DCC recommendations?

Discussion in 'DCC & Electronics' started by aslan, Jun 12, 2006.

  1. aslan

    aslan Member

    Sorry if this has been discussed but I couldn't find anything. Just starting out and have been told to get a good DCC. Can anyone suggest a "good one"? Am going to be using HO with at most 2 trains right away.
  2. pgandw

    pgandw Active Member

    If you are truly just starting out I would hold off on DCC until you have time to learn some more about it, and what you want/enjoy in model railroading. DCC tends to be pushed very hard because just about everybody who takes the plunge really enjoys it. But the decision is a personal one that has $$ consequences.

    Depending on what you are looking for, a "starter" DCC system ranges from $60 or so for the Bachmann to $160 for the NCE (prices vary depending on discount and whether you buy new or used). Then you have to install DCC decoders in all your locomotives. So - How many locomotives do you have? Do they already have decoders? Are they DCC ready? How comfortable are you with taking apart a locomotive and rewiring the connections to the motor and lighting system (for non-DCC ready)?

    Each of the DCC "starter" systems has its own set of limitations in areas of form factor, expandability, computer connectability, power output, recall stack, etc. Some limitations can be overcome at a later date by adding on to the system, others cannot without pretty much replacing the DCC unit. The trick to getting the right DCC unit for you is understanding which limitations you can live with, and which you can't. The second part of getting the right DCC unit is the human interface - which throttle do you prefer and is easy for you to use? Then consider support. Is there a local guru who uses/can help you with the system you choose? Are you independent enough to get by with on-line support forums?

    I'll leave it to other forum members to speak about the specifics of various manufacturers/systems. Remember, you don't need to change to DCC until you are ready to.

    my thoughts, your choices
    Fred W
  3. Tim K

    Tim K Member

    I have a Digitrax Zephyr and I love it.

    Very simple to set up , only two wires to connect and you are running trains.
    You can even run a single DC engine without decoder with it.

    What makes DCC so inviting to me is the endless amount of options it gives you to really custamize your layout.

    I wired in a reverse loop module this weekend in less than an hour and I had never done this before plus it worked perfectly.

    Tim K
  4. Nazgul

    Nazgul Active Member

    Hi Aslan, this is how I replied to the same question:
    "If you do a search here for dcc systems, you will find as many opinions as there are members here. Let me tell you what most everyone agrees on...All the major systems are quality and will get the job done. In that regard, you wont get a system that's junk! So, how to narrow it down? "Tony's Trains" and "LoysToys" websites do a great system comparison and explain the differences between them. Also, it is usually desirable to get the same system that some one around you has and is satisfied with. Belong to a club? what do they use? Any friends have dcc? If not, what about your local hobby shop...Do they recommend any system over another? Do they seem to know more about a particular system? It will make life easier if you can talk to a "body" when you have probs/questions (and you will have). Lastly...plan for the future. If you think you will be expanding ops and just generally wanting more from your system in the future ...get a system that can grow with your empire. The major systems should be able to take care of you. Just so you know, I'm a newbie and I chose a Digitrax Zephyr and couldn't be happier. But there are people, who know a lot more than me, who swear by their NCE, LENZ, MRC, ect....I'm sure others will give advice also...good luck."
    Aslan, I hope that helps
  5. TrainNut

    TrainNut Ditat Deus

    If you've got access to past issues, check out the December 2005 issue of Model Railroader.

    Attached Files:

  6. aslan

    aslan Member

    Thanks everyone for your input. I have been doing a lot of reading and will probably go with the Zepher setup. One of the hobby stores I haunt has quite a few back issues. I'll check on that issue.
    Thanks again.
  7. MasonJar

    MasonJar It's not rocket surgery

    I would second the suggestion of finding something that is used locally... I chose my Zephyr because the loco modular club runs with Digitrax, as do a number of my friends with home layouts. I have access to a whole bunch of gurus when I encounter problems.


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