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I'm in the process of constructing a small HO layout for my grandson.
The layout is one designed by Dave Frary called the Cactus Valley. It
was published in MR in the late 90's. It's a folded loop with four
turnouts. The layout calls for 100 code Atlas flex track and four
Atlas manual turnouts. The model uses the MRC 2000 DCC system.

My question concerns the DCC components. I'd like to run 2 trains
with DCC control of both the trains and turnouts. What DCC system
would you recommend and what do I need to handle turnouts? I'll
purchase two decoder equipped engines, but don't know what to
do about the turnouts. Can one buy decoder equipped turnouts that
are compatible with the Atlas track?

Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated.
 

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turnouts need to be equipped with switching machines and stationary decoders (appropriate for machine type) if you want to switch them from your dcc system cab. IMHO a hassle, i run dcc but preffer stand alone control panel for turouts.

AFAIK, there are only few decoder-on-board turnouts and those are with built in ballast. you can get one standalone decoder to operate 4 turnouts

for DCC system i chose NCE powercab. look into mrc prodigy basic and basic digitrax system.
 

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I have 7 dcc engines and stand alone turnouts...I use the Bachmann track with gray roadbed and have no issues but it is not flexible and my dcc system is also the Bachmann E-Z command I use a dc controller to power the turnouts and everything works great...all of the train stuff here really belongs to my 5yo son and he can run it as good or better than me...the dcc system is a great advancement for model railroading...here is a pic of my current layout, a little dark but you get the idea
 

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I was looking at the bullfrog manual turnout controlls for a smaller HO layout - they seem to be very straight forward and would be easy for a child to use.

Aaron
 

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Digitrax is the system I settled on when I bought mine. I shopped and compared Digitrax, Lenz, MRC, Bachman, and a couple of others before buying mine. It came down to Digitrax and Lenz.

There is a site that has a spreadsheet with all of the comparisons of the "whistles and bells" of each unit and manufacturer. I will try to find it and post it up.

Though the Digitrax is a bit harder to program the units, it is more flexible than the rest, has more peripherals for wider operation. The controllers are a bit bulkier than MRC. But, as I said, they are much more versatile and come in a wider selection of "sizes" to better fit individual needs. They also offer free software updates via the web.

I'm sold on mine.(obviously)

If you have any questions, get in contact with the guys at Tony's Train Exchange. These guys are DCC GODS!!!! Link: www.tonystrainexchange.com

Bob
 
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