Need some advice

Discussion in 'DCC & Electronics' started by T-Mac, Aug 4, 2007.

  1. T-Mac

    T-Mac New Member

    Hello. My 10 year old son and I have spent a lot of time reading and looking at this site. We are getting ready to start an HO scale layout soon. I want to begin with dcc from the beginning. I have read most of the DCC Forum and am thinking of going with Digitrax Zephyr or NCE Power Cab. Will both operate sound and accessory decoders with no problem? I know very little about model railroading but we are really looking forward to building a nice layout together. The layout will be built in a 14 X14 room. Any advice will be greatly appreciated!

  2. woodone

    woodone Member

    Well if you can operate each system. There might be something on one system or the other that you may not like.
    I just got a NCE Power Cab, and like it just fine. Pretty simple to hook up and operate. The one thing that NCE Power Cab will not do, and that is run a DC loco.
    I think each system has it pluses and minuses, so you need to find someone who will let you try the systems that are out there.
    You will love DCC.:thumb:
  3. MasonJar

    MasonJar It's not rocket surgery

    As long as the decoders are NMRA compliant, there should nto be a problem.

    I use the Digitrax Zephyr at home, and have used most every other Digitrax component at either the club or friends' layouts. I like the look and feel of the controllers, and the systems are relatively easy to set up. Digitrax also has a huge yahoo user group that is full of info.

    Good luck - let us know how it works out!

  4. T-Mac

    T-Mac New Member

    Thanks Woodone & Andrew for the help. There really is no one else in this area that models trains so it's difficult to get hands on experience. We are kind of having to learn as we go by reading these forums and magazines. The Hobby Town I went to today only had an old MRC 2000 DCC system for $120.00. I guess that is kind of outdated. Woodone does the NCE Power Cab allow for future expansion and does it operate all the sound features on the new locos? Being new to model railroading, what is a good book to show how you wire for DCC?
  5. woodone

    woodone Member

    I think you can get a NCE Power Cab for about $140.00. Try Litchfield Station and do a search. Bruce will help you out. I am not sure about the freight, but if your from out of state (Arizona) there should not be any sales tax.:thumb:
    The Power Cab is expandable, start out slow (small) and add as you grow. Power cab is only good for about 2 amps. Runs two or three locos. It is very easy to hook up, attach two wires from the NCE Power Cab plug it in to the power and you all set. The nice thing about DCC you don't have to worry about any blocks, switches and the likes. Just need to watch out for reverse loops.
    Do a search for , it shoiuld have lot of information, I would give you a link, but I am computer challenged.sign1 same for Litchfield Station.Hope this might help.
  6. bigsteel

    bigsteel Call me Mr.Tinkertrain

  7. T-Mac

    T-Mac New Member

    Thanks Woodone & Josh:thumb:. I too am computer challengedwall1 and that's what concerns me about DCC. How hard is it to program a decoder and is this something we can learn without someone physically demonstrating the process:confused:? I appreciate the link to the DCC website and will check it out.
  8. woodone

    woodone Member

  9. 60103

    60103 Pooh Bah

    Programming a decoder can be as tough as programmimg your VCR.
    Some of the manuals don't make it easy for you, switching between binary and hex. Until you get a half dozen locomotives, all you may need to do is program the engine numbers. The next step might be lights. Or you may go for sound -- there's lots of possibilities there.
    The really fun bit is programming speed steps -- only required if you plan to operate a set of different locomotives at the head of a train.
    But I think a lot of this is taken care of in some of the newer controllers.
    But you've got a 10-year old; he'll explain it all to you.
  10. MasonJar

    MasonJar It's not rocket surgery

    The Digitrax system is also expandable - I know you don't like computer examples, but basically it is a LAN (local area network). You can read a good description by following the DCC links at Railways of Eastern Ontario - Welcome.

    I agree that some manuals are better than others (Digitrax being not so good, unfortunately), but as I mentioned, there are ton of resources on the net. Tony's Train Exchange is also another full service DCC shop.

  11. woodone

    woodone Member

    Looks like I got two dots after the www
    First time posting a link, let me try again. maybe it will work for you when I get the address correct.
    Now I see that I have fat fingers, Tslk should be talk-that a and s are to close together.sign1
    new link Litchfield Station, Home Page
    Well I hope I got that right.
  12. green_elite_cab

    green_elite_cab Keep It Moving!

    as far as programming goes, this is the site with the basic information

    CV29 Look Up Table | Tech News at Tony's Train Exchange.

    Programming CV29 will give you the basic things you'll want to do. It turns on your decoder's ability to run on DC, and it also switches your adressing from 2 to 4 digits ( so you can put the whole road number in)

    there is also a link on that page that calculates the values for CV17 and CV18, which create the long adress. all you do is type your unit's road number into the box, and it will tell you what you need to program. then, simply activate this adress by putting a value in CV29 that allows for it.

    If this is all very confusing to you, you can keep looking around Tony's Train Exchange, which is awesome for DCC, or you can just buy your system. your system will explain the basics to you.

    its also a good idea to get the books on DCC available.

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