Jump to content

Gaugemaster bits to make Roco controller work?


Recommended Posts

I have just bought a small DCC enabled 0 gauge layout which was running on a Gaugemaster controller, which the vendor is keeping.

He has given me a Roco hand controller and I have a decent 3 amp stabilised power supply which I can set to 15 volts, which will be plenty to run the small tank locos I run on the layout.

I am a complete newbie to DCC so sorry for really basic questions:-

I am thinking of using Gaugemaster for control, so that I could update to a radio handset as the layout grows, but what do I need to buy now to make a working system?  Do I just need a a Gaugemaster base station and which part number?  Most people only seem to sell complete Prodigy kits.


Will the Roco controller just plug into the Gaugemaster base station, or do I have to rewire the plug?


Can you get an extension lead for the Roco controller?  The layout will quickly grow into a U shape and each leg of the U will be about 18 foot (6m) long, so I would like to have a long enough cable to walk round the whole layout.




Link to post
Share on other sites

As a basic rule, you cannot connect a handset from one maker to a system made by another.   (There are some exceptions, but assume you can't and you won't go far wrong).  So, your Roco handset cannot connect to a Gaugemaster (MRC) system.    If you decide you would like Gaugemaster, you need a Gaugemaster handset and base station.



You can probably extend the Roco cable. 



Before spending money on a new system, find a really good DCC dealer who can explain things across the many systems available.  Gaugemaster are not the only radio system around, and all proprietary radio systems are very expensive compared to using the alternative of smartphones as radio handsets.



- Nigel

Link to post
Share on other sites

You say that you've just bought a "DCC enabled" layout. There isn't really such a thing as a DCC enabled layout. The main difference between a DC and a DCC layout is that the DC one will be divided into separate electrically isolated sections so that you can have locos stationary on the layout whilst others are running. With DCC all the track is live all of the time as you don't need the isolateable sections to make a loco stay in one place.  However, if the layout has been built for occupancy detection then it will have isolated sections to create the blocks, but those sections will still be permanently live. Also some folks use DCC to control just their locos, whilst others also use DCC to control the points, or the signals, or their turntable if they have one.


when getting into DCC it is advisable to try to learn as much as you can about DCC before you buy anything, as DCC kit isn't cheap, so a bad buying decision now may well prove to be expensive to remedy in the future. So think about how you want to use DCC. If the layout doesn't use DCC to control the points, will you want to do that in future?


If you're thinking about using a radio handset/throttle, then you may want DCC control of the points so that you can operate them from the handset. Also think about whether you will want to automate operation using a computer as some DCC system do not allow that, whilst others restrict the control software that you can use to the DCC system makers own proprietary software. 


Once you have decided what sort of equipment you want, look at which manufacturers make systems that meet your needs within your budget. NEVER buy a system because a manufacturer has announced products with features that you want but the products concerned aren't yet available - they can change their development/marketing plans leaving you high and dry if the particular item that you particularly wanted to add in the future is cancelled and never goes on sale.


Do visit shows or find retailers who will let you try out their DCC kit at the show or in their shop BEFORE you buy. What looks good on paper may not suit you once you get your hands on it. You don't want to buy in haste and repent at leisure, as i said buying mistakes are expensive to remedy, I know as I regretted my first venture into DCC, and only got it right the second time round.


You can mix and match loco decoders, accessory decoders and base stations from different manufacturers. What you cannot do is mix and match base station equipment from different manufacturers. Once you buy your first base station, you will, as Nigel has already said, not be able to mix a base station from one manufacturer with an additional throttle from another, and occupancy detection from a third. you may be able to add a booster from another manufacturer, but even tha tcan be problematic if the booster maker doesn't publish the pin-outs on their connectors leaving you unable to work out which wire from the booster goes to which terminal on your base station. 


You also need to ask yourself if you might want to use Railcom in the future as some systems do not support Railcom, and some loco and accessory decoders are incompatible with Railcom. so this might govern your choice of base station and make and/or model of decoders.


This all might sound daunting, but a bit of preparation and research now will save you a lot of frustration and money in the future. 


Don't be put off, DCC is great fun, and adds much to the hobby.


Good luck.

Link to post
Share on other sites

You will probably be better off sticking with the Roco system. Roco can be upgraded to wireless using the Multimaus Pro system.


A multimaus handset is not much good on its own, you will need a 10761 or 10764 amplifier to plug it in to with the power supply and track connections on it so hopefully you have that as well.

Link to post
Share on other sites


This topic is now archived and is closed to further replies.

  • Create New...