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Knuckles

DCC - Availability Issues - Help.

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So I want to soon buy a DCC system to make the switch from DC.

 

I live in the UK and find that online shops seem almost useless.  

 

There are a FEW units available.

 

Usually not the systems I'm interested in buying, but seriously, almost everything is either sold out or pre order.

 

Guagemaster Prodigy Advance  2

 

Or

 

Digitrax Zephyr Extra or Express

 

Or

 

NCE ProCab

 

Are three (amongst others) that I'm mulling over.

 

What's the collective issue?

 

Very frustrated right now.  If they want the hobby / business to grow then make enough available.

 

Really at a loss here which is why this thread was made.  Any sites ye know of availability would be appreciated.  Looking to buy in a month or so, at baseboard stage currently.

 

Looking at running 3 loco's only initially with sound but later will need a booster or different system to feed a large MPD so looking at intermediate system minimum likely.

Starter could be ok if easy to upgrade but want easy buttons for sound functions....and a KNOB!

 

Bad init.

Edited by Knuckles

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Hi,

 

If you meant the NCE Power Pro (the Pro Cab is only a handset) then Digitrains have the 5 Amp version in stock.

 

 

Regards

 

Nick

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From being in your position in the past the way forward I would suggest for  finding a DCC system that suits you is to visit a model exhibition and talk to the operators about the system they are using.

 

Every operator has there favourite system obviously that's why they use it.

 

I would also suggest visiting a retailer that specialises in DCC equipment ( can you travel up to  2hrs in a car ), there they usually have systems set up for you to try. Buy what feels right for you not others you can only find out by looking, listening at others experiences and trying out a system ( nearby club/retailer) .

 

It took me nearly 6 months to decide on my initial system, since when I have progressed to two systems depending on how I wish to operate my layout , one of which is computer based.

 

Good look finding your system to use but if you can try before you buy it saves a lot of time and words.

 

Regards

 

JohnD

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I meant the NCE Power Pro I think yeah.  The one with more amps than 2 amp entry.  No point paying the same amount to upgrade it if can sort that out initially.

 

I could drive up to 2 hrs but it's knowing where to go, trying them out in a shop would be great.  I live in Nuneaton so SOP is to head out of town a long way or go online to buy things, not much choice!

 

I'm just finding the internet seems pretty crap right now for basic availability of the systems I'm interested in.

Edited by Knuckles

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Digitrains in Lincoln have a good selection of DCC systems, including those you are interested in, on a test layout where you can try them hands-on.

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1.5 - 2 hrs.

 

Could do that when time is right.

 

Could call them, see what systems they have.  Ok thanks.

 

Looking at their website however shows them to be just as empty as other websites.  Most things out of stock.

 

I think I'd need 3 amps absolute minimum I'd think (maybe), upgradable to 5 for future proofing.

Edited by Knuckles

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Given that the Warley exhibition is only a few weeks away I would hold off buying anything until you have been at the show and tried the systems that will be on display there - you could even look to see what layout operators are using.

 

you may find that there are better options available than those you mention.

 

you also need to remember that shops don’t hold much stock, that costs too much and eats away at their profit (such as it is) very quickly - but most can get a confirmed order within a few days.

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Gaugemaster systems (they’re actually rebadged MRC systems, not their own) are out of stock because the manufacturer in the USA  has been out of stock for a long time. 

 

Digitrax production was hampered last winter following severe hurricane damage to their Florida factory .

Lack of stock may be a follow on from that?

 

NCE stock has been haphazard for a while now.

There are rumours (more or less confirmed by the owners) that they’re replacing their systems with a new, more up to date product.

 

 

Ron

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Ok thanks for your replies.  Makes sense on all counts. :)

Your suggestions may explain some lack.

 

Warley I rarely miss, can hace a look see who may be offering tests.

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1 hour ago, Knuckles said:

Ok thanks for your replies.  Makes sense on all counts. :)

Your suggestions may explain some lack.

 

Warley I rarely miss, can hace a look see who may be offering tests.

All three systems in your list are USA-manufactured. Plenty of RMwebbers seem happy with European systems.

 

I echo those who say a hands-on trial is best for getting a system that suits you. Investing in a system that lasts for decades requires a little more than factors like availability and good prices. Buy an awkward system - to your way of thinking - and it could turn you off running trains altogether. 

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I agree the right system needs to be picked, couldn't care less who makes it though.

 

Just simply being able to easily get a hold of things (either) is not always easy.

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Now this next clause must NEVER be taken out of context.

