Brand new to this

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AlanG
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Brand new to this

Postby AlanG » Wed Feb 17, 2021 11:36 pm

Hi folks, just starting off.

So, digital or analog?

Help

Alan

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flying scotsman123
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Re: Brand new to this

Postby flying scotsman123 » Thu Feb 18, 2021 12:42 am

Hi, welcome to the forum!

It really depends what you want to do. Set up a couple of basic loops with a siding or two? Probably not worth the expense. More complex layout, a shunting plank where you might want to control different locos on on the same section, go digital. Budget also comes into it, the cheapest chips are at least £10 per loco, plus a cheap DCC controller for another £100 or so.

You can always convert to digital later as well, if you think you're getting into it. All modern locos (last 15 years or so) are easily converted with a simple plug and socket, older than that can vary with all requiring some form of hard wiring, ranging from pretty straightforward e.g. cut a couple of wires, solder a couple of others, to quite complicated.

Sound used to be the other reason for going DCC but I think that is now possible on analogue too, although I don't do sound.

HTH for now.
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Mountain
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Re: Brand new to this

Postby Mountain » Thu Feb 18, 2021 2:25 am

DCC or DC?

Very much simplified.... If you are on a tight budget, or you want simplicity that is easier to understand go for DC.

If you have money to spend and you want the best to impress, and love high tech gadgets and all the extras that come with them, then DCC is for you!

I am oversimplifying things. I did write a long and complex reply... But at the end of the day, it all depends what one wants to achieve.

The best advice I can give, is that once one has decided on either DC or DCC is to buy something good. It does not have to be complicated, but it is well worth spending out on a good DC controller, or DCC control system. Don't be tempted to buy cheap budget controllers. Buy something good and it will last for years. Ask advice in here before you buy a specific controller as someone somewhere has had one so can tell you either to go for it, or not to bother!

But as for DC or DCC. I have both but I actually prefer DC as I want a simple life! But when I was 10 to 15 years younger and still in my 30's, I would prefer DCC with all the gadgets. Now I am in my 40's I can't be bothered with the gadgetry. I just want plain and simple so I have gone back to DC.

Tigcraft
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Re: Brand new to this

Postby Tigcraft » Thu Feb 18, 2021 7:12 am

As I’m brand new too On here I’m keeping with dc too as I like simplicity. I’m also going to watch this thread.

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End2end
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Re: Brand new to this

Postby End2end » Thu Feb 18, 2021 11:03 am

Hi AlanG and welcome to the forum. :)

From my own perspective, I chose DCC for train control because I didn't want to get into all the wiring etc for sectioning out of the layout to run multiple trains on the same track.
And because I wanted the lights to stay on on static or stationary rolling stock.
DCC sound? Haven't got into that at all .... yet. I do like what I've heard so far though. :)

The above is not possible on DC. (There may be a long winded approach but for me none are as easy as just placing the rolling stock on the track)
If your layout is not separated into sections on DC, turn the speed knob and EVERYTHING moves. :shock: :lol:

I do have a caveat though. All point motors WILL be controlled via analogue means (mains power) using a control panel with physical switches rather than the DCC system or DCC point motors.
(DCC point motor decoders are just too expensive for the amount of points I have and I prefer physical hands on switching.)
Both systems will be isolated from each other.

Thanks
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Dad-1
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Re: Brand new to this

Postby Dad-1 » Thu Feb 18, 2021 11:47 am

I only started in 2008 and decided then that the option of having more than
one locomotive live at a time on tracks that were permanently powered was
the way to start, so DCC it was. Never regretted the move.

When you have no collection of legacy DC locomotives the additional cost of
adding a decoder to a new loco purchase is minimal. Obviously if you already
have 20 locomotives or more then the cost of adding decoders mounts up

I just loved the idea of taking another locomotive into a siding where you
already have one parked up. Running two together, closing one up front to
front, With DC simply impossible, when one goes backwards so will anything else
on live tracks because you are driving the track whereas with DCC you're
driving each individual loco from the cab !!

Yes it is marginally more expensive, but in my opinion well worth it.

Geoff T.
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viewtopic.php?f=22&t=32187 and Another on viewtopic.php?f=22&t=28436&start=60&st=0&sk=t&sd=a

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glencairn
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Re: Brand new to this

Postby glencairn » Thu Feb 18, 2021 12:25 pm

Hi AlanG. Welcome on board.

