DCC

ModelRailroadForums.com is a free Model Railroad Discussion Forum and photo gallery. We cover all scales and sizes of model railroads. Whether you're a master model railroader or just getting started, you'll find something of interest here.


ho southern

New Member
I started 30 plus years ago with DC A few years ago I started the switch to DCC with the Digitrax Chief. Getting close to 70 years in age I find myself running the trains less and less because I can not wrap my head around the Digitrax cab. I have no switches on my layout . I can run 4 separate lines I need a very simply system. I have been reading about the NCE Products they seem to be more user friendly. Any feedback or ideas I thank you for.HO Southern
 

bnsf971

Gomez Addams
Staff member
NCE is more user friendly. If you are not planning to run more than one engine on each line at once, you can probably use their Power Cab. That will be about its limit, as far as power output. You can go with their Pro Cab, which can run several more trains at once. The handsets are very similar, and easy to use. If you really want to splurge, they have the Pro Cab in a radio/wireless version, as well.
 

Espeefan

Well-Known Member
Digitrax has gotten more user friendly over the years but NCE is a little more user friendly. I usually tell people to get what their local fellow modelers use so you have some local support with questions, but if you're off by yourself that may not help you. Since you have the system, I'd recommend you spend some time on You Tube. Do a search for Digitrax Chief and look at the videos that come up. Watch a few. See if they help.
 

NCRC5315

Member
You might also consider adding the Digitrax LNWI wireless interface module. This would allow you to use a smart phone or a tablet to run your trains. The Interface used on the smart phone/tablet seem to be more user friendly.
 

trailrider

Well-Known Member
I utilize NCE PowerCab on my layout. I also installed a single NCE power booster, just in case. Approaching 78 years, and not being too good at walking and chewing gum at the same time, and due to the moderate size (folded dogbone in a 14'x14' room), I generally only run one train at a time. I find the NCE Power Cab to be more convenient, flexible and durable than the MRC Tech6 6.0 I started with for DCC. Whether you need the booster or boosters depends on the size of your layout and how many trains you want to run at the same time. Note: I have a lot more DC locomotives than DCC, so I have a master DPDT toggle switch on my main control panel, so I can select either DC or DCC on my layout.
Stay well!
 

montanan

Whiskey Merchant
I have a few years on you and also started my layout over 30 years ago operating with DC. I decided to stay with DC as my layout was built mainly for switching and woth a single track main line, running multiple trains would most likely end up with a wreck somewhere along the line. I do have a few DCC locomotives that I run at my club where they use Digitrax. Found out that Digitrax doesn't like me. I know just enough to put a locomotive on the track and make it run.
 
M

MHinLA

Guest
🌈 I'm not getting your request/problem.. If you mean you already have a track and you run 4 separate trains on it, and with a Digitrax system you already have in place, what is the prob ? I own and prefer NCE. But far as running several trains at the same time, Digitrax certainly covers that ! ...OR, do you mean you have 4 separate tracks not connected with switches ?..Please clarify what your track setup is, why you don't have switches, and the problem (?) with your current throttle....
 

J.Albert

Member
OP:

Do you have a smartphone (Android or iOS) or a tablet (again Android or iOS)?
If so, you can use the FREE Roco z21 app (provided you have the right hardware).

Looks like this on a phone:
z21 on phone.JPG


And like this on a tablet:
z21 main.JPG

This runs on either the Roco z21 control box (there's an expensive "black box" version and a much more affordable "white box" version), or on the Dijikeijs DR5000.

No more foolin' with pushbuttons and trying to remember what they're for.

You can download the app from either the App Store (iOS) or google play (Android).
Enter "z21" in the search box.
The app you want has a red engine on a blue background.
You can play around with it to see how it works before you buy the hardware.
 

Selector

Well-Known Member
I honestly think people should spend more time. Not money. Spend more time reading and understanding manuals, and then spend more time using what they've learned. It's a very cheap investment. I started out with Digitrax, still have the same system, don't have problems with memory, or with picking up the manual if I have indeed forgotten something (like doing an Option Key #39 reset to clear the internal memories. It's like rebooting a computer, something else whose value people often forget). I know what the keys do on my DT-400 throttles, have no trouble operating them, and my system works as reliably as it did when I first purchased it 15 years ago.

And I can easily run several locomotives with it. Not on automatic...you would need macros on all decoders, and even then you'd have to supervise their operations due to periodic machine errors,...but my system has a 20 locomotive stack, and with 5 amps to play with, it can run at least 12 locomotives with sound. I don't know of anyone who can run multiple locomotives that are not consisted at the same time. Maybe on separate(d) loops, but not on the same loop.
 

NCRC5315

Member
OP:

Do you have a smartphone (Android or iOS) or a tablet (again Android or iOS)?
If so, you can use the FREE Roco z21 app (provided you have the right hardware).

Looks like this on a phone:
View attachment 79580

And like this on a tablet:
View attachment 79579
This runs on either the Roco z21 control box (there's an expensive "black box" version and a much more affordable "white box" version), or on the Dijikeijs DR5000.

No more foolin' with pushbuttons and trying to remember what they're for.

