DCC vs Crest

Discussion in 'FAQs' started by Penlu, Jun 1, 2003.

  1. Penlu

    Penlu New Member

    OK, I'm a newbie. I've been looking at the Crest system vs the DCC. So far, my locomotives are all in the Toy Train category. I have my track laid and wired (very poorly, it seems, since derail is my normal mode).

    I had trains 30 years ago, but I've forgotten more than I knew, and what little is left has changed.


    :( :confused:
  2. Matt Probst

    Matt Probst Member

    Hi Penlu! Welcome to the big blue board! I'm probably the wrong guy to respond to this as I haven't gotten beyond the old Atlas systems of DC block controls myself, but there sure are a lot of people here that have the expertise to help you fix 'bout anything!
    If you can post specifics of the problems you're having along with a pic or two of your trackplan and how you have it wired, you're sure to get enough responses to help you out!
    Good Luck!!:)

    Matt--Hershey, Pa.
  3. shaygetz

    shaygetz Active Member

    I'm not familiar with "Crest control". After 30 years of modeling, I never thought I'd go for DCC...then I joined a club that has it. In my mind there is just no comparing, especially if you're just starting out and have the coin to make that first step---and plan a layout large enough to justify it. The biggest drawback is the initial expense. I'm doing it 1 loco at a time (around $20 per decoder), building up capital for the big dive into a throttle (around $170 for the Digitrax model I'm looking at). Because my layout is small, I'm keeping it block control...only one loco at a time can run on it anyway. DCC involves electrically isolating the motor form the track so that the decoder runs the motor, not the track current. That means all your locos would require modification, some easy, some not worth the effort. The market is now filled with locomotives that are "plug-and play" or DCC ready. I'm sure I missed some stuff but you're now part of a group of folks that can fill in the blanks, Welcome aboard...
  4. Jim Cullen

    Jim Cullen Member


    Are you talking about the Crest/Aristo-Craft Train Engineer and Basic Train Engineer for DC layouts? They are both wireless throttles that have an associated receiver that connect to the track. If you are, I can give my comments in about a week or so on the Basic Train Engineer, as I have one coming. I could not afford to go DCC but liked the idea of a wireless throttle. Jim
  5. Penlu

    Penlu New Member

    :) Wow Guys, Thanks! Today I got all the track at least working, still in block mode. (Still derailing, but I'm working on it one join at a time. :(

    Yes, I'm talking about the Aristo-Craft CREST system. From what I've read, it seems that it is easier to use than DCC, and is more cost effective. I would just like to talk to someone who actually has one! The guys at my local store are all DCC addicts.

    I have a pretty big layout (I think). The room is 14'x19' and I went all the way around the walls with a 36" table, and put two 4'x8' ones offset 30" from each other in the center. Hard to describe.... Kinda like a real big inverted comma.

    I have a mainline that goes all the way around the outside, and a middle line that forms a reversing loop. I have them wired on two different transformers. Kewl as long as I remember to reverse the loop! :rolleyes:

    I used cork roadbed, glued down, and soldered nearly all the joins. Wish I hadn't done the turnouts...... Curves are 18" brass, straightaways are flextrack.

    My 0-4-0 Athern is now happy. However, my 0-4-0 Tyco with cowcatcher is not! Ergh! And the 2-6-0 Tycos hate it!

    I'm learning!!
  6. shaygetz

    shaygetz Active Member

    Sorry to say I'm a DCC addict, too. Running 8-10 trains completely independent from each other and according to real operating rules and not the rules of electricity (not to mention not having to worry about whether the reverse loop is set right) just can't be beat. It's that long green that it takes to set up initially that is a big hurdle to overcome. If you're really wanting to go block control (a remote throttle still requires the same type of wiring that the power packs need) do yourself a favor and do not visit a layout with DCC. You'll get hooked and the next thing you know, you're out knockin' off liquor stores to feed your need. "Got any spare change, dude?...."
  7. N Gauger

    N Gauger 1:20.3 Train Addict

    Welcome aboard Penlu -- I got ya covered - I have the crest System. I have only One receiver, so I have only One train running with it. What do you want to know.

    How it runs???... It runs good. Sometimes it takes a bit to get the engine going & I get impatient.. LOL

    How it actually works?? -- It works with "Momentum" therefore in 20 steps (Presses of the "Fast" Button) the train will start slow & move up to full speed There's a "Slow" button to stop it too & A direction change button also, of course

    It has indicator lights & a directional indicator that are Very Easy to understand!!!

    It also has a "Emergency" stop - Yes I use this a lot :) :)

    The Momentum takes a bit to get used to, but I think my problem is I have it hooked to my G Scale Climax which is geared "Slow" to begin with.

