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Well, I've Decided D.C.C. Is My Best Choice
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 Posted: Thu Feb 21st, 2013 01:35 am
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W C Greene
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Yep, I have heard nothing but good things about Digitrax, it seems to be the "leader" in DCC. Don is right about spending money on unneeded features, just get what you want and buy quality products. Good luck and let us know about your decision.

Woodie



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 Posted: Thu Feb 21st, 2013 02:49 am
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mwiz64
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What I really want is something like a Stanton system. The problem is it's expensive and I have no idea how long that system will be available. He's a pretty small supplier. No offense, Neil.

I wish the guys at Horizon (Spektrum radios) would make us something. Maybe for now, I'll just run my old MRC Tech II pack until the technology develops a little more. Sometimes living on the leading edge is fun and some times you know why people refer to it as the "bleeding edge".

I got so much to learn about building model railroads right now that I just don't want/need another complication. In this case, I can't hide a single cell 250 mah lipo in the Brookville. Anywhere I put it, it shows. If I paint it black it still looks outa place.... and I hate the idea of the loco being tied to a little tank car with a battery in it and some wires. My little 7mm 50 HP Baldwin trench loco will be the same and if I build a non armored Simplex.... Sheesh. So, I'm selling my 2.4 train stuff to another Free Rails member. I think he'll make better use of the stuff than I.



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 Posted: Thu Feb 21st, 2013 10:16 pm
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Tim Rose
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I have a small (34" x 82"), On30, folded dogbone layout. I first had the Bachmann E-Z Command DCC system. It worked fine. I was able to run 4, sometimes 5 engines all at once (with sound) and didn't have a problem with it. Yes it was noisy with all that sound and yes it can be tough to keep up with 4 or 5 locos in such a small space without running into each other...but, it could be done. I didn't notice any loss of power or any issues at all. Not saying there wasn't any power issue, just that I didn't notice one probably because I was busy keeping all the stuff going, blowing the whistles, ringing the bells, etc.

Then I saw the Dynamis system and I bought that. Why? Because I liked the wireless controller. I can walk around, un-tethered to the layout, and keep an eye on stuff. It's great. I didn't get the Dynamis because of any extra features except the wireless controller and the LCD display. I say this because I fine tune the programming of locos using the Digitrax PR3, an old Dell laptop, and JMRI software. Your wants and needs may vary. For me, the Dynamis has everything I need right now and I got it for a song from a Favorite Spot auction on eBay. ($35..yea...thirty five bucks) The cash I saved allowed me to get the PR3.

IF I ever have a huge layout, then all I need (really) is a power booster and perhaps upgrade the receiver so I can have more receivers around the layout if I so choose or ends up being a requirement. This, however, is NOT in my immediate future unless I win the lottery and can retire. (Fat chance)

Anyway, my dos centavos and experience with DCC systems. :Salute:



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 Posted: Fri Feb 22nd, 2013 04:06 am
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danpickard
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I've recently switched to DCC after many years of not being able to warrant the cost of the initial set up, especially with minimal loco running on narrow gauge operations. It was the chance to build a new bigger shed/railway space that helped the decision to change. Was going to have a bigger setting, with opportunity for up to three operators if they were visiting, and going DCC simplified the wiring headache of the track plan and its operation. Going DCC meant I was driving trains rather than trying to drive the layout.

I went for NCE, because I see a lot of guys using them at the exhibitions I go to, so have lots of people to ask for help if needed. The NCE set up was easy to get up and going with, affordable, and fairly reliable. I also like the portability of the NCE Powercab for if I need to run a small display quick and easily. I've also recently just installed a TCS decoder with the built in Keep Alive capacitors (for running through dirty track), and they are a great decoder. My really rough and sharp corners on a small mining layout always had issues with power pick up (especially with a 4 wheel gas mechanical), but with the capacitor keeping up the power supply, it has no hesitation with rolling smoothly through the questionable track sections.

Cheers,
Dan Pickard

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 Posted: Fri Feb 22nd, 2013 02:04 pm
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SJSlots
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Thank you for the feedback and information on the Bachmann offering Tim. I too, at least for now, have a very small layout and plans for an additional effort were going to be roughly 36" by 72". I have to think the Bachmann offering would be more than sufficient for such a small operation and by what I have read it will allow me the 2 to 3 locos I might want on the track plan. While wireless operation is appealing how much walking around will I really need to do with s 6-foot length table? I guess if I can find a deal like you did who really cares right?

