ONLINE
STORE
"ASK THE BACH MAN"
FORUM
PARTS, SERVICE,
& INFORMATION
CATALOGS AND
BROCHURES

Welcome, Guest. Please login or register.
Did you miss your activation email?
October 23, 2020, 02:47:36 AM
Home Help Search Login Register
News: Please read the Forum Code of Conduct   >>Click Here <<
+  Bachmann Message Board
|-+  Discussion Boards
| |-+  General Discussion
| | |-+  Need help picking a DCC controller
« previous next »
Pages: [1] 2 Print
Author Topic: Need help picking a DCC controller  (Read 6514 times)
seaisleRR

View Profile
« on: January 14, 2011, 11:57:45 AM »

I've been researching DCC controller (systems). From my newbie knowledge level, I sure could use some guidance in choosing a good
starter system. From a past post, I think I more or less know the capabilities of the Bachmann system. The DCC controller with it's own
power pack supports DCC. Link the DCC compatible DC power pack and you can run both with some qualifying factors.

I have 2 more to add to the mix and need expert help and recommendations. Both are from MRC.

Bear in mind too, that, sadly, I'm on a budget. ...Aren't we all... I have a mix of brands of locos - DC & DCC.
And, I plan to convert any newer locos that are capable / good running enough to DCC one day.

First, the MRC Prodigy Express - starter system. It does DCC. Can it do both like the Backmann DCC / DC link up?
Is any better than the Bachmann?

Next is the MRC TECH 6 SOUND CONTROLLER 2.0 w/ optional Tech 6 1203 Walkaround Sound Controller DC.

From reading the instructions from MRC, I THINK this one will run DCC locos in "true" DCC mode.
One site said it was DC only. That baffled me.

Am I correct in my determination that it's DCC?

Where does it fall in the better / worse / recommendation order?

Thanks, Steve
Logged
Nathan

View Profile
« Reply #1 on: January 14, 2011, 02:27:26 PM »

Evey person is going to have a favorite system.

Right now, how do you control your DC trains?  Only run one at a time? Block control?  If you use block control, how important is running the DC train and DCC train on the same track at the same time?

If you can live with running the DC train on one section of the layout and the DCC train on another, you may want to look at the low end systems from Digitrax and NCE as well as the two you have looked at, and use the block control to switch between the two types of power like they were two DC power packs.  We did this on my Dad's layout until we converted all his locomotives to DCC.
Logged
jward


View Profile WWW
« Reply #2 on: January 14, 2011, 05:48:05 PM »

if you are considering the use of the dc controller as a seperate controller, you may want to consider the digitrax zephyr. unlike the ez command, the zephyr allows you to program all the features of your decoders, not just the limited address changes possible with ez command. it also allows the use of two dc throttles as full throttles which are capable of running dc as well as dcc locomotives. the zephyr also supports the running of dc locomotives using address 00, which nce systems do not. i am unsure about the prodigy systems and address 00, but i know that you can't use your dc controllers with them.

after careful consideration of all available systems, i chose the zephyr as having the most bang for the buck.
Logged

Jeffery S Ward Sr
Pittsburgh, PA
Jim Banner

Enjoying electric model railroading since 1950.


View Profile WWW
« Reply #3 on: January 15, 2011, 12:27:12 AM »

Right now, the Digitrax DCS 50 Zephyr (the original one) in on sale at Litchfield Station http://www.litchfieldstation.com/xcart/home.php.  It has 2.5 amp output, can run 10 trains at a time, and can program most CVs on the mainline and all CVs on a separate programming track.  In addition, the Zephyr will read back CVs, telling you what their values are BEFORE you change them.  The Zephyr allows many add ons, including Infra Red control, radio control, up to 10 Digitrax throttles and the Jump throttles Jeffery mentioned.  The down side of the Zephyr is that it can do so much that learning all its capabilities takes a while.  In that regard, it is a lot like using a computer.  And like a computer, you can do wonderful things with it without having to learn everything it can do.

Is this the system for you?  I don't know.  But it is certainly one that you should have a close look at.

