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Author Topic: Is DCC worth the price/time?  (Read 17927 times)
Big Sol

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« Reply #15 on: August 08, 2007, 03:08:48 AM »

Well, a design change has been implemented due to a lack of space, so it will now be a single 3'x8' table that I will add an additional 2' to at a later date. I already have the lumber.

Now, my initial table design is very simplistic. I intend to simply nail the plywood directly to three 4x4 'legs' that will support it. I'm using three for additional support, one at each of the outer corners, and a third in the center. The other side of the table will be against a wall, so rather than using 'legs', I intend to anchor the other side of the table directly to the wall it's up against. The wall in question has a protrusion near the floor made of concrete (this is in a garage), so legs would actually force the table to sit about 8 inches away from the wall, wasting what little space I have available to me.

I considered placing a 2x4 'frame' around the underside of the table, but in all honesty, I don't think the extra support is necessary, and since the table will only be four feet off the ground, I want to make sure there's ample room underneath it so I have room to work when drilling holes and running wires for the switches, lights, and other things I eventually intend to incorporate. I may have to, though, because the plywood I got is slightly warped, and I may need a frame just to 'flatten' it out a bit.

Honestly, the idea of incorporating separate sections of current with switches and whatnot is somewhat intimidating. I'm neither a handyman nor an electrician (I'm a computer geek by trade, so building things with my hands, repairing cars, and other sorts of 'handyman' tasks are foreign to me), so the idea of constructing things of that scale are a bit overwhelming at times. However, I like meticulous detail, so building the various scenery and electrical parts should appeal to me quite a bit.

Anyway...just more input on my upcomming project.
« Last Edit: August 08, 2007, 03:28:48 AM by Big Sol » Logged
Big Sol

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« Reply #16 on: August 08, 2007, 06:07:03 AM »

I'm a bit confused now.

I went to my local hobby shop today to pick up a few more things for my project, and while there the guy working there told me I can expect to fork out over $1,000 to start a DCC setup.

Now, he's been doing it for a while, sure, but that sounds outrageous to me. Can anyone give me an accurate (approximate) price for one DCC locomotive and the bare essentials needed to make it go? Just for starters...
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ebtbob


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« Reply #17 on: August 08, 2007, 06:31:51 AM »

Sol,

       I would love to climb inside that guy's head and see where he came up with a figure of $1000 to get started in DCC.   If you chose to go with the Bachmann EZ system,  you initial cost should be under $150.   If you choose Digitrax,  then the Zepher system will be under $200.  NCE also has an entry system for under $200.
       Can you end up spending over $1000 on DCC?  You bet,  but the person who inccurs that type of cost does it over an extended period of time and the costs include more than the system itself.   Throttles,  boosters,  and decoders are figured in to the cost over time,  not to mention dcc equipped,  or dcc with sound equipped engines,  but over $1000 to start.......not for the extreme majority of us who have taken the DCC plunge.
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Bob Rule, Jr.
Hatboro, Pa
In God We Trust
Not so much in Congress
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SteamGene

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« Reply #18 on: August 08, 2007, 07:37:19 AM »

You are working with HO, ricght?  If so, 3x8 is really pushing the lower limit!  With 4x8 you can actually get a 22" radius curve, which is much, much better than 15" which will limit your  choice of cars and locomotives.
Gene
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Chief Brass Hat
Virginia Tidewater and Piedmont Railroad
"Only coal fired steam locomotives"
Big Sol

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« Reply #19 on: August 08, 2007, 10:20:50 AM »

Hold on, let me make sure I understand how this works...

