Do i really need DCC

Discussion in 'DCC & Electronics' started by jambo101, Jun 21, 2007.

  1. jambo101

    jambo101 Member

    Planning a 4'x8' HO layout,will only have 1 engine running at any one time,wondering what DCC would do for me and do i really need the extra expense and complexity..
  2. myltlpny

    myltlpny Member

    For one engine at a time, no you don't need DCC. When you start adding engines, or multiple trains is when DCC starts to shine. It also lets you do some nice effects with lighting and you can also operate features like lights or switches on the layout.
    My N-gauge stuff is just standard DC operation. And I have no intention of upgrading to DCC. Like you, I only run one train at a time.
    HO is another story. I have a larger layout with multiple trains running at any given time, so it made wiring up the layout easier and running trains much more realistic.
  3. MasonJar

    MasonJar It's not rocket surgery

    Need - no. Want - maybe. Depending on the features you would like, as mentioned by myltlpny above. But even some lighting effects and sound are now available for DC.

    I think the main reason to get DCC for a layout is the ability to have engines in very close promimity operate independently (different speeds and directions), which would be (nearly) impossible in "traditional" DC. E.g. two engines coming together to MU.

  4. davidstrains

    davidstrains Active Member

    For your existing situation - 1 loco, single operator, simple 4x8 layout, whatever scale, DCC is probably not for you. BUT, if you intend for this layout to be your beginning of a larger rail empire, then you might want to consider DCC now rather than a more expensive entry later.

    It is what makes the best sense for you. You have heard in the previous posts about other options. There is a wealth of information in other threads here about what DCC can do. You should try to look at some of them. Go to Loy's Toys or Tony's Trains for DCC primers and a wealth of information about systems.

    It all comes down to what you want to do in the hobby, and how deep into the "techie" stuff you want to go. DC - simple and usable with few complications: DCC can be as simple or as complex as you want to make it - but it gives you so many more options to enjoy the hobby (i.e. running trains rather than positioning and repositioning switches on a control panel.

    Just my $0.02.

    What ever you do - enjoy it to the fullest.
  5. wickman

    wickman Member

    Once you try DCC you will never go back 1 engine or 3 there's nothing like the feel of the control you have in your hand and the way the engine reacts. If you have a local club or friend around ask to try it you'll be amazed:wave:
  6. slekjr

    slekjr Member

    I think I can answer this one.
    One of my volunteers, who is a big time modeler, both ho and 15 in live steam, has purchased quite a variety of sound equipped locomotives from various manufactures along with all the special buttons to make the sounds work on DC. He had no intentions of getting the DCC to make them all work together because he didn't need it. I ended the argument by getting him the $139 NCE unit from Tony's trains. Now he not only uses it but also is trying to get his club to use it, and he is impressed with how easy it is to use.

  7. Drew1125

    Drew1125 Active Member

    I'm in the process of building an HO layout...I haven't gotten to the wiring stage yet...I'm "old school", & I've never used anything but DC cab control...I have to admit I'm still a little mystified by the DCC concept, & have to admit it's a little intimidating to me!
    BUT...I'm going to be going with DCC for this layout for a couple of reasons...
    *I think it's like the's the way of the future, & I need to either get on board, or get left behind...I don't want to build something new right now, & have it be obsolete in a couple of years...
    *I have a feeling that DCC is like many other aspects of the hobby - it's not as complicated as it seems at the outset, once you've "learned the ropes" I think it's a whole new age in how we operate a model RR, & I think there will come a day when we're all going to wonder how we ever got along without it!
  8. baldwinjl

    baldwinjl Member

    I believe that in the end you'll find DCC to be easier that DC, and give much more flexibility. One advantage is that you'll never wish you'd laid out your blocks differently! Just being able to easily park multiple engines close to each other without worrying about where the blocks are is a nice thing.

    As far as the original poster....
    If you NEVER plan on even having a second loco even on the layout you'll probably be content with DC. Otherwise, I think DCC wins almost every time. In my opinion even more so on a small layout with short trains operating close together.

  9. woodone

    woodone Member

    New to DCC myself.
    I had used DC for many years. Block system. The darn blocks were never where you needed them.:curse:Once you use DCC, and can run two trains in differant directions, and stop and go where every you want with each one.:thumb: You will never go back to DC.
  10. Jim Krause

    Jim Krause Active Member

    I'll let you get by with DC if you promise me that you will never, ever have more than one locomotive and never expand your layout. However:you know that ain't gonna happen unless you decide that model railroading isn't for you. I would start with DCC for all of the previously posted reasons.
  11. pgandw

    pgandw Active Member

    A small layout with a reversing loop or cut-off is much easier to operate with DCC than DC. With DC, you have to get the train inside the reversing section gaps (reversing section direction toggle has to be set correctly), and then remember to throw the main line direction toggle while the train is in the reversing section. Difficult to do on a small layout and keep the trains moving. For this reason, I will not recommend a small loop-to-loop layout plan for somebody using DC cab control.

    With DCC, simply hook up an auto-reverser(s) to the reversing section(s) and let it do its thing - no toggles to throw.

    Note that the above doesn't really apply to turntables or wyes. Since the train is stopped while it is reversing, flipping the direction toggles in DC is not that big a deal.

    just my thoughts and experiences

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