to DCC or not to DCC - that is the question

Discussion in 'FAQs' started by bobrien, Apr 16, 2002.

  1. Gary Pfeil

    Gary Pfeil Active Member

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    Bill, I know what you mean when you say you've read many overly defensive comments regarding DCC and the folks who criticize it. And I am in no way saying it shouldn't be criticized. But when it is, I will respond with facts as I know them. I feel no need to rationalize my purchase, after 36 years of DC, and perhaps the last 10 of them spent watching the developements of command control, the advent of DCC is the single largest improvement in the hobby. I am not saying everyone should buy it. If someone wonders whether they should, I would say they should. And I have given my reasons. As well as answered some of the points offered as arguments against DCC. As you feel some overreact in defending DCC, I feel many attack it with little knowledge of it, and don't understand why they would do it. You may have answered that question for me in your statement that (don't recall your exact words) people are too excited about it. If it's not for you, fine, but understand that those people who buy it are incredibly excited, because it offers freedom to operate that they hadn't imagined. This is true, I swear. At a cost, yes, but then the best things in life are free is just a line from a Beatles song. That was a joke, don't know how to insert smilies. You know what's funny? I hate computers but love DCC!

    I too don't wish any of this to be construed as argumentative and am sorry if my previous post offends.

    Gary
  2. 60103

    60103 Pooh Bah

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    Bruce:
    I'll put my thoughts in here:
    If I was starting out today, I'd go for DCC. As it is, I've got too many locos to convert and too many that are too old to convert.
    I understand DC wiring quite easily, but DCC wiring is just a subset of it.
    When you're starting, find a hobbyshop where there's at least one DCC enthusiast. The important thing here is to have someone who can tell you what you're doing wrong or what the manual didn't say.
    Buy a brand that your hobbyshop or local club is familiar with (familiarity is worth a premium on the price.)
    Get your local 12-year old computer wizzard to explain binary and octal notation if you need it.
    Don't try to operate more than one train with one brain. :D
  3. kettlestack

    kettlestack Member

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    I've just finished reading this whole thread. It's coincidence that last night I spent about two hours looking at a retailers explanation of each of the DCC systems he sells. If you are interested in knowing that Lenz is not the only game in town try visiting http://www.mgsharp.com/American_HO.htm I learned more about DCC from this one site than from anywhere else. (click on the "want to know more about DCC" in this url).

    There is no doubt that actually being the "driver" of your DCC loco puts a whole new perspective on operations. BUT ... Billybobs comments tend to be valid. Gary puts his observations to us with a view to enlighten us.. also valid.
    I to, just like Bilk have seen posts in forums which border on paranoia in defence of DCC and I find them offensive.

    My conclusions? ... DCC needs a human to remember numbers for codes... not a natural way for people to think .. Consider what you use your mouse on your puter for compared to typing commands! :) DCC is in an elementary stage at present .. it must be getting simpler to use if the MRC system is anything to be judged by. Also, it is a matter of time before DCC systems become inexpensive enough to be had by anyone with limited funds and a hankering for it.

    60103, you hit the nail on the head with the "One Brain One Train" :D . (More brains= more trains=more throttles= more expense)
    And Yakko, I'm with you all the way by leaving others to their otherness as arguing about it gets us nowhere.

    Someday, someone is going to invite me to "Drive" one of their DCC locos, then and only then could I be thoroughly objective about it. :D :D .

    Now, whose turn is it to buy the beer?:D

    Errol
  4. 60103

    60103 Pooh Bah

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    Errol:
    One brain, one train was an observation from waaaay back. Our local importer went to the train show where Hornby were demonstrating Zero1 and observed the company trained operator have 3 collisions in 10 or 15 minutes.
    I keep suggesting that DCC is probably NOT for someome whose VCR is set permanently at 12:00. (Not to be taken personally by anyone unless I've seen your VCR).
  5. Bob Collins

    Bob Collins Active Member

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    Errol;

    You may come drive one of my DCC locos any time you are in town. As we say in this part of the hills, "the latch string is always out for friends," and I've never met a Scotsman I didn't like!!

