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Author Topic: Choice of DCC system  (Read 38021 times)

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Offline EtchedPixels

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Re: DCC controller
« Reply #15 on: December 09, 2011, 11:56:58 am »
Ideally i would love one powered from a computer or laptop, money is not much of an issue, as long as what ever i spend is suitable for my needs. Agreed about the train sets dont think they will be upyto what im after.

Check the compatibility and the prices of the connecting bits. That's one reason I went Digitrax - at the time the Digitrax cable was a few pound, the Lenz was nearer 100, for what as far as I could tell was basically a magic bit of wire.

If you are computer oriented then the Sprog II may be worth a look. It's designed to be entirely computer controlled - its a little box with a USB port (or serial port) a power input and a track connection. All the higher level brains can be done by the PC running JMRI or similar so you can have a zillion throttles, drive from your Android or iphone or a tablet with web browser etc, and all the rest of it. The main limit on the sprog II is power, but it can be used with a booster if needed. For small N layouts its fine on its own.

It's also rather cheap (50) + 11 if you need a 1.25A power supply, and has no arbitary limits either by design or in hardware - so when new DCC features appear its just a software update for the JMRI DecoderPro package.

Alan
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Offline Stew2000

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Re: DCC controller
« Reply #16 on: December 09, 2011, 12:31:04 pm »

Offline red_death

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Re: DCC controller
« Reply #17 on: December 09, 2011, 12:46:38 pm »
Would the new Farish DCC Set be a good start for DCC beginners?

If you want the stock that comes with it, then it is not a bad way in.  The controller is basic and simple to use, but also quite limited in its functionality.  And if you like DCC then you should be able to sell the controller.

Like Alan - for someone interested in computers then SPROG and JMRI are well worth a look. Until I actually have somewhere to build a large layout that combination (with Iphones/Android devices as wireless throttles) will cover most of my needs. Now to learn about PanelPro!

Cheers, Mike



Offline Dock Shunter

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Re: DCC controller
« Reply #18 on: December 09, 2011, 01:49:49 pm »
Would the new Farish DCC Set be a good start for DCC beginners?
http://www.ehattons.com/38710/Graham_Farish_370_060_Digital_Commuter_set_with_2_tone_green_Class_24_and_2_Maroon_Mk1_coaches_/StockDetail.aspx

Considering the 24 is one of the best runners available and the coaches are the new tooling.... and the stock alone would cost nearly a ton to buy separately i think this set is an ideal way to try DCC.
As has been said the controller is very basic and you would probably want to upgrade before long but it could be sold on when you move to a better system..... :thumbsup:
 

Offline Oldman

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Re: DCC controller
« Reply #19 on: December 17, 2011, 08:30:39 am »
If any one is interested in a small simple second Controller and only want to run a couple of locos look at this.
Don't know prices but e-mail the guys.
http://www.medvend.hu/andig_en.html
Not suitable for programming but if you want to run DCC locos on a second small board or at a show.
Modelling stupid small scale using T gauge track and IDl induction track. Still have  N gauge but not the space( Japanese Trams) Excuse spelling errors please, posting on mobile phone

Offline Stew2000

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Re: DCC controller
« Reply #20 on: December 17, 2011, 11:14:45 am »
That looks really promising Oldman. Wonder how long the battery would last on the other.

Offline Griffo

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Re: DCC controller
« Reply #21 on: December 17, 2011, 01:28:33 pm »
If any one is interested in a small simple second Controller and only want to run a couple of locos look at this.
Don't know prices but e-mail the guys.
http://www.medvend.hu/andig_en.html
Not suitable for programming but if you want to run DCC locos on a second small board or at a show.


Seems to be available in the States around $32 - $36

http://stonebridgemodels.com/index.htm?c=elec

http://www.zscalemonster.com/stonebridge/throttle.htm

The pdf manual almost sounds interesting for a simple layout ......

 http://www.medvend.hu/DU_3_0EN1.pdf

Confusing in places. I THINK it means that an AC 16v power external power source is required for DCC but an internal 9V battery is sufficient for Z scale DC.

http://www.medvend.hu/access_en.html

..... almost seems too simple. Call me a cynic!

Offline GWR-Kris

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Re: DCC controller
« Reply #22 on: December 31, 2011, 11:26:36 am »
can you use the hornby railmaster, or is it not suitable for N gauge

http://www.hornby.com/hornby-dcc/hornby-railmaster/

Offline Alexph

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Choice of DCC system
« Reply #23 on: June 10, 2012, 02:43:53 pm »
Hi

I would like to pick the brains of members who are more experienced than I am (not hard) will DCC

Am creating a new DCC layout with 4 tracks, fiddle yard, 23 sets points, 10 signals and various station/building lights ( well that's the plan anyway)

1. Would it make sense to run the points through the DCC controller or have the points manually controlled.
2. I have no experience of DCC controllers - do members have preferences of one make over another.
3. If I am going to run the whole layout through the controllers, what points should i look out for when deciding on which controller system to purchase

many thanks for any help / comments / suggestions  ;)


Offline upnick

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Re: DCC Controllers
« Reply #24 on: June 10, 2012, 02:56:01 pm »
Hi  Alex,   

Welcome to the forum    :)

Points   ......   go for electrofrog ones   with DCC  regardless of  the system   used.

The control  itself  dont buy  twice go   for the NCE  powercab  all  the features of  a  more expensive system   with room  for  an  upgrade if you need /  want to add a booster  at a later date. 

