Choosing a DCC System

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Rico

BN Modeller
Hmmm, not sure I want the hassle of having to add the module to every loco..,

Hmmm, not sure I want the hassle of connecting an extra module to every loco… Will look into it a little more though…
Actually the modules are just the equivalent of a decoder, but easier.
You’re getting some pretty good replies here!

Take your time, do your research (as you’re doing), ask questions, (again as you're doing), and remember that life is too short to drink cheap wine. (which hopefully you’re not doing) 🙃
 

Smudge617

Well-Known Member
As everybody has said, take a look around, see what's available and what interests you regarding a control system, take your time and don't be afraid to ask more questions if your unsure. There is no such thing in this hobby as a dumb question, we all started at some point where you are now.
I've only been a member here for a few month's (I mainly run UK OO Steam and diesel, and now only recently run North American HO as well) and I learn something new here everyday, which makes me enjoy my MRR even more.
There is always someone around who can help, so as I said, don't be afraid to ask, even if you think it's a dumb question.
I look forward to seeing your post's, to hear, and see, (we love pictures) whatever type of control system, and layout you decide on, comes along.
 

D&J RailRoad

Professor of HO
Yeah, ESU system. If you're just using the ESU decoders, pretty easy if ya have the LokProgrammer. JMRI can do some of the basic programming, i.e. address snd CV29 choices. If ya want to use their whole system keep in mind ESU caters to the "European" model railroader, supposedly a much more suffisticated person than us Americans. According to my dealer, ESU with holds some features from the American market for the very reason of our "looper" preference. Hidden files, secret files are the norm and you'll spend yourself crazy tryin to make it work. My dealer has spent countless hours tryin to get a system working here but it kept needing additional boards and components. I finally said enough. Obviously ESU is for the fully automated loop of track where you just sit and watch the trains start and stop at programmed points. Don't ya dare mess it up by wanting to controll it yourself. I gave him all his stuff back, reinstalled my Digitrax equipment and have been mostly fine since. Yeah, Digitrax has some issues and ESU makes it sound like a major conspiricy to screw us over. Mostly the occasional flip flopping of polarity between command stations snd boosters. Beyond that, it's just a matter of how they get a light bulb to illuminate so to speak. The typical user won't see those issues but techies know they're there and raise a fuss just because they can.
 

TLOC

Well-Known Member
Yeah, ESU system. If you're just using the ESU decoders, pretty easy if ya have the LokProgrammer. JMRI can do some of the basic programming, i.e. address snd CV29 choices. If ya want to use their whole system keep in mind ESU caters to the "European" model railroader, supposedly a much more suffisticated person than us Americans. According to my dealer, ESU with holds some features from the American market for the very reason of our "looper" preference. Hidden files, secret files are the norm and you'll spend yourself crazy tryin to make it work. My dealer has spent countless hours tryin to get a system working here but it kept needing additional boards and components. I finally said enough. Obviously ESU is for the fully automated loop of track where you just sit and watch the trains start and stop at programmed points. Don't ya dare mess it up by wanting to controll it yourself. I gave him all his stuff back, reinstalled my Digitrax equipment and have been mostly fine since. Yeah, Digitrax has some issues and ESU makes it sound like a major conspiricy to screw us over. Mostly the occasional flip flopping of polarity between command stations snd boosters. Beyond that, it's just a matter of how they get a light bulb to illuminate so to speak. The typical user won't see those issues but techies know they're there and raise a fuss just because they can.
Ken, I respectfully will disagree with some of the ESU comments. I currently have the ESU Cab control 7 amp system with the Mobile control II throttle. It’s a great strong system that yes has given other folks fits. This under appreciated American has been insulted a few times by ESU European customer service agents but dealing with ESU‘s American GM Matt Herman is a treat. A professional who know how to treat clients.

My issue with the ESU system is the manual is clear as mud if you only read it once. This is a system that never should have included a quick start guide or brochure in the box. This is a system that you MUST read the full manual. A few times.

