DCC power

Discussion in 'HO Scale Model Trains' started by SteveInBama, Jan 20, 2007.

  1. SteveInBama

    SteveInBama New Member

    Q. What are the advantages and differences in brands of DCC control units? I'm considering MRC and Digitrax. ( It appears MRC is updating from Prodigy Advance to Prodigy squared but it is not yet available and I'm unsure when it will be. I also have the impression/ experience neither of them are too responsive to on line questions.)

    I'm new - building a layout, dogbone L shape with 24inch min. turns and expect to run DCC -- with sound I hope. I also expect to run up to 5 diesels on two main lines and sidings with one reverse loop. I'd like the brand with the best/simplest directions and the longer lasting support history. Any advice briefly supported by your comments on your experience would influence my selection.

  2. pgandw

    pgandw Active Member


    Each of the major DCC systems (Lenz, Bachmann, MRC Prodigy, NCE, CVP Easy DCC, Digitrax, Zimo) has a different set of limitations. The most rational way to select the right system for YOU is:

    You must decide on what features are must-haves for you (such as walk-around form factor, wireless, # of functions, computer interface, particular user interface, size of available power supply, etc) and how much you are willing to pay. Then from the systems meeting that criteria, you have to decide which limitations can be lived with and which cannot. At that point, you will be down to one or two systems, and the choice will be fairly easy.

    my thoughts, your choices
  3. IAIS 604

    IAIS 604 Member

  4. NYNH&H

    NYNH&H Member

    I could talk for hours about how Digitrax is the most expandable and flexible system. It has like EVERY upgrade option and then some. It is the only system with a true peer to peer data system. Basically, Digitrax is a very advanced, but relatively easy to use system that is super expandable. It isn't the cheapest though. MRC has a cheaper system for just running trains with walkaround throttles. If you just want to run a couple of trains, MRC is cheap and easy. For really digging into DCC, Digitrax is an awesome system. Digitrax has awesome tech support, although it is NOT a 1-800 number. ARGH. They have been making a supporting their systems since 1993ish.
  5. SteveInBama

    SteveInBama New Member

    Thanks so much for the info -- It really helps me to have the "non sales pitch" views.

  6. Jim Krause

    Jim Krause Active Member

    The latest (February) issue of Railroad Model Craftsman magazine has an article titled "Getting Started with DCC" on page 82. If you have access to a hobby shop or book store like Barnes and Noble or some supermarkets carry it in their magazine racks.
  7. SteveInBama

    SteveInBama New Member

    Hey Guys,
    Thanks so much for the feedback and the reference material notes from both George and Jim.
    I have the two Model Railroader books " DCC Made Easy" and "DCC Projects" both have been a great help but few things can replace the experienced comments from those of you that have "been there".
    A QUESTION -- that links to my original- Can anyone tell me when MRC Prodigy Advance Squared will be available and what it adds? ( I understand that MRC Prodigy is no longer the latest/greatest but I did not get a reply from my MRC e-mail attempt to learn when available "soon" may be. Not a good indicatior of customer support. Likewise, the Digitrax guys sent only a one liner in response to when their primary reference book was going to again be in print. "unknown" It is the one referenced in a number of their documents and since they reference it ...one would expect...)

    As Fred correctly points out ... I've got to select based on the functions that are important to me... and part of that process is learning which system/brand does what.

    I'd sure like to start with systems that have fully current technology but I know it's a "move'n train." I sure hate to attempt to do business with companies that don't care if they have my buisness... beginner and grump that I am.

    This is a great forum -- again, I appreciate the time taken to help educate me.

    Steve In Bama
  8. Thoroughbreed

    Thoroughbreed Member

    I believe the only thing it adds it the ability to go to 28 functions, other than that I have not seen any other difference.:thumb:
  9. NYNH&H

    NYNH&H Member

    8 functions are plenty to remember. Try remembering 28!!!! I don't even use more than about 4 on my Digitrax system, even with a sound loco.
  10. rperego

    rperego New Member

    As a fellow Newbie (happened to have chosen NCE and Soundtraxx Tsunami) I found that checking the web site product documents sometimes reveals more than the marketing literature. That said, I've also found capabilities when calling support that aren't even in the documentation.
  11. NYNH&H

    NYNH&H Member

    True, Digitrax has all of their manuals online, so does NCE. Not sure about others, they probably do as well. If you want signalling and turnout control and the whole thing with a computer, Digitrax just creams the others. If not, there are a lot of options. If you belong to a club, use what they are using (usually Digitrax, on occasion NCE). Then you can ask the club DCC guru about issues you might have, and bring your throttles. If you need radio, many manufacturers offer different options. MRC doesn't have a basic cab, but they don't need one, as their throttles are really cheap. They claim to be introduction wireless, we'll have to see how it works, as NCE's still doesn't work too well, and Digitrax's was flawed from the beginning (you have to plug in to acquire/ consist), although it has excellent range.

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