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Old 01-23-2018, 03:57 AM   #11
Cycleops
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Since the thread title is helping a new modeller to get started I think we should maybe provide some inspiration that will galvanise the person into action if they are thinking about it.
Many homes especially in big cities donít have the room for an 8x4 layout so I think itís important to offer some space saving alternatives. I have found you can have just as much fun with a small switching layout. A good place to start is to look at Carl Arendtís site. Unfortunately he has passed but his small layout scrapbook lives on: http://www.carendt.com/
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Old 01-23-2018, 09:29 AM   #12
CTValleyRR
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Cycleops raises an excellent point: seeing what can be accomplished by everyday modelers is an excellent way to get people going. At least then, they can ask pointed questions like, "How did you make the rock face" instead of the more general (and harder to answer) "How do you make scenery."

Looking at photos, or attending a train show to see what others have done is a great help.
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Old 02-16-2018, 10:14 PM   #13
Bggb88
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Hello, Iím new to model railroads and currently have a few DCC ready locoís. I have track but donít know how to get started with DCC. Iíve watched a few YouTube videos but seems like a lot of work to just get the loco to move. Can someone help me with the basic items I need and what I need to do (decoder, dcc kit, etc) to get started....thanks!
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Old 02-17-2018, 09:46 AM   #14
CTValleyRR
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bggb88 View Post
Hello, I’m new to model railroads and currently have a few DCC ready loco’s. I have track but don’t know how to get started with DCC. I’ve watched a few YouTube videos but seems like a lot of work to just get the loco to move. Can someone help me with the basic items I need and what I need to do (decoder, dcc kit, etc) to get started....thanks!
Hello and Welcome! You should probably have started your own thread with this one. It's not a short answer.

First of all, understand that a DCC-ready loco is a DC loco that is ready for you to install your own decoder. Some are more DCC ready than others, with some being a simple plug in and others requiring some additional fiddling. So yes, you will need to purchase and install one decoder in each loco. You will need to decide whether you want sound or not. Digitrax, NCE,
and TCS are all good brands of non-sound decoders; SoundTraxx and Tsunami are good sound decoders (a sound decoder also provides motor control).

I think the videos that you are watching are overly complicating the issue. Fundamentally, you can just connect your DCC command station to the track with a pair of feeders, assign each locomotive a unique ID number, and you can be off and running. With my MRC system, I can have a new loco running in less than 30 seconds (not including decoder installation). DCC allows much finer control over the locomotive performance than DC does, and you CAN spend a lot of time fiddling with it to dial in the performance "just so" (personally, I tweak so that the loco just barely crawls at the lowest throttle setting). But you don't HAVE to.

Similarly, you CAN wire power busses and multiple feeders to your track, but except on large layouts, this isn't necessary. While more feeders adds reliability, my son's 8x8 layout runs just fine from a single pair of AWG 22 feeders.

Which brings us to the final piece of the puzzle, the DCC system itself. While you can use anyone's decoders with anyone's system, all the components between the power jack and the track power feeders generally have to come from the same manufacturer to be compatible. So which manufacturer?

First of all, for a small layout with only a few locos running at a time (more can be on the layout, parked in a yard or siding), and where you don't want multiple throttles, or all the programming capabilities to fine tune your locos' performance, a limited system like MRC's Prodigy Explorer or Bachmann's EZ Command (not Dynamis), is all you need, and will be cheaper than a full-featured system. The MRC system can be expanded into their more full- featured systems later, the Bachmann isn't expandable.

If you aren't comfortable with the limits imposed by these basic systems, then look at the full starter systems: MRC Prodigy Express, NCE PowerCab, or Digitrax Zephyr. All of these are full featured and fully upgradeable / expandable. The difference between them is a matter of personal preference for the styling, type of throttle, and perhaps ease of use (depending on who you ask). The only system i don't recommend is Bachmann's Dynamis -- it's NOT user friendly, and not expandable without pouring some serious bucks into it. If you have the opportunity (at a train show or retailer, perhaps) to TRY each system, I encourage you to do so. Be careful of retailers who only carry one line of products, though, as they will do their best to convince you that the product they carry is the best.

That's only the bare basics, but I'm trying to keep it simple. Hope that helps!
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Old 02-17-2018, 01:10 PM   #15
DonR
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CTvalley has posted an exceptional explanation of
DCC systems.

But maybe a short primer on what DCC is would
be of some help.

A DCC system comes with it's own power supply
and a digital controller, somewhat similar to
a TV remote. The Controller has 2 wires to the
track that provide a continuous modified AC current.
There is no complicated wiring.

That current carries digital signals produced by the
controller to DCC decoder equipped locos on the
track. Each has it's own unique numeric address,
usually 2 or 4 digits. A loco responds only to
commands addressed to it, all other locos ignore them.
However, that one controller can have 2, 3 or even
more locos running at the same time. You can start
and stop any one without affecting the others.

All of this is happening yet you need no special
digital knowledge to operate the system. You
just push buttons.

And...the loco and car lights don't dim as the
train slows or go out when it stops.

Don
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Old 02-18-2018, 12:35 AM   #16
traction fan
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West DCC books

Quote:
Originally Posted by Bggb88 View Post
Hello, I’m new to model railroads and currently have a few DCC ready loco’s. I have track but don’t know how to get started with DCC. I’ve watched a few YouTube videos but seems like a lot of work to just get the loco to move. Can someone help me with the basic items I need and what I need to do (decoder, dcc kit, etc) to get started....thanks!
Bggb88;

You might benefit from a good DCC book. There are several available online at https://kalmbachhobbystore.com/products/books The books explain which pieces you need (I use NCE and it is a one piece, hand-held unit that is easy to connect, and program.) You will also need a decoder in each locomotive that you want to run on your DCC layout. The books show you how to install a decoder, and what types are available. You can also buy locos with DCC decoders already installed. Some include sound and others don't. The package and advertising will say which does or does not. Sound costs more, but it's very nice to have.

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Old 05-18-2018, 11:34 PM   #17
traction fan
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West New modelers, please read this.

If you are a new modeler ("newbie") and are about to start building your first layout, this info may help you.


How to better model railroad the first time. Part 1.pdf


regards;

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Last edited by traction fan; 06-27-2018 at 05:09 PM..
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Old 07-30-2018, 04:30 PM   #18
traction fan
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West Alltogether now

oooooo OOPs! Two files were not recorded here. I created a new post, "Files including the missing ones. Please check there.
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Old 10-08-2018, 11:32 PM   #20
traction fan
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West What's the best kind of turnout to buy?

Since which turnout is "best" is a matter of individual opinion, I'll just give you some information on them, and let you make your own choice.

The top file, "All about turnouts," contains the info, I suggest reading it first. The other files are referenced in the main(top) file, and contain additional, more detailed, information on specific items mentioned.


All AboutTurnouts.pdf

Improving Atlas turnouts.pdf

How I scratch build turnouts new(8).pdf

Introductory letter for switch machine.pdf

Assembly instructions for switch machine..pdf



regards:

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