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Discussion Boards => General Discussion => Topic started by: jcwillauer on June 15, 2008, 08:35:09 AM



Title: ????? DCC ready/equipped/sound in Class J ????? Plz help
Post by: jcwillauer on June 15, 2008, 08:35:09 AM
Can somebody please help me with this?

I'm new to these trains and I've taken quite a liking to the Norfolk and Western 4-8-4 class J locomotive. I plan to buy one but I have no idea which models have what as far as the DCC is concerned. Does the DCC ready/equipped/sound correspond to model numbers? Ie: 600,603,608,611...etc.? I have searched this site and google but I can find nothing pinning this question down. I've seen that the 611, (railfan version), according to this site, is DCC equipped, (by the way, what is the railfan version?), but a 611 I've found on E-bay says DCC ready, not equipped. Also, others I've seen on E-bay, particularly the 600, say nothing about DCC, I'm assuming that the 600 is an older version of this train?

Simply put, Is the model number indicative of which DCC options are on that locomotive, or are DCC options like a factory option you would order on a new car, available on all models? And one last thing, what is the diference between a Spectrum version and non-spectrum version of the class J? Just want to make sure that I get what I want the first time around.

Thanx, JC 


Title: Re: ????? DCC ready/equipped/sound in Class J ????? Plz help
Post by: Santa Fe buff on June 15, 2008, 11:24:38 AM
Specturm is almost some difference, I have no experince but to say that spectrum is bachmann locomotives on a different line, like Williams by Bachmann. Anyway, what scale is it? HO?


Title: Re: ????? DCC ready/equipped/sound in Class J ????? Plz help
Post by: Santa Fe buff on June 15, 2008, 11:28:35 AM
By the way, I think they are DCC ready, which I think might be DCC, you should wait for a better understanding person then me to answer your questions.
http://www.bachmanntrains.com/home-usa/products.php?act=viewProd&productId=1093
I think very much that it is DCC, just ready, no added DCC components, anyway, I highly would buy it, because I can say, I THINK IT IS DCC! No really 100% sure, but about 95% sure.


Title: Re: ????? DCC ready/equipped/sound in Class J ????? Plz help
Post by: Jake on June 15, 2008, 12:08:31 PM
DCC Ready means it is ready to accept a decoder via solder pads, or an NMRA plug.

DCC Equipped/Onboard means that it has the DCC decoder already installed on the locomotive.

DCC Sound onboard means it has a Bachmann Custom Soundtraxx Tsunami motor control/sound decoder and speaker installed.

Basically, the only way to know if a model is DCC Ready/Equipped is to look at the details on the product page on the website, regardless if it is or is not the Bachmann site. I'd doubt they would advertise a DCC Ready loco as DCC Equipped.

Also, for a good price, and clear details on Bachmann (among other manufacturers) products, I would recommend www.micromark.com not to mention, they have a great selection of small tools that work well for model railroading.


Title: Re: ????? DCC ready/equipped/sound in Class J ????? Plz help
Post by: SteamGene on June 15, 2008, 01:18:29 PM
To answer your question about 600, 603, 608, 611 - these are historic cab (engine) numbers of the N&W J class 4-8-4.  For your purpose, the imortant thing is to note on the box or in the ad:
DCC Ready (as described)
DCC On Board (as described)
DCC Sound On Board (?) (as described)
If it does NOT mention DCC, it is an older - maybe way older - version and is not DCC ready.  Installing DCC of any sort MAY be difficult. 
As for the "railfan" - that refers to the 611 as outfitted for rail excursions from the '60s until the mid '90s when she sadly dropped steam for the last time.  The quick story is that 611 had an accident in the very late steam period of N&W.  It was repaired and returned to service just as word came down to drop steam and dieselize.  They asked about 611, as a fair amount of money had been spent in the rebuild.  So she was saved for excursion service, later joined by a N&W Class A 2-6-6-4 which had been used for years as a stationary boiler.  All the other N&W Js, As, and Ys are frying pans and engine blocks. 
Gene


Title: Re: ????? DCC ready/equipped/sound in Class J ????? Plz help
Post by: Santa Fe buff on June 15, 2008, 04:20:37 PM
DCC Ready means it is ready to accept a decoder via solder pads, or an NMRA plug.