Offline Mark K

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Re: DCC Controllers
« Reply #25 on: June 10, 2012, 03:14:22 pm »
Hi

I would like to pick the brains of members who are more experienced than I am (not hard) will DCC

Am creating a new DCC layout with 4 tracks, fiddle yard, 23 sets points, 10 signals and various station/building lights ( well that's the plan anyway)

1. Would it make sense to run the points through the DCC controller or have the points manually controlled.
2. I have no experience of DCC controllers - do members have preferences of one make over another.
3. If I am going to run the whole layout through the controllers, what points should i look out for when deciding on which controller system to purchase

many thanks for any help / comments / suggestions  ;)

It makes a lot of sense to run the points thoughthe DCC Booster so long as you can remember which DCC address controls which point. With an analogue system you can set the route visually on a panel. Not sure about Fleischmann point motors and whether they can give feedback to panel lights.

This is quite an ambitious layout and you're going to have to take account of that in your choice. NCE's PowerCab is certainly flavour of the month. It's easy to operate, fall naturally in the hand and is expandable. It has a current limit of two amps which might not be enough if you have trains running all over the place. There is a booster, the SB3a, which will increase that to five amps and that for N guage should easily be enough. The PowerCab bus will also allow the use of multiple controllers. There are some limitations to the system which are being addressed but nothing that would make me say 'don't go there'. 

The best way of making a decision though is going along to one of the specialists or the big exhibitions and try the various systems out for yourself. There are some out on the marketplace that I would not touch with a 12 foot barge-pole and I would recommend that you might choose between Digitrax, ESU, Lenz, NCE and Zimo. I started with Digitrax then moved over to NCE ProCab and never regretted the change.

Mark K

Offline bigbob

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Re: DCC Controllers
« Reply #26 on: June 10, 2012, 03:21:28 pm »
Many prefer the idea of controlling points with a standard DC power supply rather than DCC as it can be hard enough controlling 2-3 trains at a time never mind adding 20 points to that all through the same handset!!


I use NCE PowerPro kit.


Bob

Offline MacRat

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Re: DCC Controllers
« Reply #27 on: June 10, 2012, 04:27:58 pm »
For computer control with occasionally manuel layout control go for DCC throughout.

If you prefer manual lauout control you could also consider MERG CBUS. With the MERG CBUS system you can have a traditional panel with keys and LEDs and control your points digital, though not with DCC but with CAN messages. No need to remember/enter addresses to throw points just press the correct key. In my opinion, with the number of points and signals you plan to install, you could reduce the number of wires significantly going from the panel to your layout.

You would need panel decoder for encoding the key presses to CAN messages and turnout driver for decoding the CAN messages and power the point motors. Apparently there is no PC or programming involved, keys and turnout driver "learn" what belongs together.

I have to admit, that I'm not using this system myself as I currently don't have a layout. But this would be my first choice for digital point control, as it gives you the possibility of a traditional panel and computer control. With pure DCC you have to enter addresses before you can throw a point. On the other hand, MERG is a group one has to join to get the parts and you have to solder them your self. And, if the rumors are right, the NMRA has chosen another system as standard for controlling layouts.
Here you can read about the MERG CBUS: http://www.merg.org.uk/merg_resources/cbus.php

For controlling locomotives, I'd suggest a system that allows several, preferably cheap, handheld controllers where you could stick the currently assigned loco number (not the address, the number printed on the side of the loco) visibly on so you know by looking at the controller what it will drive. I wouldn't wont to change this assignment to often while running trains.

Hope this helps.

Offline Chinahand

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Re: DCC Controllers
« Reply #28 on: June 10, 2012, 05:14:41 pm »
Hi Alex and welcome to the NGF.

Certainly go for Electrofrog points but don't rely on the blade contact to change the frog polarity. It is far more reliable to fit a dropper to the frog itself and control the polarity though a change-over switch either manually or by using a point motor that has a built-in change-over switch such as Cobalt motors if you are planning on slow motion motors or Seep PM1s if you use the more traditional solenoid motor.

As regards the method of control this very much comes down to personal preference. Personally I find it much easier (and quicker) to simply flick a switch on a mimic panel rather than trying to remember or look up the accessory codes for 40 point motors and inputting the right one into a DCC controller. It is IMHO also more prototypical as that's what real signalmen do. i.e. Flick a switch or, on the good old days, pull a big lever.
« Last Edit: June 10, 2012, 05:42:05 pm by Chinahand »
Regards,
Trevor (aka Chinahand)
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Offline Sprintex

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Re: DCC Controllers
« Reply #29 on: June 10, 2012, 05:37:14 pm »
Asking what DCC systems people would recommend is a bit like asking what make of car they'd recommend - all down to personal choice and most would recommend the one they own  ::)

The best way of making a decision though is going along to one of the specialists or the big exhibitions and try the various systems out for yourself.

That is the BEST advice to offer and one I would agree with. I made an appointment to visit Digitrains where you can try various systems at leisure on their test track, all without sales pressure. They ask you a variety of questions about what YOU want out of it, now and possibly in the future, and suggest a range of systems to suit your requirements and budget. Then they leave you to try them and decide for yourself. No doubt other good DCC suppliers offer the same service. Despite the popularity of the NCE I went for the Prodigy Advance instead, simply because the handset display was easier to read  ;)

As regards the method of control this very much comes down to personal preference. Personally I find it much easier (and quicker) to simply flick a switch on a mimic panel rather than trying to remember or look up the accessory codes for 40 point motors and inputting the right one into a DCC controller. It is IMHO also more prototypical as that's what real signalmen do. i.e. Flick a switch or, on the good old days, pull a big lever.

Agree with this too. Manual control of points will involve a lot more wiring, but on a large layout with lots of points you're going to be spending 90% of your time pressing buttons to control trains AND points and very little time to actually see your trains moving  :)


Paul

 

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