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dcc or dc

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richrua
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Well I have nearly all the track in place now (loosely) . Having bought myself a treat in the form of an 071 and a 141 I realise i may be missing a trick or two by not being dcc.

 

Funds are tight and basically i save up for stuff. If i do it any other way The Wife will have my Irish Cement Bubbles. If you know what i mean.

 

Anyway. The question is, to do DCC properly with a good controller etc how much might i need to save?

 

I reckon I will have about 10 Murphy locos to chip eventually.

 

Also, is it possible to retro fit dcc to the tracks, points etc. ? Should i hold up all scenic work until i have enough to dcc properly ?

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DCC is the way - you can run as many trains as you like on the same length of track with one controller! its not cheap, a Lenz controler will set you back a fortune'''

 

look here - http://www.dccsupplies.com/shop/index.php?cPath=24_29_91

 

Hornby ones are cheaper and more available here for around 120 euro, with dcc chips at around 20 euro. so a lot of saving needed depending onwhat you want. hope this dosnt turn you off modelling:rolleyes: - good luck with whatever you decide and keep us yobs posted!

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I would also say DCC is the way to go.

The Lenz 100 set that I have is now 18 years old and still going strong, I got its software upgraded a couple of times but has performed faultlessly.

Lenz is expensive but after having the set 12 years I let the handset fall and smashed the LCD screen. I returned it to Lenz for repair who sent it back repaired and no charge.

Lenz also have a good overload cut out in an event of a short circuit, some other sets require a separately purchased short protector and I have heard of a few horror stories of people frying decoders in locos etc.

Lenz set now looks dated but you cannot always go on looks.

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The Hornby Select is a good entry level controller, Bachmann also have an 'EZ" dcc unit that I used previously for the kids (as it had ten buttons for loco addresses).

It's definitely the way to go either way, and you can still run the DC locos (one at a time) on the DCC layout/

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Don't get me started! DCC is the ONLY way to run model trains as far as I'm concerned..... I bit extreme maybe but have said it a thousand times, if it had'nt been for DCC I would never have returned to the hobby.

 

Anyway, yes it's easy to change a layout from DC to DCC at a later date, in the wiring is less complicated. DCC just requires that there is power to ALL parts of the layout at all times, there is no need for isolating sections or sidings.

 

Murphy's locos are easy to fit with DCC as they all have sockets for a decoder. Suitable decoders can be got for around the €20 mark and you can get small discounts from suppliers if you but them in bulk.

 

As for controllers the Hornby Select is ok to start with and will run trains fine but it is very limited in its functions and programming, I would advise that you buy a good controller from the start. As NIR said Lenz are excellent but also very expensive. The NCE Powercab can be got for just under €150 online and will do pretty much all you will ever need.

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Thanks lads i really appreciate it. I will wire in a few 'droppers' to the sidings for now. Yes I will probably get something like the Lenz. I would rather spend a bit more and get something quality. It will take me a while to gather up, but it seems like I would miss too much if I dont go digi.

 

Many thanks.

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Thanks lads i really appreciate it. I will wire in a few 'droppers' to the sidings for now. Yes I will probably get something like the Lenz. I would rather spend a bit more and get something quality. It will take me a while to gather up, but it seems like I would miss too much if I dont go digi.

 

Many thanks.

 

..now dont blame us if the wife throws you out when she sees the cost of the stuff!!!!:rolleyes:

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Richrua,

 

Might it be possible for you to visit/join a Model Railway Club near you? IF so the advice, guidance and support could prove to be invaluable to you. From my experience, I wish I had joined Perth Model Railway Club a great deal earlier than I did. I wasted a great deal of money that need not have been spent on my layout through my ignorance of Model Railways. A club can assist, advise, and may even offer you second-hand units as their own members upgrade their own control equipment. Many of us use Digitrax Equipment in Perth. This allows each of us to assist one and other with any problems we have in our train or layout operations as we have the same controller types and handsets.

 

DCC certainly has the added costs associated with it, locomotive decoders, and the DCC equipment to control your layout. However, this method of operation can add an enormous amount of operational control to a Model Railway, for example, I control each of my points from my handset, and all operating signals too. In addition I have light and sound in many of my locomotives. Some of my Steam Locomotives have sound fitted as well as fire-box lights that simulate coal being fed to the firebox and providing the associated glow when the fire-doors are parted.

 

Yes, it all costs money, but go slowly, pace yourself and enjoy the pleasures as your railway and finances allow.

 

Happy modelling.

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Agree with the above. Very important to try before you buy. I had a Lenz system but found it counter intuitive

Programing seems especially hard. Now have a Prodigy Advance which is easier. Has more buttons than Lens where programing van be like texting on an early mobile phone.

However, went back to analogue for Arigna and get just as good loco control. It is a question of how many trains you want to run at once and if a solo operator that may be only one..

