Who all is shunning DCC and staying Analog control?

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Well-Known Member
I did see at MB Klein's the other day the NCE silent decoder that replaces the D13SRJ 9 pin, now smaller and called just D13J at just under $19 each. Hmmmmmmm? let's see 300 @ $19 = $5700. No problemo!

P.S. Have they had run on them since I looked, no singles left, but a couple of the 4 packs (works out to $17.50 ea. and the 10 packs @ $16.40 ea.) The 4's are identified as D13J-4 and the 10's as D13J-10.
Was there a rule that stated you had to buy all of your decoders at the same time? If there was I missed the memo. ;) I have quite few locomotives myself and not all are DCC equipped. Of those that are even fewer are run regularly. Many are conversions of older brass which also require remotoring. You eat the elephant one bite at a time. :) There is also good reason not to take the plunge, as has been state above. For myself, the low voltage performance on DCC blows away that of straight DC. Especially important with steamers. I also like control of the features, but to each his own.


I have seen hybrid and I have seen single track with a DPDT toggle to switch between analog and DCC before. But the ONLY reason I would think about changing over is sound. BUT, in my small 9 foot by 9 foot room, sound is overwhelming for me. Even with the volume on the lowest settings it gets overwhelming in just a few short min. This is one reason I replaced my motive power with quiet running Overland/Ajin brass over the older coffee grinders I used to buy cheap. So rather than have a fleet, I have a small and more prototypical shortline roster, with really nice engines! I am using a MRC Railine 370 for main line power, and a MRC Cab1 fascia mounted throttle with a laptop power supply feeding it for the future engine service area so I can move engines while the main line is running. Block control thru Atlas selector switches. I hope to eventually find a pristine MRC Controlmaster XI for the mainline to gain the meters and momentum/brake control. The last couple I found were not "clean" enough. Mike


I like my DCC! I have no problem with those staying with DC, I was DC for the first 12 years of having my current layout, so I understand both ways. I simply like DCC for it's multi-faceted additions to my enjoyment of my hobby. I love sound and the fact that it really adds a new dimension to operating. In fact, I still have my GML throttle set-up, so I can run DC locomotives if I want. I dislike the fact that these types of threads seem to want to drive a wedge between the two operating systems. You like one type over the other, is simply a personal choice, nothing more!


malletman wrote:
"most times I get very confused when trying to program and set up engines, even basic consisting baffles me..."

Looking at the "20th century style" dcc controllers that look like old Texas Instrument scientific calculators, I would get all confused, too (even moreso than I normally am!).

Take a careful look at one of the 21st-century "graphical" dcc control interfaces. There are several available, but my favorite (and the one I use) is the Roco z21 wifi system.

The z21 app can be run from almost any handheld device that runs Android or iOS -- smartphone, tablet, I can even run it from my old Samsung Galaxy Player (which wasn't "a phone", just a music player). Will also run from any computer, PC or Mac.

Setup and programming couldn't be easier.
An example is changing the programming number of an engine.
Do this on a "pushbutton/wired" controller, and don't you have to start doing calculations with CV values? Why bother with that stuff?

Do it on the z21 like this:
1. Put loco on track
2. Hit "read number" button on z21 (it reads the number)
3. Enter any number you wish in the text block (1 to 4 digits)
4. Hit "program"
5. Done in 2 seconds.

Want to switch the engine you're controlling on the fly?
What do you have to do with a pushbutton controller?
Do something like "type the number in"? Why bother with that stuff?

On the z21:
1. Look at the images of engines on the bottom, flip left or right to scroll the display if you need to.
2. Touch the pic of the engine you want
3. Done in 1 second.

Trying to remember what button activates what function?
Why bother with that stuff?

On the z21:
1. Look at the icon for the function you want
2. Touch it.
(you can select ANY icon you want, and move the buttons around wherever you want).

It's worth going to YouTube and watching a few videos on how this all works.
That's what convinced me after coming back into the hobby after 40+ years.
I couldn't hack one of those calculator-pushbutton nightmares!


I have tried it, didn't like it, as there is no "feel", I have to look at the throttle, to find the button I want to push. Where as with my Digitrax throttle, I know where the buttons are by feel. Everything you've described, is not much different then operating my Digitrax throttle, or the ESu Mobile Control 2 for that matter. But if it works for you, more power to you.

