DC to DCC And Back To DC Again!

Post all your DCC only problems, solutions and discoverys here.
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Mountain
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DC to DCC And Back To DC Again!

Postby Mountain » Sat Apr 10, 2021 11:34 am

I invested heavily into DCC just over 20 years ago (Was it really that long ago?) and as things progressed, I stayed out in front of the DCC technology for a fair few years and ended up with my first DCC sound loco, extra handsets and an extra booster etc...
I worked it out I had spent over £1000, but I don't regret this. To me it was well spent. The learning curve of DCC was one I had to do. I needed to know and have the DCC experience.

So why, though I still have my DCC system, have I opted to go back to DC with my 7mm narrow gauge?

Three reasons. The first is I actually missed DC. I missed the thought behind DC wiring. Somehow, a DCC wiring bus when one simply connects everything to make it live just didn't appeal. Even today I would wire a layout the DC way and switch all track sections to "On" if I was to use DCC as it is soo much easier to trace a short circuit then checking every item of track on ones layout if one simply wired it all up to be live.
The second reason was that I remember spending an afternoon just programming a single loco. I am a type of person who if there is an adjustment one can make, I will want to do it! I sat there on my bedroom floor where I had set up a test track as I had no layout at the time, after spending ages programming to try to get my new DCC sond loco just "Perfect" and I thought "I have spent ages doing this. If I was building a layout I would have made it by now!
The third reason was due to cost. While when I had a well paid job I was happy to spend £1000 on DCC where around half of that was investing in decoders and I was still 30 odd decoders short, I then found myself a fair few years with little or no income.
It also prompted me to model in 7mm narrow gauge instead as I could carry on modelling at a time when I saw 00 gauge prices doubling, and then almost doubling again in what seemed to be just a few years.

For some reason I enjoy DC ad its simplicity. Yes, one can also enjoy a more basic simple DCC system.
But it is those clunky metal toggle switches on a cab control panel on a DC layout, and the quick and easy way one can control ones trains via the straightforward electro-mechanical simplicity that I missed. I am not into wanting to control my trains from a mobile phone, or an I pad or a computer. I never have liked that idea. I only liked the idea of a computer acting as an extra operator on a large layout, but I do not want to use a computer to control the train I want to use. I want to control my trains in a manual way.

I am not wanting to say "You must go for DC and avoid DCC" as DCC and what it can do is amazing. To turn lights on and off from the controller. I am less convinced with DCC sound and smoke etc as at an exhibition, all those extra sensory sounds and smells on top of a crowded hall full of people talking is too much for me!

But my thoughts on DCC and how I would approach DCC if I was to do it again, is to approach the concept as if one was building a DC layout, and have a manual control panel with points controlled via the panel but use DCC control for the trains.
Why I say this, is that I have visited a garden railway where I helped to clean track so we can run trains, and the owner does not understand DCC. She was just getting used to the old DCC system when her son changed it to a new one as her son keeps up with the new DCC developments and changes the system every year or two, but the issue is, that she is an elderly lady who maybe intelligent, but she is scared to fiddle to learn the new system, and she won't let others use it incase it is messed up... So when she runs trains, though all points work from the DCC controller, she relies on others to switch the points for her manually by going out into the garden etc...

But that is my point. That the system she has may on the surface seem simple enough, but if each time one uses it one has to keep reading through notes, then it takes away from the operators experience in using DCC.
Now if the lady was not adement that she needs DCC sound as this railway is one that is publicly viewed, I would have said to run the railway using DC and have a nice sturdy simple to use control panel which would be easier for her to use, as it would be easier to work out what is going on.

(Or for her to use DCC for the trains, but have a traditional control panel for the points. I had suggested to have a mimic control panel for the railway just with the DCC point numbers drawn in the right places, so it means she can set routes easier, but I can only make suggestions as it is not my railway).

So while I like DCC and I like DC, as to which I prefer to use, I have to say that it depends on what sort of layout I am wanting to use it for.

