauge are they?

    When I installed my wiring, I isolated each piece of track; each track was its own block and feeders wires were added to each piece of track. Turn outs were also isolated so that they were their own block, feeders added. This might sound excessive, except I have a friend who has added two sets of feeders to every track - and - he's in DC. Two sets of feeder wires use to be an old club standard so that layouts wouldn't go down during public exhibition. The nice thing about having each track its own block is that I don't have to hunt and search for an electrical problem, the dead track is where the problem is.

    Using PM42's (think that is the correct identification) I was able to create a number of "districts" so that I had independence from one district to the next.

    It is a lie that DCC wiring is simpler, in some ways it is on smaller layouts, but it to can get complicated.

    Many are in a hurry when they do their wiring, feeders are at a minimum for their DC layout. DCC relies on "clean communications" from the command unit through the track to the engine decoder; proper wiring is more important with correct gauge than in DC.
  18. Will_annand

    Will_annand Active Member

    Well, Rick, they are using the Digitrax system, there are 5 power zones. And it seems that on any given night, there are 1 or 2 with problems.

    Last week, they had 4 zones working and one not. Three fellows spent 3 hours trying to find the short. it turned out that a small nail had gotten wedged under a the track and was touching both rails. How the nail got there, no one knows as nothing was being worked on in that area.
  19. Nomad

    Nomad Active Member


    Shawn, when I started back in this hobby, I bought a mrc 260. I enjoy operating with the momentom on. Later I bought a Bachman E.Z. command(I think I'm a minority here). I do have my layout wired to use either one, and find I use the mrc about 95% of the time. To me it's just more fun to use.
  20. Jim Krause

    Jim Krause Active Member

    I like DCC. It's the only way to operate multiple trains as far as I'm concerned. I know that this comment will draw fire from a lot of points and for varied reasons. Have at it guys.

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