Mine operates nicely BUT the battery in the throttle is too quick to discharge. The wireless connect because it is a Android device takes about 2-3 minutes, that is frustrating. I have run my system since summer of 2019 along with my ProtoThrottles that 2 were sold yesterday and the final one today. I am switching back to RailPro. I operate a switching layout and the PT’s were awesome for that. They interfaced quite simply with the ESC control system. I no longer spend much time operating due to Covid isolation in Wisconsin and especially recent to me health scares. I am cutting back and May even downsize the layout. It has nothing to do with IMO a robust ESU cab control 7 amp system.

Don’t listen to the negatives especially the diatribe on MRH forums that I have a difficult time understanding why JoeF continuously allows a customer bashing thread. Are there problems, yes but if you read between the negatives it is very few physical issues with the system but software issues. Most software issues are due to NOT reading and understanding then following the manual.

All that said I am going back to a very simple system that again will fit my needs. If you want a robust system, especially for starting out or converting DCC systems the ESU Cab Control is a good thing to look at.

Yes, my system is for sale at $300.00. See FACEBOOK sales pages or the thread here at modelrailroadforums.com
TomO
 

J.Albert

Member
For about $215, you can get the Digikeijs DR5000 "universal" hardware controller.

This doesn't come with a handheld device, BUT...
... you can use it with many existing handhelds AND it has BUILT IN wifi.

With the wifi, you can use any iPhone, Android phone, iPad or Android tablet to run trains, using the FREE Roco z21 software app (the DR5000 is set up to interface with it).

Actually, there are TWO Roco z21 control apps (one has a red engine on a blue background, and a newer version with "Z21" in letters on a charcoal background).

You can try out these apps "in demo mode" without buying anything.
Go to the App Store or google play and search for "roco z21". Using them won't disturb anything else on your tablet or phone.

You do need a PC running windows with which to do the initial setup on the DR5000. Or, a Mac running bootcamp or windows emulation (VMWare fusion or Parallels).
 

D&J RailRoad

Professor of HO
I have heard of the z21 on the forum here but I do not know a single person who has heard of it let alone knows how it works and I know quite a few model railroaders as well as many club layouts
 

Topherisme

Chris wants more hobby time!!!
Great replies, loving it! If you got a comment on the subject I wanna hear it, really is a big help, thanks to All 👍

Layout will not be huge, about 150’ of double mainline, yard, a few spurs…. I do want at least one train in motion while I do the fun stuff like organizing trains in yard and switching for industries…. Want to include a few lighted passenger cars…

As I start I want to keep it as simple as possible and learn from there. As of now thinking about Digitrax 5/8 amp system, has the basics but not so simple as my current EZ Command, and I would think easily expandable if I decide to enlarge the layout. Will have to invest in a laptop as well at some point for more detailed programming and more operating options from the sounds of it…

Can be a bit overwhelming, much more options out there than I ever would have thought
 
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Bigboy57

Active Member
I purchased an Evoxd set late last year and have been very happy with it . It is very expandable and I have only scratched the surface. My layout is a single main line with lots of sidings measuring 24’x16’x 12’ in a big U shape. I have run as many as 5 locos with the 5 amp power but prefer to keep at 2 most of the time. Digitrax has lots of web support with folks who are very knowledgeable.
 

Topherisme

Chris wants more hobby time!!!
I purchased an Evoxd set late last year and have been very happy with it . It is very expandable and I have only scratched the surface. My layout is a single main line with lots of sidings measuring 24’x16’x 12’ in a big U shape. I have run as many as 5 locos with the 5 amp power but prefer to keep at 2 most of the time. Digitrax has lots of web support with folks who are very knowledgeable.
Thanks for that, really looks like a good option for me….

