DCC or DC? What to do, what to do.

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b308
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Re: DCC or DC? What to do, what to do.

Postby b308 » Thu Apr 23, 2015 9:42 pm

I knew my comments would grate with some DCC users, but a full DCC layout is about as unlike the real railway than it could get unless you are modelling the DLR!

As a method of running a layout conveniently DCC has no equal (as PNP proves with his comments) but to run it more as the prototype runs (with all it's inherent restrictions) then DC gets closer and the closest you can get is radio control! So far the main lines are not automated, DCC is actually one step ahead of the real thing in that respect!! :)

Horses for courses, if you have the money and want ease of set-up and running then by all means go DCC but DC will be around for decades to come (3 rail still exists despite people saying it would be dead within a decade several decades ago!) so if you want more of a challenge both in setting up and running then stick with DC...

Do what you want, there's no definitive answer to the question...

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bike2steam
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Re: DCC or DC? What to do, what to do.

Postby bike2steam » Thu Apr 23, 2015 10:21 pm

BananaRepublic wrote:Also for anyone starting out in "serious" modelling;


If you could, please, define 'serious modelling' in your view ?? 8)

ParkeNd
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Re: DCC or DC? What to do, what to do.

Postby ParkeNd » Thu Apr 23, 2015 10:42 pm

PinkNosedPenguin wrote:I'm another DCC fan - and my layout is N gauge :D. Sorry ParkeNd but I don't see the N vs. OO issue . . .----------------------------------------------------------------------------- You really feel like you are driving the train, not just controlling a section of track that happens to have a train on it. ---------------------------------


Hi PNP. Right at the start I said that people who have DCC will say that it is fabulous. Marcus needs to make up his own mind which way he goes and in that instance he can benefit from DCC believers, people who considered DCC and decided not to go that way, and people who are legacy DC users and will never change.

OO gauge. I have watched the Hornby DVD's demonstrating their most expensive DCC product on OO with it's 26 pin chips - with whistles, coupling clanks, slipping loco wheels, pre-programmed sequences of multiple engine operations and movements etc etc. That seems like a pretty fair demo of DCC capabilities if you have loads of money, and big enough locos. I have not seen the same possibilities demonstrated with N gauge.

In my first post I said that some of the way in which DCC works technically has been marketed as "you are really driving the train" as per your quote above. Having driven a real train myself and felt what that is like ( a 4MT on the SVR for about 10 miles) with the feedback through the regulator pulsing against your arm and how much judgement is involved to stop a steam loco with 8 carriages in the right place next to a platform I have to say that DCC's claims to this "real driving" feeling are pure marketing hype - philosophical advantages to be as polite as possible. I have to agree with Blair (b308) that DCC is nothing like prototype train operation.

I make the two points above just to answer your questions of me. :D :D

This issue will run and run for most people faced with the decision until DC somehow becomes absolutely useless, or a replacement for DCC does away with the high costs and the problems folk have with CVs and other problems etc.

There is not a right answer for all - yet.

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Re: DCC or DC? What to do, what to do.

Postby UrbanHermit » Thu Apr 23, 2015 11:05 pm

I agree that the full DCC monty is most unlike running a real railway (and that's why I don't want it), but you don't have to go that far. I'm using it in its most basic form, just to drive the trains. I'm still getting to grips with my NCE Powercab and I haven't even changed any CVs, so it's still totally hands-on.

I also agree that there will never be agreement on this issue, but as for the reference further up this thread to hostile argument, I haven't seen any here. What I have seen is people putting forward their own opinions while acknowledging that other people have a right to theirs, which is just the way it should be, and should help the OP to make up his mind. Which is what this thread's all about.

If it were more widely appreciated that what I do on my own layout has no direct bearing on what you do on yours - and vice versa - a lot of acrimonious argument would be avoided. (the late C J Freezer) Right on.
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Richard Lee
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Re: DCC or DC? What to do, what to do.

Postby Richard Lee » Fri Apr 24, 2015 7:27 am

BananaRepublic wrote:The thing is, Analogue will increasingly become a legacy choice, regardless of remaining in common usage for many.
However for new entrants, many have their first experience or exposure with a train set, but these are increasingly being offered with some form of DCC control.

As far as I am aware, most new models are sold as DC ready for DCC, that is with a blanking plate and socket. From what I read, many or even most DCC users prefer to use their own choice of decoder rather than use the cheap and basic Hornby or Bachmann offering normally supplied with DCC fitted locos.