Jim
Logged

Growing older is mandatory but growing up is optional.
RGC

View Profile
« Reply #4 on: January 15, 2011, 10:41:38 AM »

I have an EZ command and a zephyr and depending on what you want from a system either may do the job for you. The RZ is very basic and can't program anything behold the address of the Loco. The zephyr  will pretty much do any programing you need. Either will run a DC Loco, but I have found many DC Locos do not run on the DCC systems and everyone that I have that will makes a bad noise while doing it. Other than a quick test I don't run any DC Locos on my DCC systems. The EZ command works very well for my 6 year old son to run his "thomas" setup, but after a few days using it he was equally as comfortable running them on the zephyr system. If you don't need to program or run more then 3 or 4 HO scale trains at a time the EZ will work for you. If you want to go behold the most basic DCC system then the zephyr is a great starting point (IMHO) that you can build. 
Logged
ACY


View Profile
« Reply #5 on: January 15, 2011, 11:08:36 AM »

The RZ [sic] is very basic and can't program anything behold the address of the Loco.
Actually, the Bachmann E-Z Command DCC system can also program the CV for relative direction, which is good to use when double heading/mu-ing them together.
Logged
seaisleRR

View Profile
« Reply #6 on: January 15, 2011, 03:47:06 PM »

Hello ALL. Thanks for the input. Keep it coming if you wish. After much more research on the suggested Digitrax & NCE systems plus more;
I'm still kind of on the fence. Current circumstances had me, at first, wanting to go REALLY cheap cheap. But, I now see that it's pretty
counterproductive to do it that way. So, I'm leaning towards the Zephyr, even though it's a bit more $$ than I first wanted to spend.
I can see it serving me well into the future. And I know I'll want all the "bells & whistles" (and sound & accessory capability one day).
I'll just have to save my pennies for a while.

I'm just at the point of finalizing how to format (block / wiring -wise) my kind of small 5'x8 1/2' HO layout, which may be added to one day.
I have it configured so that there are 2 "main" lines coming through the current layout that just end at the edge of the board now
and serve as small service yard spurs. The main track is a twisted dogbone/figure 8 hybrid or something like that with a small passing
track, a couple of spurs, and a small switchback w/ small service / loading / car storage yards at either end. Not really a "proper" yard,
and the whole thing is a bit cramped. Ya live & learn.

I also have begun planning and buying for an N scale layout that will be a bit bigger at first than what I have now in actual size. So I'll have
lots more room to do a layout w/ more versatility and such.

I've designed & CAD drafted civil & architectural projects, large & small, commercial & residential for others for over 25 years.
It's FUN, challenging FUN to design & build my own world finally for a change.

 BTW... For those who just like to have the knowledge of other systems... The basic 'Model Rectifier C.' system,
the Prodigy Express, does not support DC at all (None of the MRC true DCC systems do). Too bad it is a decent starter and less expensive
than the Zephyr. Also... It's strictly hand held, wired and is able to have wireless added to the system.
Logged
ACY


View Profile
« Reply #7 on: January 15, 2011, 04:00:53 PM »

I keep on giving everyone this advice, even though a DCC system supports running a Dc loco, it is not the best idea. If you leave a DC loco on live track for even a short amount of time you will ruin the loco and cause it to overheat. Also, DC locos can overheat by running them on DCC for prolonged periods of time. The DCC current is not good for the DC loco and could damage the motor. If you want to run DC & DCC locos set it up so you can toggle between a DC & DCC controller, but pay attention to how your layout is wired, if you have reversing loops/sections then you would want to avoid those when using the DC supply and you would want to avoid places where you could otherwise cause a short.
Logged
seaisleRR

View Profile
« Reply #8 on: January 15, 2011, 04:57:41 PM »

Yeah. I've seen you advise quite a few people on that issue ACY. Good warning. I've taken note and will heed. It got me pondering how to work with that problem. The toggle switch is a good work around. Of course, I do plan to one day be 100% DCC. I even schemed a fix where
I have a couple of track end pieces that are dead or only hooked up to a DC power pack. You run the DC locos on to the "dead zone"
to park it.  Kind of a jack-leg fix, I know.  And, the wiring on that fix, one could say, is kind of dumb for an all DCC future.
And, being realistic, on my current layout, I probably will never have more than one train (maybe 2 small ones) on the main line,
while switching with 1 or maybe 2 other locos in the yard at any one time.
Logged
Pacific Northern


View Profile
« Reply #9 on: January 15, 2011, 06:50:09 PM »

I would not have a DCC controller that can not run a DC engine. That is why I bought the EZ command, then later my Digitrax unit. I need and want to run both DC and DCC engines on my layout. 

