Digitrax question

Discussion in 'DCC & Electronics' started by prodigy2k7, Dec 26, 2006.

  1. prodigy2k7

    prodigy2k7 Member

    I got a lot of money over christmas and now im thinking of buying a Digitrax Zephyr basic set, but I have a few questions.
    Is this set all I need to get started?
    What is this thing that comes with it? (http://www.digitrax.com/prd_lt1.php)
    Why is this so much better than the bachmann dcc set?
    Everyone says you can "program" the trains, what exactly can you/do you program the trains to do?

    I am interested in this basic set up, and curious, why are te other digitrax sets so expensive?

    Is there another post or some website that goes in detail about the Zephyr set?

    Any comments is greatly appreciated. :)
  2. oldtanker

    oldtanker Member

    As far as why it is better than the Bachmann....it is more expandable and has the ability to run more locos, have more operators, allows programing and is backward compatible with other Digitrax equipment, like being able to use analog hand held throttles with the system.

    AS far as programing you will have to get that from someone else, I'm in the learning stage too.

  3. YmeBP

    YmeBP Member

    I've been sucking in as much information as i possible can about the different dcc sets. Although i haven't actually put one in my sweaty hands yet i've decided on the digitrax because of the feedback it has gotten here at the gauge and all the information about just how expandable it is.

    I've settled on the empire builder or the superchief if i can get one used. I plan to get the zephyr later on for my oldest son when i'm confident he won't crash my trains.

    Here is a great site tons of stuff about digitrax and dcc in general: http://www.loystoys.com/MiscHTML/dcc-topics.html

    especially this part:

    I found these movies that feature digitrax in motion and it's a pretty cool looking idea:
    these are most impressive!:
    Mc Kinley Railway
    Bigger and Bolder
  4. prodigy2k7

    prodigy2k7 Member

    okay all answered but one, what does "programming" a train do?
  5. LongIslandTom

    LongIslandTom Member

    Programming allows you to do things like having a steam engine with a sound decoder play back different sounds effects at various throttle settings, or make a diesel loco equipped with ditch lights flash them in an alternating fashion, or programming different throttle response (like making it behave with heavier momentum so it takes more room to accelerate or come to a stop, like the real thing), etc. Stuff like that.

    Hope this helps!
  6. Buddog

    Buddog Member

    progamming a locomotive means you can set up the number that the engine is so you can call up the loco to run. You can also set up the speeds so it starts and stops more realisitc ( if you do that remeber that stopping takes a bit longer , had an engine run off the end of my old layout once.) There are also ways to setup the lights different and if you have sound well that's a whole other world. I've been using the Zephyr for close to three years got it when it first came out I think it's great and have never had a probelm.

    Hope this helps a bit

  7. YmeBP

    YmeBP Member

  8. CAS

    CAS Member

    I had just ordered my Digitrax Zephyr Basic Set :D , waiting for UPS to deliver it.

    Just picked up a copy of Model Railroader’s Book DCC Made Easy, been reading here, http://tonystrains.com/tonystips/dccprimer/index.htm.
    I also book marked the upper links for future reading. Thanks for the links.


  9. prodigy2k7

    prodigy2k7 Member

    with the digitrax starter set (the cheapest one), can you use the whole layout to program a train? as long as no other locos are on the mein line?
  10. John P

    John P Member

    The Zephyr Question

    I've had a Zephyr since Oct. 2006-love it, I've had 6 locos running on my layout with no problem-keeps me busy LOL. The only issue I've had with my unit is the programming track function failed on me twice. It's in for repair as I type this mesage. I should mention that I've been given a replacement unit from my local hobby shop-Great Store:thumb: . I'm having loads of fun programming-you'll learn alot-be prepared to do a little reading, a little swearing, a little sweating, and a lot of learning. Best hobby in the world.
    Have Fun:wave:
  11. 91rioja

    91rioja Member

    Yes you can; it is called operations mode programming. With a dedicated track, some hardware called a LocoBuffer, and some software called Decoder Pro, you can program to your hearts content using a nice graphical interface and your computer. That is what I do.

    Hope this helps.
  12. prodigy2k7

    prodigy2k7 Member

    eek, i have no idea what u just said lol, 91rioja, whats the ahrdware for? and the software is for my PC? so when u program ur loco, you do it on ur PC? or what? Im still not quite understanding this programming part of DCC
  13. 91rioja

    91rioja Member

    Sorry, I had a longer more detailed post, but when I submitted, the forum software decided to not let me post, so i lost what I had said.

    Programming on the Digitrax Zephyr unit is done through the command station. The LCD screen on the CS (command station) is rather small, and rather cryptic to use. There is a device called a LocoBuffer, that is used as an interface to the Digitrax system (or any other system that it will connect to) that will hook up to any computer with an available USB port. The Decoder Pro software, a free software, allows you to use your computer to program any locomotive with any of the configuration variables through a user interface that is much more intuitive than the LCD screen on the Zephyr.

    Like Buddog and LongIslandTom said, it is just another way to program the locomotive to act more like the real thing. If you are not concerned with these things, then forget waht I just said. You can use the default settings on the decoder in the locos, and program the loco number into the Digitrax, and run with it.

    The great thing about DCC, it is just plug and play, and when you are ready for more advanced features, they are there for you as well.

    I hope this explained it a little better than the last post.
  14. prodigy2k7

    prodigy2k7 Member

    okay, thanks!
  15. Jim Krause

    Jim Krause Active Member

    Programming a locomotive is a basic function to match the locomotive to your DCC system. Assuming of course that you have a decoder(chip) equipped locomotive. Programming does not require a computer. It is done with the DCC system itself.

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