I'm new to trains....alot of DCC questions

Discussion in 'FAQs' started by ofnamp, Mar 29, 2004.

  1. ofnamp

    ofnamp New Member

    With the research i have done i think i want to get started with DCC vise the DC. I have the Walthers catalog and have seen some DCC components like the Super Chief Premium Starter Set (245-SCF) but i have a few questions like if i get a Rivarossi Hiesler that is DCC ready do i still need a decoder for it or does the train come with one .....are decoder universal....so if someone could please tell me a good DCC controller and why they think it is good vise another brand i would greatly appreciate it. oh yeah one more thing what Train and track should i run.....Im not to worried about the time era but id like a steam style loco....and as far as scale i want to go HO and have alot of animation instead of focusing mainly on detail.......Thanks

  2. jon-monon

    jon-monon Active Member

    :wave: :wave: :wave: Welcome to the-gauge Shawn! :wave: :wave: :wave:

    DCC ready means it comes with a universal connector installed so a decoder can easily be added by hte owner or hobby shop. It may be an important thing to look for in a loco if you don't like to do soldering and wiring. I'll let someone who knows what they are talking about asnwer the rest of your DCC questions :D :D :D
  3. neilmunck

    neilmunck Member

    All NMRA decoders are cross compatible. That is to say a Lenz decoder will work with a Digitrax command station. They can all talk to one and other:D

    Buy track with Nickel-Silver rail. It requires less cleaning and conducts better so there is less chance of the DCC signal getting scrambled or missed.
  4. 60103

    60103 Pooh Bah

    From your description, I would say buy code 100 track. Flexible track is a bit more trouble than the sectional, but it comes out cheaper and you can do more with it. Watch out for the sectional track with roadbed mounted; each make has different connections and they are NOT compatible.
    While all decoders are supposed to be compatible with all control systems (the signals are standard), for some reason they are not all compatible with various locos. This is a matter of experience, and most people find that a decoder that doesn't like one loco will work in a different one. Be very careful with light bulbs as running them at full blast can melt bits of loco.
    I think that if you find a steam loco that is DCC ready or DCC equipped, it will be pretty good in most other respects. The main problem with DCC installations is finding a place to put the chip, as people tend to fill the interiors with extra weight. Don't buy a chip with more features than your loco has.
    I think that after you but a control system, you are commiited to that for expansion, unless you sell it and buy another.
  5. ofnamp

    ofnamp New Member

    thanks for the help.....when you reffer to features on the trains are you talking about smoke and whistle noises???is anyone running the Super Chief Premium Starter Set (is it worth the money) ? Im kinda in a rough spot because i want a good train and controller but i just don't know what all i have to buy to have the minimum to run my train. I would like to buy everything at once and my LHS doesn't have any DCC stuff on the shelves, so i'd like to make a list, so to speak, of what i need. So far i want the Super Chief Premium Starter Set and a Rivarossi Hiesler i will go with code 100 sectioned track maybe even the EZ track what else will i need for just running my train

  6. railwaybob

    railwaybob Member

    Hello Shawn. If you check my website, you'll see a couple of sections on DCC. Start off with "What is DCC" which will take you into some "Rules of DCC". there you'll find some tips on what to buy. I don't promote any brand as that is up to you. But, one of the laws of DCC that I have is the Law of the Pocketbook - go for the most that your pocketbook can afford.

    From the sounds of things, you've decided on the Digitrax DCS100 Chief which has a DT400 throttle. If you're looking for "bells and whistles", then you're looking at Soundtraxx decoders. As has been previously mentioned, "DCC ready" means that there's a plug which you can plug a decoder into. However, be careful! Some locos are less "DCC ready" than others. If you do a search on the web for decoder installs, or post on this discussion group, you can get advice as to the extent that a loco is "DCC ready". Not to scare you, but if you aren't careful, you can blow the decoder if you don't do you research.

    As for the size of track, with that nice Heisler, I'd be inclined to go for some Code 83 track. If you really want to go into some really nice stuff, go for Code 70 track with Peco Code 75 turnouts. The turnouts will require a little modifying (cutting wires across the rails) but the results will be a very nice looking scale of track.
  7. davidstrains

    davidstrains Active Member


    I run the S/C Starter set (radio version) in n-scale. I bought my set from Loy's Toys. Here is the link. Loy's Toys
    The set comes with the CommandStation/Booster, a DT400 hand-held controller, the UR 91 receiver and a decoder tester. You need to also purchase a 5 A. power supply and a wall wart for the UR 91. You can generally get it from the place you purchase the set as I did. I also bought the DPM 42 Power management modules for power districts and reverse loop control. The PM42's also each need a wall wart for power. Check around on-line for a few of the dealers like Loy's or Tony' Trains for pricing.

    I am very satisfied with the package. My only gripe is eyesight for installing decoders in the small engines. I think that you will have an easier time with the HO scale stuff.

    The guys before have discussed the "ready" vs "equipped" concept. I know that digitrax makes "drop-in" decoders for some specific models. You just pop off the existing light card and replace it with the d-trax decoder and close up the shell. I did 2 nscale Kato F-7's in less than 15 minutes. I am not sure about other manufacturers decoders but they also may have a few specifically made for a particular loco. You just need to check around at the DCC shops.:) :)

    Once you get going you will not want to put that controller down.

    Have fun
  8. 60103

    60103 Pooh Bah

    When I said "features" I was thinking about headlights, taillights, flashing mars lights and such. Sound effects are a second layer of complexity (actually, about the next 3 layers of complexity :confused: ) and can probably wait unless you but something already equipped.
    The Loy's Toys web site has a lot of information on DCC, including wiring simeple and complicated switches.

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