Also considering the MRC 1414 Prodigy Advance2 Squared, cost a little less, amp output is less at 3.5, unsure if that’s enough juice to be reliable. As a start it will work and I can purchase the 8 amp booster if needed at some point…
 

Bob T

Member
Thanks for that, really looks like a good option for me….

Also considering the MRC 1414 Prodigy Advance2 Squared, cost a little less, amp output is less at 3.5, unsure if that’s enough juice to be reliable. As a start it will work and I can purchase the 8 amp booster if needed at some point…
I just got back into the hobby last spring, after a couple decades away, and went through this research.
Knowing all the big name systems worked, I just looked at which handheld I liked best, which was the MRC.
Didn't take long to find a used Prodigy Advanced 2 system on the auction site.
Got it for $125, just missing an easy to find cable.
Only got a short test track set up now, but I am very happy with it, and find it very easy to use.
 

Topherisme

Chris wants more hobby time!!!
I just got back into the hobby last spring, after a couple decades away, and went through this research.
Knowing all the big name systems worked, I just looked at which handheld I liked best, which was the MRC.
Didn't take long to find a used Prodigy Advanced 2 system on the auction site.
Got it for $125, just missing an easy to find cable.
Only got a short test track set up now, but I am very happy with it, and find it very easy to use.
Slightly nervous to get used, but can’t argue with that price…
 

Selector

Well-Known Member
It's a problem with every used item for sale. No warranty, unless the terms are public and they include full refund if the BUYER isn't completely satisfied.
 

Topherisme

Chris wants more hobby time!!!
I did find a brand new Pro Box and extra IR receiver for cheap, plus they take payments which would be good on my budget at present time. Will allow me to do what I can’t right now with programming CVs, but only 2.5 amps. That will work for now as I work out the bugs during construction, and a good learning tool I would think for a future upgrade and deciding what I want my railroad operations to handle…
 

Smudge617

Well-Known Member
Great replies, loving it! If you got a comment on the subject I wanna hear it, really is a big help, thanks to All 👍

Layout will not be huge, about 150’ of double mainline, yard, a few spurs…. I do want at least one train in motion while I do the fun stuff like organizing trains in yard and switching for industries…. Want to include a few lighted passenger cars…

As I start I want to keep it as simple as possible and learn from there. As of now thinking about Digitrax 5/8 amp system, has the basics but not so simple as my current EZ Command, and I would think easily expandable if I decide to enlarge the layout. Will have to invest in a laptop as well at some point for more detailed programming and more operating options from the sounds of it…

Can be a bit overwhelming, much more options out there than I ever would have thought
When you decide to invest in a laptop, speak to Bruette, he used to build them, so very knowledgeable in that area, will be able to guide you as to what you'll need.
 

Greg@mnrr

Section Hand
I have a Digitrax system that I've had for many years and I've had my share of problems which most were my fault in not reading the manual. The problems were simple and the cure even more simple to fix.

The new Digitrax throttles look more game or toy like in my opinion.

But, if I were to do it over I would run with a NCE system.

Greg
 

Smudge617

Well-Known Member
I did find a brand new Pro Box and extra IR receiver for cheap, plus they take payments which would be good on my budget at present time. Will allow me to do what I can’t right now with programming CVs, but only 2.5 amps. That will work for now as I work out the bugs during construction, and a good learning tool I would think for a future upgrade and deciding what I want my railroad operations to handle…
As long as the system is expandable, that would be your best bet, trying to "dive in" headfirst will only result in a headache, and as you said you've not decided which direction your railroad operations are heading, it will allow you to get what you need to run your railroad, (booster, etc.) not what you think you need, and up with a lot of money invested it kit your not going to use.
 

D&J RailRoad

Professor of HO
A note about IR throttles. If you have a small layout, i.e. 4x8 or a bit larger, IR will prolly be OK, but when ya have mote than a few steps in either direction ya have to point the throttle. RF doesn't have to be pointed.
Once again, go cheap, be dissappointed.
 




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