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Old 14-06-2018, 07:03 AM   #1
mcleod4569
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Default Do I need DCC?

I am in the process of designing an n gauge layout that will only have one continuous running loop, a passing loop and a few sidings. Since I will only be running 1 train at a time do I really need DCC or will DC be sufficient? Will modern locos that are advertised as DCC ready work with DC?

Forgive me if that last question sounds a little stupid to the more seasoned modellers on the forum!
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Old 14-06-2018, 07:38 AM   #2
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DCC ready locos are DC. Plug in a decoder they become DCC. Almost all DCC locos will work on DC but DC locos won’t work on DCC.


My layout, 2 circuits and many sidings runs on DC as did all layouts until DCC arrived.
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Old 14-06-2018, 08:27 AM   #3
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Nobody Needs DCC. DCC controls actual loco, whilst DC, controls track. I run both on different layouts. DC, is quite sufficient, and a lot cheaper. Down to personal choice, and budget. Running 2 locos on same track, can be done with DCC. If you are only going to run one, DC, will be fine. Was good enough for many years, and still is, for many enthusiasts. john
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Old 14-06-2018, 08:42 AM   #4
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Hi James and welcome to our forum. Your question is not at all stupid. Given your proposed layout including single loco running my suggestion would be to stay DC. DCC can become horrendously expensive and would just over complicate your operation. But as the more sensible of us on here always say, it is your layout and your decision.
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Old 14-06-2018, 09:19 AM   #5
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I think you have to decide first on what you want from your layout and then decide how best to achieve it within your budget.

Such questions as, "Do you want to remotely operate lighting?", "Do you want to remotely operate points?", "Do you want to run more than one locomotive at a time on a piece of track?", "Do you want your locomotives to have sound effects?" are all relevent and worth considering. All these things are of course achieveable with DC but they are a lot easier to achieve with DCC.

As regards expense, yes DCC can be more expensive as each loco requires a decoder however an operating only decoder is fairly cheap and even one with basic sound is not too expensive. Sophisticated sound decoders with programable ramps and many other features are, not surprisingly, much more expensive, and the controllers themselves are a lot more expensive.

As regards simplicity, if designing from scratch I firmly believe that DCC is a simpler wiring layout than a DC set up would be. Both can be supplied from a bus system however all accessories can be controlled through a signal sent down the bus in DCC whereas all command signals have to be supplied through a seperate cable for DC.

If you want simple operation of your layout and budget is a main concern then DC may well be the best for you. If you want sophistication of operation and a high number of accessories to be operational then DCC may well be the best way. Don't forget that a DC layout can be converted to a DCC set up at a later date.

As a last thought, and probably the most contentious, I do believe that DCC operation of locomotives cannot be matched by any DC controller as regards smooth and slow operation. I am sure there will be many members here who swear that thier own controllers are the best there has ever been and no DCC system can beat it but I have now seen enough examples to be certain that the smoothest and slowest operation of a loco can only be achieved with a DCC controller.

As for the "DC has always been good enough" approach, I tend to think of it this way, A Morris Minor will get you safely from A to B as they have always done. If you want higher levels of efficiency and sophistication with an easy driving experience it simply cannot match a modern compact car. There are still plenty of happy Morris Minor drivers out there though. They tend to be the ones with the dirty fingernails!
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Old 14-06-2018, 09:33 AM   #6
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My fingernails are very clean, and i am afraid i do not agree about the wiring. A lot depends on when you started, your age, your budget, and whether you want to keep up with the jones,s. For the purists, like me who still run a large 3 rail setup, DCC, was a toe in the water, due to illness. My DC, still way exceeds my DCC, and always will. I like the sound facility offered by DCC, and the computerised screen of Railmaster, but NOTHING beats the sound of Hornby Dublo, on metal track, for me. I will put my head back in the sand. john
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Old 14-06-2018, 09:34 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by yelrow View Post
Nobody Needs DCC.
I completely agree, just as no one needs the internet to look up a question when they can go down the library and no-one needs to have a phone in thier pocket when there is a perfectly good one at home.

The way I see it, it is not so much about needs as about offerring something potentially better.
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Old 14-06-2018, 09:50 AM   #8
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There are swings and roundabouts with this choice - and you will have to weigh up what you want to achieve. Cost is no longer a factor with a simple DCC system costing about the same as a good DC controller, and often it is just as cheap to DCC control your points as build a full control panel for the analogue method.

For what you have described the choice is not completely clear, what will probably sway you is how many trains you will need to fit DCC decoders to (budget for around £20 each with modern Next18 or PluX socketed locos, perhaps a bit more for older designs of locos or those that are not DCC ready especially if you need to get someone else to fit them), how much slow running you will want to do (DC will require scrupulously clean track, DCC less so), how much you like wiring (DCC does require some wiring, but it is far less complex than DC wiring even for a simple layout), and do you like continuous lighting and sound (something that you can quite quickly get very used to having!)

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Old 14-06-2018, 10:23 AM   #9
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Will you want to extend it / alter it in the future, the lesser wiring with DCC makes changes to layouts simple to achieve

Will the layout be moveable and will it be on more than one board in which case you need inter baseboard connectors - again the lesser extent of wiring needed with DCC is a benefit.

DC typically requires a number of switches / extensive wiring - their is a cost implication with these and also increased time fault finding

My last DC layout was a N gauge one - a brand new Ixion Manor managed to bridge the isolating section before a live frog point in the fiddle yard at the rear and conducted the short circuit through its pick ups resulting in the loco tender electric connection basically exploding - I only found out what had happened when the loco of a passing train derailed on a metal stud like pin! Where had that come from - oh! If the layout had been DCC the short would have tripped the system before the Manor got damaged. That ensured that every layout now on will be DCC.
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Old 14-06-2018, 10:45 AM   #10
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My wiring on DC, is far less extensive than DCC. The other point is that other forums have masses of posts with unsolved DCC track/ wiring queries. I am afraid, its down to personal experience/ choice. If you are a complete beginner, from scratch, i can see the attraction of DCC, money being no object. john
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