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Andy Y

DC or DCC?

Are you a DC or DCC user?  

421 members have voted

  1. 1. Are you a DC or DCC user?

    • DC
      192
    • DCC
      289


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I use both.

 

I've many "legacy" DC locos that are uneconomical/too much of a faff to put a decoder in and more "modern" locos are either socketed and can have a decoder dropped in after purchase, or are already DCC fitted.  The layount itself is DC/DCC The controllers plug into a socket (well, a multiway connector strip) so there's no hair-raising switching between controllers and when DCC is attached, all the isolator switches on the control panel are switched to ON and its good to go.

 

DCC sound is a non-issue, I don't buy because of sound, but even if its available it doesn't have to be used.

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50 years ago no-one had heard of DCC; in 50 years time will DC equipment exist only in a museum? 50 years ago, there were still 3 rail layouts about - now?

 

Before anyone points out that that is an 'apples and oranges' comparison then I will point it out myself. But it seems clear to me that DCC has greater appeal to the younger, iPAD generation so, as us luddite dinosaurs gradually disappear then for how long will mainstream manufacturers cheerfully support two parallel systems?

 

Unlike 3-rail, I’m not convinced that the loss of DC will necessarily be a good thing for the hobby (even though I personally probably don't need to worry about such things)

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Tricky that.

 

How do I vote if I am involved with DC layouts and a DCC layout but don't like DCC? Does a tick in the DCC box mean that I am a DCC enthusiast?

 

The step from 3 rail to 2 rail meant a great leap forward in realistic appearance that few could doubt. DCC is just another (and more complex electronically) way of getting electricity to a motor. So I don't see a parallel there.

 

Perhaps the time will come when all RTR locos come DCC fitted and DC will be seen as a minority interest as clockwork and live steam are now. But I will always prefer the simpler electronics and easier fault finding of DC. I am not a luddite, just somebody who sees DCC as a lot of extra components that still put between 0-12 volts onto a motor, just like my DC systems do. 

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I use both.

 

I've many "legacy" DC locos that are uneconomical/too much of a faff to put a decoder in and more "modern" locos are either socketed and can have a decoder dropped in after purchase, or are already DCC fitted.  The layount itself is DC/DCC The controllers plug into a socket (well, a multiway connector strip) so there's no hair-raising switching between controllers and when DCC is attached, all the isolator switches on the control panel are switched to ON and its good to go.

 

DCC sound is a non-issue, I don't buy because of sound, but even if its available it doesn't have to be used.

It would seem a bit odd to pay around double the price for ones locos to get such a feature and then not use it..........

 

There's nothing (or very little) that I want to do that can't be done using DC without me spending two or three grand on chips and two or three years converting my locos, so I won't be bothering.

 

For what it's worth, my local dealer reckons that between a quarter and a third of his regular customers have switched (wholly or partially) to DCC so far.

 

John

Edited by Dunsignalling

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I am another person that uses both, and my layouts are wired in such a way that either a DC or DCC controller/system can be plugged in and used. Perhaps the most interesting fact to be learnt is that DCC is now considered as quite normal and just another option in the control stakes. I have no doubt this is mainly down to most locos being at least DCC ready - probably the best option for most giving choice over the actual decoder used - and that swopping between DC and DCC with many locos is now not an issue.

 

It would be interesting to learn the spread of use in DCC with regard to whether it's used purely for loco control, which is all I use it for, or as part of a wider computer controlled setup i.e. points, signals, etc.

 

At the end of the day I doubt DC will disappear, after all the motors are still DC, batteries are DC, and the simplest and cheapest control if needed is just two wires from a battery, it's just the controlling interface that can change if the desire is there. A bit like communication. When first fax and then e-mail appeared the complete end of postal mail was forecast. It hasn't happened, and I doubt it ever will, just that the overall nature of use has adapted and changed to give more options.

 

Izzy

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I adopted DCC in 1997, after reading a particularly clear primer in Model Railroader. Not a techie sort of person, I nevertheless got the basic principle and have never looked back. I use it almost exclusively for loco control, including sound on my US prototype models, but not on the European or UK ones. I find DCC enables authentic operation in a way that DC cannot in certain situations. Coupling and uncoupling locos from each other can happen wherever you choose - that sort of thing.

 

But I do not sneer at DC, either. For many modellers in modern compact homes the size of layout, and thus its complexity, may well be limited, and thus work well enough on DC.

 

If you have a techie bent, then DCC itself represents a lovely way to satisfy your inventive urge within your hobby - the sky really is the limit, it seems, in the innovations DCC enables and inspires. For those who just enjoy running a few trains, DC may continue to serve them well.

