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Author Topic: why would you need dcc on a small railroad?  (Read 867 times)
sarasdad

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« on: October 03, 2017, 02:28:44 PM »

on a 4x8 running at most two locomotives is dcc better than blocks?
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MBB


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« Reply #1 on: October 03, 2017, 04:27:10 PM »

DCC is superior to block control especially on a small layout. DCC provides independent control of each locomotive no matter its direction of travel or where it is on track. Your focus is on running the trains not on which electrical switches to set.
 
There are some alternatives to DCC providing similar control capabilities.  One example is a new control system,  Bluetooth Smart Train Control  Click Here   for info.  It may fit your needs at a cost much less than DCC.
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MBB


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« Reply #2 on: October 03, 2017, 04:40:20 PM »

Bachmann partnered with BlurRail Trains to develop the Bachmann E-Z App Train Control
Click Here for info links.
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Trainman203

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« Reply #3 on: October 05, 2017, 11:57:13 AM »

You also have superior control of sound systems.
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Modeling the New Iberia and Northern 1945
sarasdad

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« Reply #4 on: October 05, 2017, 01:30:44 PM »

I have an ez command and gp7 and gp40 but many wihoput. Perhaps usi9jg the block idea with a selector set up for dcc and  thr other for mrc tech4                                                                 .
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Piyer


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« Reply #5 on: October 05, 2017, 03:43:12 PM »

I have an ez command and gp7 and gp40 but many without. Perhaps usi9jg the block idea with a selector set up for dcc and  thr other for mrc tech4                                                                 .

On the layouts (plural) I am building, I'm faced with a similar issue of having only a handful of DCC units with scores of DC ones. My plan is to build a control stand for the DC and DCC systems. Each system will have a plug that will connect to a single socket on the layout's fascia (I'm planning to use stock items from the electrical department at Home Depot / Lowes / etc.), this way I cannot accidentally fire up the wrong system.

You could the same thing with an ON-OFF-ON switch, but since you will need to change out locomotives before changing power systems, a center-off switch just feels like an invitation to accidental disaster - 14volts + old-super-fast-models = flying diesel corps! LOL!
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~AJ Kleipass~
Actively modeling in N, HO, and 2-rail O scales.
Warflight

I'll be your Huckle Bearer...


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« Reply #6 on: October 19, 2017, 11:34:05 PM »

I too am using EZ Command. In fact, I have an EZ Commander, two walk around companions, and the plugs for the walk around companions in my fascia.

I'm having a blast with it. Yes, EZ Command is a bit limited, but, I also have a Digitrax PR3Xtra, and a small programming track on my desk, so, I'm not noticing any limitations to my setup at all. The programming track is for programming a loco, and the layout is for running them!

I like simple, and that's a very simplified way to do it.

Now, you will hear people (usually who don't have EZ Command) tell you that EZ Command will only run two engines with sound, and not much more, but, my layout is running seven DCC Sound engines, and one DCC Sound car. Plus, I have a single LED on a track bumper running off of track power on each end of the layout so when the EZ Commander is on, I know that power is getting to both ends of the layout. So the myth that EZ Commander doesn't have the power to handle multiple DCC Sound engines is busted.
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Trainman203

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« Reply #7 on: October 20, 2017, 10:53:57 AM »

I don't think you "need" DCC to run multiple engines on a small layout.... it's rather a question of how much prototypical independent multiple train control and complete sound control you "want." Block control was the standard for decades but demanded a lot of attention to a not very prototypical control panel to allow the power to follow the train.  You were controlling the track as much as the train if not more.  DCC removes that component.  You only concern yourself with train movement, not track power status.

Plus, although some sound decoders allow D.C. Operation, control of the sound is very incomplete .

DCC is very easy to start out in with EZ command.  DC engines can generally be converted to DCC / sound if there is room inside for the components.

