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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Greetings,

Just looking for quick, simple opinions of this setup to determine if I need to bother going to MRC website for further reading. Very familiar with MRC up to but, not including their DCC products.

For sale from a trusted friend & reseller of model trains. The set is complete @ $65. Even the box & little bags are there. Respectfully owned/used I’m thinking.

TIA
Scott Kilowatt
 

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Couldn't read MRC model number and I'm not
familiar with it, but it
looks like an older MRC DCC system. $65 would seem
a very good price. While the system may not have
all current MRC features it will run any DCC layout
just as well as any. All DCC devices must meet NMRA
standards. By all means find out all you can. Good way
to get started with DCC at minimum cost.

Don
 

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Honestly, I would advise against that. The technology and features of DCC have come a long way since that was released. For about twice what he's asking, you can get a brand spanking new Prodigy Express2, their 3rd generation of that model. Yes, it's more out of pocket, but you're comparing a new Corvette to a used Chevette.
 
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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Thanks CTV,
Okay, old unit too far outdated then, got it.
So I did look into your comparative recommendation. The express 2 seems a bit light on current @ 1.6 amps. Seems that it does not control accessory decoders either. All for the cheapest price I could find @ $161.00 + shpg.
 

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The 'norm' output for DCC controllers is 1 or 2 amps.
Thus, 1.6 amps is ample current for the typical home layout.
It can easily power 2, 3 or more DCC non sound locos running at the
same time. However, if you plan to run Sound locos you
may need a booster. Hold off on that until you find it
necessary. It's a plug in accessory for most DCC systems.
Accessory decoders can be controlled by most DCC systems.
They are simply decoders designed for off loco use. There
are special decoders designed for turnout motor controls
but they, also, are controlled by the DCC system. There are
several high tech devices that can enable use of cell phones,
computers and other digital units. Most DCC systems can
work with these.

Don
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
I’m aware of all that Don. I was looking for a quick opinion, as stated, on a particular setup. Thanks though for the re-education. It is appreciated.
 

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Thanks CTV,
Okay, old unit too far outdated then, got it.
So I did look into your comparative recommendation. The express 2 seems a bit light on current @ 1.6 amps. Seems that it does not control accessory decoders either. All for the cheapest price I could find @ $161.00 + shpg.
Doesn't control accessory decoders? That's news to me. It doesn't handle automatic route alignment on turnouts, no, but it will access and run any decoder with a valid address, whether stationary or mobile. It handles long addresses, giving you essentially 9999 options to chose from. I may be misremembering, but the Prodigy only uses a short address mode,for 99 options.

Also, resist the temptation to "overamp" your layout. As Don said, 1.6 amps is plenty to operate (and that means in motion and using features) up to 3 sound equipped locomotives simultaneously. Are you really going to be doing more than that? It's also FAR cheaper to simply add a booster for more current than to pay for a lot of DCC features you don't need, especially if you're talking about the potential for future upgrades.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
“Doesn’t control accessory decoders?”
Just repeating what I read from the website .

1.6 amp max supply:
My initial intention is to isolate and convert a few old DC steamers on hand, To see how far I want to go in DCC. Realizing higher current draw from the old open frame motors will tax the system heavily, hence the higher max current thoughts. Upgrade motors if I must.
A DCC ready Steamer is in the future. More as a comparison.
 

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“Doesn’t control accessory decoders?”
Just repeating what I read from the website .
Dang! Ain't that something. I guess they regressed between the Prodigy Express and the Express2. Most likely the marketing department won that battle pushing for a lower price point.

Anyway, neat thing about the MRC systems. All the brains are in the handheld units; amps come from the little connection box. Get an Advance2 handheld (or a Wireless handheld and a "wireless conversion" dongle), and presto! You have an Advance2, albeit with the lower power output of the Express2). Yeah, it's a little more, but not nearly as much as an Advance2 or Wireless is up front.
 

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Correct, the original Prodigy had a Dispatch Throttle, sold separately, which was dedicated for controlling turnouts via stationary decoders.
My dad uses two of these systems daisy chained together (they’re designed for that capability) and typically runs 2 sound locos with no problems.
It cannot program more than addresses however, so I second the motion of going for Prodigy Advanced or Express2, or…. Watch for NCE\Digitrax basic systems to go on sale. Sometimes you can find NCE PowerCab systems for $180 or so.

One thing I will say though, but I’m not 100% that it is attributable to MRC or environmental conditions…. He didn’t run his layout for 6 months. Without cleaning track he powered it up and his trains had no pickup problems. I dunno what that says, his basement doesn’t get very dusty or Prodigy kicks out a stronger than usual signal somehow? Beats me. Interesting little tid bi
 

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So that makes the objection to "not addressing accessory decoders" moot, because the OP would need that Dispatch Throttle for the AD-150 as well.

Interesting observation about your dad's layout. I've only ever owned MRC products (although I've used others), other than a brief misstep with a Bachmann Dynamis system, which I can't recommend. I've never had reason to complain. I had MRC DC power packs, then Prodigy Express, then Wireless. I'm much less picky about how many power feeders I wire in, because I've never had trouble with long stretches of track without feeders. I hadn't previously considered that maybe that has something to do with my choice of systems.
 
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