If it is a simple oval or end to end where I am going to be the only operator, then I prefer DC by far, but if I want to make a large club layout that will have many operators, I would opt for DCC every time as DCC really comes into its own with such a layout, and it is fun too!
Last edited by Mountain on Sat Apr 10, 2021 12:17 pm, edited 1 time in total.

ChrisGreaves
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Re: DC to DCC And Back To DC Again!

Postby ChrisGreaves » Sat Apr 10, 2021 12:16 pm

Mountain wrote:... I am not into wanting to control my trains from a mobile phone, or an I pad or a computer. I never have liked that idea. I only liked the idea of a computer acting as an extra operator on a large layout,...
Mountain, thanks for this deeply thoughtful essay. I am re-entering the hobby after 60 years absence, with trepidation, and my commitment to date is eight plastic locomotive kits and some tinlets of paint.

At the time I dropped the model railway layout phase i discovered and fell in love with computers, and i think that the computing industry supplied my mind with logic puzzles in the way that running and shunting locomotives used to do. (Triang track, isolated sections, one Triang controller per section, ...)

I still love computing, programming, and (more like when than if, now) at the time I get back to a layout with powered locos I think it will be DC, possibly room to room, with a holding signal at the entry to each room. Make each room a section, why not? And the impatient passengers can wait while I walk into the next room and handle the next controller.

Oh the anticipated joy in the complexity of life with a simple system!
Cheers
Chris

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Mountain
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Re: DC to DCC And Back To DC Again!

Postby Mountain » Sat Apr 10, 2021 12:26 pm

I may have edited it a little since you wrote.

With DC, unless one just has a trainset style simple oval,I would always use cab control with or wirhout common return (Depending if the controllers are comaptible with common return or not).
The DCC advantage on a larger layout is less wiring and if one has several operators, then DCC is much easier in this way.
DC does have the advantage that finding a short circuit is much easier if using cab control, as all one has to do is switch all sections off, and switch in a section at a time to see when the controllers overload protection trips. (I don't like using DC trainset style controllers which give no visible or audiable indication of their overload protection cutting in as it is frustrating!)
Once the offending track section is located, one simply goes and takes a look just in that area of track to see what the problem is. Why if I was to wire a layout with DCC, I would still prefer to wire it in sections via the traditional switch. Much easier in fault finding.

For me though, as I could use DC or DCC in a sectional way with a proper control panel, I have to say that I want to fully understand it, so the simpler the technology I use, the more easily I can get my brain to work around it, and the simpler and easier things are to put right when they go wrong, and DC answers my needs in this way.

When I was younger I wanted to take full advantage of all available gadgetry and technology, but now I ask myself "Do I actually need it?"

I have been looking at radio control for my model railway, which will really looks promising because with narrow gauge, one does not need that many locos and therefore dirty rails don't matter. But, the downside is that it is yet more of a complication that I don't actually need. I may test the idea out thongh one of these days. One thing I want is it to be simple to use and set up. The problem is, that if I want a handset to use with more then one locomotive (As some radio control handsets do this) I suddenly find extra features that I will not really use and do not need on the better handsets. Yet if I ONLY want to make the trains go and have a simple controller, the only option is to have one handset for each locomotive, where one may as well have the one that does more as though it is twice the price, if one has three or more locomotives, it makes more sense. (Yes one can "Bind" the basic handset to more then one loco in its programming set up, but I don't fancy binding them every time I want to change a locomotive. Why can't they make a simple radio controller without extra features, but does have a switch to select more then one train?).

The same issue today I find with cars. I hate the didgital dials in modern cars. I do not want modern technology blearing itself at me. I am not against the technology itself but it is a distraction as I am driving.
For me, I want a car with a powerful engine and yet is kept simple. Car manufacturers assume that buyers who want cars with the bigger engines also want the best technology and want them filled with the latest gadgets... And they assume that buyers who don't want the latests technology do not like cars much so they want puny little under powered engines. They do not cater for people like me.

