help..... Need DCC System?

Discussion in 'DCC & Electronics' started by TruckLover, Mar 18, 2008.

  1. TruckLover

    TruckLover Mack CH613 & 53' Trailer

    Hi everyone,

    Im finally going to get a chance to ACTUALLY run trains fot the first time :eek: Can you believe it? Ive been in HO and N scale for about 2 years now and I havent ever had power in my tracks before :eek: :rolleyes: :cry: :oops:

    Well things are going to change. I was permitted to build a 15" shelf layout around the walls in my room. Im going to use the Walthers Cornerstone Backround Buildings and a couple smaller Walthers buildings. This layout will go ALL the way around the room complete with a "lift out" bridge that crosses the walkway into my room as well as a under table stageing yard. Layout will be 48" tall around the room and im going to use 15" heavy duty shelf brackets and 1/2" ply for the benchwork.

    But I also need to get my first DCC system too. I want a GOOD one and im not concerned about how much it is. Im looking at it as an investment and it will be something i will be able to use on many layouts to come. So I want it to be a mid-to-high end system. I havent the slightest knowledge about DCC so im really looking to you guys for some help and direction on makeing the right choice here

    Im looking to run a few trains, maybe 3-4 but on my furture layouts i want to be able to run more then that so I need one that can handle more then what I will be using it for right now. I also need to get decoders for my engines.

    Any suggestions and direction on a Mid-to-High end DCC System and some decoders would really help me out.

    Thanks in advace guys :wave:
  2. nolatron

    nolatron Member

    If money is no option, Digitrax Super Chief

    I also use all Digitrax decorders, though I thinking of trying one of MRC's N-scale sound decorder in an AC4400.
  3. TruckLover

    TruckLover Mack CH613 & 53' Trailer

    Wow thanks Shaun!!! That looks like a good system and thats what I was figureing the cost of a nice system would be.

    So the "Super Chief" comes with everything I need exept decoders for my locos? I also want to switch my turnouts with the DCC system instead of doing in manually. Can I do that with this system?
  4. TruckLover

    TruckLover Mack CH613 & 53' Trailer

    The turnouts that I want to switch will be on the shelf layout itself and not in the staging yard. The staging yard will all be manual turnouts.

    So can I do that with the Super Chief? Im guessing i will have somewhere around 40 turnouts to power.
  5. nolatron

    nolatron Member

    Correct. you have to purchase the proper decorder to fit in a particular engine.

    Sorta. You will need to purchase "Stationary" decoders for your turnouts. There's a few options, all with pros/cons and varying price points.

    - Digitrax DS64 (4 turnout controller)
    - The Hare (for Tortoise)
    - The Wabbit (for Tortoise, 2 hares in 1 unit)
    - DAC10 from CML Electronics (8 turnout controller)

    I personally use a DAC10 for my turnouts cause it's most the cost-effective solution for real feedback of turnout position to loconet. The hare and wabbits need to send feeback information back to something like a DS64, while the DAC10 plugs directly into loconet and has feedback input terminals on the board.

    The Wabbit and Hare are nice options, with cool features such as Auto-Throw. Pretty good price point.

    I would suggest skipping the DS64. It's a bulky unit for only 4 turnout controllers, and you can buy two Wabbits for about the same price and get more features out of them (if you are using tortoise that is).
  6. nolatron

    nolatron Member

    Just to give an idea of the price involved for 40 turnouts:

    - Digitrax DS64 - 49.95/each - Need 10 - $499.50
    - The Hare Genn II - $29.95/each - Need 40 - $1,198.00
    - The Hare Genn I - $24.95/each - Need 40 - $998
    - The Wabbit - $23.95/each - Need 20 - $478
    - The Wabbit w/feedback - $31.95/each - Need 20 - $693
    - DAC10 from CML Electronics - $121/each - Need 5 - $605

    Again, each item has it pros/cons, so you'll wanna research each and see what best meets your needs.

    And that's just the DCC controllers! you still need turnouts!
  7. TruckLover

    TruckLover Mack CH613 & 53' Trailer

    The track im going to use is Atlas Code 83 track and there "Custom Line" turnouts on my shelf layout. Will the DAC10 work? And so I would need to get 5 of them if I had 40 turnouts to power?
  8. TruckLover

    TruckLover Mack CH613 & 53' Trailer

    Wow well okay lol, the Wabbit looks like the best price lol. But will the Wabbit work with Atlas turnouts?

    Sorry for all the questions :oops: Im a noob when it comes to wireing and DCC lol
  9. nolatron

    nolatron Member

    There are just the DCC controllers.

    I'm not familiar with HO track, so if your turnout has an little snap motor attached to it, only the DS64 and DAC10 will work.

    If it's just a piece of track, you'll need a turnout motor. Tortoise are the best out there, and you can get a good combo pack of wabbits and tortoise at tony's.