There is another form of locomotive control on the horizon. At the moment, if you want rechargeable battery-powered, digital radio-controlled trains in the smaller gauges such as OO and N, you probably have to know what you are doing. (I do know that people are doing it in OO.) There are systems that seem to be in preparation for the UK and EU markets, for instance:

http://www.protocab.com/welcome

I understand that Bachmann are doing something using the most modern and relatively more reliable form of Bluetooth.

There are already systems available in North America. However, I do know that you can't just bring in radio control systems from the USA without getting them legally approved.

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Re: DCC or DC? What to do, what to do.

Postby PinkNosedPenguin » Fri Apr 24, 2015 7:56 am

All I was doing was pointing out that the main advantage of DCC (driving trains!) is just as applicable to N as the larger scales, now that chips are small enough to fit in almost any loco. Yes, sound may not be as good in N, though it is possible, but I am not interested in that myself. Lights are no problem in N either. I think radio control is still a long way off in N due to battery size. The OP is modelling in N gauge...

shaunster
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Re: DCC or DC? What to do, what to do.

Postby shaunster » Fri Apr 24, 2015 7:59 am

Dc or dcc feels nothing like driving a real train to me. I don't know many or any people who get into modelling so they can feel like they are driving a real train. Dcc is unrestricted and dc is restricted. Dcc is the logical choice going forward. But I only use it for driving the trains. Points control I much prefer a flick of a switch rather than mashing a cobinational of buttons to make it happen.

b308
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Re: DCC or DC? What to do, what to do.

Postby b308 » Fri Apr 24, 2015 9:03 am

shaunster wrote: Dcc is the logical choice going forward..


Why "logical"? You are making the same assumption as many DCC users that DCC control of locos has to be the way forward because of the benefits of the way power is delivered to the locos but a properly constructed DC layout can be just as reliable and one of those DC Simulator/brake controllers can make driving the train challenging when on a layout with gradients or shunting... Then there's the challenge of wiring a DC layout... If you were just an "operator" then there is a certain logic to DCC but it's not the "best" way to control trains... That choice is down to the individual on what he or she feels they like the best, personally for me I can't stand a control that looks like it's come from the bridge of star trek but that's just my opinion!

Two of us have mentioned Radio Control, I've come across it on a narrow gauge forum where several people have been using it in 009, again just another method of control for the individual to consider, it has upsides and downsides like the rest!

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Re: DCC or DC? What to do, what to do.

Postby shaunster » Fri Apr 24, 2015 9:47 am

b308 wrote:Why "logical"?


Because with DCC you can do everything you can do in DC but with distinct advantages. I am sure some people who have always used DC will never change. I dont see challenging wiring as a good argument for DC, rather a downside and it leads on to DC's limitations. Controllers dont need to look like a star trek control panel!.... there are some out there that offer a 'normal' cab control feature but they can also be expanded to offer wireless controllers if you have a large enough layout to warrant that.

DC isnt dead but increasingly it will become a legacy choice as time goes by.

I have not looked into radio control, I would have though interference would be a problem when operating anything more than a few loco's but there will probably be a workaround. I certainly dont see it coming to the mass market anytime soon.

Of course this is just my opinion, I would love to see alternatives to DCC coming through, if only because competition in the market will force manufactuers to keep coming up with new things and keeping the hobby fresh.

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End2end
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Re: DCC or DC? What to do, what to do.

Postby End2end » Fri Apr 24, 2015 10:46 am

For me the choice was simple. Either miles of complicated wiring (DC), more expense (DCC) or "half and half" (DCC to control train movements AND DC to control points).
"DC is not complicated wiring" I hear you cry...... maybe not for you, but for me it is. I have seen the wiring of DC layouts many times over the years and it has always bamboozled me and the electronics that goes with it. Just look at the wiring for a return loop in DC :? :o
So I opted for a DC/DCC mix. Nothing to do with "driving the trains". In fact my DCC controller feels like a DC controller with a big knob on it. There is no power / isolation to worry about as such (although I'm still not sure if I need insulated fishplates) and I can have multiple trains on the track without them moving unless I am controlling them. No more "everything in the siding moving at once".
I will point out here that I use DCC for ONLY CONTROLLING TRAINS, nothing else. All points will be controlled by switches on a control panel for a tactile feel and lights for feedback. And believe me when I say that even those electronics had me so confused for weeks while I tried to get my head around it. :?
I rather not have to faff about for hours on end with DC trying to hunt shorts and the such like with such an amount of cabling that is needed for DC.
Yes I know the you can have shorts on DCC, before anyone chimes in, but the AMOUNT of wiring and the complicated electrics makes it harder in DC.
There's much more to worry about than electrical continuity (although this obviously is a must!). You can have the most expensive DC or DCC controller in the world (Yes I am looking at you ECOS system :lol: ).....but if the track isn't flat, nothings going anywhere.
Keep it simple....and get running trains

Just as a side note.... I think it was here on the forum, possibly somehwere else where a layout owner decided to go from DC to DCC. The amount of wiring removed was phenominal!!!
My own personal take on the subject....which is of course...subjective :lol:
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Re: DCC or DC? What to do, what to do.