 

If you need another candidate with a knob, then the Roco Multimaus is apparently a nice control handset, but you would also need a command station. But you then have the additional options of various European systems such as the z21/Z21.

 

Regards,

 

John P

 

 

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MRC make great analogue controllers. I've still got a pair of Tech ii and Tech iii units that date from the 80s. (110vac input no less) Their DCC range has been less than impressive however. Digitrax is pretty bullet proof but their throttles are marmite. I'm still using most of my original Digitrax components from 1994. Loconet is rock solid. Which explains why so many European manufacturers support it. NCE is also around 25 years old when the company inherited the old Wangrow system. Nice hand helds but totally incompatible with anything else. I've been extolling the virtues of Digikeijs in other threads, you may also want to look at Z21. These are both more flexible and allow for different throttles from different manufacturers to be used. Both support the maus. (which I really like using as a hand held throttle compared to the Lenz ones)

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What makes you think that you need more than 3amps, I have a Z21 which I use for an O gauge layout with sound and I have never seen more than 1.7amps on the rampmeter with 4 sound and 6 normal DCC locos on the layout they range from kit built to RTR Heljan with 2 motors!

 

regards mike 

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Well, will be building a sizable MPD but if they don't draw much current just sitting there then 3 amps may be perfectly fine.  Only estimating based on things I've read.

 

I usually wire with power district practice anyway.

 

Operationally there is planned to be a double track main line with the MPD and a different yard being shunted.  Main line may have two loco's on each track via signalling blocks so usually 2-3 loco's to be moving at once and up to 6 likely max but more stored on the tracks. Some to be sound chipped.

 

Maybe 3A will be fine.

Edited by Knuckles

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7 hours ago, Knuckles said:

I think I'd need 3 amps absolute minimum I'd think (maybe), upgradable to 5 for future proofing.

 

20 minutes ago, mikeg said:

What makes you think that you need more than 3amps, I have a Z21 which I use for an O gauge layout with sound and I have never seen more than 1.7amps on the rampmeter with 4 sound and 6 normal DCC locos on the layout they range from kit built to RTR Heljan with 2 motors!

 

 

Indeed.

 

Start with what you need now. If you outgrow it simply add an additional booster to create a separate power district. Wire the layout bus so you can easily split it into, up and down, inner and outer loops, or whatever natural split your track plan lends itself to.

 

Multiple smaller boosters are always better than one large one.

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If you dont want sound all the US systems are ok.

If you want reliable sound decoder operation, never take one of these.

They fulfill the minimum NMRA requirements but not more.

It is in the details nobody tells you as example the ability to set every F-button as momentary or latching which is essential for correct work of e.g. active brake or playable whistle.

US systems also dont send correct throttle position information when the loco is stationary which can lead to unwanted results when starting up.

Look for a white Roco z21. If you want wireless operation you can add a Wifi set and a wifi handheld (with a knob!).

 

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Call Digitrains, ask them to take a selection of Controllers you are interested in and they will connect them up to the test track they take with them to exhibitions.

 

If you want to operate sound locos, ask them to have a sound loco available for you to try and test ALL the functions to see how easy it is or isn't as the case maybe!

There are very few controllers that show all functions that have been operated or which can be set to momentary or latching.

As an example the easiest one I've played with at Digitrains, (I live close so its easy to drop in and have a play) is the Sig-naTrak ACE, one complete screen with every function button shown.

You would need the handheld driver handset to give you the rotary control knob though.

 

Again, try the systems, with sound locos so you can see just what you are letting yourself in for, also try the ones out of your budget, it will either make you save more for right system or prove you don't need that system ;)

 

Have fun in the process.

 

Cheers

 

Ian

 

 

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As far as I am aware and certainly in the case of the Gaugemaster Prodigy Advance 2 system all units are manufactured in China.

The lack of availability from the American Companies is probably resulting from the ongoing Trump trade war with the Chinese Republic.

 

Michael

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15 hours ago, Hamburger said:

US systems also dont send correct throttle position information when the loco is stationary which can lead to unwanted results when starting up.

Look for a white Roco z21. If you want wireless operation you can add a Wifi set and a wifi handheld (with a knob!).

 

A full fat Z21 black (the white z21 is a really stripped back version) with a WI-FI Multimaus give you full handheld control and you can also connect smartphones, tablets etc.

 

I was going to suggest a trip to DCC supplies in Worcestershire but  apart from Ace everything is OOS!

 

A&H in Northants sell DCC products:

https://www.aandhmodels.co.uk/

They only do Lenz Uhlenbrock & Roco.

 

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