Trucklover's Shelf Layout Thread

Discussion in 'HO Scale Model Trains' started by TruckLover, Apr 5, 2008.

  1. TruckLover

    TruckLover Mack CH613 & 53' Trailer

    Dont worry about it Zelda, we all have our opinions and preferences :thumb: :thumb:

    Thanks for the kind words on my layout too, there will be much much more to come so stay tuned :mrgreen:
  2. TruckLover

    TruckLover Mack CH613 & 53' Trailer

    hehehehe thanks Loren :mrgreen: Your layout is coming along fast and nice too :thumb: :thumb: :cool:
  3. green_elite_cab

    green_elite_cab Keep It Moving!

    I'll just answer in a list cause thats how I roll! I'm trying to get organized, lol

    1. No. While all decoders are able to work with all other DCC systems, individual DCC systems don't work with eachother.

    2. The Super Chief is capable of handling 5 amps, but it does not have its own power source, you'll have to find your own.

    3. As indicated above, it does not come with its own power supply.

    Besides, are you sure you meant the Super Chief? It $639.99, and its way overkill for your layout! Perhaps you meant Digitrax's basic starter set, the Zephyr (which does come with it's own 2.5 amp power supply), but even then, i wouldn't buy it. It also costs more than power cab, but has much less functions, and only a marginally higher maximum current. Additionally, you're stuck at a single control stand unless you buy expensive throttles to go with it. Power cab already comes with a walk around throttle.

    You need to ask yourself, how many people will be runnning your layout at any one time? I don't know how many operators you expect to realistically run in your room.

    The next thing you are going to want is a walk around throttle. Don't tell me you're fine standing in one spot. You're going to want to follow your trains, and especially now that you are adding industrial spurs to switch, you're going to want to be where the train is to spot your cars.

    Next you're going to want to figure out how many functions you want. This is important especially for sound decoders, since many offer a wide variety of extra sounds and things. Even if you don't have sounds, you might want to have the headlights/ditch lights programmed to behave a certain way, and so you'll want a DCC system capable of having as many functions as you need.

    Finally, you should consider cost. Don't go and buy a ridiciulously expensive set if you're only going to be running 3-4 trains with yourself and maybe a couple friends. Buy a system that is reasonably priced and that fits your layout. This is one situation where you don't necessarily get much extra useful features by buying a large expensive set. there are are many high quality lower priced sets that do everything you need perfectly.

    on a final note, stay away from digitrax. I know that people here will challenge me on this ( i'll bet money on it), but their whole sales strategy is to make you buy more and more components to their system, rather than putting it all together as one. This is how they get you in the long run, since you'll find yourself having to buy crazy pieces to things to make it comparable to other systems.

    My expirience with their system has not been as favorable as with my own prodigy express or my club's NCE cabs.
  4. green_elite_cab

    green_elite_cab Keep It Moving!

    I hate to keep shoot more at you then, but seriously, avoid giving advice on things unless you have the knowledge to back it up.

    As far as running a DC loco with a DCC system, you will break your system or your DC loco. DCC runs off of Alternating Current (AC) power, which is incompatible with DC.

    In AC power, the polarity fluctuates at a certain rate (unlike Direct current, in which the current always flows one way). When a DCC system like digitrax zephyr or ez command tries to run a DC locomotive, it modifies the fluctuation of the AC power to flow more in one direction than the other (allowing you to control the DC locomotive's direction). However, this fluctuation will still make your DC locomotive's motor cook. You risk destroying the engine if you run it too long under these conditions, or if you leave it sitting on the layout (where areas a decoder equipped locomotive would be fine.

    A second problem is that in order to control the DC loco's speed, it lowers the voltage across the layout. This means the rest of your decoder equipped locomotives will be restricted to whatever voltage you have your DC locomotive set to. As a result, many of your decoderized locomotives will function poorly if at all.

    As i've said on my own thread, the whole "Can run a single DC locomotive!" sales pitch is just a gimmic to lure the new guys in the hobby into buying their sets.

    As far as your locomotives go, trust me, there is no such thing as a locomotive you can't put a decoder in. Especially if you are modeling thomas trains, because i've seen them installed in many of those models. I myself have several small decoders projects, like my ALP44 (I modified it to be more prototypical, which means i had to move the decoder into a smaller space then originally intended) and GE 44 tonners. It can be done!
  5. ZeldaTheSwordsman

    ZeldaTheSwordsman Thomas Modeler

    The loco I was referring to is my model of Lady, which I'm building using the ERTL model's body shell. I need a motor that's small enough to fit, but can still let her pull four coaches, so it'll take up all the room. If they start making really teensy decoders then maybe...But let's get back to the subject of TruckLover's layout, and stop wasting space.:p(I've GOT to stop getting into nothing-fights)
  6. TruckLover

    TruckLover Mack CH613 & 53' Trailer

    Thanks Chris for all the info :mrgreen:

    I still am all for the Super Chief Set. But would i have to get the Super Chief Premium Set to have a walk around throttle or does the regular Super Chief set come with a walk around throttle as well?