Postby UrbanHermit » Fri Apr 24, 2015 11:28 am

Hear, hear, End2end. My 'personal take' on it too, almost word for word.

But (and I can't repeat this too often) anyone is free to disagree. I'm not preaching.
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b308
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Re: DCC or DC? What to do, what to do.

Postby b308 » Fri Apr 24, 2015 11:53 am

In what way is driving the train "better" in DCC than in DC for a one engine in steam layout or even a multiple loco one, I have already agreed that it's easier but whether that's better depends on the individual and what they regard as fun...

You like DCC Shaunster, that is obvious, but your arguments in i's favour are just your preferences and do not form a logical argument that DCC is better than DC... Your comment concerning wiring is especially telling, you see the lack of wiring (though that's very debatable from some of the DCC layouts I've seen) as a plus, I don't... For me Model Railways is all about learning new skills, my latest being the construction of brass kits, and from my point of view DCC is actually a backward step as the builder of a DCC layout uses less skills than one who uses DC...

Everything can be argued both ways, there is no right or wrong, it's purely about the person's personal choice...

shaunster
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Re: DCC or DC? What to do, what to do.

Postby shaunster » Fri Apr 24, 2015 12:17 pm

Well if you just have one loco then it wouldnt be better? But most people have many and like to run them. Personally I like a quote I read a while back a long the lines of 'In DC you control the track, in DCC you control the train' and I think thats a nice way to sum it up. I dont feel the need to list all the advnantages of DCC over DC as its already been covered in this thread but they are not just my preferences. For the majority of people endless wiring is not an advantage (Yes DCC layouts still need wiring it isnt simply 2 wires). So in the end its still personal choice but DCC does have distinct advantages you cannot ignore.

DCC brings about new challenges, converting loco's, fitting sound (if thats your thing), lighting and so on.

BananaRepublic
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Re: DCC or DC? What to do, what to do.

Postby BananaRepublic » Fri Apr 24, 2015 1:31 pm

End2end wrote:......I will point out here that I use DCC for ONLY CONTROLLING TRAINS, nothing else. All points will be controlled by switches on a control panel for a tactile feel and lights for feedback.

shaunster wrote:......Points control I much prefer a flick of a switch rather than mashing a cobinational of buttons to make it happen.


Can I just point out that control of points, routes, signals etc, can be carried out using DCC through an ordinary "hardware" control/mimic panel, using physical switches, buttons or levers and LED indicator lights if so desired.
All it requires is one of the available modules to be fitted under the panel. All the wiring to/from the buttons/switches lights etc, goes into that; with just one cable connected to the layout cab/throttle bus.
The new DCC Concepts module (Cobalt Alpha) even allows the use of stud and probe for DCC, as one of the options.

DCC control of points, routes and signals is not limited to handsets or a computer software option.

What may have put people off is the fact that some pretty decent DCC handsets have poor usability when it comes to the control of accessories.





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End2end
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Re: DCC or DC? What to do, what to do.

Postby End2end » Fri Apr 24, 2015 1:50 pm

BananaRepublic wrote:Can I just point out that control of points, routes, signals etc, can be carried out using DCC through an ordinary "hardware" control/mimic panel, using physical switches, buttons or levers and LED indicator lights if so desired.
All it requires is one of the available modules to be fitted under the panel. All the wiring to/from the buttons/switches lights etc, goes into that; with just one cable connected to the layout cab/throttle bus.


All good points BananaRepublic, but here is where the inherent cost of DCC spirals.
A few switches, maybe some led's, some wire and the materials to build a box compared to all the digital modules needed for DCC, the price comparison is uncomparable. DCC being way more expensive. (you just have to look at the price of non DCC'd locos compared to DCC'd loco's nowadays).
Picking up from my previous post, the DCC reverse loop module for example is in excess of £20 for any make no matter what gauge is being used/modelled. Compare that with the DC version (or homemade version) and you looking at less than £10, more like under £5. Double it for a dog bone type layout with 2 reverse loops and that's £10-20 for DC compared to the DCC versions at £40+.
For most of us at least I reckon COST is a considerable factor in all out layouts thus my 2 pronged apporach to my layout, using BOTH DC and DCC.
Cheaper and easier for me at least.
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