Is this dcc unit any good

Discussion in 'Getting Started' started by wickman, Feb 22, 2006.

  1. wickman

    wickman Member

    Hi I've been researching dcc for a few months now I was introduced to it before christmas at a train show and of course everyones is the best out there. I was told at the train show that sometimes Atlas switches will cause a problem with dcc but just the other day a guy that owns a hobby store in Michigan came into my store and we talked trains for a good 2 hrs. He showed me this system that he sells he says it is really all I need he also says the price he sells it at is very good . Can I get some recommendations and suggestions.[:)]
  2. MasonJar

    MasonJar It's not rocket surgery

    What is it that you need? I would draw up a list of your wants and needs and see if the systems available match.

    For example:

    my needs -
    - relatively inexpensive
    - easy set-up
    - easy/familiar controls

    wants -
    - programming that reads CV (to make sure I have done it right)
    - something familiar to my RR friends (who I will undoubtedly have questions for)
    - expandable later

    do not need -
    - capacity for signalling
    - capacity for turnouts

    I ended up with the Digitrax Zephyr. Most of my friends and local clubs use Digitrax. It is a small box, perfect for operating my modules at home when they are not at the club. I have all manual turnouts. It looks and operates (more or less) like an old-style powerpack. I can use my old powerpack as an additional throttle (jump throttle). Cost me about CAN$200 at the time I got it (few years ago).

    So line up your wants and needs with the features of the Prodigy Advance and see what the result is...

  3. wickman

    wickman Member

    Thats an excellent point ...almost like drawing a new layout plan agaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaiiiiiiiiiiiiiinnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnn LOL
    I'll have to do somemore research on this
  4. wickman

    wickman Member

  5. MasonJar

    MasonJar It's not rocket surgery

    Yeah... sorry about that extra work...! ;)

    But the real question is not "is this system good?" but rather "is this system good for me?"

    There are some good primers on DCC at places like Tony's Train Exchange, Litchfield Station (use Google to find them), and of course manufacturers' web sites, but they must be taken with a grain of salt.

  6. jcoop1

    jcoop1 Member

    Not a bad system, little overpriced there.
    I have considered it more than once. Still have DC only at this point though

    Good luck
  7. sumpter250

    sumpter250 multiscale modelbuilder

    The very first consideration, when choosing a DCC system, is....What system is your club using, or thinking about using.
    If you do not belong to a club, then, what is your level of "computer" expertise?
    Finally, what are you expecting from your DCC system?

    Obviously, if you are a club member, Your club's system is the one to use. You will have a compatible throttle, and will be able to learn the system more quickly, having multiple places to operate it. Throttles do not go from one system to the next. Decoders are universally compatible, throttles are not.
    "Computer expertise". If you have had no exposure to computer basics, you will find some DCC systems very confusing to install/operate/program. You should select one that is "most user friendly" (currently, that would put Digitrax at the botom of the list, their manuals require a little computer savy to understand. I have Digitrax, and I don't have too much difficulty with it.) The older Soundtraxx decoders also require some understanding of the Hexidecimal number system, and bit weights, in order to be efficient at programming them.
    "expectations"....Outside of club membership, this is the important one to consider. Will the system you are thinking about buying, do all the things you want a DCC system to do.
    For example, to my knowledge, Digitrax is the only system that puts two independant "throttles" in your hand. All the others require changing selected loco to control a second, independant engine, or train. I like to operate a train, with a helper on the tail end, without having to change speed tables, to permit consisting.
    I would highly recommend visiting a hobby shop, where you can operate several different systems, to see which you are most comfortable with. The shop where I work has a test track that can be quickly configured to operate DC, NCE, EZcommand, and Digitrax, including the "jump feature" of the Digitrax Zephyr system. Not only does this allow demonstration of DCC, it also permits DC, and DCC operation of locos equipped with sound units, so the customer can see the operating differences of the two environments.
  8. wickman

    wickman Member

    Well thats simple then the club in town here is dc only and I'm a computer technologist our city is so far behind in the times its unbeleivable so I can't sample any dcc systems so I gotta fish for info and do some more reading :)
  9. MasonJar

    MasonJar It's not rocket surgery

    Any clubs, stores, or other resources across the river in Michigan? I can believe what you are saying - I spent some time in "the Soo" on co-op terms in university. Lots of fun, but a big city it is not... ;)

  10. wickman

    wickman Member

    Ah not that I know of but I was told that Toronto has a train show coming up very soon at the convention centre I went to one there 3 yrs ago and it was overwhelming but as my son says at least we'll understand what there taliking about this time sign1
  11. 60103

    60103 Pooh Bah

    I don't know of any show at the convention center this spring. The one they used to have is now defunct. I'll also say I'll not be surprised if there's no club in the part of Michigan near you.
    There is a self-drive hone layout tour coming up in the Kitchener area. Check the Canadian association of railway modellers site. (caorm)
    I used to help a friend with his DCC setup because I could translate between binary, octal and decimal.
  12. Dragon

    Dragon Member

    Do most HO scale DCC system handle On30 engines?
    I would like to convert the Dragon Mountain (both scales) to a single DCC throttle (just different engine codes).
    Or is this too ambitious?
  13. sumpter250

    sumpter250 multiscale modelbuilder


    No, it will take some time but it is do-able.
  14. Harold Cole

    Harold Cole Member

    I started with DCC (Digitrax Cheif) about 10 years or so ago.I love it and it has given me many hours of dependable use.I'am glad i went with the Cheif,for i've been expanding more and more all the time.I operate the turnouts with it and not too long ago had to add 2 Boosters .If you plan on expanding to any extent,you might consider on adding a few more dollars and get the Cheif.Good luck and happy railroading.

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