I was daunted by DCC at first.  Warning:  there is no going back once you try it.
« Last Edit: October 20, 2017, 12:09:55 PM by Trainman203 » Logged

Modeling the New Iberia and Northern 1945
sarasdad

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« Reply #8 on: October 22, 2017, 12:04:11 AM »

I think that dcc would be prefable,but I will go slow in adding decoders. Ima go to another system
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Trainman203

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« Reply #9 on: October 22, 2017, 12:40:35 PM »

Sometimes, with certain older non-DCC engines in particular,  it makes more sense to get rid of a more crudely detailed, difficult to convert model, and get a new  DCC sound equipped one with better detail and a smoother drive train.  This if course does not account for custom detailing and painting.  Only the individual can make that decision.
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Modeling the New Iberia and Northern 1945
jward


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« Reply #10 on: November 04, 2017, 05:24:28 PM »

The biggest advantage of dcc for me is the ability to tweak the running characteristics of my locomotives. But to do that, you need a dcc system capable of programming your decoders. Not all systems can do this, and not all decoders can be fully programmed. Do your research before you buy.

There is nothing like watching a properly programmed locomotive creeping its way through the sharp curves of a small layout.

As for the old dc control panels, you can make them resemble the real thing. I am old enough to have spent a lot of time in signal towers as a kid. So when I designed my control panels, they would have a track diagram that resembled the ones on the model boards in the towers I was familiar with.
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Jeffery S Ward Sr
Pittsburgh, PA
Trainman203

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« Reply #11 on: November 04, 2017, 11:41:12 PM »

Boy Jeffery do you have it right about getting the engines to crawl.  An ant can beat mine.

I too am of the age to remember towers .... and roundhouses and water tanks and depots and all that cool
stuff.  We had an interlocking tower back home where a Mopac branch crossed the T&NO main, and we made friends with one of the second trick operators who let us 15 year olds hang out for hours with him up in it.  He let us set the order board and hand up orders to the T&NO locals.  His favorite gag was to wait till some juvenile delinquent came walking down the track.  When the kid got right next to one of the switch motors a couple of hundred feet from the tower, he would throw the switch - excuse me, turnout - and send the kid into orbit doing back flips.

I don't think any of this could happen today......... but it did back in those golden days.
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Modeling the New Iberia and Northern 1945
jward


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« Reply #12 on: November 05, 2017, 01:35:05 PM »

My tower experiences were mostly on the B&O, which was a very friendly railroad. One of my friends worked second trick at Viaduct Jc in Cumberland, MD. This tower controlled the junction of two mainlines, and the entrance to the huge Cumberland yard. It probably handled at least 40 trains a day. It was a classic Armstrong plant, where the switches and signals were all controlled by massive levers set in the floor. There were no switch motors, every switch and derail was connected by pipes and cranks to the levers. My friend would let us line the switches and set the signals for the trains when we visited.

Another anachronism in the b&o towers was a working telegraph. By this time, it had been replaced by a party line telephone system, where everybody could listen in if they wanted. Each tower had a set number of rings. If you wanted to talk to a particular tower down the line you rang their code, say 5 rings for Sand Patch. The operator there would recognize his code and pick up the phone. Like I said, they still had working telegraphs, though by the late 70s not many knew morse code. As I recall, my friend and the operator at Sand Patch both knew morse, and sometimes used the telegraph to communicate things they didn't want the whole railroad to hear.

On my grandfather's railroad, he'd wired a signal system to the tracks, and had a model board suspended from the basement ceiling. ANybody running the railroad could tell at a glance how all switches were thrown, and where on the layout the trains actually were. You could watch the track occupancy lights  as the trains moved around the layout, just like on the real railroad.
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Jeffery S Ward Sr
Pittsburgh, PA
Trainman203

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« Reply #13 on: November 05, 2017, 07:44:31 PM »

Jeffery we had a brass telegraph key and sounder in our tower too.  The T&NO had an ag branch out of our home town that had run by telegraph train orders until just a few years before.  When train radios came in they closed all the train order depots but kept the telegraph as back up.  There were also several kerosene switchman’s lanterns there too kept as backups. 

One day my “friend” visited the tower without me, at the right moment. The operator had been told by the railroad to get rid of all that “junk” so he dumped it all on my “friend“, who chose not to “share.” 😮😖😡.
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Modeling the New Iberia and Northern 1945
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