Which dcc system to use?

Discussion in 'Getting Started' started by zener, Jun 20, 2008.

  1. zener

    zener New Member

    I'm trying to decide which dcc system to go with. I'm looking at 7 locomotives and about 16 turnouts. My other goal is to eventually get automated computer control working.

    NCE seems to be out as there cab seems very limited in only controlling 4 trains at a time.

    When I look at digitrax, the dcs50 seems to be out as I think my needs are beyond the basic system.

    From the little blurb on the site, it looks like db150 or anything grander will do the job I need to do. One question is, do I want to get two db150s or

    Hey, its not exactly clear, or at least from the little info I've found on the digitrax website
  2. lester perry

    lester perry Active Member

    I have the MRC Prodigy Advanced and love it. I have operating sessions and no complaints. I highly recommend it as it is very user friendly. I also would recommend going wireless, I wish I did.
  3. TruckLover

    TruckLover Mack CH613 & 53' Trailer

    Im getting the Digitrax Super Chief set up, a bit on the expensive side but i need something good, planning on running more then 50 locos and ALOT of turnouts with the system + i want something that i can use for a long time so i dont have to keep buying new systems, i would rather spend alot now and not have to buy another one in the future :mrgreen: :thumb:

    I think the Digitrax systems are the best in my opinion, ive heard and read alot of good things about them, thats what helped me decide on it, now i just need to save up some money lol :rolleyes:
  4. zener

    zener New Member

    Two of those would be yard switchers and one train would have 2 locos, so it comes to about 4 running at the same time. From what I've read I think the super empire builder (db150) will handle it, and one piece of advise I'm reading is start with half of what you think you will need in terms of boosters. Also, the empire is noted at being able to control 10 locos at once. If I find I need a second throttle, I'll snag it later. I'll probably breakdown and grab the radio version, as that's got to be easier to use when trying to debug a track problem. I cann't imagine having the ir pointing out one end of the track me down at the other end:(
  5. I also have the MRC Prodigy Advance system and wouldn't trade it for anything, I have run 7 separate trains on my layout at one time with no problem, but again you'll need 3 or 4 cabs, and they are not that expensive for the additional cabs.

  6. UP SD40-2

    UP SD40-2 Senior Member

    Les & Duey:wav: , i too have, PA, sure it works FANTASTIC for me too:thumb: , the problem is zener has aspirations of eventually going computer control, at this time PA doesn't offer that:frowns: .

    i heard MRC was working on this, but who knows when or if it will happen:confused: .

    [​IMG] -Deano
  7. AlienKing

    AlienKing New Member

    I think you'd be fine with a Zephyr, maybe an extra 5 or 8 amp booster, and a PR3/Locobuffer USB.

    The Zephyr can control up to 10 trains/consists at a time, the super empire builder can do 22, and the super cheif can do 120.

    With the Zephyr, you can use 2 cheap DC powersupplies hooked up to the jump ports to control a total of 3 trains without needing to constantly aquire other trains/consists. With pretty much any other system you will need to buy more throttles.
  8. zener

    zener New Member

    This is where my newbness of not having done this before shows. In controlling more than one train/consist, all u should need to do is punch in the train address and start controlling that train, which I would assume takes as fast as you can punch in the numbers and hit enter. I'm assuming the only

    I'm going to have to head down to the lhs and give the zephyr and empire builder a more thorough look. I'm also not exactly sure you can do automated control via the computer with the zephyr. For one, the zephyr doesn't handle the transponders.
  9. Squidbait

    Squidbait Recovering ALCO-holic

    Unless you're planning on running your layout with a computer or using a signalling system (transponding), I'd seriously give MRC a good look. Take a look at the Digitrax and MRC displays and control pads. I find that the MRC is much more intuitive for a newb than the Digitrax. Essentially all the units have very similar functionality, but the interfaces are different. The MRC is fairly user friendly, as is the NCE.

    MRC claims to have a computer interface in the works, but no details, and (AFAIK) no release date yet).

    Digitrax, since they started out way back when, still tends to be fairly arcane, since when they started, only serious geeks were using the systems, and only serious geeks could understand the manuals. ;) I still find the manuals very hard to get through... they're obviously written by someone who fully understands the system, but isn't very good at explaining it to someone who's never used it (IMHO).

    I think you should look at this comparison table from Tony's Train Exchange. It lists the main features of each system. I think with the NCE you may be confusing the maximum number of cabs (4 hand-held units) with the maximum number of trains each cab can control (6).

    I think about the only mistake you could make in choosing a DCC system would be going with the basic Bachmann EZ Command, since it's very limited, and expensive to expand. However, the new Bachmann Dynamis DCC system looks very interesting, and is priced competetively with the NCE, MRC and Digitrax entry systems.
  10. AlienKing

    AlienKing New Member

    You can have computer control with all digitrax systems including the zephyr, you just need to buy a PR3 or a locobuffer usb.

    The zephyr can handle transponding, it just won't display any info regarding it. If you got a dt400 or used PR3/locobuffer & JMRI (or any other computer software for that matter), the transponding signals would be picked up just fine, even with a zephyr as a command station.
  11. DeckRoid

    DeckRoid Member

    I debated between MRC and Digitrax. There were pros and cons for both, but in the end, the expandability of the Zephyr sold me. I know that MRC can expand, but I can take my Zephyr and go from my 2 consisted trains (A-B-A and A-B-B-A, where only the A's are powered) to having some friends over and have them run their trains along with mine. A lot of folks in our club have their own controllers so they don't have to share at the big layout.

  12. rogerw

    rogerw Active Member

  13. Packers#1

    Packers#1 Ultimate Packers Fan

    I'm going with the NCE powercab, but I think you'd want to get a more power system, like maybe a Digitrax super chief or something to that tone.

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