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Discussion Starter #1
Hi All,

I have a question regarding DCC. I have an MTH freight set and that I am considering purchasing the Digitrax ZEPX Zephyr Xtra. Is this unit a decoder
so to speak in itself? Or is this is a separate subject matter?
I read articles about decoding your engine Etc. What is occurring here?
Any input would be appreciated.
By the way, this is a down the road consideration since I am new to the hobby however; wanted to be prepared and get us much knowledge on these areas as possible.:)
Thanks,

AlRoz
 

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The Zephyr Extra is Digitraxx's basic DCC system that powers the layout (track current mixed with a digital signal) wich,by the way,is enough for most small layouts.It serves a dual purpose,it supplies the energy to drive the loco and the digital portion controls how the loco behaves (direction,speed,lights and sounds in some dases).

Then,every loco that you want DCC controlled needs an onboard decoder wich reads the digital signal and translates it in whatever movement desired and at the same time can control independent functions like lights,sounds,etc.With DCC,you can have the loco turn its lights on,blow the whistle and sound an idling engine,etc without moving.
 

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Hi All,

I have a question regarding DCC.

Is this unit a decoder so to speak in itself? Or is this is a separate subject matter?

AlRoz
Hi and Welcome AlRoz....

Short answer is no...the Zepher is not a decoder. That's something you'll have to purchase separately and install in your loco. Basic decoders are around $25 and you can have them installed by your local Hobby Shop.

One of the guys here, NIMT, does this kind of thing for a very low cost. When you're ready I recommend giving him a ring.

Jim
 

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I do not have any MTH products so I don't know from experience, this is just hearsay from the LHS but I believe that MTH engines that are equipped with MTH decoders do not like to operate on Digitrax systems (i.e. Zephyr) ???


You stated that you had an MTH freight set, I don't know if that includes an engine equipped with an MTH mobile decoder, but if you like MTH products you may want to look into this.


Is there something to this or am I all wrong? Any comments from members that are more knowledgeable?
 

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OK here is what I know...Or think I know!:D

MTH uses a proprietary system called DCS Note: DCS is Not DCC;)
You can run a DCS MTH engine on DCC you will just lose some control of some functions...And from what I've seen and read it's nothing to worry about! It's background sound control functions.
MTH is the only one that uses DCS...I'm not sure the opposite is true that you can run DCC decoder equipped engines on DCS.:thumbsdown:
DCC is used on almost all the other systems manufactured (Digitrax, NCE, MRC, Bachmann, Roco to name a few) and all these systems general work the same and all use the same codes!:D
Most all DCC decoders no matter who makes them are compatible with other manufactures DCC controllers and vice versa, sideways compatibility!:cool:
 

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Discussion Starter #7
DCC Confusion

Thank you all for the great input.
Gunrunnerjohn, my MTh Freight set has Protosound3, so you are saying that
if I stick with MTH, the trains need to be Protosound 3 and the Digitrax should work fine? Will any functions be lost? Also, If I go with say another set on the Digitrax - Lionel, I should still be ok?

Thx,
Alroz
 

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Alroz, hopefully I did not totally confuse you with rerouting your thread a little, I apologize if I did.

I just wanted to clear up a few things about MTH and DCS, hopefully that might have helped you as well. Thanks NIMT and gunnerrunnerjohn :thumbsup:

I'm pretty much a Digitrax guy myself. I have the Zephyr command station and I really love it. I've also bought about a dozen or so digitrax mobile decoders to switch my older engines to DCC.

I haven't been in this for very long so I am learning just as you are!!
 

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Alroz, hopefully I did not totally confuse you with rerouting your thread a little, I apologize if I did.
I'm sure the MTH/DCS/DCC discussion will likely be helpful as far as follow-on questions he may have, however the answer to his initial question is still....No, the Zepher is not, in itself, a decoder.

Thanks though for bringing up the DCS/DCC thing though.

Jim
 

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Discussion Starter #10
Bman,

No problem at all. So can someone just confirm as to my last entry to gunrunerjohn?
I just want to be sure that a MTH Train with Protosound 3 will function with the Digitrax
before I make the investment. I do want to get all the functionality of the engine as installed. If not, any suggestions as to other decoders?
Thanks again all,
This is surly a leaning hobby and I am enjoying it all.

Alroz
 

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Discussion Starter #12 (Edited)
Ok that settles that, thank you I appreciate it.
I may still look around for a different DCC system that may get all the
MTL Protosound 3 funtionality, is this possible, or should I just look for DCS?
It which case running a Lionel may have issues.
Here is a great document that I found that goes back to 2008 from what it seems:

http://www.ulrichmodels.com/prostores/DCC_Topics/MTH_DCS_and_DCC.pdf

Alroz
 

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Discussion Starter #14
Nimt,

O scale.
I just got off the phone with an MTH tech about an hour ago. He as well, was very imformative. From what he states, if I go with a DCC system with MTH, you need to know what level of function keys the unit has. Ex: if only up to F15, you will not be able to get from F16 TO F28 on the Protosound 3. If you go with their DCS system and are running a Lionel line Etc, you need some sort of a connector that plugs into the DCC and DCS system. With this, the DCS will operate the Lionel loco.
I think that I will probably go with DCS.
Alroz
 

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If you go O-gauge, TMCC and DCS will coexist peacefully on the same layout and even the same tracks. I have run both here, a couple of each type of locomotive, they all were happy campers.

If you like, I'll move this to O-scale and rename the thread, since I don't think a DCC system is the right choice for an O-gauge layout. You're very limited as to what you can run in O-gauge on DCC. You really want either TMCC or DCS for O-gauge, they're the dominant control systems, just as DCC is the dominant system for HO or N scales.
 

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If you go with their DCS system and are running a Lionel line Etc, you need some sort of a connector that plugs into the DCC and DCS system. With this, the DCS will operate the Lionel loco.
This is a misleading statement by MTH, which comes as no surprise.

You can run a conventional Lionel locomotive on a dedicated track using one of the two variable channels of the TIU. However, if you have Lionel TMCC or Legacy locomotives, you can't run them in command mode without having a TMCC or Legacy command base connected to the TIU. In addition, you will not get access to any of the neat Legacy features running a Legacy locomotive from the DCS system remote, for that you must have a CAB2 remote and the Legacy command base.

Hope that clears things up a bit.
 

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Discussion Starter #19 (Edited)
ok understanding this a lot better everyone.
Sorry for not originally supplying the Guage.

Gunrunnerjohn, what you mentioned abiut TMMC and the TIU sounds like what MTH explained to me. I am going with DCS. You can move this to the O Scale section. I did not realizes the DCC section was just for HO
Learning something everyday here ;)

Thanks everyone,

Alroz
 

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OK, you're over the fence in the O-scale forum. :)

I'm a recent DCS purchaser, having had Legacy/TMCC for some time. So, as soon as I get my system back from MTH (broken) or the other TIU I bought comes in, I can probably answer some questions about the system. :D
 
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