New guy with LOTS of questions

Discussion in 'HO Scale Model Trains' started by jaytee, Mar 25, 2007.

  1. Russ Bellinis

    Russ Bellinis Active Member

    You need a decoder for every locomotive. You don't need decoders for switches or power acessories unless you want to. Personally, I think controlling switches with a decoder is overkill. If you are using "walk around" control, and with dcc, any other system is probably not as satisfying, it is simple to install control buttons or switches at each turn out on the front of the layout nearest the switch you wish to control. Basic decoders that will control speed, direction, & lights are not very expensive. Generally less than $25.00 per decoder. If you are going to buy locomotives, but haven't bought all you will want/need yet, it is less expensive to get them dcc equipped than to install a decoder yourself. When you get into sound decoders, the price goes up considerably, but you don't need sound in every locomotive. A switch engine that runs alone most of the time, you might want sound in; but if your other engines are run in consists, you would want to consider just equiping one unit in each consist with sound. If you have an A-B-B-A set of f-units, put the sound in one B unit. If all of your locomotives have sound, and you are running a number of trains with multiple units in consist, and all are sound equipped, the noise could be a bit too much.

    You can get some basic starter sets for dcc operation for under $200.00, maybe even around $100.00. A good dc throttle/power pack will run you $25.00-$35.00. If you want to run more than one train, you will need a dc throttle for each train. When you get to three throttles, you are probably close to the cost of a dcc starter set. When you add in block control switches, you can easily spend more on a dc system than you would on a dcc system. Dcc systems get much more pricey when you add power to be able to run more trains with multiple units. I think the basic systems will run 3-5 amps, which is enough power to handle 6-7 typical ho scale locomotives with can motors. If the motors are open frame, the total is probably 4-5. When you go up to 10 amps of power to allow you to run 10-12 locomotives, and then you divide the layout into power districts with a second or even a third 10 amp power supply, then the costs will sky rocket, but the number of dc throttles required to run 10-12 trains would cost as much or more than the cost of a large dcc system.
  2. prodigy2k7

    prodigy2k7 Member

    Dude, a few thousand? lol... Can I borrow a fun hundred?
    I dont have a job Im using my christmas monye and im running low lol...
    I dont think Ill be able to finish my 4x8 layout..
    WOW i forgot the word...trees and gravel and grass...textures...the word for it!
    I dont think I have the money for that.

    Im just going to buy a few more rolling stock and then ill be broke after that lol...
    I got like $300 left...
  3. jaytee

    jaytee New Member

    I tend to go whole hawg whenever I do something but I may have to tone it down a bit. I've still got to figure out where I will put it. Don't have room in the current house, the shop is full of Mustang stuff and the barn is too dusty. Will be building a new house and shop in the next few years so I may have to wait till then. Just me and the wife, no kids and she is just starting her new career as an RN and will hopefully become a nurse ansthestist within 5 years so that will make things MUCH easier. And I should be retired from the fire dept. in the next 7 years so I'll have a little time to spend workin' on the railroad!
  4. steamhead

    steamhead Active Member

    Hey Prodigy...A layout is never finished...!!! Don't sweat the lack of $$'s. Just get it to the point where it's operational, and a little detail here and there and have fun with it. When more $'s come along do some more to it. I bet that 99% of the layouts we see here are yet to be "finished". It's a lifetime hobby. Don't rush it...Enjoy it..!!
  5. prodigy2k7

    prodigy2k7 Member

  6. Santa Fe Jack

    Santa Fe Jack Member

    I share your view, and am currently building a new layout for DC. I actually am having fun figuring out all the blocking logic and whatnot.

    Maybe someday I will move to DCC, but for now DC is fine. The change to the layout itself would be easy, though, since all I'd have to do is simply wire all the blocks to the same power.

    I'm looking forward to running multiple trains using DC blocking. It will be a fun challenge.
  7. Russ Bellinis

    Russ Bellinis Active Member

    The modular club bought a dcc set up a couple of years ago so I have decoders in all of the locomotives that I run on the club meets. Eventually I will have decoders in all but one locomotive. My home layout is going to be a L.A. Junction switching layout with a maximum of one locomotive running on the layout, so I plan to run an Aristo Craft wireless rc throttle on it. If the built in momentum and braking get to be too much of a pain, I may go dcc with a basic Prodigy system, as long as I can get wireless for a reasonable price.
  8. jaytee

    jaytee New Member

    Well I'm back and things have kinda taken a hard left turn you might say. Still haven't gotten started on the RR as of yet, me and the wife are in the process of getting a divorce and thats thrown a wrench into things somewhat. The new house and shop are probably a thing of the past, however I do now have more room in the spare bedroom in the current house and I've got a niece who has a 4 year old little boy who just loves trains so I'm thinking now of putting a small 4x6 layout together for him to learn on and for me to relearn on for that matter. It'll still be HO scale.
  9. Hoorhaylowe

    Hoorhaylowe New Member

    Well I'm looking forward to seeing what you come up with. Post some pics if you can! I can't say how much of a positive impression you will make w/the little guy, but I can say that the impression made on me by my uncle when he dug out my grandfathers(who passed before I was born) lionel set and brought it to Ohio from New Jersey in the mid seventies made a lifelong impression that I'm proud of to this day! Still got the lionel stuff. I currently model The Escanaba and Lake Superior RR in HO, and can honestly say first thing you should do is get a DCC first and everthing else will be much more enjoyable!

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