• Which DCC system is the best?........

  • Discussion related to everything about model railroading, from layout design and planning, to reviews of related model tools and equipment. Discussion includes O, S, HO, N and Z, as well as narrow gauge topics. Also includes discussion of traditional "toy train" and "collector" topics such as Lionel, American Flyer, Marx, and others. Also includes discussion of outdoor garden railways and live steamers.
Discussion related to everything about model railroading, from layout design and planning, to reviews of related model tools and equipment. Discussion includes O, S, HO, N and Z, as well as narrow gauge topics. Also includes discussion of traditional "toy train" and "collector" topics such as Lionel, American Flyer, Marx, and others. Also includes discussion of outdoor garden railways and live steamers.

Moderators: 3rdrail, Otto Vondrak, stilson4283

  by bnsf lover
 
I was wondering if anybody out there knows the best and simplest dcc system beside atlas and walters i think. I was lokking at MRC DCC and i don't know if that is good or not . THANK YOU

  by NJT Rider
 
I have the NCE Powerhouse system. It is very easy to use, and works well. My railroad club also has the same system. We are very satisfied with the system. The display is easy to read. It has a numberic keypad that you just enter numbers into like a telephone or a calculator. Consisting is VERY Easy, and programming is fairly straight forward. As far as the wireless feature, I am not as satisfied with that. For an individual, the system should work just fine. My club was a tester for the wireless system when it was first being introduced. With a large number of users over a large space, the reliability of the wireless system fell short of expectations. The hard wired system worked flawlessly. Look at WWW.ncedcc.com is the website for the manufacturer, and if you are interested in comparing different systems and reading reviews, try going to www.tonystrains.com. This is for Tony's Train Xchange, he has a large assortment of DCC items, and also has detailed info on all the items.

  by bnsf lover
 
Thank you very much for that information i will look into it.

  by Centurylover68
 
I'm looking for a very affordable control system that works good. Any suggestions??

  by thmitch
 
I know this is an old thread but wanted to pass on what I found to be very useful sites for DCC info.

http://www.tonystrains.com/
http://www.loystoys.com/

Tony's Trains has a comparison chart that is very helpfull.

  by Dieter
 
What do you guys think of LENZ?

  by hoborich
 
I bought the Digitrax Zepher set, and am well satisfied with it. I also bought and hooked up two more throttles, and Loconet panels. I can easily run three trains at once, which is enough for my old brain to keep track of. :wink:

In addition to running three trains, with two or three units on two of them, there are always a couple more engines sitting around the layout idleing, and rumbling away, most of the time. The Zepher seems to have plenty of power for it all. My layout is 8 by 24 feet. I think I paid around $149.95 for it. Either Tonys or Gadget Toms. I can't remember. The only drawback, and I don't consider it a major problem, is that you only have functions 1 thru 9 or 10. My newest MRC sound decoder has 19 functions, but I can live without the long, or short air releases, and some other minor stuff. And the Zepher can read back CV values, which is a big help in programming. Some systems don't read back the CV values.
  by Hostler
 
NCE, Digitrax, Lenz, MRC are all good systems. I have the NCE, mainly because that's the one my club uses. It is easy to use, easy to program decoders, easy to consist. I have the regular 5 amp system. I wanted to buy another controller, the one like what comes with the system. NCE came out with their Power Cab unit which runs like a Pro Cab on any NCE system. It is a low power version of the 5 amp system, the brains are in the Hand held controller. The set up is only about $ 15 -20 more than a Pro Cab hand held controller. I use the Power Cab at my work bench to set up and break in engines. That way I don't need a programming track on the layout.

  by Luther Brefo
 
Centurylover68 wrote:I'm looking for a very affordable control system that works good. Any suggestions??
NCE PowerCab

Buy it from Empire Northern Models for around $140.

I have one and it is the best purchase I have made to date for MRRing.

  by Mike Walsh
 
I think that there will be no true BEST system available. There are DIY Homebrewers that make their own systems, and there are probably five manufacturers that have their own systems. I think that every system has its flaws, but it is made up in other areas...

Many recommend the Digitrax systems, and many recommend the NCE Powercab.... I think that it really does not matter. In either system, you will find your favorite things, and unfavorite things about the systems.

Do yourself a favor. Go to a hobby shop that has a small selection of systems. Try and see if you can get some hands on experience with them. Perhaps you can visit a few friends' layouts that have those systems, and try them out. You will find that the larger layouts have rather elaborate systems, all revolving around the manufacturer's line of products. Digitrax has a very large selection of decoders, stationary decoders, signals, detectors, and they are all expandable by using their Loconet. NCE has the same offerings.

Last I heard, NCE is advertising their signal system, but so far have not seen it in action, so that will be a factor in deciding which system you want to utilize, and how long you want to wait for it.

So the simple answer is this -- there is no "best" system out there. Many prefer a particular system over another, but that does not mean that preferred system has to be YOUR choice. Do some research, because this is an investment that will pay off, and if you make the right decision after doing a large amount of research, you will be satisfied for years to come. If you allow yourself to make a hurried decision (peer pressure ;)), you may find that the choice was a wrong one, and may spend time putting up with the system, until when you decide to get rid of the system and try a different system.

That said, I prefer the Digitrax systems. I personally have a Zephyr, but when the time comes, I will be upgrading to larger, more powerful systems, sticking with the Digitrax line. I have already made some investments for the future, and intend to make more investments, such as in a Super Chief or an Empire Builder system in the long term plan. Also, the fact that our club's system is Digitrax is just a helping hand, since I am comfortable knowing that all my equipment is compatiable with the club's equipment, thus avoiding the need to spend a vast amount of money on a "backup" system just to be compatiable with the club.

Regards,

Mike Walsh
RITMRC Vice President