Seeking Some Advice

 
  Hendo Deputy Commissioner

G'day all,

I am building a 12 metre around the garage WW1 themed OO Gauge wall layout representing Standard, Metre and 60cm gauge railways, using 16.5mm, 12mm and 9mm track respectively. I have been out of the hobby for many years and would like to make this a DCC operation in all three gauges, with the aim of computer operation in the near future. I have a Lenz 90 system stored away somewhere.

The Metre gauge will be a point to point shuttle, I am considering adding a short passing loop at each end to allow the loco to change ends. There will be some dual gauge track and gauge crossovers.

I would appreciate any advice knowledgeable Railpager's can offer. First switch motors, DCC ready Tortoise or Cobalt? Pro's and Con's of both? Second which DCC system? I do like the idea of the Roco/Fleischmann Z21 system,or a similar computer program with the ability for mobile phone control, would I eventually need three separate DCC systems? Sound and Light effects, I won't be using onboard sound, I plan on using various sound modules for the background effects, but would still like to add the loco effects, I saw a DCC below the track system advertised a few years ago using multiple speakers, could anyone point me in the right direction to that?

And so on.


Cheers,
Hendo

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  dthead Site Admin

Location: Melbourne, Australia
You have read the generic DCC page here:    https://www.railpage.com.au/f-t11350820.htm

If you can fit a decoder into all your locos, you only need the one DCC system. Try a few to see one  clicks with you. Try it at a friends, a club, a shop.


cobolts come with or without a DCC decoder. Tortoises  and non DCC cobolts can be hooked up to a stall motor accessory decoder,  there is a plug on Rabbit or hare I think they're called.  Of course assuming you want DCC activation of the points.

You of course are invited to try my NCE system inMelbourne if ever near Greensborough.....

Regards,
David Head
  SA_trains Deputy Commissioner

Location: ACT
G'day all,

I am building a 12 metre around the garage WW1 themed OO Gauge wall layout representing Standard, Metre and 60cm gauge railways, using 16.5mm, 12mm and 9mm track respectively. I have been out of the hobby for many years and would like to make this a DCC operation in all three gauges, with the aim of computer operation in the near future. I have a Lenz 90 system stored away somewhere.

The Metre gauge will be a point to point shuttle, I am considering adding a short passing loop at each end to allow the loco to change ends. There will be some dual gauge track and gauge crossovers.

I would appreciate any advice knowledgeable Railpager's can offer. First switch motors, DCC ready Tortoise or Cobalt? Pro's and Con's of both? Second which DCC system? I do like the idea of the Roco/Fleischmann Z21 system,or a similar computer program with the ability for mobile phone control, would I eventually need three separate DCC systems? Sound and Light effects, I won't be using onboard sound, I plan on using various sound modules for the background effects, but would still like to add the loco effects, I saw a DCC below the track system advertised a few years ago using multiple speakers, could anyone point me in the right direction to that?

And so on.


Cheers,
Hendo
Hendo

Hi Hendo,

A WW1 themed layout is quite topical noting that the "Great War" is a 102 years on. We are rapidly approaching the Centenary of the end of the so called great war (11 November 2018). Lest we forget....

Anyway, back to trains. Firstly, I am wondering about scale... You state OO scale yet 12mm gauge is HOm for metre gauge? Just making sure that you get the scale correct... HO and OO are quite different scales. I assume with that gauge selection, you intend to model the Western Front? If yes, then HO scale would be more appropriate anyway for ready to run European models. Check Herpa or Walther's for HO scale military vehicles. There may be some WW1 vehicles available???

As to your questions... Tortoise and Cobalt can be DCC enabled. The Cobalt can be purchased with a decoder, whereas the tortoise needs an after market decoder. I use Tortoise and am very happy with them but I don't use them with DCC!. I know some who use Cobalt and are happy, but others who are not.... You should ask widely on the Cobalt and make up your own mind. However, the big advantage of the Cobalt over the tortoise in my mind, is that the device is considerably physically smaller.

I don't know about the Roco computer program, but the free JMRI program is very good and also enables the use of mobile phones to control your trains. Just Google JMRI and download it. It is also very useful for a whole range of other tasks. Even useful as an Inventory for your locos and rolling stock!

As for sounds, My preference would be to add sound decoders to my locos. I am a big fan of the ESU Loksound decoders, but the TCS WoW decoders have a good reputation and I know that many also use the Tsunami decoders. As for scenery sounds there are systems around for them, though I have no experience in them. The below the track system that I think you are referring to is made by MRC in the USA.

As for operating your layout in DCC, You should be able to operate all three gauges off the one Command Station. Though it would likely to be useful to make each gauge its own power district so that an ooops (such as a derailment causing short) in one doesn't stop all three.

Welcome back to the world's greatest hobby, and good luck with your layout!

Dan
  Hendo Deputy Commissioner

David,

Thank you. The Cobalts seem to be cheaper and more compact than the Tortoise or Circuitron's DCC version the SMAIL.
I would visit, however I am in Brisbane!

Hendo
dthead
  Hendo Deputy Commissioner

Dan,

Thank you for your observations. I am using OO as the primary scale as most of the loco's and much of the rolling stock used by the Royal Engineers Railway Operating Division was requisitioned British company stock. Plus there is a large selection of the 60cm equipment produced for OO9. In the case of the metre gauge, yes I was aware of it actually being HOm and I am building some HOm scale kits I purchased from Belgium, of the rolling stock produced during the war in Britain for use on the Belgian lines. The metre gauge line will be across the back, so it will give some forced perspective of depth. As you pointed out I will operate the three gauges as separate power districts.

Thank you for the pointer to JMRI, I have now joined the JMRI Yahoo Group to get a better understanding of it. Just a pity they haven't made a version for Mac, iPad and 64 Bit Windows, or better still HTML 5! A bit wary of the security flaws in Java.

Agreed about the sound onboard loco's, the problem is the OO9 loco's and the 20hp and 40hp petrol tractors which are the major element, as it is both would need to be permanently coupled to a wagon to hide the decoder. Therefore an under the board sound seems a better option. Just as important to me are the battlefield sound effects, which is the secondary reason I have an interest in an under the layout sound system.

Appreciate the observations of both you and David, would appreciate any further ideas you and others may have.

Cheers,
Hendo

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