DCC Equipped/Onboard means that it has the DCC decoder already installed on the locomotive.

DCC Sound onboard means it has a Bachmann Custom Soundtraxx Tsunami motor control/sound decoder and speaker installed.

Basically, the only way to know if a model is DCC Ready/Equipped is to look at the details on the product page on the website, regardless if it is or is not the Bachmann site. I'd doubt they would advertise a DCC Ready loco as DCC Equipped.

Also, for a good price, and clear details on Bachmann (among other manufacturers) products, I would recommend www.micromark.com not to mention, they have a great selection of small tools that work well for model railroading.

Ah, yes, brain fart, I knew that, but I really didn't think... Now that is about the 60th time I forgot the different. Man, and it is spelt right out too, DCC ready is ready to accept Decoder, duh, I am very very dumbfounded sometimes. Thanks.


Title: Re: ????? DCC ready/equipped/sound in Class J ????? Plz help
Post by: jcwillauer on June 15, 2008, 04:25:34 PM
Thanx for the replies, it's all comin together now. And yes, HO scale.

Now, for starters, I believe that I would probably start with a basic DC track set-up, (I grew up with Lionels and simple layouts), so I won't need the DCC right away. However, I think that I would like to have it for if/when I do upgrade. And I believe it is correct to say that a DCC train will run fine on a DC track, but that care should be taken when running a regular DC train on a DCC transformer due to overheating concerns. Can anyone offer advice in this area? Should I stay away from DCC locos until I know more about the system, or will I be fine with a DCC loco on a regular track?

Also, my dad mentioned how some of these different "Manufacturing lines" that have produced O-scale trains over the years have had beautiful detail, but lacked seriously in the electronics department, particularly models out of China. I think I read somewhere that Spectrum is a Chinese line and I've also seem some blogs containing Spectrum malfunction questions. Can anyone advise on this? Does one line make better motors than the others?

And last, does anyone care to recommend which line/model/road number I should go for? There seems to be so many to choose from just Bachmann alone. From what I've read, number 611 is obviously the most historic, but I am willing to sacrifice a different road number for a better running/looking locomotive.

Thanks again for all the help.
JC


Title: Re: ????? DCC ready/equipped/sound in Class J ????? Plz help
Post by: Santa Fe buff on June 15, 2008, 04:30:49 PM
Q: Can anyone offer advice in this area? Should I stay away from DCC locos until I know more about the system, or will I be fine with a DCC loco on a regular track?

A: DCC locomotives can run perfectly on DC track, but not AC. I have a DCC locomotive that ran on DC. It is very well okay, due to that DCC is based of DC current. But if you have an old terminal that uses AC, should be labled, then stay away from DCC, but DC can run on AC also.


Title: Re: ????? DCC ready/equipped/sound in Class J ????? Plz help
Post by: Guilford Guy on June 15, 2008, 04:45:35 PM
DCC decoder is a little computer chip which you plug into the socket provided, or hardwire into the locomotive if there is no socket. A DCC decoder requires a person to tell it what to do. On a regular DC layout, turning the throttle, and sending DC current through the trackage will be decoded as move forward ad X speed. On DCC, you have a throttle. This throttle has buttons which will tell the decoder to turn off or on the lights, dim the lights, etc. DCC decoders can be programmed to different numbers, so you can choose between different locomotives in your roster to run. You can also control break and acceleration delay. With Sound, you can tell the decoder to make sounds provided, like the bell, whistle/horn, airbrake sounds, etc. DC is a good way to start but DCC is much more fun!


Title: Re: ????? DCC ready/equipped/sound in Class J ????? Plz help
Post by: jcwillauer on June 15, 2008, 05:13:12 PM
OK, some of my questions about "lines" has been answered in another blog "Topic: Bachmann Train "Lines"", but I'm still open to any suggestions on which specific train models to seek based on other's experience and preferences.