    12 pack of tortoise and 6 wabbits - $295.88
    2 pack of tortoise and 1 wabbit - $66.00

    for 40 turnouts that's 3 12-packs and 2 2-packs at a cost of $1,019.64
  10. TruckLover

    TruckLover Mack CH613 & 53' Trailer

    Okay so lemme gather my info here from what I have learned I need lol

    Digitrax Super Chief - $449
    12 pack of tortoise and 6 wabbits - $295.882 ~~~~ 3 12-packs and 2 2-packs at a cost of $1,019.64

    Total $1448.64 :rolleyes:

    40 Turnouts was just a number i thru out there, im not really sure how many turnouts i will have.

    What about those boards that Ive seen at the train shows that shows the trackplan of the layout and where every switch is on the layout? Do I need one of those?
  11. TruckLover

    TruckLover Mack CH613 & 53' Trailer

    I think im considering doing all manual turnouts now lol. I actually think it would be kinda fun to switch the turnouts manually. And all that wireing might be a little too much for me right now too.

    So with that said, is the Digitrax Super Chief all I need? + Decoders for each engine?
  12. nolatron

    nolatron Member

    While the cost of turnout is certainly high, it's nothing something you must do in all one shot. Spread out the purchases over a year and you'll get it all done without breaking the bank (too badly).

    I've been working on my layout for just over a year now, have about 20 turnouts total. I bought a 12 pack of tortoise about 2 months ago, and so far only 3 have been installed. I'll buy the rest whenever I get all 12 installed.

    If you end up going all manual, the Super Chief is all you need (+ engine decorders).
  13. TruckLover

    TruckLover Mack CH613 & 53' Trailer

    I might still consider doing all the turnouts remotely. You made a good point by saying that I didnt have to buy it all at once. I have decided tho that im going to get the radio controled throttle version of the Super Chief so that I can walk around and switch the trunouts. Its about $200.00 more but i think it would be worth it.

    Does the Super Chief come with a power supply? I thought I read something that said the Super Chief requires a power supply. I think it said dit was like another $50.00 for the power supply pack.
  14. tetters

    tetters Rail Spiking Fool!

    I will agree with Shaun. You don't have to do your t.o.'s all at once. You can get some manual ground throws, like the Caboose Industries to do your switching with in the meantime. That's how I started out. I picked up 14 of them (with the wired contacts...I don't think you'll need them for your Altas switches) for about 40 bucks and got things rolling that way. Gradually, I intend to have my entire layout switching done by Tortoise machines wired to control boards at a four location on the layout.

    One day I'd like to get them all decodered...however I also like the idea of something to toggle when I want to throw a turnout.

    For my money though, I'd say go with the NCE Pro Cab. Esepcially if you plan to run more then three locos at once. However if you only plan to operate it yourself or have another person join in the the NCE Power Cab would suffice I think. I honestly don't know too much about DCC to give a really informed opinion. I went with NCE because speaking to the local club members and LHS they all indicated it was a great system and was really easy to use and understand. I'd have to agree with them on the later point. Plus they all use it as well, at the club and also most of them on their home layouts. It also comes a complete set-up (power supply included. :thumb:)
  15. TruckLover

    TruckLover Mack CH613 & 53' Trailer

    Ive read alot about the Super Chief and i have to say im likeing it more and more. The price is up there but that was what i was expecting for a good DCC system. Im exited that I will also be able to walk around with the remote throttle. Maybe on my next layout i will go with all remote turnouts. I just want to run some trains for once :twisted: :twisted:

    I found the Super Chief for $543.99 and the power supply for $45.99 on Toytrainheaven. Ill be buying that in the next couple weeks :mrgreen: :mrgreen: :mrgreen:
  16. TruckLover

    TruckLover Mack CH613 & 53' Trailer

    Now for decoders.

    I want to have only a couple with sound, i dont want to spend alot of money on decoders with sound. Maybe i will get like 5-6 decoders with sound and the rest will be regular decoders What is the best decoders to buy and can I buy them in bulk packs?.
  17. nolatron

    nolatron Member

    A word about the radio throttle. I bought one about a week ago, and just returned. Whenever you want to change loco addresses, or do programming, you have to be plugged into a loconet panel. I found myself being plugged in more often than not. Plus the thing killed a battery in only 4 days. So I returned it for a wired throttle.

    I feel the radio is only really useful if your layout is completed enough to where you are performing operating sessions on it.

    That's correct. you can buy the power supply from Fifer Hobby for $38.
  18. nolatron

    nolatron Member

    Fifer Hobby has the SC wired set for 347.99, radio for 489 btw.
  19. TruckLover

    TruckLover Mack CH613 & 53' Trailer

    ooooooo Thanks Shaun, :mrgreen: :mrgreen: :mrgreen: ill order from Mike then. I have ordered with him in the past.

    So your saying that I would be better off getting the wired one?

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