Alan jess

New Member
Not that DCC isnt cool, but most times I get very confused when trying to program and set up engines, even basic consisting baffles me(thank you autism). So, since my trains are for enjoyment and not creating anxiety and stress, I have kept my layouts analog for the most part. I have tried DCC, mostly to enjoy a couple sound engines I used to have. My current layout build is going to be analog. Just found a near mint MRC Railine 370 throttle in the beautiful copper colored metal case. I absolutely love the golden case MRC throttles, I dream is to find the one that had lighted volts and Amp meters on it in near mint condition. My very first hobby grade was a MRC 501 Golden Throttle Pack. Still have it, its not that pretty anymore but still works as designed. I use it for my workbench throttle. Who else here runs old school analog control, has nice home built control panels and such? To me, thats model railroading, not this new fangled electronic stuff that cranks up my anxiety trying to figure out how to do stuff with it. Mike the Aspie
Like you the controlMaster XI was my dream transformer. When they were new and in the hobby stores in the 90s and earlier I could never round up enough to purchase one. I had to compromise because of my young family. I know this might make you a little jealous but I just purchase my unicorn. Yes I located a new, never used, in pristine condition MRC CONTROLMASTER XI In it’s original box with all original documents, and instruction manual! I now model strictly with Kati N Track with the majority of my layout purchased in Japan in the 80s. This track was just making it’s entry into the market then. It was a solid dark brown in color so you had to be inventive in making it more realistic when placing and mounting it on the layout. I did not want to tack it down on my layout. Since I was living in California at the time I found my solution in the headwaters of the Yuba river high up in the Sierras. Along with collecting small granite rocks a some dark green shale I dug up two bags of fine/coarse small creek sand. Once home I thoroughly cleaned and shifted down this sand and ran a powerful Cow magnet to remove magnetic particles. My next step was laying and experimenting to make sure my track plan was doable and tunable without any problems. I covered the track temporarily with strips of aluminum foil. I then placed a small amount of sand on both sides of the Kati track, I used a one inch putty knife to smooth and shape up to the top of the base ridge. Hears the secret. I then used a spray bottle to dampen slightly the sand and then apples Elmers glue on top of the sand base and again lightly sprayed more water to aid the glue to soak in thoroughly. That gave the track a extremely realistic appearance. Once dry I finished up by using Woodland Scenics ground cover very lightly over the sand much like you see in the spring along many mainline tracks. That was over thirty years ago and not once have I had any problems of track shifting or metallic sand problems of any kind! It also still looks as good as the day I did this task. The biggest payoff is if a piece or more needs to come up you only need to spray the sand base lightly, wait a couple minutes, and it comes up very easily! After any repairs just replace the track press the base back down let dry. It will be as strong as before with no noticeable cosmetic changes!


Active Member
The only reason why I want DCC is to throw decoders in decades old locomotives that have no business running DCC, just to aggravate some of the really hard core modelers :p

No, but seriously, I'm a DC only shop simply because I lack the liquidity to go DCC, and since I don't even have a layout yet, just a collection of trains, it just doesn't seem worth it yet. Besides, I've got plenty of time, and decoders are getting smaller and smaller. I'm going to have a blast converting all my locos one day


GNRR Mechanic always fixing stuff
I'm a DC only guy for 2 reasons...

1: I can't afford the update to DCC at this time.
B: I work in IT and find the last thing I want to do when I get home is program controllers. I like DC because it's simpler.
17: I was trained originally Electronics Tech that fell into computers along the way. I always found the electronics to be fun, and wiring for DC takes me back. While the "realism" of running trains with sounds and momentum and braking, (I do have that on my 2 DC controllers), is key for some, I don't think we need to computerize everything, just because we can.


Same Ol' Buzzard
I refer back to my post #8 on this thread and should add this. A lot has been said about the simplicity of DCC, but I read Ken's post here, and here, and here and in looking at his diagram; I see nothing simple about all of this.

I grant you that Ken has a much larger layout with multiple operators and really needs DCC.
I have a power supply, some Selector switches and wiring running to each block. Seems simple to me.
Besides a lot has been posted here and elsewhere about sound which I find extremely distracting. That's just me though.
As Alan posted,
to each his own.
True words of wisdom.