A 3' wide board is 36" wide. A 22" radius curve is, unless I'm mistaken, only 22" around...so shouldn't an oval with 22" curves fit onto a 3' wide board? In fact, shouldn't I technically be able to go all the way up to a 26" curve or theoretically higher?
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SteamGene

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« Reply #20 on: August 08, 2007, 10:33:37 AM »

D=2r.  The radius is 22" so multiplied by 2 you get 44", which is 4" shy of 48" or 4 feet.  A three foot board = 36" so 18x2 = 36" so the track is right on the very edge of the board, making the only curve you can really use 15".  I don't know about anybody else, but I've found flex track really hard to work with tight radii. 
Gene
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Chief Brass Hat
Virginia Tidewater and Piedmont Railroad
"Only coal fired steam locomotives"
r.cprmier

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« Reply #21 on: August 08, 2007, 11:33:17 AM »

Hunt;
That is TERRIBLE!!  How can you be that far "to the blank statement right"?  There has to be a goodly amount of variance to what you say, and I do hope a lot of it was said tongue in cheek; otherwise, you are perhaps condemning a lot of otherwise smart people.  I can understand about not reading instructions-one HAS to have a good understanding about DCC; but the VCR/DVD thing-I HATE messing around with that stuff, so I call in mine son, the genius...  I can also understand not taking a cavalier attitude toward the whole spectrum of DCC, lest disaster prevails.
 
I for one, have never been the quickest guy to glean info from any writ; be it a manual, or a total book.  It takes me some degree of hands on to understand fully the machinations of something-and I don't think I am a dunce; it is just one of my (many) not so good points.
I believe that people have to be a bit more diversified than that.  I know you are very knowledgeable about this hobby and a great many other things, and have a great deal of respect for what you  have to say; so I am a bit surprised to see that sort of edict from you.  I hope you understand that this is not a jibe or some snide comeback; but instead my reaction to what you said here.

Rich
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Rich

NEW YORK NEW HAVEN & HARTFORD RR. CO.
-GONE, BUT NOT FORGOTTEN!
Big Sol

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« Reply #22 on: August 08, 2007, 02:05:20 PM »

Hopefully, nobody takes this the wrong way.

I know there are a lot of  'old-timers' on this board...as in, those who are significantly older than myself that have been doing this for a long time. I have the advantage of having grown up around electronics and computers, whereas many of the older men grew up tinkering with cars or building things out of wood. As a result, they're a lot better with carpentry and mechanics than I am, and I'm better with electronics and computers.

Now, I don't claim that this makes me an 'expert' on DCC. It does, however, based on what I've read so far on DCC, give me an edge on learning it, as the technology used to communicate with engines over DCC is very similar to that used in Powerline adapters, such as the HDX102 and XE104, which are devices that allow computer networks to communicate through the electrical wiring in a house. I understand networking, I understand digital device communication, so grasping the concept behind DCC isn't that much for me. That being said, I have to say that a lot of Hunt's statements could be said about virtually ANY hobby, but they won't necessarily apply to anyone.

On another note, I'm going to start a separate thread to document the progress of my first REAL model railroad project, complete with pictures...all coming soon.
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amdaylight

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« Reply #23 on: August 08, 2007, 02:08:48 PM »

Big Sol

Let me throw my two cents in this discussion. As to the matter of DCC, starting with a Bachmann or a MRC system is the way to go, would I recommend a DCC system to start with, a resounding and loud YES. If I was making a recommendation and I guess I am so here it goes and if you are interested in HO, I would recommend that you get one of the Bachmann sets with a DCC equipped locomotive. These sets have a standard power pack but the locomotive has the decoder already installed in it. It comes with a sectional track system that is great for getting started with but is more expensive and less flexible in what configuration you want than regular snap track or flex track. I use the sectional track system under the Christmas tree. I would recommend that you get a hold of one or two of the Kalmbach starter books to help you through the mine field that can be your first layout. I would also recommend that you do not ballast the first layout as it will probably not last that long. The reason I say this is that as you expectations and knowledge grows and this happens real fast at first you will out grow the first layout fast and you will want to change and modify it and if the track is not ballasted then it will be easier to pick up and move. Ballast in model railroading is really an aesthetic item and not a necessary item. As to the method of supporting your base board I would use 2x4 legs with a 1x4 frame work under the base board, if the base is not stable YOU WILL HAVE NOTHING BUT PROBLEMS and will loose interest in the hobby if nothing stays on the track or runs the way it should. Again my first recommendation would be to get one or two of the beginners books from Kalmbach (Model Railroader) these will help you understand what you want to do and how to get there.

