To DCC or not to DCC...that is my question


Nick Ostrosky
 

Upon re-entering the hobby I had every intention to do DCC, but now I'm not so sure.  I'm building a 15x12 single mainline layout with one reversing loop and one wye (wye not yet built).  I've purchased some DCC and some non-DCC locos - about a 50/50 split.  Since I'll only be running 1-2 trains at a time, at most, is DCC worth the investment?  I've broken the layout into about 10 blocks, so circuit breakers, reversing circuits, power, etc., plus modifying the non-DCC locos, seems a little imposing.   I'd appreciate any insight on how to best analyze what may be best for my situation - or guidance on "hybrid" options, if that's even worthwhile.  Thanks!



dvollrath@...
 

Hello Nick,

You seem to be making it more complicated than it needs to be. Run, don't walk, to DCC. The advantages of operating with DCC are great. Once you get started with DCC you will never look back. Get yourself an NCE PowerCab and a PSX-AR unit to handle the reversing loop. You can use another PSX-AR or a lower cost relay to switch track polarity at the wye. Don't go overboard on breaking up the layout into all those control blocks with independent circuit breakers. There is no real need to do that unless you plan on having multiple operators. If you have already done so there is no harm in wiring the power leads for those individual track sections to the same DCC distribution bus. If you need assistance to modify existing DC locos to DCC, ask for help at a local club or hobby shop.


DonV


whmvd
 

hi Nick,

What is 'best for your situation' is ultimately only decided by what it is you want to do. Not by a collection of DCC fans. Because if you ask them, they will tell you that DCC is the way to go. Mind you, I agree, but that's why I'm in the group...

To figure out if it's worth the investment, you'd have to offset the added pleasure you'd get from DCC against the added cost. Only you can do that. The relatively low-cost and very reliable way into DCC via NCE PowerCab was already mentioned, and I'd agree wholeheartedly, especially as the upgrade path (should you want more) means that you do not lose out having to buy a lot of new gear instead of what you initially buy; it's in adition to what you initially buy. A good concept, that'll save you money in the long run.

Things to consider:
- headlights that work when standing still
- possibilities for sound
- multi-train operation
- possibility of bringing the computer into it (via JMRI - free - or otherwise)
- very different wiring
- an entirely new learning curve
- considerable expense when adding decoders to existing engines
and much, much more.

Good luck, and whatever you do: enjoy the hobby!
Wouter

On 10 April 2017 at 21:36, dvollrath@... [WiringForDCC] <WiringForDCC@...> wrote:
 

Hello Nick,

You seem to be making it more complicated than it needs to be. Run, don't walk, to DCC. The advantages of operating with DCC are great. Once you get started with DCC you will never look back. Get yourself an NCE PowerCab and a PSX-AR unit to handle the reversing loop. You can use another PSX-AR or a lower cost relay to switch track polarity at the wye. Don't go overboard on breaking up the layout into all those control blocks with independent circuit breakers. There is no real need to do that unless you plan on having multiple operators. If you have already done so there is no harm in wiring the power leads for those individual track sections to the same DCC distribution bus. If you need assistance to modify existing DC locos to DCC, ask for help at a local club or hobby shop.


DonV



Nick Ostrosky
 

Thank you for your guidance, especially with regard to blocks, NCE, etc.


John White
 

Hi Nick,
I know your feeling. I was DC when my son bought a Bachmann DCC
locomotive for me Christmas 2005 and man did I get bit. Anyway, don't
let it over whelm you, take it one step at a time. If your rail is
already broken up, that's okay. Just drop your power wires down to a
main bus to power all your track. Each block will be happy with all that
voltage.


The only real problem I had when converting is the fact that all my
turnouts are either Atlas with a few AHM turnouts. The Atlas are a bit
of a pain in the butt, whereas the AHM work better. What happens is the
Atlas are very DCC friendly, as are the AHM, but the rails are closer
with Atlas at the frog then AHM which sets you up for shorts, which will
reset your system, which it is designed to do to protect your equipment
and itself. If you don't have Atlas turnouts or similar, that is
pointless. Other turnouts are different and that will take more of an
explanation. None of it all that bad, either way. I put painters tape
over the frog points of the turnouts that give me problems and it works
fine and has lasted as much as a year and more and is still going strong.