Well-Known Member
I refer back to my post #8 on this thread and should add this. A lot has been said about the simplicity of DCC, but I read Ken's post here, and here, and here and in looking at his diagram; I see nothing simple about all of this.
View attachment 115697
I grant you that Ken has a much larger layout with multiple operators and really needs DCC.
I have a power supply, some Selector switches and wiring running to each block. Seems simple to me.
Besides a lot has been posted here and elsewhere about sound which I find extremely distracting. That's just me though.
As Alan posted,

True words of wisdom.
Thanks for the hat tip Willie, but to be fair...the rotary switches, relays, and so forth to allow multiple throttles and equivalent functionality on a DC system would look just about as complicated. I had a friend that didn't want to use DCC. He compared the cost of componentry and wiring of the two systems and it came out surprisingly close. Close enough that he went DCC. And he was a cheap Scotsman! The basic electrical issues don't change much. You still need blocks with a large layout, you still have reversing loops, and the usual things you have to do to avoid shorts on turnouts and crossovers with either system. Bottom line is it's less about cost than about enjoyment. You should use what you like and are comfortable with. It's a hobby, not a job. I also happen to agree with you on sound. I have many sound equipped locos, and many more non sound units. It's less important to me than it used to be, and in a large group operating session or an open house it can get downright annoying when everyone has their volume maxed out. I stopped putting sound in brass. I decided I no longer wanted to drill holes or cut pieces out of rare and valuable models. It just doesn't add that much to the experience for me anymore. :)


Section Hand
Looking at Ken's wiring diagram Ken has designed a top level DCC system for a large, model railroad. There are a lot of Digitrax (DCC) features that Ken has incorporated into his layout due to its size like the Digitrax LNRP and the three Boosters ( DB150's and the DCS100), power managers and on. But, Ken has the PR3 for programming decoders and the LocoBuffer to isolate a computer from DCC and other goodies that are not necessary for a medium to small DCC layout.

Looking at Ken's DCC diagram would scare away most DCC newbies!

A medium sized layout needs only to have a Power Supply, a Command Booster, several UP5 LocoNet panels to plug in throttles and add the buss and feeder wiring. Perhaps much simpler than a wiring a DC layout or to operate.



🍉 🥝🍕
Large or small, the writing was on the wall. Go DCC young man. The added realism was the new plan..
Close up those gaps. Rip out their wires.. simply done with a pair of pliers...
Fear the Tsunami, for it has 'soundly' arrived. So has the Hex Fog Juicer and Keep Alive !!
We got scale flanges and knuckle couplers. Now with sound, we may even need mufflers !!
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BN Modeller
I’m getting a great chuckle from all this, thanx guys!
As they say “to each their own” but I recall (and I’m not THAT old) when guys were shunning DC!
The electronics for a reverse loop alone was mind boggling! LOL

I remember a friend had a layout years ago with toggle switches for each block much like a typical DC controlled layout but his switched from DC to DCC. He only had a few digital locos but they could roam the entire layout.
I wonder what he’d say about sound and radio control? Wow!


Well-Known Member
Over the years , I have had the joy of ripping DC out and replacing it with Command Control systems , and then ripping out the Command Control and replacing it with DC . And then the joy of repeating the entire process again.

It goes something like this .....Block control is to cumbersome, trying to set all those switches is a nightmare , Wiring is a pain in the arses .We going to Command Control.

a year later ... We're going back to DC ...I found I was spending my whole life installing receivers,cleaning track , and yesterday I walked in turned the system on and all the locomotives shot off across the room shoooooooooooooooooooooo.

Couple of years later ....We're going back to CC ,We've got an upgraded system it should solve all our problems .

Couple of years later ... I'm going back to DC one cab and one block for the WHOLE layout. I was still spending my whole life installing receivers,cleaning track .

Year after that....We're gonna go fly model airplanes , its easier.

That was the last time I saw 'em.

Neither system was satisfying , A lot depended on the number of available ops . 1 or 2 DC made more sense from a workload perspective ( especially if they had a job that demmanded all their time) , 3 or more ops DCC started to make more sense .

Newer DCC systems are more stable , but there are still issues. The current standard is inflexible and doesn't allow for much in the way of innovation, Personally , I am a little reluctant to spend money on a system that is as dated as the current DCC is .

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