I also see this now with bicycles. In the last few years only one bicycle in all the ones I see I can say I like because the whole market has turned to worship technical gimicks, and assumes if one does not want technical gadgetry, that one has to have a cheap and nasty frame because they assume the buyer knows nothing about bicycles. They do not make bikes for those who want tried and tested and long lasting technology on a lovely lightweight frame.

But going back to DCC, at least one does have the option for a simpler DCC controller without too many un-neccessary gadgets, but how long will this last? (The Basic Bachmann trainset controller is an example but sadly it is limited to only 9 DCC loco addresses. If they made something like this but could do 99 addresses... Mind you. The older Lenz Compact is just right as a controller as it does just that, though the Bachmann controller was actually slightly easier to use).

But for me, I have to admit that I prefer DC just to keep things understandable and simple.

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Re: DC to DCC And Back To DC Again!

Postby heda » Sat Apr 10, 2021 5:43 pm

Interesting thoughts Mountain, just as I am contemplating going DCC.
My previous N gauge was DCC and I was very happy with the overall running, better control than with my current OO gauge DC layout.
At the moment I'm using two basic Hornby controllers and have been looking to buy a decent DC controller. However by chance I've got the opportunity of an old Lenz DCC controller.
I haven't made my mind up yet but I'm thinking once I get some free modelling time to but a cheap decoder, wire it into a spare loco and see how it performs, thinking mainly of better control at shunting speeds.
If I do switch to DCC it will be purely for controlling the trains, points will still be operated by a toggle switch and powered with a cdu.

Daev

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Re: DC to DCC And Back To DC Again!

Postby Mountain » Sat Apr 10, 2021 7:46 pm

That Lenz DCC control system is the exact one that I have, and it is very good and if anything, it still holds its own today because more modern DCC systems do not actually offer that much more if one looks at them in a practical way other then having a few extra sound functions, which to be honest, the Lenze set 01 has more then enough to access the majority of the sounds of a sound decoder, (And one can pick and choose via programming which DCC sounds on the decoder one wants to be able to access) and the odd other un-neccessary feature... Put it this way. The Lenz set 01 can do far more then one should ever need, including computer interface capabilities, read back of accessory decoders etc, and if anything, later Lenz DCC products like the Lenz set 100 seemed to be a step backwards in its adaptability as they went to combine boosters with the command unit where the set 01 has a seperate booster, and like me, I bought a seperate additional booster which can run in parallel to have two layout zones, or can be used in series where I can have my system push out a track melting 8 amps of current!
The Set 01 can also access 14, 27, 28 and 128 speed step decoders. Very few of todays decoders can access the old 27 speed step decoders, so if one happens to buy an old H0 DCC model loco, one can run the thing which some modern DCC controllers may not be able to do. (The upgraded system upgrade adds the ability to access a few more DCC sounds but it is a trade off by dissabling the ability to access decoders of different speed steps, which is why I chose not to upgrade my controllers microchip, as I felt that I was loosing more then I was gaining).

But my thoughts are in regards to DCC and DC are that for many layouts, DCC is good but can be overcomplicating things when carefully designed DC would be easier to use and save oneself some frustrated hair pulling! (Though DC has hair pulling moments of frustration, DCC can have times where one is pulling ones hair from regions one had no hair to pull!)

It is more that when I see people struggling with the technicalities of their DCC system when I look at their layouts and think how much easier their layouts would be if they had used DC, it makes me wonder why they insist that they needed DCC to begin with.

There is nothing wrong with DCC. It is good, but for some layouts, and for some people operating them, I feel they would be soo much better off if they had used DC.

For other more complicated layouts, or for those who are more technically minded, DCC is certainly a concept I reccomend.

My reason for writing is along the lines that our model railway industry follows the latest fasions in the hobby, as they need to stay at the forefront of the modelling world, but where this position is ideal for some, others can be swept away in a fashion like commercialism and end up causing themselves issues that they could have avoided had they taken a different approach.