    I'm a little concerned about your affinity for the RIL, but that is a personal choice, just like DCC. I did notice that there is a 600+ page book for sale in the latest issue of Trains covering all of the wrecks of the RIL. 600+ pages :D :D Now that's a whol;e lot of wrecks:rolleyes: :rolleyes:

    Bob
  6. kettlestack

    kettlestack Member

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    :) Thanks for the offer Bob, I mistook MO to be Montanna (another senior moment of mine). I now know it's Missouri.... geeee, the closest I ever get to you is Chicago and even then only for a 2 hr change of planes. (Dang it :) ) Besides, you didn't mention you would be buying the beer. (chuckling here).

    If you really want to know what my affinity is, it's the AL&N, (there, I thought that would make your day :) ).
    The reason? Well 24 yrs ago was the first time I visited the states and I came across the first USA brass loco I had ever seen, a 4-6-0 in all it's glory complete with a flap cover for the stack! If you ask me real nice (and buy me a beer), I'll post a pic of it.
    It's a real beauty and Ohhhhhh so smooth a runner. Pity rolling stock marked for this line is very rare.

    About the RI wrecks..... no wonder the line went bust!:( . (I even saw one wreck on that line recently :) (helluva way to run a railroad!:D ) That recent wreck was nothing a belt of whisky for the crew wouldn't put right. :D

    Errol
  7. Bob Collins

    Bob Collins Active Member

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    Of course I'll buy the beer. Didn't know scots drank beer, I thought they all drank expensive single malt whiskey (Scotch to Americans).

    I guess then I've been closer to you when I was in Edinburgh than you have been to me in Chicago. We are about 100 miles southwest of St. Louis, along the InterstateHighway that goes on to Oklahoma City eventually. I live in a small city (15,000) where we have a highly regarded state school of engineering, mines and metallurgy, with about 4,000 students from all over the world on campus. No, I have no connection with the university, I retired here a number of years ago out of the military and just decided to stay.

    I may have told you this before, but my wife and I are not much on going back to places we have been before as there are so many wonder places to see in the world, but we both agreed that when we have the opportunity we will go back to Scotland.

    We travel as much as we possibly can. Will spend three weeks in Turkey next fall. Have trips planned to Australia next year and Thailand the following year, plus we usually try to sneak away for a week in the dead of winter and go to Mexico. But somehow we'll get back to Scotland too. One of the things I look forward to is that I understand there are several spectacular train rides available and I'll sure want to do at least one of those.

    I'd like to see someone model the bridge across the Tweed as you come from Edinburgh toward Durham. Pretty neat to my way of thinking. Wish I had a picture of it. I was so busy looking I forgot to take one when we crossed it coming south.

    Peace

    Bob
  8. bobrien

    bobrien Member

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    Hey Bob
    If you are travelling Downunder to go to Australia, I hope you are intending to visit New Zealand :)
    After all, Australia is a wonderful BIG country, but we are an AWESOME little one .....
    (ps. the people are pretty darn nice too!!!)
    (pps. oh, and the scenery is just incredible!)
    cheers
    Bruce :D
  9. bobrien

    bobrien Member

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    and I nearly forgot this bit...

    As this was originally my thread on the topic of DCC, I had meant to thank everyone for their input.
    I just didn't reaslise the issue was going to be as big as it is. But nevertheless, I have learnt much from all your replies.
    Thanks once again guys. I have decided to block wire everything and look at DCC way down the track when I have more experience....

    Bruce
  10. RI541

    RI541 Member

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    CULT: ie Religous group

    I guess I'll have to start wearing my black robe.

    BOO

    Did I scare anyone?

    Seriously though I have been thinking of installing DCC but I'm waiting for the price to come down a little more. For now I'm happy running two trains at a time.

    Dont you need to block for a reversing loop?
  11. Gary Pfeil

    Gary Pfeil Active Member

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    Errol, and anyone else interested, if you ever find yourself in the NYC area, you are welcome to visit and operate my layout. I'm not going to go into the DCC stuff again, but you should know that I am computer illiterate, and no, I haven't ever set the clock on my VCR, nor ever used it to record. I can only read Yahoo lists, I couldn't register. I find computing in general confusing and I admittedly don't really care. But DCC is easy for me, I don't see how it can be perceived as difficult to others, especially those who seem to know computers so much better than I. I've never played computer games, couldn't understand how people could remember which keys would make what happen fast enough to play. Well, some functions on a throttle are like that, only much less so. Perhaps it just comes down to what your interests are. Anyway, you are all invited (not at once, please)!

