New DCC Systems

Discussion in 'DCC & Electronics' started by Agatheron, Dec 27, 2005.

  1. Agatheron

    Agatheron Member

    Hi All,

    My lurker status continues, but now that I have moved into a new house in Mississauga, the reality of my first layout is an ever increasing possibility. I have approximately a 15' stretch of wall that I can run a shelf layout along, with room for a dog-bone style turns at the end. It means that if I am going to do Digital Command and control, I'd better get serious, and maybe even take advantage of Boxing Day/Week sales...

    I've been eyeing the Prodigy Advance for some time... Although more recently the Prodigy Express has caught my eye... if only for the price tag. I read the MR article on DCC systems and my only concern is the 1.6 Amp output. All the other bells and whistles can be later upgraded, as I have found out.

    Does anyone have experience with this model, or any suggestions on what to look for. I currently own 7 locomotives that I plan to run on this layout, usually in consists of 2... I am planning on acquiring 3 more locos reasonably soon... but I will have to do the DCC upgrades in all of them before getting up to operational snuff. Also, I only plan on having 1 operator at the time for the moment, but it would be nice to have one train in motion whilst switching is available.

    Anyway, questions questions... anyone have suggestions?
  2. rksstl

    rksstl Member

    I've been running the PA for about 7mos. on an N gauge layout real close to the size you're building. I usually run 2 SD-50's, 2 SD-35's, and do some switching with a GP-38, I don't really have any complaints with it. The Yard Mode is a real neat feature for switching.
  3. Bikerdad

    Bikerdad Member

    In N Scale, a modern loco will use about .3 amps running DCC. I've been able to run 8 locos at one time with my Digitrax Zephyr, rated 2.5 amps. So, if you're doing N, you'll be fine. I think HO locos pull a about twice the amperage, so you'll be on the edge there, likely over it if you're running lighted passenger cars or the like.
  4. Agatheron

    Agatheron Member

    Well... since I'm running N-scale, and am not likely to operate more than 5 locos at any given time even with consists that should be fine. I tried acquiring a Prodigy Express on a sale at my LHS, but alas, they had sold out because everybody else thought it was a good idea too...

    One further question... if I put all 7 of my locos on the layout, but were to only operate 2-3 at a time, would all 7 still be drawing power against the total? If that's the case, then I may need to be a bit careful... or at least investingate a booster unit if I begin having issues...
  5. Woodie

    Woodie Active Member


    I run the NCE Powerhouse Pro 5 AMP DCC setup. Currently being supplied with only 4 AMP (from an 8 AMP power supply). Not wired up the other 4 AMPS as yet. I run HO. I have decoderised 6 of my locos so far and have had them all running around the layout at once, with headlights on, and the 4 AMPS is enough to supply that.

    If your loco is not running, it is not drawing any current. If you have just the headlight on, then that is all the current that is being drawn from the system. A slow running loco will draw less current that one running at full speed.

    I'm not sure of the Prodigy, but the NCE has an overload "cutout". Once the layout is drawing more than the DCC system is rated ( mine is 5 AMPS, yours is 1.2 AMPS) then it should cut out, as if there was a short circuit somewhere on the system. Resolve the short circuit, or remove some of the load on the system, and it should automatically cut back in again. I haven't managed to overload mine yet, to see if that is actually what happens yet, of course. I've had shorts, of course, and everything stops, however when the short is resolved, all the locos again begin to move off again up to their previously set speed-steps, according the acceleration/startup voltage etc decoder settings.

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