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Author Topic: DCC system recommendation  (Read 6429 times)
lescar

New and jumping in with both feet, up to neck.


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« on: January 19, 2010, 10:50:57 PM »

I'm getting my first HO set and it's coming with the EZ-Command controller, But after all the informative reading I've been doing here on the forum. I want to get a more advanced DCC system. 

I would like to get your guys input, from your past experience's with the more advanced systems.

Thanks
Les
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ABC
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« Reply #1 on: January 19, 2010, 11:43:35 PM »

I got my Dynamis for under $100 from the favorite spot on ebay, it works great for me.
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lescar

New and jumping in with both feet, up to neck.


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« Reply #2 on: January 20, 2010, 06:10:19 AM »

Can the Dynamis be hardwired instead of using the wireless, I'm not to fond of wireless data exchange.

Les
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jward


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« Reply #3 on: January 20, 2010, 06:30:22 AM »

i have the digitrax zephyr. it is an entry level system with full capabilities. if you have dc power packs, the zephyr can use 2 of them as additional throttles.
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Jeffery S Ward Sr
Pittsburgh, PA
pdlethbridge
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« Reply #4 on: January 20, 2010, 07:22:52 AM »

I use the NCE Power Cab, it's a wired hand held that controls everything I need on the layout. With a 6' cable I can reach any spot on the layout to operate the train. It also controls all my atlas switches that are wired to self powered DS64's from digitrax. They can control up to 8 switches each and because they use a capacitor discharge system, the turnouts  always work. It's nice to be able to control them from my hand held.
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ebtbob


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« Reply #5 on: January 20, 2010, 11:05:41 AM »

You will well served by either Digitrax or NCE(North Coast Engineering)
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Bob Rule, Jr.
Hatboro, Pa
In God We Trust
Not so much in Congress
GATSME MRRC - www.gatsme.org
CNE Runner


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« Reply #6 on: January 20, 2010, 11:05:53 AM »

Les, being a poor, retired psychologist (living on a fixed income) I opted for a less expensive DCC system - with most of the bells and whistles of the more expensive flavors. NCE is an excellent system that was just too pricey (although you get a lot); Digitrax was also fairly expensive (although less than NCE) - with the caveat that the entry level is affordable for the average beginner in DCC. I chose the MRC Prodigy Advanced unit and have not regretted that selection. Whilst I 'hunger' for the wireless throttle, I am more than content with the wired throttle (I added a second throttle a year ago).

All DCC units work basically the same. You are paying for design and options. At my advanced age, I have found that I rarely use all the capabilities of any electronic device (case in point is my IPod). I guess you have to look carefully at your finances and whether or not the unit you select can be upgraded.

Regards,
Ray
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"Keeping my hand on the throttle...and my eyes on the rail"
mikec069
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« Reply #7 on: January 20, 2010, 01:43:50 PM »

I also went with the MRC Prodigy Advanced.  Then I can't recall why, or even how, I 'upgraded' to the Prodigy Advanced 2.  I think the why's were it had more power and I 'sold' my Prodigy Advanced to someone.  Anyway the Prodigy Advanced2 is, in my opinion, worth the price.  It's wired.  I too had issues with the Dynamiss.  I runs all 3 of my locos AND controls all of my DCC switches with no loos of power anywhere on my layout.  Granted a 5x8.5 layout is big, but it can be rather busy.  My only con to he Prodigy Advanced2 and the Prodigy Advanced was I needed to get a second, and very cheap, power pack to power my buildings light's and any other track side accessories.

Hope this was helpful.

MikeC069

Remember 2 + 2 = 5
for sufficient values of 2
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ripvanwnkl


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« Reply #8 on: January 20, 2010, 01:56:40 PM »

Another vote for the MRC Prodigy Advance 2 (Squared).  After 3 good years with EZ Command,  we moved up to more advanced system for my grandson's and my temporary EZ track layouts.  Prodigy works fine.   Still use EZ Command for checking out new locos or with 5 amp booster when my grandson and I are running different layouts.  He likes freight and I like passenger ops.   We both really liked simplicity of EZ Command starting out and we also find Prodigy very user friendly for busy ops and multiple loco consists.   
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Dave
USAF (Retired)
lescar

New and jumping in with both feet, up to neck.


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« Reply #9 on: January 21, 2010, 12:18:41 AM »

Thanks all for all your inputs.

I use the NCE Power Cab, it's a wired hand held that controls everything I need on the layout. With a 6' cable I can reach any spot on the layout to operate the train. It also controls all my atlas switches that are wired to self powered DS64's from digitrax. They can control up to 8 switches each and because they use a capacitor discharge system, the turnouts  always work. It's nice to be able to control them from my hand held.

I think I'm sold on the Power Cab and using the Digitrax self powered DS64's.
 