DCC is great for sound, multiple trains and special effects but it is NOT necessarily the holy grail...

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For a great budget controller try the NCE powercab, available for £135 for the starter which can be expanded to a full pro system as your layout grows, the Bachmann Dynamis is also a great starter system that can be upgraded. If you want to bite the bullet and invest in a high end DCC controller there is only one option, the ESU Ecos 50200 it can be bought for £500 or €500 in Germany. It is the best by far among the others I have used one and researched DCC controllers extensively looking for my next controller and this is the one I will be buying. If you by the NCE system you will spend over €600 bringing up to pro spec and the Dynamis will run you into the best part of €500 upgrading it.

 

Yes DCC is not the holy grail, but the advantages far outweigh DC, even for a single operator you can have you loco lights on while stationary coach lights on and sound locos with engines running in the background. DC is variable voltage and that's it's biggest disadvantage with DCC it's constant.

 

In my opinion DCC is the only way to go.

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Agree with Dave about powercab. Have only heard good about it myself and the fact you can start off in a small way and grow it seems perfect for your situation. Would also be easy enough to sell on for a decent price should you switch to a more advanced system as you get more into it.

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Brilliant advice. I like the idea of joining a club. I've found it difficult to make friends and contacts up north even though ive been here many years but thats another story.

 

I wont rush into it. It will take me a while any way. Will wire up to help transition.

 

One thing i would love to be able to do would be have a few locos stabled in the yard on the same siding and being able to shuffle them about remotely to bring out the one required for duty. ... Childish but realistic too!!!!

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Richrua,

 

I note your comment " I've found it difficult to make friends and contacts up north even though I've been here many years but that's another story." I don't know where in the North you reside, none of my business anyway. However there are a number of Model Railway Clubs in the Bangor area and there is the forthcoming two-year Festival of Model Irish Railways at Cultra, this November. It is well be worth visiting this wonderful exhibition, I and my team were there two years ago with Old Blarney. What a wonderful time we had, it is still talked about by us in Perth. A visit would provide you with an opportunity to speak to the operators of the layouts there and it may provide you with the information, tips, hints and perhaps an opportunity to make a friend or friends in the future that will help you in your quest - Model Railways. Perhaps it may also be a day out for your Family too, and show them the companionship our hobby offers.

 

May I wish you success in your quest and also state that, DCC is great fun, however, it is not the answer to all layouts. A simple, yet enjoyable layout can be designed to run as DC, just be practical when positioning points. Practical positioning of point-work using insulated frog points will provide you with the sectional breaks required to prevent locomotives/trains from running into one-and-other.

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Yeah sorry about that comment. Probably a bit of a generalisation. Sorry for any offence. I am sure its the same living anywhere away from where youre from. Just a bit down at the mo i reckon.

 

thanks for the advice. I was going to go to Carrickfergus next week but cant make it as i will be away. I will try to make it to a show or two.

 

Many thanks.

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Thanks Rich for starting this thread and to everyone for their replies. I'm just starting to build and trying to make it DCC. Can anyone advise on point/signal control with DCC, please? Same controller (too complicated?), separate system with some sort of light system to show the state of the circuits 'at a glance'? What works for those of you who have achieved this?

Thank you

Kevin

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I'm a fan of DCC concepts cobalt digital motors. It's an all in one slow action motor with dcc on board and additional switch built in (to hook up indicator lights or a push button switch if you want) You just wire it up give it an address and control it with your regular dcc controller.

 

Link to manufacturer http://www.dccconcepts.com/index_files/Cobalt_turnout_motor.htm

 

They even sell a switch pack with LEDs and switches ready to go.

Edited by BosKonay
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I'm a fan of DCC concepts cobalt digital motors. It's an all in one slow action motor with dcc on board and additional switch built in (to hook up indicator lights or a push button switch if you want) You just wire it up give it an address and control it with your regular dcc controller.

 

Link to manufacturer http://www.dccconcepts.com/index_files/Cobalt_turnout_motor.htm

 

They even sell a switch pack with LEDs and switches ready to go.

 

Thank you very much for the advice and the link!

Kevin

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Thanks everyone. I have my eye on the Powercab as I notice it can be easily upgraded. My only reservation is that it seems to have lower power/amp. My layout has grown a bit and runs a double track around a 30ft circuit of the attic, with various sidings built or planned. Will the Powercab cope with this?

 

Thanks again for all the advice.

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Power requirement is mostly the number of locos that you'll be running - track length won't bother it too much.

 

Modern locos like the Murphy's 141 and 071 will draw around .5 Amps when running. Now correct me if I'm wrong but I think the Powercab provides 3 Amps of power so you should be able to run 6 locos at once.

As Broith said the size of the layout has little bearing on that as long as you use suitable sized wire for the DCC bus.

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