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Old 10-01-2019, 06:59 PM   #1
SamF
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Needing advice on first train set

I have been looking at several models and decided I like Kato,I was on Train World and put together an engine,track and some Walther cars,Kato 37-3022 engine,HM1 track and some cars,($319 total)should I start with a DCC controller and eliminate the Kato controller that comes with the track and if so,what would be a good controller to start with that won't break the bank,will that engine run right out of the box with DCC or do I have to add something,I do want the engine to have sound and lights.
I have never owned a train set and its sort of confusing with what I need to get started.
Thank You
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Old 10-01-2019, 07:11 PM   #2
wvgca
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the kato 37-3022 vengine is a DC model, however it does have the 8 pin DCC socket ... a decoder with sound would be appx 100 extra , or just go the kato model with that ??
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Old 10-01-2019, 07:50 PM   #3
CTValleyRR
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It's hard to provide guidance on something like this without knowing more about where you're headed with the hobby.

If you want to create a loop (or so) of track on a tabletop, with little to no scenery, then what you're looking at is fine. If you're only ever going to run one loco at a time, DCC is a waste of money, unless you want full control over sound effects. If you want to stick your toe in the water and test the hobby before you commit fully, what you have selected is a good start.

If you're planning to build out into a much larger, more complex layout, then I think there are better options than sectional track -- which will get expensive in large quantities, and your geometry will be limited by the available shapes. In this case, you might want to consider using flex track and commercial turnouts instead. If you plan to use more than one loco at a time on your layout, then DCC is definitely the simpler solution.

Which DCC? If all you want is to control multiple locos, and don't carry about multi-loco mash-ups, or fine toning performance, or full control over sound effects, consider a limited system like MRC Prodigy Explorer or Bachmann EZ Command. If you want the those features, then get an intro unit like MRC' Prodigy Express2, Digitrax Zephyr, or NCE PowerCab. They'll all do fine, and there's not a lot to distinguish between them beyond the human interface (how it looks and feels, and how you perform certain actions). You might also consider the Rocco z21. It has the same features as the others, but uses a smartphone or a tablet as the control unit. Personally, I don't like touchscreen control, but you may find it just what you want.

DCC locos will run on a DC track, but the reverse is not true: you loco must have a DCC decoder (a small circuit board) to work with DCC.

Note that you don't have to stick with one brand, either. For the track, sticking with one brand is advisable, but anyone's locos and cars will run on that track, as long as the scale and gauge are the same (and you consider DCC or not).
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Old 10-02-2019, 11:20 AM   #4
J.Albert1949
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OP:

Tell us:
- how much space do you have for a train layout? (most folks start out with 4x8 (or close to that)
- will "the setup" be in a permanent place, or will it be something you "put down, run for a while, and then take back up"?
- are there specific railroads that interest you?
- is there a specific timeframe that interests you?

Kato is a well-made product.
I particularly like the Kato "unitrack" as it's easy to set up, looks good, easy to get switches working with their remote controls, easy to get the whole thing wired up (with their modular wiring system). Probably a good choice for someone "just starting out".

However -- you may get more for your money by buying either a separate "box of track" (no engines or cars or power supply), or perhaps just buying individual pieces if you have a plan of your own.

You can get more for your money by buying an individual locomotive (or two, or three), and that way you can choose the manufacturer, unit type, road name, dc or dcc, etc.

Same for the cars.

As for power control, I like the Roco z21 system. It can be wired or wireLESS, using your smartphone or tablet.
You can preview what it's like RIGHT NOW, even without a train or layout.
For Mac/iOS, go to the app store and search for "z21". Download it and give it a try (it hurts nothing, is free, and can be deleted if you don't like it).
For Android, go to google play and search for "z21".
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Old 10-02-2019, 11:30 AM   #5
MichaelE
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When I hear the words 'train set' I automatically think of a circle or oval of track running around on a carpeted floor waiting to be stepped on or kicked while the locomotive is sucking up all sorts of dirt and carpet fibers in the drive gears.
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Old 10-02-2019, 04:16 PM   #6
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cant go wrong with Kato track or locos although its more expensive it just works. i my self use NCE dcc simple easy to work with also it just works right out the box. to me dcc is better than any dc set. if you got room a small circle track to start with works fine till you figger out what ya want to build or oval track at least your running trains for now and thats the fun part.
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Old 10-03-2019, 04:21 PM   #7
SamF
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OK,Thank you all for the advice..do you have a "go too" online store who treats you right and have reasonable prices?
As I said..I looked at Train World and they seem like a good place.
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Old 10-03-2019, 07:51 PM   #8
CTValleyRR
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I use Trainworld and MB Klein (www.modeltrainstuff.com) for most of my on-line purchases. MicroMark for tools. Scale Hobbyist for paints and scratch-building supplies. Walthers is great too, if you want a place to find just about everything you could possibly need under one roof, but they are primarily a wholesaler and deliberately sell at MSRP so as not to undercut their dealers. So their selection is great, but you can find better deals out there.
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Old 10-04-2019, 10:29 AM   #9
J.Albert1949
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yankeedabbler.com is good for dcc items, and shipping is usually only $3.
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