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Re: DC to DCC And Back To DC Again!

Postby heda » Sun Apr 11, 2021 9:23 am

You have answered a few questions before I've even got round to asking them on here.
Yes it is the same system that you have and it looks more than adequate for my needs, I have no interest in running my little layout via a computer.

I agree completely with your comments about over complicating and following fashion but people have different ideas about what they want out of the hobby. For me the controller is simply a way of making trains move and that is all I will using the Lenz for if I choose to go digital. The one big plus from what I have read is that slow speed control using DCC is superior and that is what I want, slow controllable shunting.

Dave

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Mountain
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Re: DC to DCC And Back To DC Again!

Postby Mountain » Sun Apr 11, 2021 10:46 am

Slow speed shunting is obtainable on DC and DCC.
My thoughts... DCC can get issues with the occasional loco where a decoder has back EMF and/or inertia... Let me try to explain what can happen and how to overcome it, as this one puzzled me.
As I came into DCC fairly early, to get a decoder that had these features one had to pay a much higher price, and I believe the decoder issued with the set 01 was such a decoder.
Now as the most basic decoder available which even after grants were available to Lenz who used them to reduce decoder prices they were still the price of a typical Hornby 0-4-0 (The cheapest decoders had been the price of a typical bogie diesel before that), and demand for cheap decoders meant that one could be waiting a few years to find some, so most of us had to order the next cheapest or even expensive ones and this was in the days when the 8 pin plug was just starting to be introduced (Even though nothing for the British market had an 8 pin socket in those days), many of us had to order something more expensive, and occasionally one could get an 8 pin plug decoder which cost a coupke of pounds more but they were available because back then no one had 8 pin locomotives.... So we would simply cut the plug off and hard wire them in.

Now one of my decoders was giving issues. The loco was running fine under DC. Solder the decoder in and all seemed ok, and I was enjoying this inertia feature, but then it would do a dead stop and start its inertia all over again. This then happened again and again. I changed the decoder to a different one and had no problems.
I tried this decoder in another loco. Same problem. Finally when either I used this decoder again in a third loco, or I had another decoder do this,and it happened to be on a loco that I wanted to sell so I had to get it right (And I did not want to delay things through changing decoders) I asked in one of these forums. Some mentioned that they were dud decoders, but Lenz were known to be the best and I had not heard of Lenz decoders giving problems. Someone mentioned my wheels or pickups were not up to much, but I know I had this issue in the past on about three locos and I did ensure the locos would run well right down to an acceptable crawl (Perfectly acceptable for a Lima or an older Hornby model), so I did not think that this was a problem.
Eventually someone said to dissable the back EMF and inertia settings on the decoder. It took me a little searching through the decoder notes ad the controllers handbook. I had to set both these settings to 0 if I remember correctly, and only then did the loco run well. It ran as well as it did on DC.
The problem is that it only takes a small cut in the current for the decoder to assume that it is starting from a standstill and it reacts as if it is, hence the sudden stop. DCC stay alive is said to solve this issue, but my decoders pre-date this feature, and it is an additional expense. Ok if one really loves ones loco and does not have that many locos to fit decoders to them, but if one has a large fleet like I did in 00 gauge, then trying to buy enough decoders is the major concern, let alone fitting them and making them work! I think I stopped with DCC when I had about thirty decoders left to buy, and I had fitted about half my fleet, and had about 25 decoders I had not fit. I had a reasonably good income in those days, but even then I was astounded when DCC sound came in where sound decoders were £100 or more at the time when a typical bogie diesel was £40 to £45. Even the Bachmann all wheel drive new in diesels were at first £46, and they went up to around £50 to £60... Maybe £65 at the most... And someone writing about their layout in a model railway magazine said he had 80 sound chipped locos and the magazine writers were hinting if one does not have DCC sound one is being left behind in the hobby... I had a good income, and I had no family to support, and I could not afford that! (I just bought the one DCC sound loco just to play around with and yes. DCC sound is very good, but it makes one feel like the quiet locos all have to be done to match!)
But I saw someones DCC layout in a magazine who had 80 DCC sound locos, and the writer implied that anyone who does not have DCC sound was missing out and being left behind in the hobby, and I thought I had a good income. I was thinking to myself "How much money to these people spend on their hobby?" Yes, it is their money, but if I had that sort of income, I would not waste my money in 00 gauge. I would have a rather large ride on garden railway that I would be driving, not watching! :D (One of my dream railways! Hehe).
But then also when I left that job as I could not continue. I did not know back then that it was my mental health that was hit. I now know that mental effects ones physical abilities. Took years to make that connection. But anyway... I was left for a fair few years with either no income or a low income so I had to sell the house and other luxuries I had like a lovely classic car and my little camper... (Worked it out after repaying the mortgage and adding how much I spent on the house, though I had sold it half the estimated price as I did not know if I could keep up with the mortgage on virtually no income that I broke even to the penny).
But I sat there in my bedroom (Just before I sold the house) thinking what to do as I love trains! I looked and there was a Smallbrook Studio 7mm narrow gauge "Cloe" kit which I had bought around two years before. I only bought it because I loved the look of it and had a spare donor loco. I had nothing else in 0-16.5.
I started to build it. The more I built it, the more personal it was to me. I found a little N gauge Lenz decoder which was going to squeeze in a Bachmann class 08. I fitted the decoder but then thought "I do not know if in the future that I will have money to buy another decoder if I get another loco". I also had sat there in the past thinking how much time I had spent on trying to fit and program all these decoders and I was only half way done...
I then remembered my last layout which was DC and how much I poved those clonky toggle switches... Not only did I miss DC, but I longed for simplicity. I longed for hastle free modelling.
And also, DC was one I could afford. No decoders to buy. Just all pure locomotive!

