New to DCC - Advice needed

21 Jun 2019
20
1
27
Stoke
Hi All

i have used DCC on my HO scale layout for a long time using an NCE powercab but obviously this doesn’t have the oomph for a g scale setup.

I want to get a DCC setup for the garden but it seems slightly more complex than in the smaller scales. I think the Piko system would be more than adequate for my needs(5amps) as I have little room to further expand my railway as much as I would want to. But it seems impossible to know exactly what I need to purchase and everything seems to be out of stock no matter where I look?

can anybody advise me on my best plan of action or any alternatives?

thanks
Matt
 

jimmielx

45mm gauge track - approx 16mm scale (1:19)
24 Oct 2009
656
19
Hastings, UK
Hi Matt,

I’d say that a 5A current rating is good to aim for. But it would be worth knowing what you are likely to be running. I’ve got a 5A Lenz system and rarely see it top 3A on the input - that’s with 4 trains moving - albeit smaller ones and not too fast - at the same time. So don’t dismiss the NCE - particularly if it’s something you know well. If for example you had a small layout and only expected to be running a single loco at a time then a 3A system (assuming that’s what it is) could work just fine.
G scale typically uses a higher track voltage(I think 24v), but again this isn’t necessary - my track voltage is nominally 18v and that works just fine for me.
The oomph is really needed for larger locos, particularly with twin motors and sound cards pulling long trains.
Just my two cents - others may not necessarily agree!

James
 
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21 Jun 2019
20
1
27
Stoke
Hi Matt,

I’d say that a 5A current rating is good to aim for. But it would be worth knowing what you are likely to be running. I’ve got a 5A Lenz system and rarely see it top 3A on the input - that’s with 4 trains moving - albeit smaller ones and not too fast - at the same time. So don’t dismiss the NCE - particularly if it’s something you know well. If for example you had a small layout and only expected to be running a single loco at a time then a 3A system (assuming that’s what it is) could work just fine.
G scale typically uses a higher track voltage(I think 24v), but again this isn’t necessary - my track voltage is nominally 18v and that works just fine for me.
The oomph is really needed for larger locos, particularly with twin motors and sound cards pulling long trains.
Just my two cents - others may not necessarily agree!

James
The NCE is rated at 2amps so not really enough. i have a moderate sized layout but only really have the space to have 2 locos in movement and another one stationed. I do run twin engined locos and with sound too (mainly LGB).

Obviously the NCE is also a wired controller whereas I would be looking for wireless
 
21 Jun 2019
20
1
27
Stoke
i seem to be able to find

Piko 35010/35018 command centre/wireless receiver available at top slots/trains
Piko 35000 power supply available at KGR

i think that is all I need apart from a navigator which I can’t seem to find anywhere? I think I have read that either the Piko or Massoth navigator is suitable?
 

Gizzy

A gentleman, a scholar, and a railway modeller....
26 Oct 2009
34,168
1,756
60
Cambridgeshire
www.gscalecentral.net
The Piko system seems to be fine for your needs, but I'm surprised you can't get a Navigator with it....
 
21 Jun 2019
20
1
27
Stoke
The Piko system seems to be fine for your needs, but I'm surprised you can't get a Navigator with it....
Everywhere is just showing as back order (has been for a little while now) wasn’t sure if there were known supplier issues or importing problems
 

jimmielx

45mm gauge track - approx 16mm scale (1:19)
24 Oct 2009
656
19
Hastings, UK
eBay would supply you with a Massoth one from Germany. Assuming this is what you’re after...
 
21 Jun 2019
20
1
27
Stoke
i would actually prefer the massoth one yes (which also seems to be out of stock everywhere in the UK. I’m right In my understanding then that the massoth 2.4ghz one is fully compatible with the Piko central station setup?
eBay would supply you with a Massoth one from Germany. Assuming this is what you’re after...
 

Greg Elmassian

Registered
8 Mar 2014
5,057
708
San Diego
www.elmassian.com
Why don't you add an inexpensive 5 amp booster to your NCE PowerCab?

If you want wireless, that can happen also, although I need to be sure that they have the right frequencies to be legal there.

There are other options, such as a Wi-Fi interface so you can use a free phone app with your NCE system. There are many options, and the NCE system is excellent in terms of capabilities.


Here's another gadget that is inexpensive and gives you wireless:

There is a ton of support, mods, tips, etc on NCE.

Greg
 

Neil Robinson

Registered
24 Oct 2009
9,483
548
N W Leicestershire
Why don't you add an inexpensive 5 amp booster to your NCE PowerCab?

If you want wireless, that can happen also, although I need to be sure that they have the right frequencies to be legal there.

