New DCC????

Discussion in 'DCC & Electronics' started by oldtanker, Mar 29, 2007.

  1. oldtanker

    oldtanker Member

    I'm going to upgrade my Bachmann DCC system in May. I have been looking at the Digi Trax stuff as well as Prodigy.

    For some strange reason that I can't explain I'm kinda drawn to the Digi Trax system.

    I am going to have a double main line that can be run continuously with sidings and a small yard. I will have young children "helping" run trains from time to time. I may have as many as 6 engineers at a time.

    So.....what are the advantages to both systems???

    Please don't bash. I'm looking at the Prodigy Advanced and the mid level Digi Trax systems.


  2. YmeBP

    YmeBP Member

    I have the digitrax super chief and recently picked up a zephyr for my 8 year old to help me run my trians on my layout. It took me about 3 months to choose a setup i didn't get a chance to touch any of them before chose, I mainly read reports from other users, asked questions here and then closed my eyes and clicked "purchase now" :) hehehe.

    So far i like the system i like the flexibility, i don't like the tiny size of the buttons on the cab and i don't like where the buttons are placed on the cab. Driving my trains w/ the cab is easy and intuitive. I didn't have to read the manual to drive the trains :) the double knobs on the dt400 are great!! ..

    I will post again once i connect the zephyr in to the mix and allow my son to control a train or two and let you know what my experience is.

  3. rogerw

    rogerw Active Member

    rick Im not saying that the digitrax stuff is good or bad but you should here from all the user groups out there. I went with easy dcc by cvp about a year ago and have played with very little. I allso talked with people here about digitrax. It seams everyone has there own thoughts. If you want to get some feed back from some more dcc users you can go and ask questions at
    there are some there that have used both and can allso give you some pros and cons, just a thought trying to help
  4. Thoroughbreed

    Thoroughbreed Member

    I have the Prodigy Advance and like it alot. I used to have the Roco powermaus system. This system makes it extremely easy to program 4 digit addresses (5 keystrokes including the address), easy to consisst (either advanced or old style), can program a "route" (sets switch patterns) and so easy to use, my daughter picked up my controller last night and ran it without any instruction (kids always pick these things up quicker than we do anyways).
    I havent used or seen an Digitrax unit, so I cant tell you how it works. I do know the reason I didnt go with a Digitrax system was, I had read/heard somewhere that you have to convert to hex to program , and I havent used that in a long timesign1 . But correct me if Im wrong here folks.:D
  5. YmeBP

    YmeBP Member

    The digitrax system can be programmed in decimal or hex it's the user's choice :).

  6. davidstrains

    davidstrains Active Member


    I have the Digitrax Chief (radio) and enjoy the freedom it gives. I am just running a lot of trains on 3 continuous run tracks right now as I have not completed my layout. Last night I had 8 separate trains going at once (3-2 loco consists, a Pioneer Zephyr and 4 single engine trains. It keeps me busy for hours.)

    Someone has already mentioned the small buttons on the DT-400 controller but that is not a serious problem. It is not hard to add an extra utility controller for the younger ones to use when they visit the layout. I had the grandkids here for Christmas and all of them spent about 15 minutes each running 4 trains on all the tracks. The DT-400 shows 2 active trains at a time so you have to call up the other ones to change speeds, direction, etc. The kids were 7, 9 & 11 yrs.

    Be careful that you look at all of the systems and choose the one that does what you want it to do - not what we say it is doing for us. You might have a requirement that will better be filled by one of the other systems.

  7. jwils1

    jwils1 New Member

    This can be a tough decision as both systems offer nice features.

    Hopefully you have access to hobby shops or local model railroad clubs where you can ask questions, see demos and get a feel for what they have.

    If you go Digitrax, I think you definitely want a DT400 throttle on which you can run two trains at the same time, do any programming, do consisting and operate accessory decoders (like throwing turnouts if they are DCC controlled).

    Digitrax also has some economical "engineer's throttles" for extra people that want to just run trains. The only thing about their engineer's throttles is they don't operate accesory decoders, but if you plan to throw your turnouts manually or other than DCC it won't matter.

    Don't know much about MRC but they seem to be coming on strong in DCC.

    It's really hard to go wrong with any major brand DCC system, but careful study will lead you to the one that's truly best suited for your specific needs.
  8. rogerw

    rogerw Active Member

    just got back from my bowling night. Hey rick dosnt that make it a lot clearer lol. All I can say is research all the user groups and ask ? and hopefully it will help ,good luck
  9. jwils1

    jwils1 New Member

    I might add that I have a CVP T9000E radio throttle (same as used with EasyDCC but mine is compatible with my Lenz system).

    If you think that radio operation would be nice for your use on your layout then the CVP throttles are great, but a bit expensive. They have very long battery life, whereas the Digitrax radio throttles do not and have to be removed after every session to prevent them from running down. And, Digitrax radio's have to be plugged in to either acquire or dispatch locos. That's kind of a nusiance unless your not frequently switching back and forth between locos.

    MRC is also coming out with radio, but again I'm not familiar with it's quality or good and bad features.