Choosing DC or DCC? I shall not get involved into the discussion of which is the one to choose. I think you will know yourself when reading the answers from other members.

I personally chose DC because A) DCC wasn't available when I started. B) I have nearly 100 locomotives and too expensive to change (which I don't want to). C) I have very young grandchildren (when they can visit) they know they can just turn the control knob and the train goes round.

Whatever you choose be it DC, DCC and gauge, Get a short section running and build on. No matter how many operators there are (I can run my layout with three operators - two grandchildren and me) still be able to operate all the layout by yourself.

Have fun. It is a hobby. There is no race, only a winner - you.

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Bufferstop
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Re: Brand new to this

Postby Bufferstop » Thu Feb 18, 2021 12:59 pm

Hi AlanG I can see you are getting the welcome treatment. I fell into the "returning with legacy kit" bracket, at a time when decoders started around £20, the more than basic controllers went up from around £150 to £500+ and I wanted an escape from keyboards and screens. Otherwise I would have gone the same route as Geoff (dad-1). Apart from what to do with dead end sidings, a properly wired DC layout can run DCC simply by unplugging one controller and connecting up another, and a basic DC controller is a great item to have in your toolbox if you get into testing or building locos.
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Mountain
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Re: Brand new to this

Postby Mountain » Thu Feb 18, 2021 1:13 pm

One thing is that if one has a loco depot where there will be a lot of locomotives in one place so there is potential to have a few locos on the same track, with DC it is not that difficult as one splits the track into isolated sections via a switch to each section. It is simple wiring to ones control panel but it is effective. DCC does have the advantage that one can just drive the loco and park it without the need for switches.

DC works by (In its most basic form) having a controller which supplies 0 to 12 volts where off is 0 volts and 12 volts will be full speed with various voltages inbetween which naturally alters the speed of the loco, and on the controller there will be a means to reverse the current so the locomotive will go forward or reverse. (There is also a means of overload protection to guard against short circuits which is needed in both DC and DCC for when trains come off the rails or various shorts occur).
A very simple DC layout one just wires the controller to the track. If the layout is more complicated, then one simply divides the layout into sections which is known as cab control and there is much information about this on the internet. (Do not confuse cab control with comon return. Common return is a way of reducing the amount of wiring to the switches but not all DC controllers can do this as each DC controller has to have a seperate transformer to avoid a short, so if in doubt, start with basic cab control the standard wiring method, but if one knows what one is doing, then common return will save you some wiring and free up poles on double pole switches for panel indicator lights etc).

DCC is different. One wires a DCC layout so the whole layout is live and when the control system is switched on, it applies a constant voltage of usually around 18 volts to the track. Now the locos motors need 0 to 12v DC in either forward or reverse direction. The controller sends out packets of information down the track and the decoder in the loco decodes it whilst also applying just the right amount of voltage to eqate to the speed needed, and also supplies the right direction etc.
The little decoders actually do quite a bit more besides as one can turn lights on or off or even sound if one has a fancy DCC sound decoder.
Obviously there is the extra cost involved and each loco needs to have a DCC decoder fitted. Some locos it is easy these days (In theory). Just remove the body and plug in the DCC decoder into the socket. However, with some older locos it can be a major engineering task on a smaller scale to fit them as the wheel contacts have to be isolated from the motor and dut to some designs it is not always easy to do this or to see the route the current takes etc. Allmpart of the fun or frustration! Haha. Nothing is impossible, but it is often a challenge.

Both DC and DCC are not the only choice. We now have radio control sysems which have been even used down to N gauge locos that need no track power as they have batteries fitted onboard the locomotives so it is amazing what is out there today!

Bigmet
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Re: Brand new to this

Postby Bigmet » Thu Feb 18, 2021 4:43 pm

Control with DC is easily the simplest. Until you have 2 locos and want to run them simultaneously and fully independently: for every DC loco you want to have running simultaneously and independently, a DC controller per running loco connected exclusively to a defined track section for the loco to run on is required. A layout of any size intended for multiple locos to run independently requires much wiring, track sectioning and switching in addition to the controllers. Been there, had a three cab switched section layout which ran very well. (Retained a DC controller because the basis of DCC remains a 12V DC motor loco: the decoder is essentially an 'overlay', and for best performance the loco mechanism has to work well on DC.)

