Non-DCC control systems?

Discussion in 'FAQs' started by Bachmann_I10sa, Mar 10, 2005.

  1. I saw a thread here a while ago that had a title about analog control or something like that, and it aroused my curiosity of non-DCC control systems. I am currently designing a layout for my little fleet of old, non-DCC engines, and would love to be able to control them together on the layout if it is possible. I know that there's no way to get around having two trains on the same track move together when the throttle is moved, that's basic electronics; but what would one of those non-DCC control systems do?
  2. shaygetz

    shaygetz Active Member

    Your basic power pack is an analog system, whether it'd be a toy set "wall wart" type or a three throttle Model Rectifier transistor unit. By wiring your layout for block control, you'll be able to run two or more on the layout, just not independant of each other should two or more find themselves in the same block ---unless--- you install working overhead trolley wire. Then two could be run independantly in the same block, one from the overhead, one from the track using one rail as a common between the two. It's not as scary as it sounds as there is more than enough time tested info to carry you thru.
  3. nachoman

    nachoman Guest

    this is an interesting topic. DCC seems to be *rapidly* gaining popularity, for obvious reasons. I have a 3x6' HOn3 layout, and have no need for DCC. The layout is not large enough to run more than one train at a time, or have more than one operator at a time. Still, I dream of the days where I have a layout large enough for multiple trains- and DCC would be my choice.

    Non-DCC for large layouts means dividing the trackage into blocks - in other words, seperate circuits. That way, each circuit, hence any train on that block, can be controlled seperately. Selecting which throttle controls which block is done with a large switchboard - 10's to 100s of toggle or rotary switches to select whether bock "X" will be controlled by cab 1-4. Complicated wiring. When you factor in the cost of all the switches, and wiring, and time, DCC is ultimately cheaper. Seems like the cheapest decoders sell for less than $20 these days, and the cheapest controls for less than $150.

    So, in my opinon, smaller layouts where operating more than 2 trains at a time is OK for the old-fashioned cab control. Any layout capeable of more than 2 trains is prime for DCC. And with the cost of DCC coming down - i predict even the 4x8 layout would benefit from the modern technology.

  4. Russ Bellinis

    Russ Bellinis Active Member

    The other advantage of dcc that members of the modular club I belong to have discovered is that with dcc there is no such thing as incompatible locomotives. You can adjust speed tables, adjust momentum to make a nonflywheel locomotive run like it has a flywheel, so you can mu a stock Athearn blue box with a Kato and run them together.
  5. ezdays

    ezdays Out AZ way

    This topic has been kown to inflame wars, but I find it a worthy one, since not everyone needs or can afford the latest and greatest. As the others here have pointed out, the "old" concept of DC should be limited to two trains and not in the same block which is pretty tricky keeping track (no pun intended) of them and which block they're on.:D The smaller the layout, the more difficult this becomes.

    I chose to start off with DC rather than DCC simply because I wanted to learn the basics from the ground up, besides there is a lot of stuff out there that is not DCC equipped at reasonable prices. This is kinda ironic given the fact that I spent a career designing and manufacturing digital conrol systems. :rolleyes: Most of the current DC power packs are fairly smart with momentum and breaking and other features. Although these power packs are DC, they are not "analog" in that they produce a series of pulses that average out to the DC equivalent setting. That's what I have, but I have yet to run more than one consist on my layout even though I have it blocked out and have two throttles since I think my layout is really too small to make it practical, besides being a work in progress. DCC allows you to do many things you can't with DC and it is where I intend to be eventually once I expand my layout.

    I don't think I've added anything new here, just my opinion.
  6. brakie

    brakie Active Member

    Don,I can tell you I know 41 out of 47 modelers that doesn't want anything to do with DCC.Those are my follow club members.We even had one DCC'er to return to DC because he got tired of buying and installing decoders-so he says. :confused:
    Now,the only club I know of in this area that uses DCC is the Sandusky(Oh) club all other local clubs use DC.There are 5 clubs within 30 miles of each other..The Sandusky club is 47 miles away.

    Some personal observations and thoughts:
    Now with Atlas coming out with the Quantum Engineer for DC operators to use their line of Atlas Master Gold series with QS Quantum System .The QE will only operate sound locomotives that include the latest QSI technology.The good part is this includes several brands-See and look in new products for further details.
    Then BLI has the sidekick and the Quantum Engineer power pack for their sound system for DC users.Not to mention Atlas makes their Master series locomotives with or without a DCC decoder so it is my personal thoughts that DCC *may* not be as popular as a famous magazine proclaims or we are lead to believe on some forums.

    Yes,I use DCC..However,I use Soundtraxx DCC/Sound decoders so I have to use DCC for that reason.Had I known before hand about the above products I may have waited. :confused:

    Guys,Again the above is my observation and personal thoughts on the current DC/DCC choice and is not meant to start WWIII. :D
  7. nachoman

    nachoman Guest

    here's a question:

    Does anyone make a "basic" DCC set for the medium-sized home layout? Practically speaking, I can't imagine ever having a layout larger than 12x14 in my own house. A layout that size really won't work well with more than two operators, so, I can imagine 2 operators each running a train that may have 2-3 locomotives per train. Is there a DCC "starter set" on the market now that contains a controller, with two throttle contrlos, and enough capacity for managing maybe 10 locomotives, that would be ideal for the home layout? I don't need all the sound and lighting gimmicks - just a basic system that lets me operate trains independantly. So far, all I have seen are systems that mostly contain functions I will never use. A "stripped down" system for half the cost just might convince me to convert...

  8. ezdays

    ezdays Out AZ way


    I'm sure as the technology improves and prices decrease, DCC will become a large part of MRR. Just as there are those today that do not know a world without their iPod, cell phone, text messaging or SUV's, there will be future modelers that "only heard" about DC controls. If I go over to DCC, it probably will be for the "bells and whistles" it would provide, like sound and light control, signal and switch control and anything else you would want to turn on and off.

    I can foresee a world where everything electrical on your layout will be addressable and controllable. That might include knowing where every car on your layout is at any given time. Just think, enter a schedule in your computer and it takes over all the functions of running your railroad. An operating session can now be reduced to hanging around drinking beer, eating pizza and watching a game on TV, while the computer runs your session for you. :eek: :rolleyes: Now won't that be a barrel of fun? :D :D


    Good point, but knowing what I do about the manufacturing of digital control systems, the cost of added functions is minimal compared to the "basic" costs. Add a few more bits to your basic system and you get to control 256 functions instead of say just 32. The cost per function goes down dramatically as you increase the number of functions. Do you need 256 functions, or even 32? Probably not, but that's what sells systems. :wave:

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