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  • Topic: DCC and Large Scale

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    • November 18, 2016 1:54 AM EST
      • St. Louis, MO
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      DCC and Large Scale

      I'm trying to understand DCC and its prevalence in Large Scale. I understand Phoenix has DCC decoders, but they are sound only.  Are there any popular DCC decoders in the large scale world, and if so, which ones handle both sound, lights and motor control. Excuse my lack of knowledge on this topic. I know CVP calls its products "decoders", but they don't seem to be traditional DCC decoders that accept standard DCC signals (similar to SoundTraxx or TCS decoders). Could someone please enlighten me on how this all works?  Thank you.

    • November 18, 2016 9:00 PM EST

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      Popular DCC decoders for large scale which will control motor, sound, and lights are available from (in no particular order) QSI, Zimo, ESU-Loksound, Massoth, and Soundtraxx Econami. In the "soon to be released" category, there's the Soundtraxx Tsunami2 and TCS WowSound decoder.


      To control these decoders, there are two ways to go about it. The "traditional" method consists of a trackside command station which sends the DCC signals through the rails to the decoder onboard each locomotive. Probably the most oft-recommended command station for large scale comes from NCE, though there are others from Digitrax, Piko, Massoth, Zimo and others. Most large scale DCC folks use track voltages in the 20 - 24-volt range, though that's not mandatory. You can use lower-voltage, high-current systems from MRC and others if you're not planning on running your trains at "mainline" speeds. (Narrow gauge or shortline style railroads.)


      Growing in popularity and flexibility would be what's sometimes called "Deadrail" DCC. This is where the DCC command signals are broadcast from a transmitter to a receiver onboard the locomotive, then passed from that receiver to the decoder. This model is popular with those running battery power (and making inroads into the smaller scales as batteries and receivers get smaller). For large scale, the deadrail DCC systems all seem to be compatible with Airwire's transmitters. There are non-DCC battery R/C ("deadrail") systems as well, but I'll keep this DCC-centric.


      Airwire makes two styles of products - receiver/motor control combination boards, and receiver only boards. Their receiver/motor control boards ("G3" and Drop-in boards) can be combined with something like a Phoenix sound decoder to give you motor, sound, and light control via wireless R/C. Their receiver only boards ("Convertr") have a generic DCC output which will interface with any DCC decoder. They currently have their regular Convertr, which is good for 2.5 amps continuous, and will soon be releasing a higher-current version (5 amps?) Tam Valley Depot also makes similar receivers, rated at 3 amps continuous. Tam Valley Depot also makes a transmitter which you can piggy-back on the DCC output of any DCC command station, thus broadcast the DCC signal from that command station to your wireless receivers.





      This post was edited by Kevin Strong at November 19, 2016 6:05 AM EST
    • November 19, 2016 12:08 AM EST
      • Deer Park, Washington
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      Ray, I use the G3 "Drop-ins" for my USAT fleet, and I am quite satisfies with them.  I live in an area where track maintenance can be a regular chore, just to keep the 'Trons flowing, so having an onboard battery is a blessing.  Others may disagree.  Airwire offers an aux board that allows one to make use of Ariosto's socket, so that will be my next project.


      While purists will say that Airwire is not  true DCC because it doesn't come through the track, fed from a command station, it meets my needs.


      Not only does my mind wander, sometimes it walks off completely.


      Some people try to turn back their odometers.  Not me.  I want people to know why I look this way.  I've traveled a long way, and some of the roads weren't paved.  Will Rogers.

    • November 19, 2016 5:25 AM EST
      • HAHNDORF, Outside US
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      Certainly in my opinion being new to anything other than Annalog, I have been saved with deciding to go with Battery and R/c. SOO MUCH easier.




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