As for converting your engines, it's not that bad either, once you
understand how it works. The majority of my engines are older engines,
as I've been into this hobby since 1974. Most of them convert and
operate pretty well. Although they don't work as well as those $100 to
$300 engines, they do serve me well. I do have 4 of the more expensive
engines, but it goes against my grain to have to pay that much. Anyway,
what ever you decide, you have to comfortable with it, no one else
matters. If DCC is your choice, this is the group to be in, as the NCE
equipment is much simpler then some of the others, as well as their
Basic decoders. wiring decoders into non DCC engines just makes them a
little bit better.
Hope my running on has helped, even if just a little bit.


Yell if you need help,
John
____________________________________________________________
Apply This - Eye Bags & Wrinkles Vanish In Minutes (Watch)
Health Headlines
http://thirdpartyoffers.juno.com/TGL3141/58ecc9cd517d849cc017est03duc


scott toro
 

I have a question when converting a new engine to DCC I made a new engine for me is it worth it if it runs great someone told me it was not worth the money just by another engine Cerni thing I need to look for one deciding about an upgrade the engine




On Tuesday, April 11, 2017, 6:06 AM, Juno jtw37@... [WiringForDCC] wrote:

 

Hi Nick,
I know your feeling. I was DC when my son bought a Bachmann DCC
locomotive for me Christmas 2005 and man did I get bit. Anyway, don't
let it over whelm you, take it one step at a time. If your rail is
already broken up, that's okay. Just drop your power wires down to a
main bus to power all your track. Each block will be happy with all that
voltage.

The only real problem I had when converting is the fact that all my
turnouts are either Atlas with a few AHM turnouts. The Atlas are a bit
of a pain in the butt, whereas the AHM work better. What happens is the
Atlas are very DCC friendly, as are the AHM, but the rails are closer
with Atlas at the frog then AHM which sets you up for shorts, which will
reset your system, which it is designed to do to protect your equipment
and itself. If you don't have Atlas turnouts or similar, that is
pointless. Other turnouts are different and that will take more of an
explanation. None of it all that bad, either way. I put painters tape
over the frog points of the turnouts that give me problems and it works
fine and has lasted as much as a year and more and is still going strong.

As for converting your engines, it's not that bad either, once you
understand how it works. The majority of my engines are older engines,
as I've been into this hobby since 1974. Most of them convert and
operate pretty well. Although they don't work as well as those $100 to
$300 engines, they do serve me well. I do have 4 of the more expensive
engines, but it goes against my grain to have to pay that much. Anyway,
what ever you decide, you have to comfortable with it, no one else
matters. If DCC is your choice, this is the group to be in, as the NCE
equipment is much simpler then some of the others, as well as their
Basic decoders. wiring decoders into non DCC engines just makes them a
little bit better.
Hope my running on has helped, even if just a little bit.

Yell if you need help,
John
__________________________________________________________
Apply This - Eye Bags & Wrinkles Vanish In Minutes (Watch)
Health Headlines
http://thirdpartyoffers.juno.com/TGL3141/58ecc9cd517d849cc017est03duc


Nick Ostrosky
 

Thank you, very helpful. I think once I actually get hands on with it, I'll feel more comfortable with it. The good news is I haven't yet laid the yard track, so if I can get by with fewer blocks that will likely be where I make that change. My turnouts are all Shinohara with a couple Pecos (and I'very been reading up on the latter and the modifications needed). For what I am planning, will I need a booster and where does that get connected In, e.g., somewhere else on the layout? Finding a wiring schematic that puts this in plain English has been challenging. Any advantages to the more expensive NCE "pro" starter set vs. the basic starter set?


scott toro
 

What is AHM? 




On Tuesday, April 11, 2017, 6:06 AM, Juno jtw37@... [WiringForDCC] wrote:

 

Hi Nick,
I know your feeling. I was DC when my son bought a Bachmann DCC
locomotive for me Christmas 2005 and man did I get bit. Anyway, don't
let it over whelm you, take it one step at a time. If your rail is
already broken up, that's okay. Just drop your power wires down to a
main bus to power all your track. Each block will be happy with all that
voltage.