    The reason i want to get the Super Chief is because i want to be able to use this DCC system with EVERY Layout i do in the future. And my layouts in the future will be MUCH more complex and WAY BIGGER then the layout im doing now when i get a house of my own sometime soon in the future.... I will want to run more then 3-4 trains at the same time on these layouts...

    I am going to order my DCC System from Mike @ Fifer Hobby, he has GREAT prices on them:

    Super Chief:

    Super Chief Premium Set:

    Also i know that the Super Chief doest come with a power source, I was thinking of getting this one to power it:

    Im also going to look into the NCE Powercab as well
  7. green_elite_cab

    green_elite_cab Keep It Moving!

    Yep! just like to help out. You should check out the most Recent model railroader, it has comparisons for most DCC starter sets out there. Its worth a look

    It looks like the superchief set does have a walk around throttle. The only difference is that the premium is radio equipped. The regular requires you to install terminals throughout your layout to plug into. Its not that annoying to keep up with the train, and your current layout doesn't really justify the extra cost of a radio controlled hand held throttle. You can always buy the radio transmitter later if you need radio control.

    Again, i think you should reconsider. Look at it this way: You're not even finished with your current layout. By the time you finish this layout to any appreciable degree, its going to be a few years from now. It also seems like you have space problems as it is! If your profile is accurate, you're also 18, which means you'll probably be heading off to college soon, if you aren't already.

    By the time "the future" rolls around, the super-chief set is going to be outdated, and surpassed by other systems. This is why i suggest that for now, you stick to system that fits your current needs, because that big layout you're dreaming about isn't in all likelihood going to be coming down the line any time soon.

    In regards the perfomance of the DCC system, Its not that you can only run 3-4 trains, you can run as many as you want realistically. What i am saying though, is that again, your needs don't currently demand that much capacity, and its not worth the extra costs. Besides, you can always upgrade to a higher system when the time comes. There is no use in locking yourself into something that will be potentially outdated, and that costs more than what you should have to pay.

    Those are some good prices, but like i said, i still think you're paying way more than you should be. You are gaining very little in the grand scheme of things. The system offers higher maximum current to handle lots of locomotives, which may be good in your case. However, when you consider that upgrading the power to your layout is not an expensive proposition, it hardly justifies the cost of buying such a large system.

    Whats more, when you compare the Superchief to other DCC systems in it's class, it still falls short. Its not worth it for your application.

    If you really want a large system comparable to the Super chief, there are a few systems i'd reccomend over it.

    I'll get NCE's option out of the way first, because to be fair, there are several other manufactures out there that also field competing products.

    the NCE PH Pro R Is almost exactly the same as the Superchief. There are only three notable differences. One, It has it's own 5 amp power supply, which works for you. It is only capable of handling 60 cabs, while the super chief can handle 120. To me though, I HIGHLY doubt there is a layout out there today that needs that many cabs, and by then, they probably need a bigger system to handle that many trains. The other difference is that the NCE system can handle 29 functions, while the super chief is shockingly limited to only 14. This in my opinion should sink the digitrax system. its already becoming outdated!

    Here it is. the description on the site is totally correct-

    There are cheaper options such as the Lenz Sets 90 and 100. they also have a 5 amp maximum current, and also need a power supply. In addition, they can only host 31 individual cabs, but again, unless you're building a club layout that will have 31 people running trains, its not relevant. an interesting plus is that they have a 10 year warranty, and feature a computer interface that can allow you to turn a PDA into a handheld wireless cab. They also feature 29 functions, and walk around throttles are available.

    the only difference between the Lenz set 90 and the 100 is that the lenz 90 set is MSRP $300, and it comes with a more basic throttle that handles running the trains and basic programming. This throttle is meant more as an "operator's" throttle, with a speed control knob, but less buttons. The Lenz Set 100 is $400, but it has a larger "master" throttle that is capable of doing more programming, (and as such, it has traded in it's knob for speed control buttons).

    The lenz 100 set. the other set is even cheaper, around $248 on that fifer site.

    In the end, you can probably find the lenz systems that do all the same things and more than the super chief but for less money.
  8. TruckLover

    TruckLover Mack CH613 & 53' Trailer

    Thanks again Chris, Ive been doing a lot of reseach on the systems, and im leaning more and more away from Digitrax Super Chief and towards the MRC Prodigy Wireless. 3.5 Amp, comes with power supply, wireless throttle, can contol up to 99 locos at the same time, 9999 adresses available, lots of add on accessories if i wish to build it bigger in the future; such as more amps..... 20 functions compared to 13 with Super Chief, and you can program decoders right from the throttle :twisted:

    Plus you get all you need to start out for $348.99: :mrgreen: :mrgreen: :mrgreen:

    I think i am making my decision and going with the MRC Prodigy Wireless system :mrgreen:

    Its a WHOLE lot cheaper then the Super Chief and does everything PLUS more the the Super Chief for a considerably less amount of money :thumb: :mrgreen:
  9. green_elite_cab

    green_elite_cab Keep It Moving!

