I have been a member of 2 NTrak clubs that used Digitrax Super Chiefs without
any issues on large layouts.
Where Digitrax excels is the use of LocoNet to have an alternate communication
network to the accessory devices like the stationary decoders and occupancy
detectors and signals. Depending on the complexity of the club layout, this can
be a great advantage especially if your club does nmore than just loop
activity. LocoNet makes it easy to wire up a command bus as well as a separate
This advantage is not available directly from NCE, but can be used with NCE by
using a few non-NCE products.
Depending on the size of the club, and how many locomotives will be operating
may be the ultimate determining factor. Digitrax can only control 120 slots for
locomotive addresses. Depending on how your club plans to handle consisting, you
may run out of space in a hurry. I do not have access or have ever used NCE so I
am not sure how many active addresses it can handle.
So the one of the real decision makers in the system will be the scalability to
handle the number of members and their locomotives.
From: movnscaler <captn_chip@...>
Sent: Fri, December 31, 2010 6:32:42 PM
Subject: [WiringForDCC] DCC System Recommendations
I am researching DCC systems for our club, Mid-Ohio Valley N-Scale (MOV
N-Scale). We are a sub-group of Mid-Ohio Valley Model Railroad Club in
Parkersburg, WV. We are looking for the best DCC system for our modular N-Scale
layout. Our layout is undergoing major renovation and among other things we plan
to add DCC.
Our layout will have four tracks or lines (East Bound Main, West Bound Main,
Branch Line, and Mountain Line). Each line is approximately 120 feet in total
length. There is a large yard (16 feet long with +/- 6 yard tracks for each of
the four lines). There are two reversing loops and approximately 15 industrial
sidings. We will need remote control for +/- 12 turnouts that are beyond easy
reach (all others will be hand operated ground throws). We would like to add a
prototypical track signalling system (most likely NJ International signals).
Finally, we generally run trains with 4 to 6 locomotives (coal drags and the
juice train are typically 55 to 60 cars, however during open houses we've gone
as far as 105 coal hoppers just to show off). I would not be surprised to see 30
locomotives working the layout simultaneously.
The DCC system we're looking for should have the following qualities:
- NMRA compatibility.
- Supports all the usual decoders, accessories, etc.
- Enough power and flexibility to support our current operations and future
- Wireless cabs.
- And finally it can't be MRC. MOV-HO uses an MRC DCC system with wireless cabs
and while we are favorably impressed with the system, I've gone over this in
detail with the MRC tech. rep. and they are adamant that there can not be two of
their systems in this close a proximity.
I'm sure I'm forgetting something, but this should give you an idea of our need.
I'd like to thank everyone in advance for their comments and recommendations.