As for the AC / DC issue, is this something that I'm likely to encounter? I assume that this applies merely to the transformer and that all track would be universal, but it seems that with all I've read about these trains, the DC systems would be the most common. I obviously want to go with what is most readily available in parts and pieces, but more importantly, what will work with any trains that I choose to pick up in the future. Are there that many AC components out there or is that just something that I'm likely to find in old box at a flea market somewhere?

Keep in mind that I have nothing right now, (except for some electric Lego trains which are quite simplistic compared to this stuff), so I will be buying track, transformer, etc. I have read enough to know that I will need wide radius track for the 4-8-4 locos, and that nickel-silver track appears to be the way to go, but will I need to choose between an AC or DC transformer as well?

Also, does anyone feel that buying a "DCC ready" loco would be my best option right now? Or, does spending the money on the front end outweigh the hassle of having to add the decoder components later? Not only, might better decoders come out later, but going DCC Ready vs DCC Onboard would expand my lsit of available locos right now as well.


Title: Re: ????? DCC ready/equipped/sound in Class J ????? Plz help
Post by: jcwillauer on June 15, 2008, 05:42:39 PM
Well, it seems that for even just performance alone, (leaving out the sound, programmability, and load compenastaion abilities), that the DCC trains are the way to go. Does anyone feel otherwise?

Do the DCC locos seem to stand up to a regular DC loco in load pulling ability on a DC only track, or do they need the DCC, (I guess it's called a controller now, not a transformer), to reach their pulling potential. From what I've read, it seems that the DCC decoders eat up some of the power, leaving less for the motor.


Title: Re: ????? DCC ready/equipped/sound in Class J ????? Plz help
Post by: Guilford Guy on June 15, 2008, 06:10:26 PM
DCC decoder is a little computer chip ...
FYI
Click http://www.bachmanntrains.com/home-usa/board/index.php/topic,5144.msg43937/topicseen.html#msg43937
And read the part starting with,
It sounds like it is time once again to explain the difference between a "chip" and a "decoder."  

Sorry, I meant it to be a comparison... "A DCC decoder is a little like a computer chip." I guess I should get back into the habit of proof-reading...


Title: Re: ????? DCC ready/equipped/sound in Class J ????? Plz help
Post by: jcwillauer on June 15, 2008, 06:20:05 PM
Mechanics- no problem, Electronics- I can keep from shocking myself and I know how to solder, Learning ability- I can read, and once I do something once I've got it down. But more importantly, I like to learn from other peoples experiences, and mistakes, hence all these questions.

I've got my heart set on the HO Norfolk and Western 4-8-4, and I'm merely trying to learn all I can before I buy one due to the different DCC options. I know my preference and ability are important but I'm asking for input to see what others have dealt with and overcome. My budget plays an important role as well.

I'm not looking  to set up a huge diorama right now with multiple trains on separate tracks, I merely want a nice little train set-up with a little bit of track. But, as with all of my hobbies, I believe there will come a day when I wish to expand beyond that and I'd like to be able to look back and say I bought the right train, basically I'd like to keep my options open.

What I need to know is if a DCC locomotive will be OK for me right now on a basic train track set-up, or will I need to spend alot of money to run that train with DCC controllers. I'm also looking at some other, cheaper HO trains, that will have nothing to do with DCC and I want to be able to use them on the same track, (not at the same time), without needing different controllers.


Title: Re: ????? DCC ready/equipped/sound in Class J ????? Plz help
Post by: jcwillauer on June 15, 2008, 06:24:58 PM
I knew what u meant Guilford Guy. And thanx for the link Hunt, it helped.


Title: Re: ????? DCC ready/equipped/sound in Class J ????? Plz help
Post by: richG on June 15, 2008, 08:40:28 PM
Since you like the N&W 4-8-4 here is a HO DCC Equipped which means DCC, no sound. It also runs on DC. It is $95.00, plus $12.00 shipping and Buy It Now. No bidding necessary.  I and a couple others on this forum have bought from The Favorite Spot. Very good customer service.
http://cgi.ebay.com/BACHMANN-SPECTRUM-HO-J-4-8-4-DCC-TRAIN-LOCO-NORF-82121_W0QQitemZ370055676152QQihZ024QQcategoryZ19132QQcmdZViewItemQQ_trksidZp1713.m153.l1262

