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Old 10-14-2019, 02:51 PM   #1
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Looking for a locomotive

I’m doing HO scale I’ve got my train cars started looking for a loco. I want to do Norfolk Southern mainline looking at the Athearn GEVOs with DCC thoughts if I’m on the right track with this. Man when i was was a kid this was simple its a whole different ball game now haha. Also a good starter controller that want break me.
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Old 10-14-2019, 03:22 PM   #2
D&J Railroad
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Scales Modeled: HO only and some G scale stuff for display
I have one of the recent Genesis ES44DC locos in NS paint. Nice running and good sound system Tsunami 2 board in it.
Going DCC, people try to find the cheapest system out there but in a few short weeks they realize they should have spent the extra $40 or so for a really good system. Then they go out and buy that really good system. Now they have spent much more than the system that works really good.
I committed to Digitrax long ago and now I have a club size layout at home here with many Digitrax components. It all works fine, but if I were to start over, I would go with an ESU system.
Bottom line, don't try the cheap route.
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Old 10-14-2019, 03:38 PM   #3
DonR
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Shorty

There is so much available for us train modellers
today, it can be daunting.

But when you get down to it, things are actually
much more simple now. And the trains are better
quality than ever before.

You can get a DCC train up and running right out of
the box with no complicated wiring. Just 2 wires
from the controller to the track and you are ready
to run 2 or 3 trains at the same time if you want.

There is not a wrong choice when you buy a DCC
Controller. Digitrax, NCE, MRC and even Bachmann
will give you long years of enjoyable training.
All are powerful enuf to run 3 or 4 trans at the
same time. Bachmann lacks the ability to do fine
tuning of the loco DCC decoders, otherwise it's just
as good as the others.

And keep in mind, NMRA standards means you can
mix and match brands. You are not locked into
any one make.

Here on the Forum you have a roster of members who are eager to help you enjoy your new hobby to the max.

Don
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Old 10-14-2019, 05:05 PM   #4
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Don wanna go cheap just something i can add to. What about the Zephyr Express DCS52
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Old 10-14-2019, 05:09 PM   #5
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How bout my choice for a loco
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Old 10-14-2019, 05:47 PM   #6
DonR
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Shorty

I'm not personally familiar with the Zepher, but it
is a full feature DCC system. You can use it as it
comes, and if your layout grows it can easily be
upgraded. You can add power, or hand held additional
controllers that family or guests can use.

Athearn is looked on as one of the preferred makes
of locos, so if you like the loco and the price you
won't go wrong. A key factor for the purchase of
any loco is whether it will satisfactorily run on your
radius curves. Unless you expand your curve radius
it would be advisable to start out with 4 wheel truck
locos. Some of the larger locos will run on tight
radius tracks but don't look very good doing so.

Don
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Old 10-14-2019, 07:01 PM   #7
deedub35
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You won’t be disappointed with the DCS52. I have the older DCS51 and it meets my needs. I also have two UT4 utility throttles and two old smartphones that I use as wireless throttles so I can run multiple locomotives from different places on my layout.

I have a fleet on 14 locomotives. All are four axle. Some are Athearn, some are Bachmann, some are Walthers, and I have a couple from Atlas as well.

The only thing I would point out is that the stock Bachmann decoders were a little noisy so after swapping those out with Digitrax all was better.
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Old 10-14-2019, 07:54 PM   #8
D&J Railroad
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Scales Modeled: HO only and some G scale stuff for display
Something to consider here Shorty. If the Zephyr does everything, then why did Digitrax bother to market the DCS and the DB command stations?
Each DCC system has a learning curve. Digitrax, NCE, ESU and all the others have operator manuals that provide sufficient instructions to get things going. Their individual procedures are different from each other but in the end, they are all about the same number of steps to accomplish the basic tasks. It's just a matter of remembering those steps. Don't let anyone tell you that one system of the three I mentioned is much easier than the other two. The owners will say that only because they are primarily familiar with the one they use all the time. They key feature you will need to consider though is user support for your DCC system. Who can you turn to for help. If you decide to buy a Zero One system because you could get it for $100 less than the others, who is going to help you with it in the functions beyond the basic controls.
Add on features, i.e. radio control, block detection, signal control and turnout control, all nice features and easy to do. Will you choice provide those functions or will you have to buy a new system later on.
Same with the models, RTR vs the Genesis series. Scale Trains vs. Walthers. BLI vs. MTH. Sound or no sound. How much will it cost to add sound later on?
Compare the models side by side. Look at the hand rails, the truck side frame details, the hood details and the cab details. Are they toy like in appearance or are they fine details?
If your intent is to just nail some track down to a sheet of plywood then turn it over to the kiddies to play with, go cheap. On the other hand, if your desire is to develop your modeling skills and build a model railroad as a hobby interest, then do your homework and go with quality first purchase.
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Old 10-15-2019, 11:30 AM   #9
J.Albert1949
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If you haven't bought a dcc system yet, you ought to also consider the Roco z21.

There are youtube videos that show the system and how it works, but...

Roco is (to my knowledge) the ONLY dcc system that you can "try before you buy". That means RIGHT NOW.

You need one of the following:
- Apple iPhone
- Apple iPad
- Android phone
- Android tablet

It's even possible to run these on a computer. On the Mac I can use the "NOX app player".
I don't use PC's, but if there are Android emulators (in windowze), they will probaby work as well.

If you have iOS, go to the app store and enter "z21". Download and try one (or both) of the apps. Free.

If you have Android, go to google play and enter "z21". Again, you can download and try both of the apps. Free.

This will let you "see how the system works" BEFORE you lay the $$$ down.
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