DCC chip recommendations

 
  Gremlin Assistant Commissioner

Not sound, just control, for:

  1. Bergs/DJH/Model Dockyard brass
  2. Lima 44 Smile
  3. Austrains steam/diesel
  4. Auscision diesel


To be used with NCE controller.....arriving tomorrow!

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  dthead Site Admin

Location: Melbourne, Australia
quick reply,

TCS decoders, Lenz silver or gold decoders, NCE

Regards,
David Head
  Roachie Chief Commissioner

Location: Kadina SA (formerly NSW)
The not-so-quick answer:

It depends a bit on whether the loco/s are DCC-Ready or not. Most of those you have listed will not be DCC ready....the possible exception/s being the Auscision diesel/s and maybe the Austrains model/s.

All my locos are "sound-equipped", but I have also used some non-sound decoders for some of my brother's UP brass locos. For those, I have found that the ESU decoders are very good and extremely small. I am currently working on a brass 4-10-2 and the little decoder fits neatly between the chassis rails, beneath the drive line between the motor and gearbox.

Good luck,

Roachie
  Gremlin Assistant Commissioner

The not-so-quick answer:

It depends a bit on whether the loco/s are DCC-Ready or not. Most of those you have listed will not be DCC ready....the possible exception/s being the Auscision diesel/s and maybe the Austrains model/s.

All my locos are "sound-equipped", but I have also used some non-sound decoders for some of my brother's UP brass locos. For those, I have found that the ESU decoders are very good and extremely small. I am currently working on a brass 4-10-2 and the little decoder fits neatly between the chassis rails, beneath the drive line between the motor and gearbox.

Good luck,

Roachie
Roachie
Thanks!!

So I guess it may fit into two camps; DCC ready and not.  So, are any decoders particularly better with an NCE ProCab in DCC-ready locomotives....and then the same question for the ones I have to wire in!  Thinking that I may just do the power initially, lights can come later,,,,if ever!
  SA_trains Deputy Commissioner

Location: ACT
As for decoders and a NCE control system.... it should not matter as long as the decoder is NMRA compliant. Decoders such as NCE (obviously!), Lenz, TCS, ESU, Soundtraxx will all work fine on a NCE system.

Good luck!
  Roachie Chief Commissioner

Location: Kadina SA (formerly NSW)
Thanks!!

So I guess it may fit into two camps; DCC ready and not.  So, are any decoders particularly better with an NCE ProCab in DCC-ready locomotives....and then the same question for the ones I have to wire in!  Thinking that I may just do the power initially, lights can come later,,,,if ever!
Gremlin
No, I don't think that having an NCE Procab (which is what I have too) should affect your choice of decoder. The one exception.....PLEASE don't buy any Hornby decoders!!! I never have used them, but the internet is full of bad stories about Hornby, so it's just not worth the risk.

Like you, I haven't worried about lights in some of my models. Then I got a bit adventurous and bought a huge number of white LEDs and resistors. I've mucked around with them and fitted quite a few to various locos....but they are too white and too bright for my liking, so I've held off for other locos. There's probably methods of dimming down the lights, but I haven't graduated that far yet.....it's not really high on my priorities.

In the case of my "hood" locos (47,48 & 49 classes), I have only fitted lights at the short-hood end as I will NEVER run those locos with the long-hood leading.

Roachie
  a6et Minister for Railways

Thanks!!

So I guess it may fit into two camps; DCC ready and not.  So, are any decoders particularly better with an NCE ProCab in DCC-ready locomotives....and then the same question for the ones I have to wire in!  Thinking that I may just do the power initially, lights can come later,,,,if ever!
Gremlin
If the models are advertised as being DCC ready, it means they should have a board inside the body on a diesel & tender on the steam, on the boards there is a dumb 8 pin board in a socket, you can simply replace that plug that allows the model to run on DC systems with an 8 pin DCC decoder such as the TCS DP2x which I have in a TOR 32cl, works a treat & TCS have the best motion control of them all.

Austrains steam, the brass & DJH Steam have minimal pickups, & its recommended to have all wheel pick ups for DCC operation, even on the Tender which again Austrains do not have.  Diesels should, & I say should have all wheel pickup but others would be able to give a better answer to that.

Roachie
You mention the brightness of the LEDs.  Do you use SMD 603's, as they are usually ok, but small & practice is needed also they need resistors.  You could try a light wash with some black paint or a touch of clear yellow, that will help on steam.

