Total newbie needs serious help!

Discussion in 'DCC & Electronics' started by H2O, Sep 2, 2005.

  1. H2O

    H2O New Member

    Hi all,

    I am a total newbie and I need serious help. I want to get started with a HO DCC train. But the info online is very hard to find.

    1) What are the best resources online on the topic (articles, brand comparison, etc)

    2) What are the best brands for DCC trains? (best in term of quality, possibilities, and cost)

    3) Are all the brands compatible? Can I get one loco from Fleischmann, one from Roco, the tracks from yet another manufacturer? Or do I need to choose one and stick to it forever?

    Thanks in advance!

  2. MasonJar

    MasonJar It's not rocket surgery

    Hi H2O

    Welcome to The Gauge!

    Info online is not that hard to find, except that you have to wade through all the sites where people want to sell you stuff... ;) Here are some answers for you:

    Re: 1) We've compiled some great resources right here at The Gauge. Click here for our list of useful links.

    Re: 2) Almost any locomotive can be converted to DCC operation. Generally (although not always) the easiest are those advertised as "DCC ready". What this usually means is that you can take off the shell, and plug in a decoder on top of, or in place of, the constant lighting board. High quality locos come from Atlas, Kato (diesels) and Bachmann Spectrum, Proto2000 Heritage, Broadway Limited (steamers), among others. Entry level engines tend to be Bachmann (non-Spectrum series), IHC, Life-like (non-Proto), Roundhouse, etc. Everyone has their own opinions, and almost any engine can be made good with some patience and work.

    Re: 3) Again, generally speaking, you may mix and match any model railroading stuff from any manufacturer. You do not need to run Atlas trains on Atlas track, with an Atlas DCC system, for example. HO has the greatest variety of manufacturers and items to choose from, with N and O scales selection expanding all the time.

    If you want to really take the easy route, I think it is Atlas that offers their DCC set with a decoder equipped locomotive, so you can get started out of the box. It is not hard though to learn the basics of any DCC system, and what it takes to install decoders. My first install was a Soundtraxx decoder in my Proto2000 0-6-0 switcher.

    Hope that helps.

  3. railwaybob

    railwaybob Member

  4. H2O

    H2O New Member

    Thanks for the valuable info. It really helps.

    If you also know where I can buy a Bachmann DCC HO starter set (for US voltage) online, let me know. I'd really appreciate it.


  5. MasonJar

    MasonJar It's not rocket surgery


    Try Tony's Train (E)Xchange, Loys Toys, or Litchfield Station. I have not presonally had any experience with them, but they always get high marks for service and information offered.

    Look in the "Resources" thread, or google them - I don't have the links on-hand.

  6. Pitchwife

    Pitchwife Dreamer

    I've compiled a number of links to various web sites for almost any aspect of MRRing. Just click on the link in my signature.
    Hope these help. :thumb:

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