Standard DC version with aux water tender. $96.00.
http://cgi.ebay.com/BACHMANN-SPECTRUM-HO-J-4-8-4-TRAIN-LOCO-NORF-82105_W0QQitemZ190225528931QQihZ009QQcategoryZ19132QQcmdZViewItemQQ_trksidZp1713.m153.l1262

If you want to try bidding.
http://search.stores.ebay.com/THE-FAVORITE-SPOT_4-8-4-norf_W0QQfcdZ2QQfciZ0QQfclZ3QQfromZR10QQfsnZTHEQ20FAVORITEQ20SPOTQQfsooZ1QQfsopZ1QQfsubZ2QQsaselZ13534603QQsatitleZ4Q2d8Q2d4Q20norfQQsofpZ0

Moving from the Analog World, DC, into the Digital World, DCC, opens up many possibilities.

Some of you might look at the below link concerning DCC. Put the link in your Favorites folder for future reference. This guy is in Australia but uses many USA products. There are examples of what decoders are like. It is better than, I Heard and They Say. You have documentation.
http://www.members.optusnet.com.au/nswmn/index.htm

Rich


Title: Re: ????? DCC ready/equipped/sound in Class J ????? Plz help
Post by: richG on June 15, 2008, 11:08:41 PM
. . .
Some of you might look at the below link concerning DCC. Put the link in your Favorites folder for future reference. This guy is in Australia but uses many USA products. There are examples of what decoders are like. It is better than, I Heard and They Say. You have documentation.
http://www.members.optusnet.com.au/nswmn/index.htm

Rich
The http://www.members.optusnet.com.au/nswmn/index.htm website  is very good if one reads the information correctly.
As the information provided is read, keep in mind my caveat -- If you have researched one DCC system or component (example- a decoder) and think all the others are the same you are mistaken!


You missed tthe point. I was only posting general DCC info. I did not specify a brand.  There are other links in the link I posted which leads to other brands, US products or over seas products. Some people never try or are not aware they can  search for possible answers to their questions. I have seen in different forums that some people have no clue what DCC is all about and can come up with incorrect ideas which might lead to buying the incorrect product for their application.
In one of the links, there is a photo of what a sound decoder might have in it, block diagram.

Rich


Title: Re: ????? DCC ready/equipped/sound in Class J ????? Plz help
Post by: lirrman on June 16, 2008, 10:57:46 AM
I recently purchased Bachmann's new American Freedom Train GS4 locomotive.  It's advertised as DCC On-Board.  Since my 25 year old railroad is standard DC cab control, I contacted Bachmann to be sure this new loco would operate properly on my railroad.  I was assured it would run just fine out of the box with no adjustments.  However, it ran very poorly, had no pulling power and the headlight kept blinking off and on.  I contacted Bachmann (customer/technical service) again (different person this time) and then I was told I had to remove the on-board chip or PC board and replace it with the two dummy clips that came with the locomotive.  The instructions that came with the locomotive were a little "thin" on how to do this and finding the pin numbers on the plug was not easy.  Bottom line however, when the dummy plugs were finally installed it ran great on standard DC.  Based on two separate phone-call answers from Bachmann tech. service, I can only conclude the even Bachmann is having a tough time with all the different terminology and technology and needs to provide additional training for their customer service.
LIRRMAN


Title: Re: ????? DCC ready/equipped/sound in Class J ????? Plz help
Post by: Santa Fe buff on June 16, 2008, 12:43:05 PM
Q: Can anyone offer advice in this area? Should I stay away from DCC locos until I know more about the system, or will I be fine with a DCC loco on a regular track?

A: DCC locomotives can run perfectly on DC track, but not AC. I have a DCC locomotive that ran on DC. It is very well okay, due to that DCC is based of DC current. But if you have an old terminal that uses AC, should be labled, then stay away from DCC, but DC can run on AC also.
Most, but not all,  locomotives with DCC decoder installed will run on DC power. To date, all locomotives with a Bachmann decoder installed will run on DC power.