I have had my steam fleet fitted with those SMD's & being so small they are barely seen & look excellent.  I got a roll of 600 from China for around $50.00, you do need to solder leads & resistors though.
  Aaron Minister for Railways

Location: University of Adelaide SA
People seem to like NCE DCC systems, but I quite seriously regard their decodes as little more than some faulty electronics arranged in a vaguely pretty pattern on a piece of green painted fiberglass.

I mean this to be taken quite seriously, I would not use one if you paid me, I am undecided as to whether I'd take your money, but I'd certainly leave you the decoder.

For motion only use TCS, ESU, Lenz or DCC Concepts. If you think NCE are good, set your loco to speed step 1 and observe. Remove the NCE and plug in one of the others, see speed step 1 and you'll probably want to just sweep the NCE off the desk into the waste paper basket.
  Aaron Minister for Railways

Location: University of Adelaide SA
Oops, left Zimo off the list of awesome.
  LaidlayM Chief Commissioner

Location: Research
Basic decoder TCS.  DCC ready or not.  Typically cheaper than other recommendations.

Mark
  sol Assistant Commissioner

Location: Evanston Gardens SA
Aaron & I may disagree on some aspects of the hobby, I will agree with him re NCE decoders - I just had to program mine in CV2 to 60 to get it to move at speed step one.
  Gremlin Assistant Commissioner

Progress report:

Two TCS chips installed, one 8 pin and the other a 21 pin.  Both now work, 21 pin took a little longer as I had fitted it upside-down!

So, off to read the manuals and, perhaps, buy some more to ship the locomotives - so much fun (?) to be had once I get to the ones that require re-wiring Smile

Thanks to all who offered suggestions, it was *really* helpful.

Cheers
  anzac1959 Chief Commissioner

If the models are advertised as being DCC ready, it means they should have a board inside the body on a diesel & tender on the steam, on the boards there is a dumb 8 pin board in a socket, you can simply replace that plug that allows the model to run on DC systems with an 8 pin DCC decoder such as the TCS DP2x which I have in a TOR 32cl, works a treat & TCS have the best motion control of them all.

Austrains steam, the brass & DJH Steam have minimal pickups, & its recommended to have all wheel pick ups for DCC operation, even on the Tender which again Austrains do not have.  Diesels should, & I say should have all wheel pickup but others would be able to give a better answer to that.

Roachie
You mention the brightness of the LEDs.  Do you use SMD 603's, as they are usually ok, but small & practice is needed also they need resistors.  You could try a light wash with some black paint or a touch of clear yellow, that will help on steam.

I have had my steam fleet fitted with those SMD's & being so small they are barely seen & look excellent.  I got a roll of 600 from China for around $50.00, you do need to solder leads & resistors though.
a6et

Hey a6et  sounds good about the SMDs are they warm whites and where did you get the resistors from are they the SMD types also or are they the large round types. Are they available from the same source?
cheers anzac
  a6et Minister for Railways

Hey a6et  sounds good about the SMDs are they warm whites and where did you get the resistors from are they the SMD types also or are they the large round types. Are they available from the same source?
cheers anzac
anzac1959
Each from different places SMD's here http://stores.ebay.com.au/LED-Wholesale-World/Warm-white-LED-/_i.html?_fsub=2051046010&_sid=1016205190&_trksid=p4634.c0.m322
As I had the lights fitted by a fellow in a local group I am in, I do not know what size resisters he used on them but he has mentioned 1K for other LEDs assume maybe the same

The resistors came from here [color=#009e9e]http://stores.ebay.com.au/Super-Electronics-Parts?_trksid=p2047675.l2563[/color]  Worth a look for a lot of items, they also sell 3 & 5mm LEDs at good prices.
I would imagine you would have to cut them down a bit for loco's.
  Aaron Minister for Railways

Location: University of Adelaide SA
1k0 is a reasonable value to use. Depending on the required brightness, anything between 470R (extremely bright) and 22k (quite dim) will do.

I just installed some headlights in a Budd RDC, think I used 680R, but I am not sure now.
  Aaron Minister for Railways

Location: University of Adelaide SA
I can't edit posts from my phone, the above was intended to say 12k not 22k
  Gremlin Assistant Commissioner

Further update: Smile

All in the space of one afternoon, NCE Pro Cab tested and operational with USB interface, DCC on two locos, JMRI installed and operational on an old MacNook Pro (that was looking for a use) and plans now in foot for another 20 decoders....this could become an expensive hobby.

