Which DCC system...?

Discussion in 'DCC & Electronics' started by NewGuy, May 3, 2005.

  1. NewGuy

    NewGuy Member

    Well, I am about to invest in a DCC system and was wondering about thoughts from users of different systems. I have researched and I think I found the one I want. MRC Prodigy Advanced. I like the idea of being able to send the "switch crew" out to loco 'BNSF 3501' and have that address displayed on the cab while doing the yard work. I also will be wanting to MU my consists in the future, have the ability to throw switches from a "Central Command" location, and probably run between 20 and 25 loco some day. I want to start out with a medium investment that allows for upgrading later, but I do not think at this point I really need one the high end systems. Is my decision to buy this MRC system a good one, or will I be sorry later?

    Any comments would be greatly appreciated.


  2. MasonJar

    MasonJar It's not rocket surgery

    Hi JD,

    I have a Digitrax Zephyr that I really like. It is now well below US$200 - I got mine some time ago at less than CAN$200.

    It can MU, control turnouts, and has 4 digit addressing. It is compatible with all Digitrax throttles and can be linked to the "bigger" systems. It will also work with accessories like radio/IR receivers and so on. The only drawback in terms of your list is that it can only store 10 addresses at once - but if you are not running all locos at once, this isn't too much of a problem.

    I went with Digitrax mostly because the modular club I belong to (www.hotrak.ca) uses Digitrax for our meets. We have some gurus who can also help with troubleshooting, etc.

    I hope this helps. I have no experience with the MRC product.

  3. NewGuy

    NewGuy Member

    Andrew, Thanks for the input. I may have to entertain the possiblity. I have seen much mention about the Digitrax system/s, and I was thinking that may be very viable option as well.

    Again, thanks...

  4. 60103

    60103 Pooh Bah

    I'll make my standard suggestion on DCC: Get a brand that a number of other modellers in your area use; you'll need the help.
    If you don't know any modellers, make sure your hobby shop has someone technical that you can ask. It saves playing 20 questions on the internet.
    Are you in a place that's big enough to have a Model RR club? It's often handy to be able to visit and see various things in operation, maybe even hands on. Just remember that some model railroaders have fixed opinions that they haven't changed in 50 years.
  5. dturnerfish

    dturnerfish New Member

    That is an interesting idea. I am new to the hobby (in general) and will be soon buying a DCC system. I would think there is a group in Dallas, Texas.


  6. NewGuy

    NewGuy Member

    Thanks for all the info guys...

    I am unaware of any clubs in my area, but one can assume that has to be at least a few guys around here that model. I may have to check a little at the LHS. I have gone in there a few times and looked to see what they have, but have not been real impressed with their selection or prices. Guess just have to do some more research is all!!!

  7. spitfire

    spitfire Active Member

    I got a lengthy run-down on the various systems from the DCC guru awhile back. Of course most of it went in one ear and out the other, but the thing that stayed with me is this. Not all systems have the full 12 functions on the controller. Some only go up to 8.

    Some of these functions are going to be for future use, others are already being used. Even one of the high-end systems only went up to 10.

    Digitrax was one with all 12, but there's a caveat with the Zephyr. Although the price is great, the power output is not, and this is especially a problem on the programming track. There is not enough juice to program BLI engines, and presumably any others with the QSI system. I've had to take mine in to the hobby shop to get them programmed, which is a little silly.

    If you're going to be into the hobby for the long haul I would reccommend the Digitrax Super Empire Builder. It has full power, comes with a second throttle and will support everything you want and then some. A little headroom is always good if you can afford it. If not, go with the Zephyr.

  8. MasonJar

    MasonJar It's not rocket surgery

    Tony's Train Exchange (apparently) produces a booster to aid with the programming power shortage.

    You can also add the DT-400 (top of the line) throttle to the Zephyr without any problems - just plug it in.

  9. knewsom

    knewsom New Member


    I have the Prodigy Advanced and I think it is a great option. I got mine from Tony's Train Exchange about a year ago, and it was easy to set up and use. It has the capability to run 20 functions from the handheld, and it is easy to tell which engine you are controlling. The drawback is that although the system is rated for 3.5 amps out of the box, the PA only comes with a 2.5 amp supply. You can buy a 5 amp supply from Tony's though so that you can get the most out of it for an additional $40.
  10. Will_annand

    Will_annand Active Member

    Suggestion, Val.
    Next time, just put your hand over one ear, it will help stop alot from getting back out. :D
  11. Alan B

    Alan B Member

    The Super Empire Builder won't read CV's. Forget it. For less get the Lenz Set 90, or for about the same price get the Set 100 and you'll have a much better system that reads CV values. If you really like Digitrax, or everyone you know is stuck with one, get the Super Chief. It's much better, if expensive. (It's still not a Lenz or NCE though.) For an inexpensive system, the Roco Lokmaus II is good. I would not buy the Bachmann EZCommand unless you really find one cheap.
  12. steamhead

    steamhead Active Member

    I was in your position a little over a year ago. Having operated DC for nearly 20 years, and building a new layout, I was ready to jump into the DCC arena. After much researchn and weighing the Pros and Cons, I decided on the Digitrax Zephyr. Here's my reasons why:

    1. Low initial investment.
    2. Compatability with all current Digitrax systems for future upgrade.
    3. Possibility of using my DC powerpacks as expansion throttles.
    4. Availability of D'x decoders and other components.
    5. Great technical support from D'x dealers.

    Well that sums it up. Hope it helps. Just be sure to have fun!!


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