Idiot Proof DCC?

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Rogue_Lion1
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Idiot Proof DCC?

Postby Rogue_Lion1 » Thu Dec 10, 2009 8:13 pm

Hi Rogue Lion Here - i Hope i have posted this in the r ight place if not i am sure the moderatiors will do so for Me and I apologise in advance if I have. I am a total novice to electronics and wiring and as such I intend to build My new and first ever 8' x 4' layout using DCC. Any and All advice to a complete and total novice will be more than welcome.

Thanks


RL

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Flashbang
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Re: Idiot Proof DCC?

Postby Flashbang » Thu Dec 10, 2009 8:32 pm

Hi
Welcome to the DCC forum.
Have you purchased a DCC control system?
If so. what one?
If not, have you made a short list of possibles?
How many locos do you want to run at once?
Is PC control (even later on) an option for you?
What about point operation - Is it to be DCC for later PC control or conventional analogue with a panel and switches perhaps?

All of the above many seem daunting, but if you work through each one and make a list then visit model shops and try the systems "Hands on" you'll make the correct choice for you budget and needs.
You will find many contributors will "recommend" their system, but in the end its what you want and how much you're prepared to pay!

I would recommend either or both, buy some related books and /or browse the forums and ask plenty of questions :D
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Bigglesof266
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Re: Idiot Proof DCC?

Postby Bigglesof266 » Thu Dec 10, 2009 8:59 pm

Taking in to account the implications in the generality of your question, a smart place to start would be with a set including a Hornby Select (or Bachmann EZY Command). Inarguably amongst the other criticisms levelled at the Select is that it's basic. Regardless, it does work well enough in its intended intro to DCC role, and the whole Hornby arrangement is much like Lego. Significantly, the Select is just so simple to use relative to more advanced controllers, and Hornby's manual explains how to use it and its functions simply enough to build confidence rather than confuse. Follow the Hornby bouncing ball keeping it simple with clip together SBG track incouding elctroclip fitted points, and it'll give a positive introduction to DCC for a simple layout. Some might suggest it a false economy, but given the overall cost or investment in any substantial layout, the pittance outlayed this way when starting out will save a motza in the longer run where one needs to develop the confidence and familiarity with DCC through a pragmatic working relationship before one is capable of making a truly informed decision of wants and needs or which DCC system.

When one comes to buying a more comprehensive DCC system, they aren't cheap. So IMO best it doesn't feel like ordering blind from a foreign language menu and you'll likely choose the best one for your needs when it counts. A Select is where I started aware to an extent of alternative offerings, and I'm glad I did. Relatively simple as the user interface is in NCE's PowerCAB which is where I subsequently went, and which is often cited as among if not THE most user friendly of the more sophisticated DDC system controllers, I reckon I'd have found it daunting to kick off in DCC with it.

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Re: Idiot Proof DCC?

Postby Bigmet » Sat Dec 12, 2009 10:45 am

You need a simple 12V DC controller, a basic unit from Hornby or Bachmann is fine. In essence DCC is an 'add-on' control system, the locos have to function well on a 12V DC system, before they will work well with the decoder added, using DCC control. Trying to locate a problem with DCC operation, with no information on whether the loco runs well first on DC, is like trying to push jelly uphill with a stick.

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Flashbang
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Re: Idiot Proof DCC?

Postby Flashbang » Sat Dec 12, 2009 11:29 am

Hi
Bigmet, have you misunderstood the OP requirements? They want to start out in model railways with DCC, which IMO is fine way to start.
So, starting from new, they wouldn't reasonably be expected to have any dc locos! Normally they would all be DCC fitted ones or ones that are purchased as DCC Ready and they or someone else will install a decoder into the loco.

A DCC starter set of some sorts is probably the "Normal way" (if there is a normal way?) of entering model railways and getting started and into DCC. This does means you'll be obtaining a "Train Set" manufactures DCC controller (which isnt always the best option IMO!) but does work the set and hopefully anything else added later. :D :D
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andy23
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Re: Idiot Proof DCC?

Postby andy23 » Sat Dec 12, 2009 11:31 am

Hi,

This is one aspect of dcc i have never quite understood. Were told in the loco instructions to test first, Yeah i can understand checking a loco on dc before chipping, that makes sense. But how does this apply when you buy on dcc on board? this shorely contradicts them selves? i cant be right to think they expect us to take out the chip?.

Just some food for thought.

:?:

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Flashbang
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Re: Idiot Proof DCC?

Postby Flashbang » Sat Dec 12, 2009 11:38 am

andy23 wrote:Hi,

This is one aspect of dcc i have never quite understood. Were told in the loco instructions to test first, Yeah i can understand checking a loco on dc before chipping, that makes sense. But how does this apply when you buy on dcc on board? this shorely contradicts them selves? i cant be right to think they expect us to take out the chip?.

Just some food for thought.

:?:

Hi
If the loco is sold as DCC Ready (or perhaps not even DCC ready for some models!) then its normal practice to run them in on dc. This can a basic oval, the main layout or on a rolling road etc. Any poor running issues seen can be addressed or the loco returned to the supplier if they are really poor, all before opening it up and attempting to fit a decoder.

With DCC Fitted (or On Board as one manufactures calls it) You run in the loco on DCC. Again either on the layout or on the rolling road. If its found to be poor, return it.

So long as the loco is run in for the required time, at a series of steady speeds and in forwards and reverse directions then it really doesn't matter how its powered. :D
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andy23
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Re: Idiot Proof DCC?