There are other options, such as a Wi-Fi interface so you can use a free phone app with your NCE system. There are many options, and the NCE system is excellent in terms of capabilities.

There is a ton of support, mods, tips, etc on NCE.

Greg
I'd take Greg's advice despite my personal choice of an alternative and go for NCE. The "best" system for anyone is often the one with which they are familiar.
Only one caution, their D408SR decoder is excellent value if a little dated. It has been through several revisions and the instructions supplied don't always match the decoder revision. When this has been a problem an internet search revealed the correct instructions and solved any issues.
 

GAP

G Scale Trains, HO Trains, 1:1 Sugar Cane trains
I'd take Greg's advice despite my personal choice of an alternative and go for NCE. The "best" system for anyone is often the one with which they are familiar.
Only one caution, their D408SR decoder is excellent value if a little dated. It has been through several revisions and the instructions supplied don't always match the decoder revision. When this has been a problem an internet search revealed the correct instructions and solved any issues.
I totally agree with Neil and Greg.
If you already have an NCE powercab then just get a booster to run your G scale stuff and use the one handset that you are already familiar with.
I have a powercab for my HO layout and if I went down the DCC path that is what I would do.
How many HO locos do you have if only a few then you could use the "recall" function to store the HO and G stuff and have a readily available list (6 locos) just by moving the handset.
 

Greg Elmassian

Registered
8 Mar 2014
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San Diego
www.elmassian.com
Again, there are several ways to go wireless with your system, I have the used the NCE wireless base stations to allow stock NCE wireless cabs, I have the USB interface to allow me to use JMRI and the phone apps, and I just got the Wifitrax unit that allows you to simply hook it to your system and allow the free phone apps for throttles.

Greg
 

AustrianNG

Director of my railway
16 Sep 2015
1,196
1,591
Wirral
The NCE is rated at 2amps so not really enough. i have a moderate sized layout but only really have the space to have 2 locos in movement and another one stationed. I do run twin engined locos and with sound too (mainly LGB).

Obviously the NCE is also a wired controller whereas I would be looking for wireless

You can run 4 LGB Buhler motors off 2 amps if they are "healthy"
 

Greg Elmassian

Registered
8 Mar 2014
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708
San Diego
www.elmassian.com
The standard power supply on the NCE procab is too low in voltage for large scale in most cases, around 12 volts approximately. Also any load on the motors/locos and your estimate of 0.5 amps per motor goes out the window.

You need a booster for volts and amps.
 

jimmielx

45mm gauge track - approx 16mm scale (1:19)
24 Oct 2009
656
19
Hastings, UK
i would actually prefer the massoth one yes (which also seems to be out of stock everywhere in the UK. I’m right In my understanding then that the massoth 2.4ghz one is fully compatible with the Piko central station setup?
That is my understanding too, but I’m not using that system. I’m pretty sure someone on here will know for sure!
 

ntpntpntp

Registered
24 Oct 2009
7,374
264
58
UK
My first DCC system many years ago was actually an NCE PowerPro 10 amp system for my G scale line. We have a PowerCab but that came years later for my son's small scale layout. We use the PowerCab as a 2nd throttle on the 10 amp system. I've also had JMRI interfaced to the PowerPro and played around with controlling the garden line from a wireless Notebook.

DSCN1186a.JPG
 

muns

Moderator
Staff member
GSC Moderator
i would actually prefer the massoth one yes (which also seems to be out of stock everywhere in the UK. I’m right In my understanding then that the massoth 2.4ghz one is fully compatible with the Piko central station setup?
Yes they are.
 

Greg Elmassian

Registered
8 Mar 2014
5,057
708
San Diego
www.elmassian.com
I guess part of the decision depends on how much money you want to spend... clearly a $150 booster is cheaper than a massoth system, and adding the wifitrax unit to get wireless for $110 makes a 5 amp system with "free" remotes that work on iPhone, Android, and PC's is a very inexpensive way to go, and you get full programming features and consisting.

But you can spend more for sure!

All depends on your priorities.

Greg

p.s. don't ask my priorities, I have NCE and Zimo systems!
 
Last edited:
21 Jun 2019
20
1
27
Stoke
Thanks for all the input guys. I wanted to keep my NCE set up ready for use at all times on my indoor HO scale layout. I’ve actually managed to purchase a full Piko DCC set which arrived today and I’ve duly set up and had running with no issues using the couple of locos I have that are already DCC fitted. Definitely made the operating process a whole lot simpler than running around the garden to a fixed analogue controller.

next up now is researching decoders and if there is any trouble between certain decoders and certain locos? Got about 8 LGB locos to get decoders for