So, for what I wanted to do in my new venture in 7mm narrow gauge, and for my budget and my needs, DC ticks all the boxes.

Now in the past had I been able to carry on and stayed in 00 gauge with a large fleet of diesels and have made my large indoor layout spanning around the two upstairs bedrooms, and my planned outdoor garden railway (00 gauge) when I had my own house... DCC not only was the answer, but it was the solution, as I had planned to have friends from where I worked (I worked on the railway) who were also into trains where we could all operate my layout (Had I built it) and have fun. Now many operators on a large layout and DCC really comes into its own. It is made for it! Lenz and others like Digitrax designed their system to cater for the very large American club layouts where a great many operators could be all running trains... In the early days of DCC it really took off in the USA as it was the answer to their operating needs.
What attracted me was that a DCC loco can also run on a DC layout as long as it does not have a feedback controller or an electronic track cleaner, and controllers like the old Lenz system I have also allow one to run a DC loco on them. While running DC is not reccomended as delicate motors can have their insulation deteriate, this feature has been tested for a thousand hours on a more hardy DC loco (The retailer who was the Lenz importer in those days (A very kind man who had endless patience and time) told me he had done tests himself on his locos without damage but in those days, the hardy Lima pancake locos and the Hornby Ringfield motors were the mainstay of the hobby). Todays delicate motors? Uhmmm. Not worth the risk other then short test runs.
But these aspects are what sold DCC to me as I could run my unfitted locos on the system until I could afford to by all the decoders I needed, and I could run my DCC fitted locos on friends DC layouts as well. This was the major appeal to me in those days which gave me the enthusiasm to go for it! And it is good. I won't deny it! But is it the answer to ones operating needs? Uhmm. That is what this thread is all about.

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Re: DC to DCC And Back To DC Again!

Postby Bigmet » Sun Apr 11, 2021 12:35 pm

heda wrote:... However by chance I've got the opportunity of an old Lenz DCC controller.
I haven't made my mind up yet but I'm thinking once I get some free modelling time to buy a cheap decoder, wire it into a spare loco and see how it performs, thinking mainly of better control at shunting speeds...

