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Discussion in 'N / Z Scale Model Trains' started by n_gineer, Jul 21, 2003.

  1. n_gineer

    n_gineer New Member

    Sure glad I came across this forum. I have been into model railroading for over 50 yrs., everything from American Flyer, HO, O ,G, and this is the 2nd time at N guage.

    I sold my previous N guage when I was in 3 rail O' guage, what a mistake that turned out to be. Most of the previous N was PRR. This time I'm going to give Conrail a shot. So far I have gathered up 3 Kato SD80mac's and 6 Bachmann 8-40cw's and around 2o freight cars.

    I don't have a lot of space ,so I may go with modules. What I need to know is what you all think about Atlas code 55 track? I have seen the other brands of code 55 but not the Atlas. Also, thinking about DCC. What is the most user friendly DCC? Last but not least, what couplers, are MT's still the way to go?
  2. rich maiorano

    rich maiorano Member

    Hey N welcome to the gauge MT's are still the way to go but there cars and trucks need low profile wheels to run on C55 pizza cutter wheels will not work on it ....and I hope someone can help with your DCC question and am sure they will we have a great gang here with lots of help ...:p :D :) :cool: :rolleyes: :eek: :p :D Rich
  3. 60103

    60103 Pooh Bah

    welcome n_gineer.
    I always suggest that you see what the local clubs are using, preferably the smaller ones. It's best to have a system that has local support (you will need it!) If there are various ones, see if they'll let you try them out to get a feel for them.You may find that you prefer the knob control or the VCR control. Your LHS (Local Hobby Shop) can advise too, if you think you want a small startup system.
    Remember that the decoders are universally compatible (supposedly) and should be matched to your locos.
    Saw an interesting walkaround at the convention, which uses a portable phone (the in-house one with the base station) as the controller.

    Boy I've said a lot without telling you what you wanted to know. ;)
  4. Tyson Rayles

    Tyson Rayles Active Member

    Welcome!!! Like Rich said, Atlas doesn't like a lot of older rolling stock and locos. I would go with Peco or Micro-engineering code 55 myself. Atlas and Micro are also fragile (tend to break if flexed to much). M-T is still the way to go IMHO. Don't know or care a thing about DCC, but others here will be able to fill you in on that I'm sure. Good luck and keep us posted!
  5. Matthyro

    Matthyro Will always be re-membered

    Welcome n_gineer.
    My personal preference for couplers id MT
    Code 55 track came out far too late for me to even consider it so can't tell you anything about it.
    For DCC I looked hard and long but eventually decided on Digitrax and I am sure pleased I did. It works like a charm and my version(Empire Builder) allows me to have infrared wireless walk around control
  6. davidstrains

    davidstrains Active Member

    welcome to the best forum going, n-gineer.

    Like the others have said mt's are the way to go in couplers. I like the Digitrax chief (radio) for DCC. Going DCC allows you a lot of freedom to operate the train(s) and not the block switches - but... if the layout is a simple oval and a couple of spurs it might not be the one for you. You need to decide what YOU want to do and how you want to operate.

    If you have an opportunity to operate at another layout or at a club that has DCC you can learn a lot about what might be best for you.

    We look forward to seeing your progress.:) :) :)
  7. hemiadda2d

    hemiadda2d Member

    Welcome aboard!!!
    I use Atlas C80 exclusively, *I move a lot, military*and Peco c80 insulfrog turnouts. Peco makes the most bulletproof DCC-ready turnouts money can buy, IMHO. Atlas C80 will allow all but the most crude flanges to work, and like I mentioned earlier, it's bulletproof. When painted/weathered/ballasted correctly, it can look ALMOST as good as any of the C55 stuff.
    I am about to convert to my Digitrax system, so DCC ready turnouts were a must. If you do C55, Peco's turnouts are electrofrog, and take a bit of fiddling to get the DCC-ready. I'd HIGHLY suggest if you want to try DCC, that before you buy a decoder, or anything, get the Digitrax Big Book Of DCC. I have it, and have read it. Much of the complex stuff is still over my head, but the basics are in laymans terms. You can learn a bunch about DCC. And while it's published by Digitrax, it isn't totally Digitrax-biased. Much of the info in it is DCC-general-related.
    Micro-Trains couplers are a no-brainer. They are dead-reliable, and are the defacto standard for any operating N scale layout. Trucks are another issue. Run what works for you. MT also makes great trucks and wheelsets, but there are many reliable choices.
    *plink, plink*
  8. rsn48

    rsn48 Member

    MT are still the best couplers.

    Peco 55 is really code 80 in drag. Part of the rail is embedded in the ties so it has the bullet proof qualities of code 80 but looks like code 55.

    Atlas 55 has problems; however, if you are just starting out and it sounds like your are going very contemporary with the SD80's, then the Atlas 55 may work fine for you. Just make sure you know if any engine your purchase works on it. The nice thing about Peco 55 is that you don't have to "think" about whether something will work or not.

    DCC is kind of religious with many devotees out there defending their own denomination. The advise to go with what is popular in your area is a wise one because at some point you will run into problems (which may not be that big - but seem like it to you) and having some one to talk to is a good thing. However, there are lots of dcc sites you can go to. Digitrax has a good site at the Yahoo! Groups area.

    Right now, the Zephyr is considered the best entry level system out there. I recommend you get a system with more options than you think you might need because like track plans - tastes become more sophisticated and options and electronic tastes may change over time. The two biggest players right now are Digitrax and Lenz.

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