You can download the app from either the App Store (iOS) or google play (Android).
Enter "z21" in the search box.
The app you want has a red engine on a blue background.
You can play around with it to see how it works before you buy the hardware.
I have the iPhone digitrax app, looks very similar, be a lot cheaper then buying a whole new system.
 
M

MHinLA

Guest
Selector, only thing I diff with you about is multiple non-con locos.. I had a medium-large sized point to point HO layout in an apartment. I have an NCE PowerCab and sometimes ran 3 locos/trains at same time via the 'select loco' (or whatever it says), vollying between the 3. Some places I'd stop one and just run 2, or stop 2, run 1...any combo..But maybe this is not what you mean..
 

tootnkumin

Well-Known Member
Staff member
Selector, only thing I diff with you about is multiple non-con locos.. I had a medium-large sized point to point HO layout in an apartment. I have an NCE PowerCab and sometimes ran 3 locos/trains at same time via the 'select loco' (or whatever it says), vollying between the 3. Some places I'd stop one and just run 2, or stop 2, run 1...any combo..But maybe this is not what you mean..
If you used NCE's advanced consisting, then any number of engines (within the limits) can be run just using the lead loco's address of each, so you're not restricted to running more than 1 multi loco consist, but depending on the amount of track you have available to get space between them each, you're going to have to be nimble. I have noticed one oddity with my Cab during setup. If I consist 2 locos, the rear loco is the one that comes up as the consist address i.e. CON rear #. To correct it to the one that has been entered as the lead, I have to Select Loco, write it's # and press enter. 3 or more in a consist and it registers the leads # automatically as the CON #.
 

Greg@mnrr

Section Hand
And I can easily run several locomotives with it. Not on automatic...you would need macros on all decoders, and even then you'd have to supervise their operations due to periodic machine errors,...but my system has a 20 locomotive stack, and with 5 amps to play with, it can run at least 12 locomotives with sound. I don't know of anyone who can run multiple locomotives that are not consisted at the same time. Maybe on separate(d) loops, but not on the same loop.
I'm not sure what you mean about not being able to run multiple locomotives on the same section (loop) of track. I have a modest sized layout and I can run up to three locomotives (trains) on the same mainline using my Digitrax DT402 and switching between controls set for the engine numbers.

Greg
 

Selector

Well-Known Member
I mean that it is so difficult to run three or more locomotives on the same typical loop that most don't bother to do it. Obviously, on a large layout, say with 200' of main, it would be much easier. You get one consist underway, start up the second, and then move onto the third, with each separated by about 30' of track. I could see doing that. But on my layout, and the typical layout with only 60' of mains, you will find it difficult to run three locomotives prototypically that are separately providing head-end power and not consisted/MU'd. I suppose, yeah, a passenger consist and two freights, each doing 60 mph, might be doable, but what if the passenger needs to run at limited speed...79 mph? You'll have to park one of the other two on a siding, which means you're no longer running it.

In a nutshell, on a typical small layout without double mains, you will find it extremely taxing to keep three different locomotive types separated reasonably because all you'll be doing is toggling between each of them and adjusting speed.
 
M

MHinLA

Guest
But that is what I did ! As I said, I dealt with 3 separate trains and kept an eye on each and knew when to hunker them down (at say, end of a yard track, end of the switchback tail track, blank leg of wye, engine house). Remember it was 98% 5-7 car slow freight, once in awhile with one Pullman coach tacked on for locals and RR workers..
 

Espeefan

Well-Known Member
If you used NCE's advanced consisting, then any number of engines (within the limits) can be run just using the lead loco's address of each, so you're not restricted to running more than 1 multi loco consist, but depending on the amount of track you have available to get space between them each, you're going to have to be nimble. I have noticed one oddity with my Cab during setup. If I consist 2 locos, the rear loco is the one that comes up as the consist address i.e. CON rear #. To correct it to the one that has been entered as the lead, I have to Select Loco, write it's # and press enter. 3 or more in a consist and it registers the leads # automatically as the CON #.
I think he means the Recall function.
 

wvg_ca

Well-Known Member
don't know ...
i run one train to the east on the inside loop ...
then i run another train to the west on the outside loop, i can easily do this as i select the crossovers to not change one loop for the other, in other words two seperated loops ..
i then run logging on a siding with another loco ...
and finally a fourth loco on another [mining] siding to pick up or drop off ore cars ..
and then a fifth loco on a small siding to drop of logs at the sawmill ..
all this is with a mrc system [using the recall button]
 




Affiliate Disclosure: We may receive a commision from some of the links and ads shown on this website (Learn More Here)


ModelRailroadForums.com is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to amazon.com

RailroadBookstore.com - An online railroad bookstore featuring a curated selection of new and used railroad books. Railroad pictorials, railroad history, steam locomotives, passenger trains, modern railroading. Hundreds of titles available, most at discount prices! We also have a video and children's book section.

ModelRailroadBookstore.com - An online model railroad bookstore featuring a curated selection of new and used books. Layout design, track plans, scenery and structure building, wiring, DCC, Tinplate, Toy Trains, Price Guides and more.

Top