Try that Lenz set with a good decoder. Either the Lenz standard, or one of the Zimo MX 600 series; the latter offer all the current connectors which is a major convenience. Optimise the decoder settings for the loco, enjoy the performance, and never think of DC except for first test running mechanisms to ensure they are trouble free and performing optimally ahead of decoder installation.

Points control, stay with whatever system you are happiest with. I use slide switches and push rod for most of mine: you have to be present to shunt a yard, why not have the 'signal box point levers' at your fingertips?

heda
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Re: DC to DCC And Back To DC Again!

Postby heda » Sun Apr 11, 2021 1:13 pm

Thanks for the advice Bigmet. I will be asking (lots of) questions before starting out.
There is a decoder included which I assume is Lenz but I have no way of knowing if it is working so I was thinking buy a cheap decoder purely for testing out the system itself. Once I know that is OK I can look at getting proper quality decoders.
Whatever happens it's not likely to be for a few weeks yet.
Dave

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Mountain
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Re: DC to DCC And Back To DC Again!

Postby Mountain » Sun Apr 11, 2021 3:41 pm

The Lenz decoder comes with the set 01. It certainly wasn't a cheap one as Lenz used to do a range of decoders where that one was one of the most expensive they did for 00 gauge locos. It was also one of the best decoders available in its day and though it predates the Gold and Silver series decoders Lenz brought out a couple of years later (Which are the same ones in use today), it wasn't too far off being the same standard. (The Gold and silver series added a few extra features like the ability to be used with stay alive and if I recall a readback facility where decoders can communicate back to the controllers? (I never used that facility myself, though it may have been their point decoders?))
To give an example of what that decoder is, their basic decoders which after the prices went down due to grants, they were the LE103XF and the LE104XF (The 104 having an 8 pin plug) which were £17.95 and £19.95 each (These were in such demand that one could be waiting a couple of years to get them. I remember their codes because all I wanted was cheap decoders to make my trains go and in those days they were the budget ones, though they themselves had been double the price a year or two earlier). Now the one that came with the set which is the one you had was at least £35 if not more to buy. (I can't remember the model number (I could find that information if required), but they had features like back EMF and inertia, where the basic ones did not. While one had full access to mapping out speed curves etc, the only thing Lenz decoders did not do in those days was have the ability to limit their top speed, where Digitrax had a decoder which did. I believe the one you have is a 3 function decoder which in those days most decoders only had two functions, but I seem to recall that one could have a blinking light facility? I am not 100% sure as I maybe mixing this up with early Bachmann decoders which I later bought.

I will admit though, those Lenz gold and silver decoders are said to be among the best. The one you have is a forerunner to them and is certainly not a cheap one. (I never knew why Lenz decided to put such an expensive decoder in with their set 01 because if one is starting out into DCC, one of their basic budget decoders would have been fine).

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Re: DC to DCC And Back To DC Again!

Postby pete12345 » Mon Apr 12, 2021 2:38 pm

One thing I've always found with my DCC experiments is that the un-turn-off-able inertia simulation makes it far less tolerant of minute spots of dirt on the track. Whereas a DC loco might stumble and then carry on, DCC locos stop dead, power up again and then accelerate gradually up to the set speed. I know the solution is clean track, but there always seems to be one dirty spot regardless. And I always like the position of the control to correspond directly to the speed of the locomotive, not what I want it to drive itself to. Inertia is all well and good, but a heavy coal train will accelerate differently to a light engine and there's no way to allow for that. On DC it's simple: turn the knob at a different rate.

For large layouts or conversely very cramped MPDs, or if you insist on sound (a bit of a gimmick if you ask me) or for American diesels with multiple lights doing different things, it's great. But for me, using older steam models on a geographically simple enough layout, DC works well enough.
Once an engine attached to a train, was afraid of a few drops of rain...

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Mountain
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Re: DC to DCC And Back To DC Again!

Postby Mountain » Sun Apr 18, 2021 11:59 am

I was going to give this answer elsewhere as I let my mind wonder, but it is so apt for this thread I will put it in here instead.

