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Discussion in 'Getting Started' started by tonphil1960, Jan 3, 2006.
DCC is it worth getting into it right from the start??????
You will find a billion topics on this, and as someone stated in another thread, you won't get an honest answer from a small percentage of modelers that visit The Gauge.
Personally, as that's the only person I can vouch for (myself), it's definately worth it, on any layout size. Once you go... DCC... you never go back.
For layouts of any size, the flexibility that DCC offers in running trains is crazy. Granted, you have to put a little effort into upgrading your fleet (if you already have one) with decoders, and spend a bit more when purchasing locomotives. But you'll love it.
I have a 4'x7' foot layout, and DCC, even a basic system like Atlas', allows me to run all the locomotives I have room for, and no special wiring such as blocks.
I would imagine starting out with DCC from the get-go would be more convienent than turning back to it later, but I can't say.
Good luck, and happy railroading.
Despite my initial inclination to immediately post "YES", I would say that if you are doing a little (less than 4x8) layout where you will be running only one train, then you can go either way. DC will be cheaper in this situation. But once you want to start running more than one loco at once (e.g. operating with friends):
- DC will require somewhat more complicated wiring, with a powerpack for each loco, and electrical switches to control it all.
- DCC will require that each loco have a decoder, but you will not necessarily need to add power and/or throttles unless you go quite big (although one throttle per operating loco is nice). The wiring remains relatively simple.
The main difference is that old cliché - DCC allows you to run the trains, not the track.
Thanks, I am starting from scratch so maybe I'll take the plunge. Just worried that all the locos I need might not be compatable??? I am doing the EL in N scale and the products are not excatly falling off the shelves
Ok Andrew, Thanks I am doing an N as I said only about 4 feet by 3 feet, but it will be multi train if possible.
Put the loco on the track, take the other loco off the track. Take that one off... put the next one on... Wanna put the other one back? Take the previous one off the track. Damn uncoupling those cars again... but I wanna run that loco.... take the other one off the track, put the next one on the track.
That is something I don't miss since moving to DCC.
As has been said, it depends on what you want your layout to do. I'm going to build a switching layout based on the Los Angeles Junction Railway. It will have only one locomotive operating, an Athearn Cf-7. There will be no blocks, and no need for a second throttle. I have a radio control throttle that operates the whole layout. It allows cordless walkaround control. If that system works ok, I won't bother with dcc. If not, I'll switch to dcc. I have operated with dcc on our club's modular layout, and for any sort of multiple train operation, dcc is the only way to go. Don't worry about locomotives not being compatible. As long as all dcc decoders you buy are NMRA approved, they will be compatible.
Hey Woodie, I SEE what you mean, you put it in great language!! Russ, so no mater what loco's I go with I can make them DCC??
You can install a decoder in almost any loco - it is just a question of how much work you want to do. Some older locos might require milling the frame, re-motoring, and rewiring. Newer ones with NMRA-spec plugs are easy - you just "plug and play". Some new engines come with the decoder already installed.
Thanks Andrew, OK I can handle that.
Tony, if I were starting over, I would go DCC. However, I have too many locos to convert now. Also, I have some that are designed so as to be impossible to convert.
Yesterday I was operating a friend's layout which is located in 2 rooms (with 3 steps between) and the operators stay in position and pass trains to each other. The layout cannot easily be operated on DCC.
Check out N gauge decoders at your shop. See if they have any pre-done locos as I think you should have a working sample. Many N locos don't leve room for extra electronics.
(Line from a review: It's nice that B** have provided a DCC socket in this loco. Maybe next time they'll leave space for the chip as well.)
I will look into how much equipment is available for the EL in DCC and how many are convertable too.
Remeber too, Tony, that once you move to DCC, it doesn't mean you cannot run your layout in "DC Mode". Just flip the switch, and use a different power source and controller.
Your DCC locos will run quite happily on DC. There is a config option (in most DCC decoders) to set DC operation on/off. Some choose to set if "off" so if DC power accidentally gets supplied to the layout, all the DCC loco don't go wizzing off round the layout at once. I've set my locos to "DC Operation" = yes. That way, if I turn the DC power on, I don't have to config the decoder to use the loco. I've only decoderized 6 of my 30 odd locos. So I can still run DC with ALL my locos, should I wish to.
With "DC Mode" = yes, there is nothing you need to do to the loco or decoder to run it either on DC or DCC. The decoder works out which power is being used automatically.