Which DCC?

Discussion in 'FAQs' started by Topo, Jun 1, 2002.

  1. Topo

    Topo Member

    I have planed to build a layout this summer, and I want to go DCC from the start, but I'm not very sure what system choose. :confused:
    After doing a lot of research, I have ended with 3 candidates: ROCO DCC system; LENZ Digital Plus (Set 02-04), and DIGITRAX (Set Empire Builder II).

    -The ROCO system is the cheapest and a good basic system for starting (internally, a LENZ system adapted), but I'm afraid that, in the long run, it will be some limited.
    -The LENZ is a good system with an acceptable price, it can be connected to an computer and it have lots of accesories but, when you start to expand it, they came with a high tag (and I dont like very much the throttles).
    -Finally, the DIGITRAX seems a winner for me (it have lots of accesories; it can be connected to an computer, and I love the throttles), but it's the more expensive and I feel that it can be a case of 'too much, too early' :rolleyes:

    I know that, in theory, these systems are more or less compatible, but I prefer do not mix other elements than decoders.
    So, I will thank any hint or opinion that you can give me about. Are there any people that have worked with one of this systems? Do you feel that the Digitrax extra features worth to spend early the extra $$$? (I can't afford to purchase one system now and to jump to another later, so I will be 'sticked' to the one that I choose at first)

  2. IMRL393

    IMRL393 Member

    Javier -

    Did you know the DIGITRAX line-up will change this summer??

    The EBII is out, and a Super EB is in!

    Also the Genesis is out, replaced by the Zephyr.

    You might want to take a look at the Zephyr (or the new SEB) before you decide:


    (more info on the Zephyr is at the "bottom" of that page)

    As for me, I will get the Zephyr as soon as it is out.

    It has a lot of the features (number of functions, etc) that the EBII had, but in a cheaper form!

    Between the DCC systems you listed, Digitrax and Lenz seem to have the better "reps" on the forums I visit. Haven't heard much (if anything) about ROCO. Is this a European maker ???

    Good luck !!!

    - George
  3. Topo

    Topo Member

    Thanks for the advice, George. I will give a look to Zephyr. ;)
    I have read about the Super EB. If I'm not wrong, is the same that the EB-II, but with the more advanced throttle DT400 (instead of DT300).

    Yes, ROCO is an austrian model manufacturer. It mades very good european H0 and N models (mostly german, but also of another european countries). Their DCC system is a sort of 'downgraded' LENZ, so the quality is good, and the basic system (throttle + command station/booster) price is around the $160, so it's a good starting -but somewhat limited- system.

    Their web page is: www.roco.co.at
    and the ROCO USA web page: www.roco.com
  4. Matthyro

    Matthyro Will always be re-membered

    Hi Topo, I have Digitrax Empire Builder with two infrared receivers and so far-one DT400 throttle. The DT300 and DT400 come infrared ready. I will get another throttle this fall.
    What I really like about Digitrax is the loconet hook up system. Makes connecting different parts very easy. Digitax does require the six wire telephone cable for hook ups.
  5. Gary Pfeil

    Gary Pfeil Active Member

    Hi Topo, I'm another happy Digitrax user, I use the Chief. If you're not in a hurry, do check out the Zephyr.

  6. Walkaround for the Zephyr?

    I just followed the Zephyr link to Tony's and looked at the info there. What I didn't see, though, was any mention of walkaround capability. Does anyone know if walkarounds can be added to the base throttle? It looks to me like it's a stationary throttle, designed to sit on a control panel like the old MRC Tech II series. Am I wrong in this impression?

    [I don't currently have DCC but when I do make the switch, I want to have walkaround throttles.]
  7. Gary Pfeil

    Gary Pfeil Active Member

    Casey, I've read that the Zephyr has full loco net functions, which would mean that in addition to the base unit (which is not a walkaround) you can run 6 conductor phone line and install all digitrax components such as UP5 throttle jacks and UR90 IR receivers anywhere around your layout, allowing walkaround operation. The Zephyr itself would be good for a yard throttle. One thing the Zephyr offers not offered previously is the ability to use two standard DC power packs as throttles. Not sure how this will work, I assume you would have to select a loco address with the Digitrax throttle while plugged into loconet as usual, and can then dispatch it to the DC pack. I suppose that if your DC pack is a walkaround, it can continue to be used that way. I think this feature is going to be really popular with those who would like to save the money of buying extra Digitrax throttles.

  8. rockislandmike

    rockislandmike Active Member

    Yep, and convinced me to buy the Tech IV 260 as my second cab throttle for now, as I can use it as another throttle when I install Zephyr on my layout.
  9. Gary Pfeil

    Gary Pfeil Active Member

    Casey, After writing the above, I decided to check out the Digitrax site, and yes, the Zephyr allows full use of the loconet system. The only downside, and it's a small one, is its 2.5 amp output. The unit gives you the ability to run 10 trains on ten throttles, which should be enough for nearly any home layout and falls into the same catagory as MRC and Atlas, which the unit was designed to compete with. However, 2.5 amps won't run those 10 trains (not locos, as each train can have consisted locos, 10 trains may use 30 locos). So, if you need more than 2.5 amps, you will need to buy a booster. Really not a big deal but thought I'd mention it.

    BTW, I looked at your website and echo the comments others have made regarding its quality. I do not often make posts commenting on photos as I get the feeling that I'm "me tooing" and that bothers me. Perhaps that is what that fellow Mike Medford was feeling when he made his ill advised comments. Anyway, I do enjoy and have much respect for those who have posted photos.


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