Best wishes,
Andre  Smiley Grin
« Last Edit: August 08, 2007, 02:10:58 PM by amdaylight » Logged
Hunt
?
MBB


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« Reply #24 on: August 08, 2007, 03:07:41 PM »

Hunt;
That is TERRIBLE!!  How can you be that far "to the blank statement right"?  There has to be a goodly amount of variance to what you say,  ...
Rich
Rich,
I have been helping folks learn to use DCC for more than just a few years. What I wrote has assisted people to distinguish the reasons they were having difficulty and creating frustrations as they began the learning curve about what they needed to know about DCC.

I remember you were very adamant about you would never use DCC because you worked with electrical stuff all day and you would not come home and have to work with it as part of a hobby. Now you are using DCC. Do you recall what I wrote you about the attitude you were flaunting about not using DCC?

I notice you acknowledge you recognize the points I make are applicable. And they remain applicable for the folks that have one or more of them unless something is done to overcome or compensate for them.  Just as you compensate for the VCR/DVD clock setting.  Wink

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Hunt
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MBB


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« Reply #25 on: August 08, 2007, 03:16:49 PM »

D=2r.  The radius is 22" so multiplied by 2 you get 44", which is 4" shy of 48" or 4 feet.  A three foot board = 36" so 18x2 = 36" so the track is right on the very edge of the board, making the only curve you can really use 15".  I don't know about anybody else, but I've found flex track really hard to work with tight radii. 
Gene
Be aware the radius of curved track is measured to the centerline of the track. An 18" radius curve will not fit on a 36" base; The track will overhang.
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r.cprmier

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« Reply #26 on: August 08, 2007, 03:39:26 PM »

Do you recall what I wrote you about the attitude you were flaunting about not using DCC?

Hunt;
I realize that your intent was  not a bad one.  What bothered me was not as much what you were saying, but how you said it, and it is just my opinion, and feelings about that.  Certainly, no offense was intended.
I understand where you are at, because I see that kind of stuff on a daily basis in my  work as a troubleshooter.  As I said, what bothered me was just the "cut-and-dried-ness" of how it came across to me.
Rich   

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Rich

NEW YORK NEW HAVEN & HARTFORD RR. CO.
-GONE, BUT NOT FORGOTTEN!
SteamGene

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« Reply #27 on: August 08, 2007, 04:15:37 PM »

Rich,
I agree with you.  I think I made it perfectly clear that you can't fit 18" radius curves on a 3' sheet. 
Gene
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Chief Brass Hat
Virginia Tidewater and Piedmont Railroad
"Only coal fired steam locomotives"
Hunt
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MBB


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« Reply #28 on: August 08, 2007, 07:49:45 PM »

Rich,
I agree with you.  I think I made it perfectly clear that you can't fit 18" radius curves on a 3' sheet. 
Gene
Gene,
You wrote
Quote
A three foot board = 36" so 18x2 = 36" so the track is right on the very edge of the board, making the only curve you can really use 15".


Few folks new to model railroading realize curve track radius is measured to the centerline of the track. Thus I clarified the part, "so the track is right on the very edge of the board." With 18" radius, the track will overhang the edge of the 3’ board.
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SteamGene

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« Reply #29 on: August 08, 2007, 08:43:18 PM »

making the only curve you can really use 15"

And would you care to explain why you ignored this?  It seems to me that this is very specific. There seemed to be a lack of understanding of radius and diameter.  I didn't think that trying to explain that 18" dealt with the center line vs the inside track or the outside track would be very helpful.  After all, what is the difference between the center line and the outside track?  Not much.
Gene
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Chief Brass Hat
Virginia Tidewater and Piedmont Railroad
"Only coal fired steam locomotives"
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