• what is a DCC?

  • 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 Steve F45
 
I've been out of the hobby for a longgggggg time. I haven't touched my trains since i was around 13 or so, 13 years later im starting to get back into it and things have changed alot. Mainly i see all these new trains with "DCC ready or not ready". What is this DCC? I saw something on the net where it controls the lights? I never had anything control thel ights on me except my powerbox. They simply attached to the motor wiring.

If i wanted to get a new KATO sd80mac and wanted to put led heads and led red warning lights do i need a DCC? is it possible to make the ditch lights flash?

  by Steve F45
 
wow, model trains have certainly come a long way. So this DCC is what can do what i need like have the head lights on and flash the ditch lights? Im not really looking for running independant loco's as im not really going to have a set up. More for display purposes.

  by Luther Brefo
 
The whole idea behind DCC is operating your train and not your track. DCC will allow you to much more than just flash lights.

  by scopelliti
 
IMHO DCC is the most significant change to operation since the transistor throttles (TAT-3) back in the late 1960s (yes, I built and used one).

The ability to operate a locomotive independently of anything else is a revolution in the hobby. It not only improves operation, but simplifies wiring. And it provides the capability to add other controllable features like horn, whistle, bell, headlights in all their varieties, ditch lights, brakes, all the other sounds, etc. Heck, even constant lighting is a benefit

In addition, the ability to compensate for different locomotives (by adjusting the speed steps) allows things like helper service and multiple units (consisting) without polishing the wheels on one locomotive.

The next feature of DCC apparently is fuel levels, so you will have to 'refuel' at intervals, just like the real locos.

What's left? Perhaps someone will develop a circuit that produces realistic smoke and exhaust fumes. Oh great, I can hear it already about the smoke from Alcos! Maybe someone will develop a feature that drips grease and oil!

  by Steve F45
 
what do you mean fuel levels?

  by steemtrayn
 
I can't wait til they come out with cab signals.

  by scopelliti
 
what do you mean fuel levels?
From what I hear, there will be an optional fuel level such that after a period of running the DCC unit will slowly shutdown as if it ran out of fuel. You will then have to 'refuel' in some way to get going again. So, if you're into serious operations, part of your task list will be servicing at various times.

Hey, if you're seriously into operation I guess it makes sense. I know of a group who meets for a weekend of operations. They work eight hour shifts, are on call for trains, etc. They'll be sitting in a diner, get a phone call that their train will be ready in an hour, and show up to run the train.

Serious, heads-down operations. A bit much for me...

  by jmp883
 
Lutherkb wrote:
The whole idea behind DCC is operating your train and not your track. DCC will allow you to much more than just flash lights.
Also, 2005Vdub, DCC can be used on just about any size layout. My N-scale layout is built on a hollow-core door for portability but I'm able to run one train on the mainline while switching a 3-track yard and a 2-track engine service area. At first I thought DCC wouldn't be an advantage but just being able to run any loco, at any time, on any track is so appealing that I'm seriously considering the switch. Add all the other features that DCC has to offer and conventional DC just doesn't compare.

You can click on the 'WWW' button below to see my little slice of N-scale.

  by Steve F45
 
How much do these DCC's cost and what else is need to operate them? I just got a sd80mac that has the dcc option but didnt come with it. Is it possible to retrofit older loco's to use DCC?

  by jmp883
 
2005Vdub wrote:
How much do these DCC's cost and what else is need to operate them? I just got a sd80mac that has the dcc option but didnt come with it. Is it possible to retrofit older loco's to use DCC?
First off, if you haven't already, read the links that have been posted here. They'll probably answer all your questions about DCC.

That being said keep in mind that if you go DCC it should be a complete conversion of your layout and locomotives. I've read and seen layouts that can run both conventional DC and DCC but in my opinion that's making it more complicated than necessary in terms of wiring the layout.

A very basic description of what's required for DCC is a power supply, throttle, and decoders. The power supply and throttle can be in one unit or they can be separate components. The decoders are what you mount in the locomotive to receive the signals from the throttle. On larger layouts you might also need power boosters to keep the power levels up across the entire layout. The decoders are manufactured to NMRA standards so that any decoder will work in any locomotive. The majority of new locomotives in HO and N scale are decoder-ready. Just swap out the factory circuit board for the decoder, program that locomotive, and you're good to go.

Like I said, this is a very brief description of DCC. Those links will be much more informative. :-D

  by hoborich
 
When I began building my layout two years ago, DCC was a totally foreign concept to me. I was going to just go analog, for simplicity. But I wanted sound. I began looking into DCC, and the guy at the hobby shop suggested I go DCC, if I was building a layout. I'm glad I did. DCC is the greatest invention, since sliced bread.
The other night my 35 car coal train stalled on the hill, in the back of my layout. I was just about ready to crawl under the layout, to the pop up hole and give it a boost. But I just picked up the other throttle, and sent a pair of SD-35s around to push the train up the hill. Cool! Never could have done that with analog.
I would never go back to analog! It's so nice to run several trains on the layout, and be able to control each one separately. And like most things, once you begin to understand it, it's really simple.
I have now installed sound in 10 locomotives, in addition to another 10 I bought with sound already installed.

  by Steve F45
 
hoborich wrote:When I began building my layout two years ago, DCC was a totally foreign concept to me. I was going to just go analog, for simplicity. But I wanted sound. I began looking into DCC, and the guy at the hobby shop suggested I go DCC, if I was building a layout. I'm glad I did. DCC is the greatest invention, since sliced bread.
The other night my 35 car coal train stalled on the hill, in the back of my layout. I was just about ready to crawl under the layout, to the pop up hole and give it a boost. But I just picked up the other throttle, and sent a pair of SD-35s around to push the train up the hill. Cool! Never could have done that with analog.
I would never go back to analog! It's so nice to run several trains on the layout, and be able to control each one separately. And like most things, once you begin to understand it, it's really simple.
I have now installed sound in 10 locomotives, in addition to another 10 I bought with sound already installed.
I always wondered when someone would actually be able to control pushers. Looks like if I model the nysw i can actually make near realistic with stalling trains and pushers.