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I am another person that uses both, and my layouts are wired in such a way that either a DC or DCC controller/system can be plugged in and used. Perhaps the most interesting fact to be learnt is that DCC is now considered as quite normal and just another option in the control stakes. I have no doubt this is mainly down to most locos being at least DCC ready - probably the best option for most giving choice over the actual decoder used - and that swopping between DC and DCC with many locos is now not an issue.

 

It would be interesting to learn the spread of use in DCC with regard to whether it's used purely for loco control, which is all I use it for, or as part of a wider computer controlled setup i.e. points, signals, etc.

 

At the end of the day I doubt DC will disappear, after all the motors are still DC, batteries are DC, and the simplest and cheapest control if needed is just two wires from a battery, it's just the controlling interface that can change if the desire is there. A bit like communication. When first fax and then e-mail appeared the complete end of postal mail was forecast. It hasn't happened, and I doubt it ever will, just that the overall nature of use has adapted and changed to give more options.

 

Izzy

What DCC does, in essence, is to place a controller inside each loco/unit (the chip) which takes instructions from another controller that either looks like one or is a laptop, tablet, phone or whatever.

 

My preference is for signalling and points to be worked from levers, in line with the prototype in the era I model, so the only real benefit of DCC for me (until they get out-of-the-box sound quality to a level that I would find acceptable) is the ability to park locos closer together.

 

I anticipate that the future will see increasing use of battery power and wireless control, with sections of powered track being retained (if at all) only for recharging purposes. DCC will then be seen as a transitional system but some will still cling to it (and DC and even 3-rail), simply because that's how they like doing things.

 

John

Edited by Dunsignalling
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50 years ago no-one had heard of DCC; in 50 years time will DC equipment exist only in a museum? 50 years ago, there were still 3 rail layouts about - now?

 

Before anyone points out that that is an 'apples and oranges' comparison then I will point it out myself. But it seems clear to me that DCC has greater appeal to the younger, iPAD generation so, as us luddite dinosaurs gradually disappear then for how long will mainstream manufacturers cheerfully support two parallel systems?

 

Unlike 3-rail, I’m not convinced that the loss of DC will necessarily be a good thing for the hobby (even though I personally probably don't need to worry about such things)

If/when Rail Simulators get good enough, we won't need layouts at all. Probably just as well, as we may all be resident in compact hi-tech "living pods" by then and space will be an even thornier issue than it is now....... 

 

John

Edited by Dunsignalling

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The reason for this poll is that I was sent a letter that 'nobody' uses DCC and that we 'insist' on featuring DCC layouts in the magazine. I was curious to find out the split - it's not something we really do and I'm sure the adoption of DCC has changed considerably over the past decade. Granted, we're only polling the online community, but from the results thus far, it appears that more use DCC in one form or another than initially thought. We won't read too much into the results as we can't poll every modeller in the country, but running the same poll online every 5 years might indicate the changes within the online community.

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'nobody' uses DCC and that we 'insist' on featuring DCC layouts in the magazine. .

:) they missed the irony in their own letter :)

 

DCC is only more useful if you want to add one of its features, automation, to operate with less switched sections or want sound. It's an alternative to Bluetooth or RC that's easy for mainstream manufacturers to include in a model and makes it easy to use the other two options too.

DC is great for just running trains on simple loops so I doubt it will disappear as all the locos are basically DC but increasingly one of the advantages of DCC will get people to choose it for a layout. As any layout can be converted to DCC simply by changing the controller it's an easy option, fettling all the bits like point wiring to get the best possible performance is an option not a necessity.

Edited by PaulRhB
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If/when Rail Simulators get good enough, we won't need layouts at all. Probably just as well, as we may all be resident in compact hi-tech "living pods" by then and space will be an even thornier issue than it is now....... 

 

John

 

Hmmm

 

"The Machine Stops" comes to mind...

 

http://archive.ncsa.illinois.edu/prajlich/forster.html

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The reason for this poll is that I was sent a letter that 'nobody' uses DCC and that we 'insist' on featuring DCC layouts in the magazine.

Nothing like a sweeping generalisation, is there? :D

 

Talking of which, without getting into pedantic definitions again, I think it would be interesting to see what the DCC 'take up' is in each of the 3 major scales; 7mm, 4mm & 2mm - in UK terms, as it's BRM mag, so ignoring the Worldwide major scale of HO ;)

I bet 4mm has proportionally more DCC users 'per 100 modellers' than the other two.

Edited by F-UnitMad

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Another thing that amuses me is how does a layout feature become invalid for DC users, can you tell from the photos a layout is DCC in a magazine?