The only real problem I had when converting is the fact that all my
turnouts are either Atlas with a few AHM turnouts. The Atlas are a bit
of a pain in the butt, whereas the AHM work better. What happens is the
Atlas are very DCC friendly, as are the AHM, but the rails are closer
with Atlas at the frog then AHM which sets you up for shorts, which will
reset your system, which it is designed to do to protect your equipment
and itself. If you don't have Atlas turnouts or similar, that is
pointless. Other turnouts are different and that will take more of an
explanation. None of it all that bad, either way. I put painters tape
over the frog points of the turnouts that give me problems and it works
fine and has lasted as much as a year and more and is still going strong.

As for converting your engines, it's not that bad either, once you
understand how it works. The majority of my engines are older engines,
as I've been into this hobby since 1974. Most of them convert and
operate pretty well. Although they don't work as well as those $100 to
$300 engines, they do serve me well. I do have 4 of the more expensive
engines, but it goes against my grain to have to pay that much. Anyway,
what ever you decide, you have to comfortable with it, no one else
matters. If DCC is your choice, this is the group to be in, as the NCE
equipment is much simpler then some of the others, as well as their
Basic decoders. wiring decoders into non DCC engines just makes them a
little bit better.
Hope my running on has helped, even if just a little bit.

Yell if you need help,
John
__________________________________________________________
Apply This - Eye Bags & Wrinkles Vanish In Minutes (Watch)
Health Headlines
http://thirdpartyoffers.juno.com/TGL3141/58ecc9cd517d849cc017est03duc


dvollrath@...
 


The Shinohara turnouts tend to be the power routing type where the points pick up and switch power to the all metal frog and frog rails. Some Pecos turnouts also work that way. Look for and digest the section of DCC friendly turnouts on www.wiringfordcc.com. You don't need to cut rails to make every turnout DCC friendly. But for yard tracks that leave and return to other rails, you will need to isolate both frog rails from the yard track at both ends to prevent causing a short when one turnout is thrown but not the other. You can start out using frog power as switched by the points and easily add aux power to the frog later if you provide a wire drop for it as you install the turnout.

You really do not need another booster until you run out of amps to power the railroad, or until you want to go wireless with the NCE PowerCab.
 
DonV

---In WiringForDCC@..., <nick79ostr@...> wrote :

Thank you, very helpful. I think once I actually get hands on with it, I'll feel more comfortable with it. The good news is I haven't yet laid the yard track, so if I can get by with fewer blocks that will likely be where I make that change. My turnouts are all Shinohara with a couple Pecos (and I'very been reading up on the latter and the modifications needed). For what I am planning, will I need a booster and where does that get connected In, e.g., somewhere else on the layout? Finding a wiring schematic that puts this in plain English has been challenging. Any advantages to the more expensive NCE "pro" starter set vs. the basic starter set?


dvollrath@...
 

Scott,

Your vision of 'running great' usually changes when you go to DCC. Most of us want to operate at slower scale realistic speeds. This is where older locos may not work so well. Fitting a good decoder inside an older loco is usually not a big issue until you want the decoder to include sound. Now suddenly there is no place for the speaker and a more bulky decoder without doing a butchering job on weights, etc. Not impossible, just takes a little more time and care. Be sure to evaluate the motor, bearings and gearing before you start or you may discover that the loco is not as good as you thought. However, the price of new decoder equipped locos is often a heart stopper. Be sure you need it.


DonV  



---In WiringForDCC@..., <me_toro_toro@...> wrote :

I have a question when converting a new engine to DCC I made a new engine for me is it worth it if it runs great someone told me it was not worth the money just by another engine Cerni thing I need to look for one deciding about an upgrade the engine




On Tuesday, April 11, 2017, 6:06 AM, Juno jtw37@... [WiringForDCC] <WiringForDCC@...> wrote:

 

Hi Nick,
I know your feeling. I was DC when my son bought a Bachmann DCC
locomotive for me Christmas 2005 and man did I get bit. Anyway, don't
let it over whelm you, take it one step at a time. If your rail is
already broken up, that's okay. Just drop your power wires down to a
main bus to power all your track. Each block will be happy with all that
voltage.

