Looking for DCC system..

Discussion in 'DCC & Electronics' started by Connor, Feb 16, 2005.

  1. Connor

    Connor Member

    I'm looking for a DCC system, I'll be running a layout with 3 cabs (each with it's on line) and a very small yard possibly with a switcher. My layout is a 4x8 and I plan to add another 4x4 section to make it a L shape. I've been looking at Digitrax, MRC, and Atlas.. What are your thoughts on these systems, and which would be the most bang for my $$ I'm thinking the MRC is.. I really like Digitrax, but, man it's expensive.. and the Atlas seams a little too whimpy..

    Thanks, Billy
  2. Alan B

    Alan B Member

    The Bachmann EZ-command is considerably cheaper than the Zephyr. I've seen EZ-commands for about $90 or so. It's a very basic system, but it's made by Lenz so everything but the controller is useable when you upgrade. For what you are thinking, a command station and three cabs, the Digitrax Zephyr with two additional UT-4s is probably the most economical choice.

    Zephyr $199.99
    UT-4 79.95
    UT-4 79.95
    Total $359.89

    Street prices are certainly lower. You can probably find the whole set for 25% less. Litchfield Station will even ship it to you for free.
  3. Connor

    Connor Member

    I'm torn between Digitrax and MRC, Both look really good.. I'll be needing a reverse loop detection module and turnout decorders as well.. I really didn't like what I've heard about the Bachmann, it seams to simplistic...
  4. MasonJar

    MasonJar It's not rocket surgery

    I am happy with my Zephyr. It has "jump" ports that allow you to connect smooth DC power packs as throttles. Works well, and old DC packs can be had for less than US$80. There is no walk-around with this set-up, but you can put the other throttles at some distance away.

  5. Connor

    Connor Member

    Now how does that work?? and what exactly is a smooth DC power pack?
  6. MasonJar

    MasonJar It's not rocket surgery

    There are ports on the back to connect the variable DC (or track) from the power pack to the Zephyr. "Smooth" DC just means no pulse, so on my Tech II 2400, I just turn the pulse feature off.

  7. SteamerFan

    SteamerFan Member

    Connor, the new MRC prodigy advanced is getting good reviews, i'd be tempted to get it over the Digitrax, as you'll get both a Knob and button control on the same throttle. Course I already own a NCE, so I won't be getting another system for awhile.
  8. interurban

    interurban Active Member

    Thanks Andrew.
    I am a bit behind with this DCC stuff, since I bought this steam engine with all the features, I may be looking at this some time soon.

    I LOVE this 2-10-4

    Attached Files:

  9. Connor

    Connor Member

    I guess it comes down to what's the pro's and con's of Digitrax vs MRC.. (Excluding cost from the picture.. I'll add that pro/con after assessing everything else)..

    I've never ran a DCC train, so, I don't know what to look for..

    Thanks, Billy
  10. MasonJar

    MasonJar It's not rocket surgery

    Chris... What's this... diesels, now steamers? What happened to the overhead?! :eek: ... Nice loco! Is that a BLI?

    Billy... My advice to you is to try as many of these systems as you can first. Sometimes it is just what feels right in your hand... I went with Digitrax primarily because my local modular club (www.hotrak.ca) is fullof Digitrax experts. We regularly run one of the biggest Digitrax controlled layouts in Canada...!

    Running a DCC train (no matter what system) is great, because you are running the loco, not a section of track.

  11. interurban

    interurban Active Member

    Yep $500.00 worth, ouch.
    As you will remember Andrew the old L/O is a coming down as I type :cry: :(
    The new railway room, will allow a compleat circuit for a nice steam/diesel run.
    There will be Traction and a town for the traction action.
  12. Alan B

    Alan B Member

    The MRC Prodigy Advance is built for MRC by Lenz. As such it should perform very well. The throttle is very nice looking and the manual seems to indicate a great deal of thought has gone into making it easy to operate. The throttle looks like a winner. There are power issues that I think have been resolved with a software fix.

  13. billwv

    billwv Member

    I am using a newly acquired Zephyr and DT400 -- its great. The DT400 gives the ability to operate two trains from the same hand held, just switch from left to right knob and back to easily control both. I find this to be very useful. I'm not sure I would like the Zephyr alone -- I never really use it as a throttle. Just thought this was a point worth considering.

  14. Connor

    Connor Member

    MasonJar, Thanks for the input, I'm not sure where to find anyone using DCC so I can try one out.. The local hobby store doesn't have a DCC system setup, so, I can't try it out there. So frustrating trying to make up my mind when I don't know enough about the products. I like both of them.. HELP!! :)
  15. cidchase

    cidchase Active Member

  16. rksstl

    rksstl Member

  17. cabdriver

    cabdriver Member


    We recently acquired the Atlas Commander DCC unit. Why? A couple of reasons which I am sure are open to debate.
    1). Cost -- We were able to obtain the Atlas commander and power pack for about $115 total. This is quite a bit off their MSRP. Never pay MSRP.
    2). The Atlas can handle up to 99 locos -- we have two, going to perhaps five or six. Plenty of room for expansion.
    3). The new Atlas has five controls per locomotive. Plenty to drive lighting, sound, etc. Given our entry state into the hobby, this was plenty and the initial investment wouldn't preclude us from changing to something more substantial. In addition, Lenz makes Atlas, so the upgrade path for the Atlas is pretty awesome.
    4). Ability to add tethered or remote commanders for multi-engine simultaneous control.
    5). Did I mention $115? I now have a couple of engines running at different speeds in different directions on our HO layout. How cool. That would have been really difficult without DCC.
  18. Connor

    Connor Member

    Well.. I just purchased a Digitrax Complete Super Empire Builder Starter Set for $330.00,
    that's the started set + power supply and two basic decoders. I also got 2 DS-54 Stationary decoders for 126.00 I really liked the MRC, but, not being able to run DC trains on it turned me off. Now, I have a question.. I have 1 reverse loop and the booster claims to be auto reversing.. Do I need a reverse module? Or is that only used if you use the booster on the reversing loop by itself?

    Thanks, Billy
  19. Gary Pfeil

    Gary Pfeil Active Member

  20. Connor

    Connor Member

    OKay, Added a reversing module for $24.00 to my order. Can't wait to get my stuff in!

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