Santa Fe buff you appear confused.
 
Here some facts,
Never run a model locomotive's DC motor with AC power you will ruin the motor!

DCC is square wave AC. However, a DCC decoder converts the AC to DC before it sends power to the motor.


Okay, so that man at the hobby shop was wrong, I was looking at an old On3 scale CP set, he said it was a locomotive that ran on DC and AC, he also said that DC runs with AC, I always get the wrong reasources! Like for a homework assignment last year! I got that one fixed, they may be more facts I have wrong.


Title: Re: ????? DCC ready/equipped/sound in Class J ????? Plz help
Post by: Santa Fe buff on June 16, 2008, 12:52:19 PM
Well, it seems that for even just performance alone, (leaving out the sound, programmability, and load compenastaion abilities), that the DCC trains are the way to go. Does anyone feel otherwise?  
Do the DCC locos seem to stand up to a regular DC loco in load pulling ability on a DC only track, or do they need the DCC, (I guess it's called a controller now, not a transformer), to reach their pulling potential. From what I've read, it seems that the DCC decoders eat up some of the power, leaving less for the motor.
I believe that some DCC locomotives are slower then DC locomotives. My Life Like DC F7 kickes it to my Spectrum by Bachmann DCC F40PHs.
I believe it varies with locomotives. My F40PHs, can pull a large load, not fast, but pretty good. My F7 pulls about 2-3 boxcars more. But much faster. Yet it spudders. Also, this is an acurate test, because my DCCs don't have any decoders on it.


Title: Re: ????? DCC ready/equipped/sound in Class J ????? Plz help
Post by: Santa Fe buff on June 16, 2008, 12:55:37 PM
DCC decoder is a little computer chip ...
FYI
Click http://www.bachmanntrains.com/home-usa/board/index.php/topic,5144.msg43937/topicseen.html#msg43937
And read the part starting with,
It sounds like it is time once again to explain the difference between a "chip" and a "decoder."  

Sorry, I meant it to be a comparison... "A DCC decoder is a little like a computer chip." I guess I should get back into the habit of proof-reading...
Decoders are chips... As to the fact they are computer chips with the job to decode and preform tasks. A worker is known as a worker, but we can call him by what his/she is, a human, so a decoder is a chip. A chip with the simple task. True, I know this, and it is very true.


Title: Re: ????? DCC ready/equipped/sound in Class J ????? Plz help
Post by: Conrail Quality on June 16, 2008, 01:29:14 PM
Well, it seems that for even just performance alone, (leaving out the sound, programmability, and load compenastaion abilities), that the DCC trains are the way to go. Does anyone feel otherwise?  
Do the DCC locos seem to stand up to a regular DC loco in load pulling ability on a DC only track, or do they need the DCC, (I guess it's called a controller now, not a transformer), to reach their pulling potential. From what I've read, it seems that the DCC decoders eat up some of the power, leaving less for the motor.
I believe that some DCC locomotives are slower then DC locomotives. My Life Like DC F7 kickes it to my Spectrum by Bachmann DCC F40PHs.
I believe it varies with locomotives. My F40PHs, can pull a large load, not fast, but pretty good. My F7 pulls about 2-3 boxcars more. But much faster. Yet it spudders. Also, this is an acurate test, because my DCCs don't have any decoders on it.

Speed is determined mostly by the gearing and the motor. To see if DCC really has an effect on speed, one would have to compare the same exact type of model. It's quite likely that your F7 is geared higher than your F40PH, and/or its motor has a higher RPM (rotations per minute).

Weight is the most important factor in pulling power. A heavier locomotive will pull more than a lighter one. While it is not as much of an issue in HO scale or larger, in N or Z scale, a locomotive with a DCC decoder often pulls noticably less than one without a decoder, due to the weight lost to make room for a decoder. Larger-scale models usually are heavy enough that the few ounces lost for a decoder doesn't have much of an effect on pulling power.

Timothy


Title: Re: ????? DCC ready/equipped/sound in Class J ????? Plz help
Post by: Pacific Northern on June 16, 2008, 03:29:23 PM
Did not know that this engine was available with Sound/DCC installed