I have a few DC engines that I run on my layout using both the EZ Command and also a Digitrax unit. I keep my DC engines on specific sidings when not using them. I run these engines about an hour or so before running them back to their selected tracks/sidings. When not running the power to the DC engines is shut down with a toggle switch.

I have been running this mix of engines for around three years now and have yet to have a problem with any of my DC engines.

Yes, the engines run a bit noisy but other than that I have had no problems.

How many members of this forum have had problems with their DC engines on DCC layouts?
Logged

Pacific Northern
ACY


View Profile
« Reply #10 on: January 15, 2011, 07:02:27 PM »

I ran a DC FT-A once with my E-Z Command for about 3 hours straight, it quit and after that it would not run. I said prolonged periods of time, not 1 hour, but 3 or 4 hours straight. Also, when I picked up the loco it was pretty darn hot, it would have melted had it been plastic, but the shell was metal. It was a pretty old loco. It also does not turn out well sometimes with lighted passenger cars running them unmodified out of the box, as they will burn out a lot quicker if they use track power and as opposed to battery.
« Last Edit: January 15, 2011, 08:49:51 PM by ACY » Logged
jward


View Profile WWW
« Reply #11 on: January 15, 2011, 08:36:44 PM »

i have had minimal problems with extensive running of dc locomotives on dcc. the two locomotives i did have problems with, a bachmann b23-7 and percy, seemed to be related to the circuit boards, as disassembly of the locomotives showed the motor responding to dc normally. i usually run my locomotives until i get decoders for them. i am currently about 10 locomotives behind, so over half my fleet is dc. like pn, i run my dc locomtives into the roundhouse, or another track where they can be isolated when not in use.
Logged

Jeffery S Ward Sr
Pittsburgh, PA
seaisleRR

View Profile
« Reply #12 on: January 15, 2011, 09:33:07 PM »

I too want the ability to run both DCC & DC, and will get a controller that does that. BUT... I have agree with ACY. If you are just starting out,
go all DCC. Buy only DCC locos. Heck, A lot of Bachmann locos that are DCC aren't too expensive. Sure, they ain't top of the line... They ain't
the bucks you pay for a Proto 2000 or other more detailed loco. But they run on the DCC. They may or may not have sound. As you guys w/
the years experience know... You can get encoders with sound. Preaching to the choir again.

Hope daxdog sees this thread so he sees more of the discussions on DC & DCC. I saw his post about his new layout. I wish I had had the space to start w/ a layout that large. Should be a good one.
ACY 100% right. I'm still green, but thanks to you guys I'm learning fast!
Logged
ACY


View Profile
« Reply #13 on: January 15, 2011, 10:26:53 PM »

If you are careful and don't run the loco for more than an hour and check the temp periodically, then you can get by running a DC loco with a DCC system. It is an unnecessary hassle if you are buying new locos anyways and if you bought a DCC system, why not take full advantage of it by buying DCC locos as opposed to DC locos...
Unless you have a large collection of DC locos that would take too long or be too much trouble to convert you may as well stick with DCC locos.
Logged
Joe323

View Profile
« Reply #14 on: January 15, 2011, 11:35:34 PM »

i have converted all but 3 of my locos to dcc. Those 3 are used on special ocaasions and under the xmas tree where dcc is not needed.
Logged
Pages: [1] 2 Print 
« previous next »
Jump to:  
Powered by SMF | SMF © 2015, Simple Machines Valid XHTML 1.0! Valid CSS!