Control with DCC solves the multiple simultaneous independent control limitation at a stroke. In essence, one system controls as many decoder fitted locos as you can fit on your layout. It's an open system, and supported by a large spread of businesses offering considerable choice of compatible product. So much easier than DC, admittedly there is a learning curve; but once you are flying it's excellent. (DCC was just one of a slew of digital control formats, some of which are still available; but it is indisputably the big one with broad support.)

Then the yet further control alternatives: wireless communication, using track or on board battery power, as already mentioned. To date none of these have moved beyond the proprietary brand stage, because we have yet to see a 'category killer' wireless control format emerge and win over a significant proportion of the market. Too much risk at present of buying the wireless control equivalent of Laserdisc, V2000 or Betamax; which VHS stomped into the dust. I will let others be stomped on until there's a clear champion.

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captrees
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Re: Brand new to this

Postby captrees » Thu Feb 18, 2021 11:39 pm

Welcome AlanG.

You've started something here! I was brand new to this 4 years go, asking the same question. I don't belong to any organisations, or even know anyone else locally who is a railway modeller, and I am reliant on this forum for advice. Two things above I noted....

flying scotsman123 wrote:It really depends what you want to do. Set up a couple of basic loops with a siding or two? Probably not worth the expense. More complex layout, a shunting plank where you might want to control different locos on on the same section, go digital.

Sound used to be the other reason for going DCC but I think that is now possible on analogue too, although I don't do sound.


I have two loops with some sidings, and chose DC. Its fine. Simple to use and wire. My loops are large, and its quite possible to run 4 trains at a time (two per loop) if I want, though DC doesn't give me individual control over each train. I have to add or subtract trucks or carriages so that the trains travel at approximately the same speed. I'm not much interested in shunting things around sidings, so DC is fine.

Most new locos work for DC or DCC. I have one loco which has sound, which works fine on DC.

Bufferstop wrote: a properly wired DC layout can run DCC simply by unplugging one controller and connecting up another,


I learn something new every day on here. :lol: I always figured that I'd change to DCC later, but am perfectly happy with DC, and most unlikely to change now.

Good luck.

AlanG
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Re: Brand new to this

Postby AlanG » Thu Feb 18, 2021 11:42 pm

Good god!!!!

I wasn’t expecting so much info. Thanks so much, and now my head is bursting!!! :D

Thanks for the warm welcome

Alan

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sparkhill
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Re: Brand new to this

Postby sparkhill » Sat Feb 20, 2021 7:30 am

I tried getting into DCC three times but eventually went back to DC, the reason being that I am an old fashioned bloke that is over everything going digital, I am okay with electronics having built several shortwave radios so I had no trouble with the electrical side of DCC, thanks to AM/FM radio I can still enjoy music but having had a Digital Radio that was useless no reception, not everything digital is good, as far as DCC goes I see enough digital readouts without having to stare into a controller, I find a lot less mucking around with DC having said that I can see that it suits people that love pushing buttons and experimenting the control of their locos, so long as we all enjoy the hobby that's the important thing

Dave
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Tigcraft
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Re: Brand new to this

Postby Tigcraft » Sun Feb 21, 2021 8:56 am

sparkhill wrote:I tried getting into DCC three times but eventually went back to DC, the reason being that I am an old fashioned bloke that is over everything going digital, I am okay with electronics having built several shortwave radios so I had no trouble with the electrical side of DCC, thanks to AM/FM radio I can still enjoy music but having had a Digital Radio that was useless no reception, not everything digital is good, as far as DCC goes I see enough digital readouts without having to stare into a controller, I find a lot less mucking around with DC having said that I can see that it suits people that love pushing buttons and experimenting the control of their locos, so long as we all enjoy the hobby that's the important thing

Dave


That’s how I feel these days too. I know this is irrelevant to this subject so I won’t go on about it but some general digital stuff is good and a lot is totally useless and just fashion purchases. I’m just in the process of finding a second ‘Fun’ car that’s basic and CAN-bus free and I’ve just also bought a Nikon FM2 totally manual SLR film camera to enjoy ’period’ things again.
As for railways I’m just starting out same as the OP so my experience is neither here or there.

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Bufferstop
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Re: Brand new to this

Postby Bufferstop » Sun Feb 21, 2021 12:07 pm

I have just come across working point rodding with cranks etc which looks to be reasonable accurate for 00 scale. What I find amusing about it is it's being marketed by DCC Concepts
Take a look here .
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