The foundational principles of DCC was to make set of rules in which everyone used so that the systems would not only use the same language, but have a forward and backward compatibility. If it did not, it was straying away from these set of rules.
It is easy to say that "Things progress" but in regards to our hobby, how much do they need to progress to? Why do we need to have more then we have now?
We are operating a model railway using computerized control systems to our advantage. We are not operating computers using railways to our advantage as that is boardering into a different hobby in which will eventually require different standards. It is why while I embraced DCC, I am not interested in having the DCC system directly linked to a computer be it a PC, a mobile phone or a tablet. I do not want to prevent others from enjoying them as I like people having hobbies and specializing in them, but for me, DCC is about train control in the direct hands of the operator(s) and not of a computer, so controlling trains via a computer is a step in the wrong direction as for me, the aspect of train control that I like is not being addressed in a way that I prefer to use it.
So my concern about the future of DCC is that are we heading in a direction which drags us away from the love of one hobby and over towards needing to embrace a different hobby in order to control our trains, and the danger is that as "DCC technology" advances, the market will want to fully embrace the advancements and be at the forefront of wherever this will lead, and the ordinary DCC user who only wants to run his or her trains and prehaps wants the luxury of DCC sound but jothing more will be left behind, as new technological advancements will mean forst one has to upgrade to new DCC style systems to run the new decoders as old DCC decoders will be left behind and no longer sold, and the new DCC systems will no longer support older DCC decodrs. (My Lenz system was forward and backward compatible so I can access the early Marklin 27 speed step decoders and yet access modern DCC sound decoders even though it maybe a few functions short (One can pick and choose which sounds one wants to include if the sound decoder has more sounds then one has functions, so all the sounds are accessable, but not neccessarily instantly available as one needs to program them in or out as one chooses which sounds are allocated to which individual functions).
But consider the future of DCC could be heading in a similar direction to todays computers, where a perfecly good operating internet system can't keep up with the new advances, and so new systems come in, and to use the internet one needs a new computer which can run these new system and so one is in a slave like need to keep upgrading every so often just to have access to the internet, let alone be at the head of an ever evolving and changing system where the only real ones who benefit are those manufacturers who are ahead of their game who rake in the profits as their robotic workforce churns out millions of the new devices... This is the very concept that DCC in its infancy wanted to avoid and is why DCC took off as a concept with modellers in the first place... Because one could run ones trains on different DCC systems because they all agreed not to change the DCC protocological set of rules.

So if things do advance for those who want the advances, sure, let those who want those advances continue to enjoy them, but it is wize to let them be called something other then DCC, so both DCC and whatever new system will advance beyond it will still enjoy their followers and neither the old of the new technology will become obsolite for at least a couple of decades to come.
The only downside to doing this is one will then end up back innthe realms of the early days of command control systems where no one system (Other then Hornbys Zero 1 and the even more impressive H&M 5000) shared the same language between the system and the decoder.... So the full circle of progress leads us back to where we were which gave rise to the need for the Digital Command Control Protocol to be set up in the first place!

So the thought of where things are heading, where the modeller could in effect be dragged places one did not want to go is not a failing of the technology itself, but a failure to agree that any new advancements will be constraigned within the DCC derrived platform... In much the same way that DC control has standardized on using 12 volt D.C. motors in most of the popular modelling scales, except that the DCC future may be one where one has to run ones trains via internet connected devices as the only available option to use DCC control, or potentially worse still, where the DCC control will be in the form of a virtual reality machine, and we will have lost all sense of the physicality of having actual models to run which is no problem for those who love this technology, but a big issue for those of us who want something physical and tangible to run.

So the challenge for the industry, if it wants to stay part of the DCC game as we know it is to follow any technicological advances without straying outside of the DCC protocol, or to resist the temptation to advance, or to go outside of what we know and understand to be DCC, and develop an entirely new system and hope that modellers will want to join for the technological ride.


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