Time to order! One more DCC system question!

Wr3ckage

Wr3ckage

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Ok so my ATV sold and it's time to come back to gscale trains and put an order in for my LGB Mikado. But I wanna ask one more time about DCC power and control systems.

I wanna save where I can and basically for maybe 1-2 years I will be running just the Mikado and build up my rolling stock before I get another engine. So what's a not so crazy expensive DCC power and control system that will allow me to use all the features on the Mikado? I will worry about expanding later.

And if possible please list the all the items I would need. I'm still not 100% on every item I need to have a complete system. Also what kind of amps do I need? 2.25? 3.5? 5? I am a bit confused on that end.

Thank you so much for any help!
 
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Greg Elmassian

Greg Elmassian

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This is one way, please consider normally when you buy an inexpensive system, you lose features.

The DCC part, with a wired throttle can be put together for $250 with a wired throttle, 20v DCC at 5 amps.

Add a cheap laptop, a cheap wireless router ($30) and you have wireless control from your phone.

The NCE system is very full featured and can handle just about anything except old serial functions on the old LGB decoders, like 20 years old.

Your new Mikado is up to snuff on any modern DCC system.

Greg
 
Wr3ckage

Wr3ckage

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Thank you for the info. I just came across this. ESU 50310. It's a full system with 7a and up to 21v. I know its $400 but how is this rating wise for a gscale setup?
 
Greg Elmassian

Greg Elmassian

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Fine if you will normally run 2 locos or 3 low current ones and do not pull power from the rails for accessories.

Read some reviews on it, not everyone likes using a pda/cell phone with a big knob... it's nice to have buttons and knobs you don't have to look at.

Greg
 
Hutch

Hutch

G Gauge, Raising Peaches, Apricots
1 Feb 2012
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12
Southwest Oklahoma, USA
Ok so my ATV sold and it's time to come back to gscale trains and put an order in for my LGB Mikado. But I wanna ask one more time about DCC power and control systems.

I wanna save where I can and basically for maybe 1-2 years I will be running just the Mikado and build up my rolling stock before I get another engine. So what's a not so crazy expensive DCC power and control system that will allow me to use all the features on the Mikado? I will worry about expanding later.

And if possible please list the all the items I would need. I'm still not 100% on every item I need to have a complete system. Also what kind of amps do I need? 2.25? 3.5? 5? I am a bit confused on that end.

Thank you so much for any help!
The low power system (5amp continuous, 8amp surge) I use is the Revolution DCC system. I use the "onboard" receiver as a Central Station. This would give you a good wireless entry-level system. Current retail is around $250.
---Hutch
 
Greg Elmassian

Greg Elmassian

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It's important to realize the operational and functional differences between a traditional DCC system with a central station and wireless throttles, and the "wireless DCC" systems which are basically the throttle transmitting directly to the loco, without the common control of a command station that "knows" all the locos and throttles involved.

There are subtle differences that affect operation, especially with multiple users or consists.

It's not apples to oranges, but more like apricots to peaches.

Greg
 
Wr3ckage

Wr3ckage

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Fine if you will normally run 2 locos or 3 low current ones and do not pull power from the rails for accessories.

Read some reviews on it, not everyone likes using a pda/cell phone with a big knob... it's nice to have buttons and knobs you don't have to look at.

Greg

Thank you. I dont have an issue with that setup so I guess I will take the dive and get it. Just purchased my Mikado!
 
Greg Elmassian

Greg Elmassian

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I know you really want to buy something, but can you put it in your hand and try it?

Also, have you ever run trains with a wireless controller for several hours?

Not trying to dissuade you from your choice, but many people find that the shape, weight and controls make a much bigger deal to them than they thought.

I could not hold that controller for hours, and lanyards are BS in my opinion, walking around with the thing swinging around and banging on your chest is not fun. A holster is better.

Many R/C people favor a very small and lightweight controller.

Just food for thought, and my 20 years of experience using just about every type ever invented.

Greg
 
Wr3ckage

Wr3ckage

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Yeah I did not order the system yet. I am going to head over to Trainland which is the biggest train shop in NY and check out the options. I do want to feel it in my hand first. I do hope I like it though because for only $400 you get a whole wireless setup of 21v and 7a which based on what i have been told and read is a great deal.
 
Greg Elmassian

Greg Elmassian

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It normally being a one-time investment, it's more important you get the features you need. Not all DCC systems are created equal. But I've given you my best advice so I'll shut up and allow you to get your system, and welcome to DCC, I'm very happy I made the decision to go DCC track power about 20 years ago, when people told me it was more expensive, impossible without perfectly clean track, etc. etc.

Greg
 
Wr3ckage

Wr3ckage

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Alright. Looks like the best option for me price and feature wise is that ESU 50310. I went to trainland and looked at a few things. So I put my order in, along with that new Coca Cola Caboose wooo. Thanks again for all the help!
 
dennishodge

dennishodge

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Bellevue, WA, USA
I waited a year on the Cab Control (ESU had some issues launching that product) so I got the earlier version Piko-branded version (Smart Control) over a year ago (which was intended for N through O scale). It is good at a few things but there are many things I don't like.

Good:
  • Setting up a locomotive is very easy. I like the icons. Modern ESU decoders auto-recognize (don't even try to configure their address, they just reset on auto discover).
  • Programming registers (CVs) is very easy and the standard ones are labelled. Can do binary (on/off) and decimal at same time.
  • Basic consisting (choosing locos, directional control) is super easy.
  • Motorized speed control is weighty and pretty nice, although sometimes fiddly trying to get it to do the quick-reverse action (holding it all the way counterclockwise for a second).
  • Using multiple controllers works well.
  • Battery life is good enough for a good amount of running.
Bad:
  • Piko one is marginal for G-scale. Even with the 7 amp power supply, it required modding to program reliably. Doesn't seem to deliver power well and lights flicker when smoke is on. Yours should be better.
  • Mine is super sensitive I think electrically and e-stops over aggressively on its own.
  • Wifi signal strength is ridiculously low. Like, terrible. There is supposed to be a way to connect it to your access point as a client, but that part of the software was unfinished. Walking around a layout can result in easily losing connection... which requires waiting to the app to reconnect, then refresh... and you're in the buffers, or worse.
  • Screen can be difficult to read in the sun.
  • It's Android. You brush the screen in an accidental way and it boots you to the home screen / menu you didn't intend / accidentally deleted a loco etc. And the screen is low on the device, so it is easy to brush.
  • At the time, no way to upload a loco picture.
I had an excellent conversation with Greg last year, and I'm looking to replace it this year. I hope they've improved some of the pain points with Cab Control and you have a good experience!

- Dennis
 
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dennishodge

dennishodge

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Bellevue, WA, USA
One other universal dislike was that the battery life was not great.

Greg
I had read that before getting it. I guess I’d say it’s never run out of battery before I’ve run out of patience! :D
 
Greg Elmassian

Greg Elmassian

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That's good! I tend to run for hours at a time, and my Zimo handhelds have a goodly current draw, so I have more than one. bright OLED, touch screen, Zigbee, and lots of communication uses batteries.

Greg