    Any other Questions -- Leave a post here or E-mail me :D :D

    Good Luck!!!!!!
  8. Penlu

    Penlu New Member

    Great! Thank You:D I'm going to use it on my HO layout. Does anybody know how hard it is to install the decoder/receiver? I'm really not blond, but I do have my Clairol moments. ;)
  9. N Gauger

    N Gauger 1:20.3 Train Addict

    The receiver basically goes between the Power supply and the track - You should use a DC power supply - not a Power Pack.
  10. Russ Bellinis

    Russ Bellinis Active Member

    I think with the Crest system, you have to wire for block control, and may need extra throttles and receivers for each block. It works by increasing or decreasing power to the track by radio control. The locomotive still runs off track power. I'm using it in ho because I'm building a bookcase supported switching layout for one switch engine. If I was going to build a large layout with multiple train operation capability, I would go dcc.
  11. rsn48

    rsn48 Member

    I would recommend dcc for the following reason. Normally one of the recommendations I give a new person is to buy the dcc system that is popular in your area; the reason is that WHEN (not if) you have a problem, there will be many there to help you out.

    DCC is the dominant force in model railroad control, running, sound, and animation. So lots of support is available, and tons of dcc forums. The major research is into decoder stuff, for example the new USP which was shown at the Nuremberg show. They drove a train up onto paper, stop the engine; the light stayed on and they then started the engine again and it drove off the paper. In other words, dependency on track is reduced (dirty track).

    In the early days, dcc was about getting rid of blocks. Now it is to acquire new functions - sound, automatic couplers, less reliance on track conductivity, power routing, flashing this and that on the engine, block detection for computer run trains. Why spend your money and not get the benefits of all this in a non-dcc system? Granted some of this technology is expensive, but prices will come down, just as decoder's with less functions prices have declined dramatically.
  12. Jim Cullen

    Jim Cullen Member

    I understand all the wonderful and magical things that DCC can do for you and cannot disagreed with any of it. It gives you the type of control of your engines in way that you can not achieved otherwise.

    However, I do not want its cost, installing decoders in steam engines, learning CV's, and complex throttles. I spend 30 years in the computer field and want a simple way to control my trains. Thus I am staying DC and will be using the Crest system that should arrive next week.

    DCC is great and I do not want to start a flame, but it's not the only right answer for everyone.
  13. Penlu

    Penlu New Member

    Now I am confused. From what I have been reading, the CREST system still requires decoders in the locomotives, it's just cheaper and simpler to use! :confused:
  14. Jim Cullen

    Jim Cullen Member

    Perhaps someone who has actual experience with this system should answer your question, but my understanding is that the use of on-board radio-controlled decoders is pretty much limited to the larger scales like "G". The full-function Train Engineer can switch between multiple receivers and decoders and thus control multiple trains. Guys with outdoor G scale layouts seem to really like it.

    With the smaller scales like N and HO, a radio-controlled receiver has to sit between a DC power source (could be an old MRC) and the track since they don't make radio-control decoders small enough to be on-board. It controls a train as far as the electrical block that the receiver is connected to goes. Train Engineer can again switch between receivers on-the-fly.

    The Basic version of TE is limited in that a transmitter and receiver is a dedicated pair.

    Someone with real experience can jump in and correct me if I said it wrong.
  15. shaygetz

    shaygetz Active Member

    I'm sorry if I've caused any confusion or regret there, Penlu. I got the impression that you were looking for the pros and cons of each and had no idea you had already commited to the Crest system. My layout still has DC block control but that is only because it's size (30"x 74" switching layout) could never benefit from such technology. However, I've now added decoders to 3 locos with 3 more waiting in the wings. Thus, I am now able to run on club or private layouts and still enjoy the economy of DC on my layout. With the addition of a DPDT switch, I can run my locos on both. I'm not looking for or pushing for DCC Nirvana, I just believe that in the not too distant future we're going to find it necessary to own at least 1 or 2 decoder equiped locos to enjoy wider company with the hobby's many participants and the (sigh) dwindling number (at least in my area) of large DC layouts.
  16. Penlu

    Penlu New Member

    No need to be sorry! I need all the help I can get! No, I have not committed to the Crest system. I just barely got the track running on a basic 2 block system (though today I seem to have messed it up somehow -- don't ask me how!)

    I've been reading AristoCraft website propaganda, and from what they say, I think I understand that the Crest system runs pretty much like DCC, but is less expensive and somewhat easier to understand. I would just like to find someone who actually has the Crest system on their HO setup..... Does it work? How hard is it to install decoders into locomotives?

    You guys are great, I just need to make myself more clear.:rolleyes:
  17. Jim Cullen

    Jim Cullen Member

    To all,

    After re-reading my own post, I realize that it sounded a little harsh and some may take it the wrong way. I did not mean to offend anyone and I apologize if I did. After doing some additional reading, I find that my post was also wrong. There are now on-board Crest radio receiver decoders for HO. Maybe someday they will exist for N scale as well. Anyway, the info is better explained at http://www.aristocraft.com/catalog/crest/trainengineer/whitepaper/
  18. Penlu

    Penlu New Member

    I saw nothing to take offense at! You're being very helpful:) Thanks.
  19. shaygetz

    shaygetz Active Member

    I weren't offended either...my 'sociates, Hyram and Billy Joe Ray Bob and their riding partners, Twiggy and Bambi, take care of my offenders:D :D :D :D

    Attached Files:

  20. Jim Cullen

    Jim Cullen Member

    I use to have a girlfriend that looked like Bambi, but that was another life and another time long long ago. Nuff said...

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