The only real problem I had when converting is the fact that all my
turnouts are either Atlas with a few AHM turnouts. The Atlas are a bit
of a pain in the butt, whereas the AHM work better. What happens is the
Atlas are very DCC friendly, as are the AHM, but the rails are closer
with Atlas at the frog then AHM which sets you up for shorts, which will
reset your system, which it is designed to do to protect your equipment
and itself. If you don't have Atlas turnouts or similar, that is
pointless. Other turnouts are different and that will take more of an
explanation. None of it all that bad, either way. I put painters tape
over the frog points of the turnouts that give me problems and it works
fine and has lasted as much as a year and more and is still going strong.

As for converting your engines, it's not that bad either, once you
understand how it works. The majority of my engines are older engines,
as I've been into this hobby since 1974. Most of them convert and
operate pretty well. Although they don't work as well as those $100 to
$300 engines, they do serve me well. I do have 4 of the more expensive
engines, but it goes against my grain to have to pay that much. Anyway,
what ever you decide, you have to comfortable with it, no one else
matters. If DCC is your choice, this is the group to be in, as the NCE
equipment is much simpler then some of the others, as well as their
Basic decoders. wiring decoders into non DCC engines just makes them a
little bit better.
Hope my running on has helped, even if just a little bit.

Yell if you need help,
John
__________________________________________________________
Apply This - Eye Bags & Wrinkles Vanish In Minutes (Watch)
Health Headlines
http://thirdpartyoffers.juno.com/TGL3141/58ecc9cd517d849cc017est03duc


dvollrath@...
 

Nick,


The more expensive NCE PowerPro system is much easier to interface with other add-on equipment as there are fewer restriction regarding computer interfacing for JMRI programming and/or 'cab' numbers used for accessory decoders, etc. Yes, one can add an SB5 'smart booster' and other stuff to expand from the PowerCab starter set. But if you have the funding, I suggest going to a PowerPro system right away.


For more DCC wiring information be sure to also check out https://sites.google.com/site/markgurries/


Oh... it is the wheels on older locos with old fashioned extra wide wheel treads and toy-like flanges that cause shorting problems on some turnouts near the frog. The turnout manufacturers forgot about this possibility when they designed their new product. The extra wide tread manages to touch two rails at opposite polarity at the same time as the loco approaches the frog.


DonV 



Doug Harris <digbee@...>
 

On 12/04/2017 12:42, scott toro me_toro_toro@... [WiringForDCC] wrote:
blockquote, div.yahoo_quoted { margin-left: 0 !important; border-left:1px #715FFA solid !important; padding-left:1ex !important; background-color:white !important; } I have a question when converting a new engine to DCC I made a new engine for me is it worth it if it runs great someone told me it was not worth the money just by another engine Cerni thing I need to look for one deciding about an upgrade the engine

Scott - please send your emails in Plain Text..


Tks.


--
Cheers.


Doug Harris
Cambridge, New Zealand


marcdecapri@...
 

Nick...
I set myself out of this one for a time, wanting to read what Others had to say.
===
All in all ...I must agree...Run to DCC.
====
Except for one major exception.....
>> N Scale and HO Scale Brass Steam Locomotives.
In my travels I purchased a finely detailed HO Scale Hallmark Santa Fe Valley Flyer Locomotive. There have been matching cars produced to this model also in Brass. I also own one of them. Further, I have Santa Fe Valley Flyers in Plastic both in N Scale and HO Scale. The differences are amazing.
There is a very strong part of me...
Which wants to return to my Attic Room and create an HO Scale Hand-laid layout in DC...around this ONE locomotive.
====
Good Luck in Surviving your Layout. (Not many people do...Where'd you think I got my deals?)
What ever you eventually consider and decide on...Make it so you can enjoy it; for at least some of the time. There are moments when I have become so exasperated...I have had to lay the project before me aside and seek another. Perhaps coming back to it later when my skills and attitude have changed. Took me over a year to successfully hard-wire a LokSound Decoder.
Mark

Just one of the many Foibles of DCC...
You buy an N Scale Kato NW-2. 
Everything seems fine ...So you then decide to buy a Digitrax Drop in Decoder. 
???
>> I have bought three of these from three separate N Scalers who couldn't get them back together.   Not terribly hard but it's a bit like using Chopsticks. Not everyone should go DCC.
====
Long Steam Locomotives in DCC? 
I am re-creating my own #12 Turnouts with switchable hot frogs.