    Gary
  12. farmer ron

    farmer ron Member

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    VERY DISOLUSIONED !!!

    Aftering reading this thread completely and listening to everyone's opinions , and that is ALL that they are, it appears to me, and maybe I am wrong and not reading this right, that to be a "real" model railroader you have to have a dcc system. I take offence to this. To have or not to have a dcc system is based on a person wanting or not wanting a system, size of their layout if it is worth it to them, and cost. There are many railroaders out there who do not have dcc, do not want it, have a fabilous layout, and most inportant of all are enjoying the hobby. I for one, and like many others that I have spoken to, are unable to justify the cost of a system at this time. Yes, in the near future, when our three daughters are finished university and an upcomming wedding is done, then will look at it at that time, but until then I am just as happy with my two controlers that run my layout. This hobby is based on the amount of enjoyment you are getting out of it, NOT the amount of money you put into it or have or have not a dcc system !!! Just one persons opinion. Ron.
  13. Bob Collins

    Bob Collins Active Member

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    Ron;

    I guess you leave me moe than a little confused. The only individual who seems to want to rant and rave against DCC is the individual who started the thread in the first place. Most of the rest of the exchange, again, with the exception of the inddividual who began the thread, has been both civil and informative.

    I don't really care what anyone runs on their layout anymore than I care if you spend your money on brass locos. I suppose I could make a case for anyone who runs brass is an elitest just like others are saying about those who operate with DCC. It just isn't true and it isn't fair for anyone to say differently.

    If you don't like DCC don't use it. If I don't like brass I won't use them either. We all have priorities and I wanted a DCC system for a special reason and it has NOTHING to do with showing off that I can afford it (I gave up other things for now so I could have it now).

    Bob
  14. Gary Pfeil

    Gary Pfeil Active Member

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    Ron, I'd have to say you took something wrong, no one here, including myself, who has been the most outspoken one concerning DCC, has even hinted that to be a real model railroader you need DCC. Not even close.

    Let me try to clear up some apparent misconceptions. I have never stated that DCC is the only way to go. I have never belittled anyone who has no interest in DCC. I have tried to answer questions asked about DCC by people interested in learning more about it. I then went further to answer specific negative comments made about DCC.

    I understand that there are plenty of people out there on both sides of this particular bandwagon, and that on other forums the discussions get heated. It seems to me there is way too much passion involved in this subject. Many of the people have responded to the DCC issue with feelings that it is being pushed on them. And that people such as myself are "defending" our purchases.

    I have never brought the subject up except to answer a posted question. I could care less who buys and who doesn't. Any slight you feel is imagined.

    Perhaps someone could tell me why it is that so many people attack DCC, when they have no firsthand knowledge of it. No one is forcing it on you, at least not here on the gauge. And the coverage it gets in the model press doesn't force you to like it either.

    Once again I will say I am sorry to anyone whom I may have offended in any of my posts. I will say that I am offended to be taken as some type of brute who tries to force DCC on people.
    It just aint so.

    Gary
  15. Gary Pfeil

    Gary Pfeil Active Member

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    Bob, To be fair, the original poster just asked a simple question which Woodie answered quite well. My first post on this thread only dealt with turnout wiring as I felt Woodie's answer on DCC was sufficient. It was with Billiebob's post that the discussion started getting argumentative. Anyway, perhaps we can just put this behind us.

    Gary
  16. Bob Collins

    Bob Collins Active Member

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    Gary, you are absolutely correct and I apologize to bobrien for confusing his monikor with that of billybob------ . My mistake and I am sorry bobrien.

    I certainly agree with Gary that it time to put this all to bed. I enjoyed much of the exchange because I had the chance to learn about something in which I now have a keen interest.