Next stupid question: can sound be added later and, if so (I am hoping it can), does it plug in to the existing DCC/NMRA chip socket?
  andrewstrains Assistant Commissioner

Location: Townsville, Where else but QLD
This site is invaluable to the Aussy modeller in DCC

http://www.members.optusnet.com.au/nswmn/index.htm

Andrew
  a6et Minister for Railways

Further update: Smile

All in the space of one afternoon, NCE Pro Cab tested and operational with USB interface, DCC on two locos, JMRI installed and operational on an old MacNook Pro (that was looking for a use) and plans now in foot for another 20 decoders....this could become an expensive hobby.

Next stupid question: can sound be added later and, if so (I am hoping it can), does it plug in to the existing DCC/NMRA chip socket?
Gremlin

Not so stupid a question as many others are in the same boat.  There are sound decoders that currently offer the 8pin connectors, but not sure how well that works, but at least they simply plug into the existing boards in a swap out of the dumb plug.

I have a couple of loco's with sound decoders, TOR 42cl with Tsunami, Eureka Garratt with OEM QSI sound & DJH streamlined 38 with QSI Titan replacing a failed QSI Revolution.  I have yet to test the Titan but for me they are the last I will be getting with sound from those sources, especially the QSI types as I am not too fussed with them ATM, although they have potential but no prepared to see when that may happen.

TCS is releasing a New Sound Decoder, & as per usual something only US companies can do is promote it by hype especially in the name, WOW sound.  The YouTube demo shows it up ok, but I will see how they go, I do have one on order to fit in a DJH 59cl, they are smaller than the Tsunami & do come with the 8 pin plug or as hard wired versions. They also have stay alive capacitors, & come with different loadable sounds, as well as with 6 lighting functions which is something I like. One of the decoders also comes with resistor in place for LED lights.

The big plus for me is that if they come close to matching the non sound decoders in motion control, as well as deliver sound as good as a Tsunami along with some of the other advertised features, then they will be the sound decoder of choice for me.  My real preference is to have the same decoder types across the board where possible. So far the TCS versions only are available for steam but diesels are to be done.

The TCS home page is here with a link to the demo & go to the side bar & click on product line for the link to Wow sound page http://tcsdcc.com/
  SA_trains Deputy Commissioner

Location: ACT
Further update: Smile

All in the space of one afternoon, NCE Pro Cab tested and operational with USB interface, DCC on two locos, JMRI installed and operational on an old MacNook Pro (that was looking for a use) and plans now in foot for another 20 decoders....this could become an expensive hobby.

Next stupid question: can sound be added later and, if so (I am hoping it can), does it plug in to the existing DCC/NMRA chip socket?
Gremlin

The two types of sound decoders that I've used are Soundtraxx and ESU.

The Soundtraxx comes with a standard 8-pin plug or with a bare harness so that it can be directly wired. Like wise with the ESU decoders. That said, I believe that the ESU are a higher standard decoder from my experience. So much so, that I am (slowly) retro-fitting ESU to my Soundtraxx equipped locos. I also find the ESU simpler to install. So yes, they use the standard DCC socket.

The other advantage with ESU is that they offer a 21-pin decoder which I believe will become a more common interface over time.

As for non-sound decoders, I have a mixture of TCS, Lenz and NCE. For ME I have not had any appreciable difference between NCE or the other brands. They all work fine in my experience. I have not experienced what others have quoted. I have selected a decoder on the basis of what I needed it for. I guess you can make up your own mind.

With buying a heap of decoders and the expense... why not buy them as you need them? Spread the financial pain over a more manageable period.

A little off topic, but when couching a hobby as expensive or not, I'd say what hobby is NOT expensive? By definition it is a discretionary use of funds, not an essential use of funds (like rent, food, utilities etc) Perhaps if some one suggests your hobby is expensive, counter with "should I take up Golf instead?" Very Happy

Cheers, enjoy DCCing your loco fleet!
  a6et Minister for Railways

The two types of sound decoders that I've used are Soundtraxx and ESU.

The Soundtraxx comes with a standard 8-pin plug or with a bare harness so that it can be directly wired. Like wise with the ESU decoders. That said, I believe that the ESU are a higher standard decoder from my experience. So much so, that I am (slowly) retro-fitting ESU to my Soundtraxx equipped locos. I also find the ESU simpler to install. So yes, they use the standard DCC socket.

The other advantage with ESU is that they offer a 21-pin decoder which I believe will become a more common interface over time.

As for non-sound decoders, I have a mixture of TCS, Lenz and NCE. For ME I have not had any appreciable difference between NCE or the other brands. They all work fine in my experience. I have not experienced what others have quoted. I have selected a decoder on the basis of what I needed it for. I guess you can make up your own mind.