    Its a good system, i have the lower end Express version. The only concern i've heard from people is that it doesn't build up as easily as NCE does. I've also heard that it doesn't control accessory decoders with the handhelds, but the newer Prodigy Advanced Squared probably does. I'd check on that.

    It should be fine for your situation.
  10. TruckLover

    TruckLover Mack CH613 & 53' Trailer

    Once again, i have to thank-you Chris for all your help :mrgreen: :mrgreen: Its made me realize there are better systems out there for my moneys worth :mrgreen: :mrgreen:
  11. tetters

    tetters Rail Spiking Fool!

    For what its worth Josh I have the NCE Power Cab and it is ridiculously easy to use and program with. Just my 2 cents.
  12. TruckLover

    TruckLover Mack CH613 & 53' Trailer

    thanks Tetters for your opinion :mrgreen:

    when i get the money, im going to buy the MRC Prodigy Wireless System
  13. TruckLover

    TruckLover Mack CH613 & 53' Trailer


    Okay guys, ive been slacking on the layout lately lol.

    Some of you might have heard about me wanting to model the Modesto & Empire Traction shortline located in Modesto California. ive been bouncing ideas back and forth in my head for the past week or 2. Ive come close to tearing this layout apart so i can model the M&ET a few times. However, i find myself the day after those thoughts working and making more progress on the current shelf layout in this thread LOL. I think i have come to the conclusion that i WILL model the M&ET, only the shelf layout will stay as well. This means making the M&ET module style which is fine with me. Now your saying 2 layouts at one time?!?!?! LOL yes thats what im saying, it sounds like a lot, but i can do it, i think lol. Work on the M&ET will be slow, one modules at a time in between work on the shelf layout..... i just cannot resist the modeling possibilites that the M&ET has, but i also want to keep the shelf layout, mainly because i have bought the HUGE Cement Plants and Refinery Plants and they could not be used on the M&ET layout, they just take up too much space lol
  14. Russ Bellinis

    Russ Bellinis Active Member

    Josh, I sent you a pm with more info about the Orange County Module Railroaders including our web site. That was before I saw your latest post in this thread. If you are going to make a module or more than one module of the M&ET, I would encourage you to check us out. Modules work best when put together in a club setting, unless you have a large enough layout space to do "dominoes" like Dave Barrows.
  15. TruckLover

    TruckLover Mack CH613 & 53' Trailer

    More Updates

    So the other day, i added another section of shelf brackets in and put up another shelf piece in place. This starts the refinery shelf that the HUGE refinery will sit on. The pics show the refinery's on the shelf, but this is not where the refinery's will go, they will go all the way down the wall to the left and sit in the corner. I need to get rid of my tv and get a plasma screen tv to hang on the wall above the layout though before i can put anymore shelfs in place for both the main level and stagging levels lol

    i added in the mainline(s) on the new section of shelf and also added in a switch to lead to the sidings at the industrial buildings along the front wall (window wall). Off this switch is another switch that will lead tracks to the corner in these pics where a large buildings will be placed. The large building is 2 Walthers Cornerstone Buildings bashed together, the George Roberts Printing and the Heritage Furnature Backround Building. i was going to try and put the grain mill here, but it simply would not fit in the space. It would have been 2 Red Wing Flour Mills bashed together, the ADM Grain Building, and extra silos from another ADM Grain Building, all together measuring 22" long for both of them x 15" wide for both buildings combined, just a bit to large of space thats needed for the 2 buildings and the space i have isnt quite that. All well, grain wont make it on this layout lol, instead i will use them on the M&ET modules

    here is some pics of the progress i have made:




    The track in the rear of this pic is the track that was added to connect to the industrial switching from the mainline on the new section added


    You can see that switch in this pic above


    Next to the green building will be another building, the green builidng will not be used here, its only there to show how a building similar will not be used, basically the new building will be double long as this one and help fill in the empty space for the window


    There is the big empty space lol



    The above pic shows the new home for the large industrail building i mentioned above which consits of the Walthers George Roberts Printing and the Heritage Furnature buildings (which are pictured below) kitbashed together to make a larger building


  16. TruckLover

    TruckLover Mack CH613 & 53' Trailer

    Thanks Russ for the PM, i saw i had one but i wanted to post my progress first :mrgreen:
  17. Russ Bellinis

    Russ Bellinis Active Member

    No problem, Josh. I sent you another one in response to the one you sent me. As you have probably noticed my pm's get kind of long. Any questions or comments you have, just ask away and I'll try to answer.
  18. jbaakko

    jbaakko Active Member

    Man Josh, your layout is really rolling along!
  19. tetters

    tetters Rail Spiking Fool!

    Looking forward to see what you whip up with those two kits bro. Keep up the good work!
  20. sgtcarl

    sgtcarl Member

    lookin' good

    I am waiting somewhat impatiently to see what's going to happen next!! Awesome as usual, Josh! :thumb::thumb::thumb::thumb::thumb:

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