While looking at the different systems I did find this which I will read and others may find helpful: http://www.members.optusnet.com.au/nswmn2/DCC.htm

Last edited on Fri Feb 22nd, 2013 02:06 pm by SJSlots



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 Posted: Fri Feb 22nd, 2013 04:14 pm
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mwiz64
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After this discussion, I've decided to hold off buying anything. I have an old fashioned MRC TechII power pack that will serve me fine on an 10'x2' shelf layout and that's my current plan. It's all I have space for, one wall in my basement.

Why the change once again? Well, as I described above, I'm having trouble locating batteries in my small locos so I thought R/C wasn't my best choice. Now with the mentioning of small locos not running well on dirty track or even curves, I'm thinking track power isn't the best either. Obviously, each system has it's advantages and disadvantages and I'm vacillating about which is more important to me. So right now, I'm just going to hold where I'm at. Once I have the track laid and locos running I can play with it some and hopefully make a more informed decision of my own.

Thanks for your advice and indulgence, guys.



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 Posted: Fri Feb 22nd, 2013 07:09 pm
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Herb Kephart
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Neil Stanton has in development a system that can use a very small single LiPo cell, that recharges from the track.
The 'lectronics converts the 3.7V to 12V and has the other features of the Stanton system. The little cell is only needed to carry the loco across dead spots in the track.
Track power can be anything around 12V, AC or DC.

I have one of these RX's crammed into an On30 4 wheel Plymouth--and that is with a battery MUCH larger than needed-

PM him. I highly recommend his stuff. Usual disclaimer

Herb



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 Posted: Fri Feb 22nd, 2013 09:24 pm
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mwiz64
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I'm aware of Neil's stuff. It looks nice. I might give that a try.



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 Posted: Sun Feb 24th, 2013 05:08 am
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OhioMike
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A question for Tim....did you ever so far have any problem with the ir function of the dynamis unit. Do you have to have it pointed in a certain way, at a certain area, etc. for commands to be excepted? Thanks
Mike

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 Posted: Mon Feb 25th, 2013 06:30 am
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Craig W
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Hey Mike, I would figure that you of all train modelers would hold out for a well engineered R/C system for at least one of your locomotives. After all, that’s the beauty of an R/C system, it will work anywhere with any other system.

David T's turn-key systems will fit just about anything you have and Neil Stanton’s system is a plug in DCC compatible deal, meaning sound is an option and he keeps making his system smaller! Since Neil works through North West Shortline, his products are well supported by a very old company, so if that what’s stopping you, I don’t see an issue there.

Mike, I have managed to fit batteries and R/C systems in a very wide variety of locomotives and I can’t think of one that I couldn’t fit a battery in. If this is stopping you, send me some info on your locomotives and I will be happy to assist you.

I am in the process of building an add on DIY cell balancer / charging system that works on an existing AC or DC powered track supply and gives unlimited run time on a very small battery. It is just a matter of time till I program a PIC for sound; the ESC (speed control) all ready offers a usable control signal for sound generation...anyone think of that all ready? I don’t know.

I know in previous posts you had concerns about battery safety. When I read that, I said to myself, are they purposely ignoring Fe123 / Lifepo cells? It then dawned on me, that maybe some folks weren’t aware of these newer cells, which are prefect for model trains.

They can be charged at well over 10C, making re-charge times minimal, and unlike lipo’s they can be run till they’re dead empty like nickel metal batteries (so no voltage cutoff is needed) but unlike nimh's, their output is consistent till there flat dead. Bottom line here is; if you’re an electric flyer and you blow these up, you deserve what you get!

Here’s a link for some 150 Mah cells:

http://www.focalprice.com/YE178S/Universal_37V_150mAH_Fe123_Battery_for_RC__S107_Helicopter_1Pcs_Silver.html#.USrtOR2Txdw


I’m not knocking anyone’s control system, especially if it gets your trains down the track, I have used them all at some point, I’m just encouraging others to take a look at what could be possible.


R/C systems have evolved in very much the same way DCC did and they offer a brand new way to explore new aspects of RR operation, where your trains can operate perfectly, under the most adverse conditions, on old rusty looking rails, through water, in grooves cut in a scale looking streets and over warped, bent rails (just like full scale trains) places where no track powered locomotive could ever operate and with minimal or no wiring needed, your time and money can be spent on more fulfilling details of the hobby, instead of fussing with track wiring.

R/C rails are what this hobby has needed for a long time and what large scale operators have know for years.

Even real trains are R/C controlled!


Pictured below:

Old faithful, Texas Mexican Railway GP-38 speeds along at full tilt on 1S 180 Mah cell.
:s::s:

Last edited on Mon Feb 25th, 2013 07:20 pm by Craig W



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