    At the same time I find it very frustrating to listen to others attack either individuals or ideas. That really serves no useful purpose and may, if fact, cause some to hold back in their posting for fear of being criticized. I'm sometimes rather quick on the trigger, but for the most part I sit here with my tongue jammed in my cheek responding to something that has really made me laugh outloud. Some of you are extremely talented in making me laugh:rolleyes: :rolleyes: :D :D

    Please make me laugh somemore!!

    Bob
  17. bobrien

    bobrien Member

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    Dear Bob Collins

    Thanks for realising that I am just an ignorant learner and not the one who would rant or rave for or against ANYTHING on here - something I wouldn't do simply cos I don't have anywhere enough knowledge to form a strong opinion one way or another.

    It would seem to me though, that much of the discussion within this thread is really what bulletin boards such as this are all about surely - that of the opportunity for people of like interests to exhange information, offer suggestions, provide support and encouragement and probably most importantly of all, COMMUNICATE with others.

    I agrre with you bud, the more smiles the better.....
    :D :D :D :D :D :D :D :D :D :D :D

    Bruce
  18. Bob Collins

    Bob Collins Active Member

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    Bruce, I am in 100% agreement with what you have said. The Gauge is here to exchange information, encourage one another, support the other fellow, have some fun in the process and all the positive methods that are available to each of us to promote the hobby.

    Although we all have our own reasons for doing what we do with our layouts I have decided that when I have it far enough along to have it fully operational, but probably without much, if any scenery, I am going to make a gift of the whole shooting match to the military school where I graduated 100 years ago as the basis to start a model railroad club on campus. I will give them enough to get started, but leave enough to do to provide the students with an opportunity to establish their own ownership of the layout. I'll let them name it and all that sort of stuff. I won't give it away tomorrow, but some day soon. That was another reason I thought DCC would work great. They will be able to move around and the various members of the club can operate. I already have an idea what I will do for my next layout:D :D

    By the way, I will be in NZ sometime late in May next year. Don't know where yet or for how long, but am not going all the way to OZ without going to NZ too.

    Bob
  19. bobrien

    bobrien Member

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    Bob
    If you need a tour guide around our city when you are here, let me know and I will be happy to oblige.
    As long as I'm not playing with my trains that is.......
    ;)
  20. OLDGATORBOB

    OLDGATORBOB New Member

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    DCC

    OK, I HAVE READ ALL THE NOTES ABOUT DCC................

    I HAVE LAYED 2 CTS. OF CORK TODAY, I AM GETTING THERE, NEXT WILL BE TRACK.

    BUT I AM IN THE SAME BOAT, TO DCC OR NOT, I HAVE NO LOCLS YET, SO I CAN START OUT WITH 2 OR 3. I THINK I WOULD LIKE TO WORK WITH DCC. MY LAYOUT IS IN A "E" SHAPE ONLY 2FT. DEEP.
    SO I AM GOING TO HAVE ALL MAN. SWITCHES. I LIKE STOPPING THE LOCO TO OPEN THE SWITCH.

    MY LAYOUT IS A POINT TO POINT SET UP ( ANOTHER CAN OF WORMS ) I AM THE ONLY ONE RUNNING THE LOCOS BY THE WAY.

    NOW......... DO YOU HAVE TO BLOCK A REV. LOOP WITH DCC?
    .......... IF I AM RUNNING 2 LOCOS ( NOT AT THE SAME TIME ), WHEN I STOP NO. 1, AND STARTING TO RUN NO. 2.... ARE YOU SAYING THAT I CAN LEAVE IT SET ANYWHERE ON THE TRACK?

    I CAN COME UP WITH THE COST FOR DCC, AND I AM THINKING THAT I WOULD LIKE DCC. I CAN BLOCK MY LAYOUT INTO ABOUT 5 BLOCKS. I DON'T LIKE A LOT OF SWITCHES TO PUT UP WITH.

    I AM WAITING FOR VOICE CONTROL, ITS NOT FAR OF, I GOT MY 2YR. OLD GRANDSON A TOY TRAIN SET FOR X-MAS AND IT IS THAT WAY.

    OK, LET HEAR YA-AL THINK ABOUT THIS, GOD BLESS, ROBERT