DCC compatibility

  • Thread starter Clive Elesmore
  • Start date
C

Clive Elesmore

Registered
17 Dec 2009
207
0
Guernsey, Channel Islands
After a long inactive break I now have time (early retirement) to actually get down to making myself a running track. Though inactive I have been actively purchasing locomotives and track plus visiting various exhibitions, etc.

When I became inactive I had (and have) the LGB MTS system, not the first version but the second. In the meantime my horizons have broadened. Then I had a mix of LGB, Bachmann and Aristo-Craft. Now I have many others as well.

I would like to have a system that will work the lot and am considering buying the Piko starter set that has everything to get started in one box and hopefully will be compatible with the varied decoders needed.

Locomotives range from the dear old Stainz with MTS, through Bachmann’s articulated narrow gauge giant (never turned a wheel yet) to Accucraft’s Black 5. The project will be a glorified oval of tracks with 4 roads. The outer two G1 and the inner two G45. My plan is the outermost will be live steam and anything people want to take a chance on running (my Shey, which ran for the first time for many years last week drops oil and water everywhere). The other roads will provide for the rest.

Now you know what you are up against. Useful suggestions please. I was pleased to see Greg Elmassian is still on here and read through the useful information on his site yesterday plus downloading the articles from RM on the web. It was also interesting to read the old PMs that came up as unread. One related to a signal I appear to have bought in 2013 - I dont know where it is or which one it was but it must be in the shed somewhere.

Thank you for your patience and please be kind with your replies (if any).

Clive
 
PhilP

PhilP

G Scale, 7/8th's, Electronics
5 Jun 2013
24,611
918
Tamworth, Staffs.
Hello Clive,

welcome (back) to the Forum..
Others will no doubt chip-in (see what I did there?) later?

The Piko might be a little shy on power-available? - though it will be fine for one or two of your loco's at once, the current it can supply may turn out to be a little limiting.
You can, of course, add booster's, so could 'split by oval', perhaps? - This could be at a later date.

If you have very old LGB items with MTS, the earliest decoders/sound used serial commands between Command Station and Decoder. Also, the earliest decoders were limited to 14 speed-steps.

As others will tell you, the LGB (MTS) decoders, and to a lesser extent Massoth, are limited in their functionality. - Compared to the newest offerings from other manufacturers.
They are improving / offering more features, but have some catching up to do.
With improved features and functions, does come more complexity for the user, and in setting things up.

Do plenty of reading.
Try to decide what you want out of your railway. - Do remember it is YOUR railway, though.
If you want to operate points, signals, control lighting et-al, this can all be done with DCC (amongst other things) if you wish. - If you can make some of these decisions before you start building ' laying track, in earnest, it can save having to redo things later.
Go for the largest radius track you can accommodate from day 1! - LGB R3 should really be a minimum, if at all possible. BUT, if you only have room for R1, then choose loco's and rolling-stock to suit.

Do get some track down, and have a play! Even if it is only an oval in the dining room, on the patio, of even the lawn..
Most of all.. Have fun! :):nod::nod:
 
  • Like
Reactions: Clive Elesmore
C

Clive Elesmore

Registered
17 Dec 2009
207
0
Guernsey, Channel Islands
Hello PhilP

Thanks for the reply and yes I have being doing some reading (my brain (what’s left of it) hurts) and that is why I was (as ever) looking for an ‘easy way out.’

The track will start in the spring - I am a warm weather flower, and will be temporary. I have the use of an area which will allow a very large ‘oval’. As I mentioned above there will be 4 roads and I had already decided that the minimum radius would be R3 LGB and could not agree with your recommendation more.
My plan is for it to be essentially a running track with some decoration. It has to be a temporary semi portable track because it may need to be dismantled and moved quickly. To this end it will be a modular set up.

Reference running, I threw down a circle of R1 last week and ran my Accucraft 2 cylinder Shay for the first time for many years. The motion was on the inside to avoid a CVJ disengage.

Great to be back.

Clive

00FCED84-BC48-4DE0-9CA2-0AEC3411C8E9.jpeg
 
Greg Elmassian

Greg Elmassian

Registered
8 Mar 2014
3,306
320
San Diego
www.elmassian.com
Welcome back!

I would ask how many of your locos have existing decoders that require serial function commands? (The model numbers of the decoders can provide this)

Where I would start is if you really need a system that can still send the serial function commands, if not, then your choices of systems opens up.

How about an approximate budget. Since you have been gone, I have completely flipped out and gone Zimo, great system, but makes Massoth look inexpensive, so you might consider some ballpark ideas.

Also, there are great options that can use cell phones as throttles, and the cell phone apps have gotten pretty darn good, thus putting more money into the command station and booster and essentially not spending anything on the throttles.

Lots of fun options.

Greg
 
D

Dan

Registered
28 Jan 2010
268
17
Eastern MA
For the older lenz 55020 decoder you need a system that supports serial communications. Zimo and Massoth do support this. Others may.
55020 is 14 speed steps only, 55021 early versions are 14 and 28. Later LGB decoders will do all 3 (14/28/128).
I would opt for a system that can go 8 amps or more and over 21 volts.
 
C

Clive Elesmore

Registered
17 Dec 2009
207
0
Guernsey, Channel Islands
Thank you Dan and Greg.

I have edited this as I was drifting off the point.

Clive
 
Last edited:
PhilP

PhilP

G Scale, 7/8th's, Electronics
5 Jun 2013
24,611
918
Tamworth, Staffs.
Welcome back!

I would ask how many of your locos have existing decoders that require serial function commands? (The model numbers of the decoders can provide this)

Where I would start is if you really need a system that can still send the serial function commands, if not, then your choices of systems opens up.

How about an approximate budget. Since you have been gone, I have completely flipped out and gone Zimo, great system, but makes Massoth look inexpensive, so you might consider some ballpark ideas.

Also, there are great options that can use cell phones as throttles, and the cell phone apps have gotten pretty darn good, thus putting more money into the command station and booster and essentially not spending anything on the throttles.

Lots of fun options.

Greg
Good points. -Especially a budget.. Easy to get carried away on that one! :eek:

The 'serial' support point was also shorthand for the fact many LGB 'factory-fitted' loco's (early ones) may have a parallel decoder for the driving functions, but the original big LGB sound boards, require serial command strings to function.
This can be a 'gotcha!'..

PhilP.
 
Greg Elmassian

Greg Elmassian

Registered
8 Mar 2014
3,306
320
San Diego
www.elmassian.com
so, back to the question I asked, if you only have a few loco with prehistoric decoders, swap them out, rather that being forced into a system that is backwards compatible to the dark ages of DCC. One or two non-sound old decoders should just be tossed, as the motor and light control has improved over the years.

This would give you a lot more flexibility in selection of a control system.

Greg
 
C

Clive Elesmore

Registered
17 Dec 2009
207
0
Guernsey, Channel Islands
Hi Greg

I have decided that one road will be devoted to LGB alone - the project is simply for the stock to be able to run. None of the LGB is equipped with the earliest decoders and the central stations etc have the P suffix. This will tide me over until I take up a permanent residence and build the railway proper.

The value of the forum and the sound advice available is a credit to all.

Clive