Would you go DCC if..?

Discussion in 'DCC & Electronics' started by csxengineer, Apr 25, 2006.

  1. csxengineer

    csxengineer Member

    Is it really worth the money to go DCC if:

    a. I am 99% of the time the sole operator
    b. I am running mostly point to point & switching (which would be hard to keep track of 2 trains switching at the same time)
    c. I will only have 3-4 of the same locos (I would like to consist 3 mp-15s, but wouldn't they react the same anyway?)
    d. I don't plan on installing sound into these little locos

    It's alot of money right now, giving the above circumstances, why should I switch? Your thoughts please.
  2. John Timm

    John Timm New Member

    You are not alone. I am in a similar situation: I operate by myself and although the layout is fairly large, it isn't very complex. I, too, enjoy switching and just running one train at a time and really don't know if I would want to have to keep track of two or more trains simultaneously.

    As for all the "bells and whistles" that DCC can give you, I'm not real excited about those, either. Or put another way, it's nice to have but not a high priority.

    I do have several locomotives and see where it would be advantageous having DCC to be able to pair up two or three of any kind that are not compatible using DC because of the differences in gearing or motor speed.

    I wired this layout and a previous layout in such a way that it is "DCC friendly" in case I take the plunge someday . For now, I'm very happy with DC and an Aristo (Crest) hand-held radio throttle.

    John Timm
  3. GeorgeHO

    GeorgeHO Member

    Running DC consists if no problem if they all run at roughly the same speed for a given throttle setting. Usually 3 locos from the same manufacturer will work fine, and it doesn't matter what way they are facing on the tracks, the polarity of the current determines direction. DCC on the other hand uses the on-board controller to determine direction, and they have to be programmed both for the number of the consist, and the direction considered forward for the consist. Once you do that, they may run at the same speed, but if not you are not dead, because they have settings for speed response that you can program individually for each loco (on a separate track) as needed. If you are lucky you can even mix locos from different manufacturers. If you are unlucky, you can spend days cursing the people who ever thought of this complicated system. But even if the DCC doesn't work, you can always return to DC.

    You can buy Bachmann DCC/DC locos (Geeps or F-Units)for $34 (3 for $100), a controller for $70, and try them out. If you don't like DCC, all you have thrown away is $70, the price of two cartons of cigarettes, and you can run them on DC.

    I'm testing out DCC, so my little switching layout can run either way, but I don't use both power sources and the same time (that will fry your DCC).
  4. Gary Pfeil

    Gary Pfeil Active Member

    I don't see one darn reason you should spend money on DCC. Sounds to me that you've listed about every valid point of DCC and you don't need it. And I'm a big DCC fan!
  5. green_elite_cab

    green_elite_cab Keep It Moving!

    If you do get DCC, i'd go with the MRC prodigy express for your layout. It seems like the best choice. i don't really like the bachmann DCC. its very limited.
  6. Agatheron

    Agatheron Member

    I have the Prodigy Express... It's great for a small sized layout, plus it is expandable if you want to go that way...
  7. MasonJar

    MasonJar It's not rocket surgery

    A short answer - No, I would not do it if I were in your shoes.

  8. abutt

    abutt Member

    I posed a similar question here on the forum when I first joined. I operate alone with car-card/waybill operation and still don't see anywhere that DCC would enhance my operation...if anything it might even make things more difficult. Hi Andrew.

  9. mhdishere

    mhdishere Member

    I'm in the same boat and have decided not to go with DCC either. An additional point for me is that I have a bunch of older steam locos (25+ years old) that I want to use, and converting them to DCC could be a pain.
  10. green_elite_cab

    green_elite_cab Keep It Moving!

    i still think its worth it to go DCC because of the extra realism you can get out of it. it only costs about as much as as a nice locomotive, but gives you the ability to have all sorts of lighting functions, better consisting, sound, simplified wiring, and other enhancements.
  11. lester perry

    lester perry Active Member

    Up until last year I swore I would not go DCC. I didn't need it. I have a rather large layout and have a unique way of turning off my locomotives so I don't use blocks like most do. I have 4 blocks on entire layout. One for each main line it is a double. One for yard and one for short line. I can stop a locomotive any where I wish and still run on that track. Then I bought Broadway Limited C&O T1 with sound. I now have MRC Prodigy advance, 2 diesles with sound decoders and one more steam with sound I LOVE IT !!!! And around 47 to go I think next will be Heritage Berkshire.
  12. Russ Bellinis

    Russ Bellinis Active Member

    I run dcc in a modular club, but my home layout is going to be a switching layout with one locomotive. At this point I'm going to run the Aristo Craft wireless dc with it. The only reason I would go with a dcc system is if the built in momentum and braking on the Aristo Craft throttle become too much of a hassle. It sounds like there is really no reason for you to spend the money on a dcc system for what you are doing either.
  13. abutt

    abutt Member

    Russ...I run my non-DCC layout with a Controlmaster 20 MRC unit. It has built-in optional momentum and braking right on the walkaround control. I like the optional usage in that sometimes I just don't feel like realistic momentum when I'm doing a lot of switching. I've run this system for over 10 years now and am very happy with it.

  14. Russ Bellinis

    Russ Bellinis Active Member

    I already have the Aristo Craft rc throttle, so I'm going to try that first. Is the Controlmaster 20 MRC still available? It seems to me that since dcc came out many of the wireless walkaround dc systems have been discontinued.
  15. abutt

    abutt Member

    Controlmaster 20 still available

    Russ, Sorry it took so long to post reply. Busy. Went on Google and found right at the top three suppliers listing the C-20 in the $160 to $180 range...about what i paid for it 10 years ago. Still consider it the best model money I've spent in years.

  16. Russ Bellinis

    Russ Bellinis Active Member

    Thanks Allan. If my Aristo Craft throttle doesn't work, I'll have to give that one some consideration. I think the only issue would be that at $160-$180 range it is awfully close to the price of some basic dcc systems like the Prodigy Express. The advantage of the dcc is that I could use my home layout to program locomotives for use on the club layout.
  17. abutt

    abutt Member

    i understand Russ. I always thought the C-20 was a bit pricey, but in this case you get what you pay for There's enough power in that pack to run anything, and the walkaround with momentum and braking along with phone plug hook-ups has been fool-proof.

    In my early days of model railroading it was either home layout or club layout...rarely both. You joined a club because you didn't have the space for your own. Like the Brits and the Japanese. Neither having basements or attics. But, of course, in those day we didn't have DCC to confuse the issue.

    In any case, good luck with however you go.


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