Surely it's just mentioned in the text and therefore no different to mentioning cab control or RC.

They must have kittens if it has catenary :)

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DCC is only more useful if you want to add one of its features, automation, to operate with less switched sections or want sound. 

Having returned to 4mm/00, I have been testing new locos on DC as they arrived in the post. They all ran smoothly fortunately, but control of them via a DC controller is in no way comparable to what I have come to expect on DCC.

 

​I had a flippin lot more of wiring to do with DCC because I want locos with sound to carry on simmering and blowing off when points are set against them.

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Oh don't tell them it's better Larry the more to go wrong arguments coming :)

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Another thing that amuses me is how does a layout feature become invalid for DC users, can you tell from the photos a layout is DCC in a magazine?

Only if it features an item only available "chipped" - perhaps a specific make of traverser, or something else reasonably distinctive.

 

 

Oh don't tell them it's better Larry the more to go wrong arguments coming :)

Not from everyone. As far as I am concerned, it's a case of "each to their own".

 

Chips fitted inside locos might not suit me personally - even if effectively allowing for them to be fitted at a later date might.

 

The situation will be different for other people - as will the line they take.

 

Fair enough - nothing to see - life moves on.

 

 

Huw.

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Only if it features an item only available "chipped"

 

 

As they're all dual DC / DCC it's not a problem ;)

 

Not from everyone. As far as I am concerned, it's a case of "each to their own".

 

Kinda the issue from the letter that started this, most of us just enjoy it whatever powers it but some have a narrow view where even mention of DCC puts them off. Much like those that dismiss a layout because they don't like foreign ;)

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Another thing that amuses me is how does a layout feature become invalid for DC users, can you tell from the photos a layout is DCC in a magazine?

Surely it's just mentioned in the text and therefore no different to mentioning cab control or RC.

They must have kittens if it has catenary :)

Perhaps the letter was more about the number of articles about how to fit a chip and possibly a speaker into a RTR loco. Or how to tweak CV thingies.

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Howard mentioned it was specifically about layouts :)

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Probably a reader that didn't like technical jargon like DCC, build, wash.....

Edited by coachmann

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Probably a reader that didn't like technical jargon like DCC, build, wash.....

… do … *

 

* Other alien concepts are also available - but I don't think we need worry about them here. I'm not convinced that everyone else does … .

Edited by Huw Griffiths

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… do … *

* Other alien concepts are also available - but I don't think we need worry about them here. I'm not convinced that everyone else does … .

There's nothing to see here....

 

post-20303-0-74956100-1490393552_thumb.jpeg

 

I'm certain they mean us no harm if we respect each other !

Buzz Lightyear

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Talking of which, without getting into pedantic definitions again, I think it would be interesting to see what the DCC 'take up' is in each of the 3 major scales; 7mm, 4mm & 2mm - in UK terms, as it's BRM mag, so ignoring the Worldwide major scale of HO ;)

I bet 4mm has proportionally more DCC users 'per 100 modellers' than the other two.

 

That may be correct, but the main issue is that if you wish to disaggregate the DC/DCC split between scales, you need a much larger sample size for the results to be statistically meaningful.  That's one of the reasons why the annual wishlist poll doesn't include 0 gauge - it's considered unlikely that there will be enough voters to produce meaningful results.

 

I could also guess that there is a greater proportional take-up of DCC among modellers of the diesel and electric era than there are from the steam era, but again getting a sufficiently large number of people to vote to confirm if that is the case could be an issue.

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I think now the British steam sound files are improving the take up may be accelerated. TTS seems to be popular.

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What DCC does, in essence, is to place a controller inside each loco/unit (the chip) which takes instructions from another controller that either looks like one or is a laptop, tablet, phone or whatever.

 

My preference is for signalling and points to be worked from levers, in line with the prototype in the era I model, so the only real benefit of DCC for me (until they get out-of-the-box sound quality to a level that I would find acceptable) is the ability to park locos closer together.

 

I anticipate that the future will see increasing use of battery power and wireless control, with sections of powered track being retained (if at all) only for recharging purposes. DCC will then be seen as a transitional system but some will still cling to it (and DC and even 3-rail), simply because that's how they like doing things.

 

John

 

 of course DCC can indeed help with your point levers , as you can encode at the lever frame and decode wherever you need to drive points and signals , with no additional wiring , other then what is already  there to  drive the track.. This use of DCC seems often to be overlooked, but has been used to great effect in my local club layouts. 

 

I remain convinced that in the absence of a standards body for BPRC , it will remain a niche control system .  

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