Postby andy23 » Sat Dec 12, 2009 11:49 am

thanks flashbang,

i suspected something along those line (excuse the pun). I suppose the mech is still running regardless of the power supplied.
:D

Rogue_Lion1
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Re: Idiot Proof DCC?

Postby Rogue_Lion1 » Sun Dec 27, 2009 2:28 pm

Flashbang

thank you for your welcome. To take each of your questions in order:

1/ Have you purchased a DCC control system? - No
2/ If not, have you made a short list of possibles? - No because I do not understand them at all
3/ How many locos do you want to run at once? - Eventually I wish to run up to 12 locomotives at once
4/ Is PC control (even later on) an option for you? - No I am a total technophobe with PC's
5/ What about point operation - Is it to be DCC for later PC control or conventional analogue with a panel and switches perhaps?
My intention is ti run absolutely Everything - locos - points - lights - signals etc. from a central control board qas well as a turntable and roundhose.

Thanks for all your helpful guidance and advice.

RL

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Flashbang
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Re: Idiot Proof DCC?

Postby Flashbang » Sun Dec 27, 2009 4:16 pm

Rogue_Lion1 wrote:Flashbang

thank you for your welcome. To take each of your questions in order:

1/ Have you purchased a DCC control system? - No
2/ If not, have you made a short list of possibles? - No because I do not understand them at all
3/ How many locos do you want to run at once? - Eventually I wish to run up to 12 locomotives at once
4/ Is PC control (even later on) an option for you? - No I am a total technophobe with PC's
5/ What about point operation - Is it to be DCC for later PC control or conventional analogue with a panel and switches perhaps?
My intention is ti run absolutely Everything - locos - points - lights - signals etc. from a central control board qas well as a turntable and roundhose.

Thanks for all your helpful guidance and advice.

RL

Hi again
To try and help you further.....
You might find a read through this page helpful? http://www.brian-lambert.co.uk/DCC.htm
To run 12 locos simultaneous you will IMO need PC control. I have found that trying to control 3 at once is about the most my (pea sized) brain can deal with!
Do remember like most things in life, the more you pay the better the scope of control and power offered. So as a very rough rule of thumb.... Sub £100 DCC systems willl be very limited in their functionality and at best are basic train set controllers/systems.
Over £100 units will normally offer better control options and CV adjustment (fine tuning of loco motors or other functionality) etc
Personal choice will dictate if you want a desk mounted style of console or a hand held unit. Then your budget comes into play.
Some will advise that their own choice of system is the 'bees knees' and is the best buy etc.
But its up to you to make the choice.
What I would say to you is, make a short list (of 2 or 3 systems) and then go to one or more model shops and actually try them before parting with your hard earned!
:D
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Hulldude15
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Re: Idiot Proof DCC?

Postby Hulldude15 » Sun Dec 27, 2009 9:37 pm

Sorry to be asking questions on someone else's thread, but...

Which is the cheapest way of going into PC control?

And can a hornby elite control locos and points by pc, and can it write CVs (Even when not connected to pc)?

Thanks

Hulldude15

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Essex2Visuvesi
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Re: Idiot Proof DCC?

Postby Essex2Visuvesi » Mon Dec 28, 2009 10:16 am

The Digitrax PR3 USB interface is well supportrd and is compatible with almost all loconet controllers and software
I have one attached to a digitrax Zephyr and macbook running JMRI
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Flashbang
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Re: Idiot Proof DCC?

Postby Flashbang » Mon Dec 28, 2009 3:48 pm

Hulldude15 wrote:Sorry to be asking questions on someone else's thread, but...

Which is the cheapest way of going into PC control?

And can a hornby elite control locos and points by pc, and can it write CVs (Even when not connected to pc)?

Thanks

Hulldude15

Hi
In answer to all your questions re Hornby Elite - Yes! It has PC interface but you'll need to download the software such as JMRI which is free. It can alter and read CVs.

The Elite isnt possibly the "Cheapest" or the best! Compare the price of the Elite with for example the excellent NCE PowerCab starter set which is also PC compatible and can read CVs etc.
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Rogue_Lion1
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Re: Idiot Proof DCC?

Postby Rogue_Lion1 » Mon Oct 25, 2010 6:32 pm

I am so into this DCC - However as a newbie I am aware I have so much to learn. For example when I initially began building my model railway I purchased the Hornby Smokey Joe set convinced I would merely need to pin the track down and plug it in and that would be it. Such was my naiveté. Now I see that their are other functions available such as engine lights and point operation and so forth. I currently have no idea how any of this works – yet. However I see it as being a challenge. All My life I' have had the greatest admiration for the wonderful Victorian Engineer Isimbard Kingdom Brunel - I am certain that during His amazing career he must have encountered many seemingly impossible problems yet He was able to find a way to beat them - He of course built a far superior railway to any I could ever dream of building - if He can succeed then I take me inspiration from Him.

i am rtuily open to Any and All advice on All aspects of building this my first ever model railway.

Thanks to Everyone here

Rogue Lion

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Dale_the_noob
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Re: Idiot Proof DCC?

Postby Dale_the_noob » Tue Oct 26, 2010 12:07 pm

Its going to be hard to have 12 locos running around an 8' x 4' layout.

How many will you have running at one time? Not how many will be on the layout?

If its 2 or 3 running (2 loops and a shunting yard) then I would just stick with a control system for now with the option to move to PC control.


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