  10. UP SD40-2

    UP SD40-2 Senior Member

    Good and VERY POSITIVE!

    davidstrains:wave:, VERY WELL SAID!:thumb: truer words COULD NOT HAVE BEEN SPOKEN;). THANK YOU!:D

    i AM NOT going to try and sell ANYONE on a system;), but for what its worth, i use Prodigy Advance, and am 110% happy with it:thumb:.

    announce1i want to PERSONALLY THANK YOU FOLKS for keeping this thread VERY CONSIDERATE, and NOT making it a "system war":rolleyes:. VERY WELL DONE FOLKS!:thumb::D
    THANK YOU!:D -Deano
  11. MasonJar

    MasonJar It's not rocket surgery


    If you can, I would advise that you try to play with the systems you are considering, and also look at what people in your area are using, in the event you need hqands-on help...! ;)

    I chose Digitrax for that reason. I would say 90% of my friends use it, and also it is the system of choice for the modular club ( which runs one of the largest modular set-ups using several Empire Builders and SUper Chiefs. It all goes together without a hitch.

    My set up at home is a Zephyr and a UT4-R. The Zephyr allows me to do all the programming I need, while the UT4-R throttle is simple to use with its large knob for speed, and toggle switch for direction and braking.

    The only drawback I see with Digitrax is that all their throttles work sightly differently in terms of acquiring and dispatching locos, which cna be pain at the club, because collectively we own just about everything that Digitrax made - if you borrow something, you might not be familiar with it.

    Hope that helps,

  12. railwaybob

    railwaybob Member

    Methinks you point out one of the main reasons for buying Digitrax. You don't lose all of your investment if you want to upgrade. Handheld throttles can be used on any of their command stations. Command stations can be used as boosters if you decide to expand your layout and need more power in the system. And, when all else fails, there's quite a good market for used command stations and throttles.

    More importantly for me is the "architecture" of the system. Basically, there are two types of system architecture - polled and LAN (Local Area Network). On a polled system, additions or changes require replacing the command station. On a LAN system, one simply plugs and plays. One example is signalling. Because Digitrax uses a LAN architecture, the addition of signalling features was seamless as the signalling architecture is contained in other components that can "talk" the same language as every other component connected to the LAN - much like the LAN network used in your office or home.
  13. EngineerKyle

    EngineerKyle Member

    For some reason I DON'T like Digitrax... maybe it's the small wheel.

    I just upgraded from the Bachmann EZ Command System to the NCE Power Pro.

    Sorry to throw something else into the mix, but I REALLY like it.

    There is one thing you'll miss about the Bachmann, I don't think any of the other systems support one touch loco selection.

    NCE sort of gets around this with a RECALL function, but it only works for the last two addresses selected. But upgrading has otherwize been trememdous. The very first piece of train equipment I ever bought was a Stationary Decoder. That was 3 years ago... and tonight I'm gonna finally hook it yup!

  14. rogerw

    rogerw Active Member

    railwaybob, I like the idea behind the loconet. You gave a very good explanation a couple weeks ago to me about loco net. I believe the easy dcc is fully upgradable. If new software comes out the user can himself replace the eprom chip and get the latest and greatest. I can add boosters , handhelds and wireless with out getting rid of anything. There is no need to ever replace the command station.
  15. rsn48

    rsn48 Member

    The Digitrax's engineers throttle (simpler throttle/cabs for newbies on the layout) have the large wheel, if that's your thing. I have Digi but I'd tell you to check out Lenz and NCE; the three most popular DCC systems.

    The reason it is nice to get a DCC system that is popular in your area is that you have instant help if you need it. I know you can go on forums but sometimes its nice to have a person check out what's wrong.

    The two most popular systems in North America are Digi and Lenz. To my way of thinking, I just like Digi because there seems to be more choice of items to get from them, from throttles to whatever.

    I tell people the first purchase you should make is to buy The Big Book of DCC and read through it; see what you would like from the various systems out there and their options. Don't seal your decisions too early, by that I mean what you don't think you'll be interested in now, may come back to haunt you if you don't get a system that supports whatever you change your mind to latter. This is my way of saying get a full functioning system with as many whistles and bells that it supports. For example, you may decide you don't care if the system doesn't support "power routing (the decoder throws the turnout)" only to discover latter you do like that option. I found that two years after owning my system, my tastes changed and I was glad I had a system that could handle whatever I wanted latter. This is one of the reasons you see folks upgrading their system or purchasing a new system from a different company because they wanted expanded options.

    Good luck in whatever you chose.
  16. rogerw

    rogerw Active Member

    well said rsn48
  17. Thoroughbreed

    Thoroughbreed Member

    In theory, as for meeting NMRA standards, all systems should be upgradeable and work together. You should be able to use boosters from different manufacturers together.:thumb:
  18. rogerw

    rogerw Active Member

    thoroughbreed that is the same thing I thought . I was told that the standards are only between the command station and decoders on a earlyer thread. Im not sure if its true but truying to research.
  19. avlisk

    avlisk New Member

    To Engineer Kyle. I agree with you about the ease of the NCE system. I have the 5 amp Procab. It allows a stack of 6 trains (locos or consists) in the scrolling memory, not just 2 like the Powercab. Trust me, this is more than enough for one operator. I should limit myself to 2, as there have been numerous times that I've had 6, 7, or 8 trains running (just for fun) and have had to hit the red "panic" button to stop everything now to avoid a collision. Bottom line on the NCE is that you won't ever regret buying it, either. It deserves a look along with the other systems mentioned. I suggest you make a list of features that you would like, use the systems if possible before buying, hold the various controllers and see which one you like best. (I really like the thumbwheel on the NCE. Some like a knob. I don't.) It comes down to every one has different likes and dislikes. Make your list and see which one fits best. Regards, Ken Silva

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