Do the EZ-track switches using the same type switching as the Atlas, I like the idea of controlling them from the hand held with out using the track power.

Thanks again
Les
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Rashputin

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« Reply #10 on: January 21, 2010, 02:40:41 PM »

  I got the MRC wirless DCC system and love it.  The handheld is easy to use and I haven't had a single problem since I sent it in to be upgraded to V2 firmware (a free upgrade they made and I had the stuff back a week after I mailed it).  After you use their handheld for a bit everything else seems awkward.

  Regards
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pdlethbridge
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« Reply #11 on: January 21, 2010, 07:51:30 PM »

   The DS64 use a wall wort for power but still get the DCC signal from the rails so when you issue a command with the Power Cab the switches will move. The DS 64's can be used either for snap action Atlas or Bachmann turnouts or, if you upgrade later, can be switched over for use with slow motion machines like switch masters or tortoise. Snap action and tortoise types can't be mixed on a ds 64 but if you have 2 ds 64's one could be snap action and the other tortoise.
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Jim Banner

Enjoying electric model railroading since 1950.


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« Reply #12 on: January 21, 2010, 09:01:09 PM »

I have been very happy with Digitrax, starting with a Zephyr.  As Jeffery pointed out, the Zephyr is a full blown command station.  It can control up to 10 trains at the same time and has enough power to have 5 of those running simultaneously.  It can address (communicate with) up to 10,000 trains taken 10 at a time.  It will work with a booster (Digitrax or other) to power more trains, even if you double head them all and/or have sound in them all.  Best of all, it will work with a wide range of other Digitrax equipment including stationary decoders for turnouts etc., transponding for keeping track of where your trains are, a variety of past and present throttles including infra red and radio throttles, and you can use one or two regular power packs as DCC throttles in addition to the built in throttle.  You can program all CV's with the Zephyr and you can do it while running on the main or you can do it on a separate programming track, even while the other trains are still running.

For anyone upgrading from dc to DCC, the Zephyr will let you run a dc locomotive along with your DCC locomotives.

With Digitrax, you don't replace anything if your railroad grows and you need more power or need to control more trains.  You just add to what you already have.  Want to run 100 trains at once?  Keep on using your Zephyr as a throttle and small booster along with more boosters and a more capable command station.

Want to use your computer to simplify programming decoders?  Add an interface to connect your Zephyr to your computer.  Want to run your railroad by computer or over the internet from a remote location?  Same interface, different program.  Want signals that react to train movements and dispatcher orders?  Same interface, same program.  And you can even follow your trains around your track plan as shown on your computer monitor using some more hardware.  And so it goes, all based around a so called "starter system," the Zephyr.

Jim
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Growing older is mandatory but growing up is optional.
lescar

New and jumping in with both feet, up to neck.


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« Reply #13 on: January 21, 2010, 10:23:07 PM »

Thanks all.  Smiley

I stoped by the only local train shop today and meet one of the local train enthusiast and he was telling me about there set-up, so I asked what DCC system they are using and the only system that everyone use is the Digitrax, so it looks like I should go with a Zephyr to match the local boys.

   The DS64 use a wall wort for power but still get the DCC signal from the rails so when you issue a command with the Power Cab the switches will move. The DS 64's can be used either for snap action Atlas or Bachmann turnouts or, if you upgrade later, can be switched over for use with slow motion machines like switch masters or tortoise. Snap action and tortoise types can't be mixed on a ds 64 but if you have 2 ds 64's one could be snap action and the other tortoise.
That's for signal purposes only,  It doesn't take any power away from the track . I'm I correct on my thinking.

Jim

Thanks for explaining it so well.  So if I wanted to use the more advanced throttle, I could plug it into the Zephyr and use it instead of the Zephyr controls.

Thanks Les
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All Comments and suggestions are all ways welcome and appreciated
Jim Banner

Enjoying electric model railroading since 1950.


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« Reply #14 on: January 22, 2010, 02:00:56 AM »

Going with the brand that is used locally is always a good idea.  It is always helpful to have a guru on tap for when you need him, and sooner or later you probably will.

If you wanted to use a more advanced throttle, you can plug it into the Zephyr and use it as well as the Zephyr controls.  The throttle built into the Zephyr is a full fledged throttle and is quite happy to work along side other Digitrax throttles plugged into the throttle bus and/or one or two dc power packs working as "jump throttles."  You can use up to 10 throttles at once.  If you use a jump throttle or two, it/they are part of that total. 

Running your model railroad with a group (or getting together to run one of theirs) can be loads of fun.  We do that on a fairly regular basis.  Most of us have a Digitrax throttle we can bring along so the host doesn't have to have a pile of extras.  We held many operating sessions with five people each running a train and each with his own throttle, all plugged into one Zephyr.

At the moment, I have five different command stations including 3 different Digitrax ones.  If I had to give them up, the Zephyr would be the last to go.

Jim
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