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Old 17th May 2012, 15:40   #1
CuriousCoot
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Default The early Decisions...

I love new projects. In the first days of a big new project you are so absorbed in the process of planning and re-planning. Especially as you are learning everything new at the same time!

One decision I am sensing I will have to make early on is the whole DC/DCC thing.While I want to experience everything I can as fast as I can (yes ADHD, though not a justification when I was young in the 50's & 60's) before the next bright shiny comes along.

Can you all recommend a good first primer book/web site to delve into the mysterious and wonderful world of DCC? I do not think that converting equipment and hardware will be much of a deterrent to me provided I can get some good instruction.

Oh for N scale please. And as always, your thoughts and comments are also a necessity!
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Old 18th May 2012, 13:26   #2
JohnM
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Default Re: The early Decisions...

If your thinking of DCC you won't regret it. Personally I use NCE Power Cab and it's real easy. To get started it's plug and play. Over and above that read the manual. It has been suggested that you use what ever system the people locally use because different systems aren't compatible. That doesn't mean loco's won't run on a different system than yours.

http://www.tonystrains.com/tonystips...imer/index.htm

This is a fairly comprehensive site on DCC.

Enjoy

John
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Old 18th May 2012, 17:00   #3
CuriousCoot
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Default Re: The early Decisions...

Thank you John, I'll be grabbing that PDF soon as I get home this afternoon!
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Old 19th May 2012, 03:20   #4
BR60103
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Default Re: The early Decisions...

The standards for DCC mean that all the bits on the track side of the "2 wires" are supposed to be compatible and work together.
The power pack side has no standards beyond the signal it puts out.
So your power pack/controllers/power boosters have to be the same manufacture (sometimes the same thing may have different brand names). This is going to be the one expensive decision. There will be 2 important factors.
--You should be comfortable with the way it operates. Some of the controllers look like a universal TV remote full of obscure buttons. And some are like miniature calculators where any button may have a bunch of different uses.
--It's nice to have some local support. See what the local club uses and what the local hobby shop supports. If you have a local club, they will probably let you come in and try their system; they may even have some different systems to sample.

Theoretically, you can chip any loco. All you need is to be able to break the power connection between the wheels and the motor brushes somewhere. This is not always easy or obvious and may require adding wires that interfere with mechanical bits. The second bit is room for the decoder. (there was a review some years ago that said, roughly, "It's nice that X included a DCC socket in their loco. Unfortunately, they didn't leave any room for the chip".)
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Old 19th May 2012, 06:52   #5
CuriousCoot
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Default Re: The early Decisions...

From what I have been reading it appears that a DCC will eliminate the need for a control panel. I am also reading that I will not have to wire in blocks to manage my train movements. Am I getting that right??
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Old 19th May 2012, 23:45   #6
JohnM
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Default Re: The early Decisions...

Yes and No.
DCC can remove the requirement for a control panel at the cost of making life more complicated (and expensive) by having each turnout on it's own separately programmed decoder. Block control isn't required, but having blocks can prevent everything grinding to a sudden stop in the event of a short (derailment). This will depend on the layout. I believe your layout is 5X5, so I would imagine blocks to be unneccesary.
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Old 20th May 2012, 02:55   #7
BR60103
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Default Re: The early Decisions...

One of my friends gave a presentation on converting his 10' diameter OO show layout to DCC. They converted all the switches to dcc. He said that he would not bother to do that again.
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Old 20th May 2012, 12:49   #8
CuriousCoot
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Default Re: The early Decisions...

I've been thinking long and hard about this this weekend. Getting ready to put down my bench work and tabletop. Using 1x2's for some rigidity and a foam insulation board for the surface. I've been thinking about the DCC thing and considering several points I think I will stay DC for my first layout. The model I envisioned over the years was based on what was available (technology) 15-25 years ago so this one should be old school. I'll learn more about wiring and operation that will give me a greater understanding and appreciation of what DCC can do.
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Old 30th May 2012, 07:30   #9
jafo
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Default Re: The early Decisions...

The one advantage I had with going DC when I first started, was purchasing used loco's on ebay. I was able to buy cheaper locos (mainly Athearn blue box), and experiment with painting and detailing, without worrying about wrecking an expensive loco. To this day, my layout is still DC, although my control panel looks like a 747 cockpit By using the cheaper loco's at first, it allowed me to divert cash to other areas such as a larger layout, more rolling stock, and multiple passenger trains. 1 Atlas DCC GP-40-2 (HO scale) costs $290.00, 1 DC version of the same loco is $180.00, an Athearn DC ready-to-roll is about $100.00, and an Athearn blue box from ebay is roughly $30.00-$45.00 I'm not sure about you, but I sure made some major mistakes on my layout while I was learning. I caused a few serious wrecks over the years, and I would have been very very very upset if I trashed an expensive loco.

Due to money limitations (she who controls the bank account ), I was able to purchase more loco's by staying DC than if I went DCC, due to the obvious price difference. I like to have at least 3 loco's pulling my trains, and 3 DCC versions could easily top $1000. I would be limited to only 1 or 2 trains at those prices, and I'm a loco hoarder... I just couldn't do that LOL. I doubt I would ever convert to DCC due to the overwhelming price it would take to upgrade all of my loco's... and I've got a LOT!

In my case, it simply came down to budget and choice, and I'm glad I chose DC.
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Old 29th September 2012, 20:07   #10
Hondo
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Default Hondo

I have been listening to all this good advice and I read everything I can find re; trains, and I have pretty much decided to go DCC. The cost does bother me but the advantages are too many for me to ignore.
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