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  • DCC starter system questions

    Hi guys.

    Thanks in advance for any help and advice on this age old question!!!

    I will be moving to DCC sometime in the not too distant future. I've tried to do my homework so as not to ask the same old questions - but forgive me if I ask a few.

    My Shadowland and Tellynott layout is in HO scale and is (will be) a mountain layout with a port town. The mountain part will have the usual bowel of spaghetti track layout with fairly sharp curves and steep grades. The room is approximately 10m x 6m (32' x 19'). One day it would be nice to have our 2fatpossums group operating the layout - which would mean 5 trains running at one time. This would be the maximum, and typically I would probably do well to run 2. Three members of this group use NCE, along with several other friends living nearby, so I have decided that this is the manufacturer I will go with (after reading several threads suggesting the huge benefits of doing this -using the same system as your friends/ fellow modelers'). As Shadowlands will be a mountain layout with scenery to above my head, and I intend to walk around with a train, switching as I go, I need the system to be untethered. I'm guessing I could operate Tellynott (the port) with a tethered throttle, but can see this being a bit of a pain. Locomotives will mainly be geared, although these are still generally still to be decided. Some brass which may prove problematic? The layout is set up in our barn, on our 11 acre block in rural Canterbury, New Zealand. Let me know if I have missed anything of importance.

    My latest plan can be found here:

    https://railroad-line.com/node/21187/page49

    (also on page 50 is work on a model of a model, which should help with visualization)

    So...

    If using the NCE radio system - has anyone had problems with interference from electric fences? The TV and radios all seem to ok, but there is the ongoing audible 'crack, crack, crack' when using the landline phone. There are multiple properties surrounding us with electric fences, so tracking down the problem and getting it fixed would be near on impossible.

    Is there any great advantage to buying the:

    Powerhouse pro 5amp wireless system (plus power supply)

    over the:

    Power cab, and then later adding a program track auto switch, radio base station, SB5 smartbooster and a CAB06r? (I'm assuming I could also send my power cab back to get it retrofitted for wireless operation.)

    The pros and cons I can see are:

    Buying the more expensive system would likely mean I would get stung with 15% GST. Probably not so by buying the power cab and later add-ons in two separate transactions - although shipping would be more.

    Starting with the power cab would mean I could be up and running for a much smaller initial outlay (although tethered).

    By starting with the power cab and later buying a CAB06r I would end up with two throttles (is this right? can I still use the power pro as a cab if taking this route and using with the smartbooster? - It would be nice to have a spare cab for visitors.)

    If I bought the Powerhouse pro I would have wireless from the outset.

    Sending the power pro throttle back for retrofitting for wireless use would be time consuming and costly - indeed the shipping would probably be almost as much as the $102 it costs to have the work done - maybe more!

    OK - I thinks that's it! I am a beginner and not very savvy when it comes to anything electrical or computer based, but I'm hopping that my friends with NCE systems will be happy to help. Putting on modeling weekends and serving up nice lunches several times a year certainly helps!

    Cheers, Mark.


  • #2
    I think you've answered your own question here but As I look at your track plan you want wireless throttles. To run just 5 trains at .5 amp per train the 3 amp power cab should handle your needs. Because of your shipping costs I would think it would be more cost effective to buy a system that can provide everything you will eventually need even if it means more up front in taxes. As far as the electric interference; what doesn't bother the TV and cell phones won't bother a DCC inferred or radio system. The power supply for the DCC system should filter out any "wave distortions" in the AC power line.

    Hope this helped

    Bob
    It\'s only make-believe

    Comment


    • #3
      Thanks, Bob.

      As far as the electric interference; what doesn't bother the TV and cell phones won't bother a DCC inferred or radio system. The power supply for the DCC system should filter out any "wave distortions" in the AC power line.
      Good to know. The NCE wireless system comes in either 5amps or 10amps. I agree 3amps should be enough, but this doesn't seem to be an option with NCE.

      Cheers, Mark.

      Comment


      • #4
        Mark, I have the NCE 2 amp Power Cab for my tiny HO layout (20 sq ft). If I am really trying to maximize trains I can squeeze three short ones onto it.
        None of my engines have sound. All the turnouts are hand thrown and no other accessories are powered by the Power Cab. It works well. It's a tethered system, but for my needs I can reach everywhere., I like the system.

        5 amps ought to allow you to do a bit more things than run 5 trains.
        Last edited by Bill_Gill; 11-17-2021, 05:19 PM.

        Comment


        • #5
          On a layout that big, if the cost difference isn't flatly prohibitive for you, go with the Power Pro system. Expandability is much greater, and there are many fewer limitations. You could find yourself buying a Power Pro later even if you start with the Power Cab. That's not necessarily bad, though - you can use the Power Cab later as a good workbench DCC system for programming and troubleshooting locos at the workbench. I've considered buying a Power Cab for my own workbench.

          I've had the Power Pro system with gen 1 wireless for years, and have been very pleased with it overall. I do need to upgrade the firmware to the latest version, though, and maybe the wireless as well.

          Comment


          • #6
            Thanks Bill and Brunton.

            On a layout that big, if the cost difference isn't flatly prohibitive for you, go with the Power Pro system. Expandability is much greater, and there are many fewer limitations.
            Would you be able to elaborate on the bold section above, Brunton?

            Thanks, guys. Still looking into this in my limited free time.

            Cheers, Mark.

            Comment


            • #7
              Originally posted by mark_dalrymple View Post
              Thanks Bill and Brunton.



              Would you be able to elaborate on the bold section above, Brunton?

              Thanks, guys. Still looking into this in my limited free time.

              Cheers, Mark.
              I'll try. By expansion he talking about adding boosters and other accessories such as track detection and signaling systems, turnout controls and automation. All these require more power (Amps) . While your layout might be considered large by many it shouldn't IMHO need boosters for track power as it has no large yards or switching districts. You know what your plans are for signaling, consider them in you evaluations.

              I hope this has helped

              Bob
              It\'s only make-believe

              Comment

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