With buying a heap of decoders and the expense... why not buy them as you need them? Spread the financial pain over a more manageable period.

A little off topic, but when couching a hobby as expensive or not, I'd say what hobby is NOT expensive? By definition it is a discretionary use of funds, not an essential use of funds (like rent, food, utilities etc) Perhaps if some one suggests your hobby is expensive, counter with "should I take up Golf instead?" Very Happy

Cheers, enjoy DCCing your loco fleet!
SA_trains
Have to agree with what is said here, at least in some areas.  Although I do not have any of the Loksound (ESU) decoders for those wanting genuine Australian sounds for their diesel fleets, they are pretty well the only ones that have such & its a huge plus from my perspective. As I have & will only have a max of 3 diesels in my fleet as its a mid 50's era it really is something that the more modern day modeller who is only diesels & the modern era should consider.

I also see the 21pin connectors as an advantage, if that is the direction that will become the norm in years to come, although there are harness adaptors available for compatibility.

Likewise, I agree with the concept of spreading the expenses for decoders & sound.  While I am pretty well convinced in regard to sound, I do not personally see a need for a complete fleet of sound loco's, ok in small layouts & arena's but on large layouts & many trains running, if the sounds are not set at a sensible level, it ends up being too darn noisy.
By going down the path of standardising decoders be it sound or not, I tend to believe that it creates less chance of issues arising when Double heading or MU working.

Certainly Model Railways is not a cheap hobby, especially if modelling Australian outline & I would say in many cases its almost double the price of that from the U.S in both steam & diesel operations. Its not just the train models that are expensive but its also all the other associated items that are part & parcel of making a layout look good, even a decent base for the layout to sit on, is not all that cheap, but maybe the cheapest component out of all.
  Roachie Chief Commissioner

Location: Kadina SA (formerly NSW)
For sound decoders, size becomes a big issue in my experience.

I have been a strong advocate for the Tsunami 1000 range of decoders and have used them  exclusively in my fleet of NSW diesels.

However, several months ago I had to install sound into a TRIX U.P. Big Boy for my brother. I wanted to install the decoder in the boiler as that is where the original light board with dumb plug was located. But there was buggar-all room in that huge boiler; certainly not enough for any TSU decoder I had looked at.

So, I bought a ESU Loksound decoder and squeezed that in the smoke box where the smoke generator/s would normally have been located (if desired). The Loksound decoder was around 25% of the size of a TSU decoder.

With my Austrains diesels (eg: 80, 442 classes), I have had to chop-out fair sections of the cast weight in order to fit the Tsunami decoder plus speaker.

So, I'm starting to warm to the idea of the Loksound for future installs.

This is further backed-up by the recent decoders (x3) that I bought off DCC Sound for my new Auscision 422 class models. The fitting of those was simplicity in itself! However, if I have one gripe with those 21 pin plug-in decoders, it would have to be the less-than-perfect contact that the pins make. I don't know if I was just unlucky, but on a couple of these 422 installs, I had to carefully bend the pins on the original board in the loco, so that there would be some "friction" to hold the decoder in place.....otherwise the decoder just sat there sort-of "limp" and didn't make good electrical contact.

Roachie
  SA_trains Deputy Commissioner

Location: ACT
a6et,

ESU have plenty of steam sounds in their library. That said, "Australian" specific steam sound may not be there... That said,another key advantage of ESU (and perhaps other brands? I don't know which... maybe QSI??) is that you can pre-load the ESU decoders with any specific loco sound. For example, there are (nominally) operational SAR Rx-class steam locos that you could record off and then load onto a ESU sound decoder. I don't think many other decoder vendors enable you to do that.

However, as pointed out, many Aussie diesel locos have the same engines and components as many US locos and hence easily used if you buy the correct decoder with the correct sound files.

Cheers!
  sol Assistant Commissioner

Location: Evanston Gardens SA
The 21 pin decoder is not now recommended for new decoders, instead the http://www.nmra.org/standards/sandrp/pdf/S-9.1.1_2012_07.pdf     Page 7 onwards has the PluX8/16/22 Interface  as the replacement
  SA_trains Deputy Commissioner

Location: ACT
Roachie,

That is the main reason I've moved to ESU as well. Some of the Soundtraxx Tsunami I've used can only be described as massive! However, more modern Soundtraxx have moved into the "replacement" boards and hence more economical with space!

The main thing I have against Soundtraxx is that the sound is variable across the decoders I've used. One instance has clear crisp sound, and yet another has really muted sound with the same installation. Rather frustrating...

Cheers

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