Who makes the best DCC-ready locos?

Who makes the best DCC-ready locos?

Post by Frank Ev » Thu, 14 Feb 2002 04:16:07



I know Bachmann is right up there with its Spectrum line, but are there other
manufacturers that do as good a job in producing DCC-ready locos?

Frank

 
 
 

Who makes the best DCC-ready locos?

Post by Train Ma » Thu, 14 Feb 2002 06:39:08


I would have to say Proto 2000, for one reason. The plugs that they
supply can be converted to use with the decoders (if you so desire). The
others, bachman, stewart (from my expreience) leave out the pins
required for the reverse light. In some applications it doesn't really
matter (F unit) but it would be nice if they provided a complete plug.
At an extra cost of $4+ per decoder, I have yet to purchase a decoder
with the plug included. Anyone know the digi-key part number for the plugs?

Jeff

Quote:

> I know Bachmann is right up there with its Spectrum line, but are there other
> manufacturers that do as good a job in producing DCC-ready locos?

> Frank


 
 
 

Who makes the best DCC-ready locos?

Post by Lee Popli » Thu, 14 Feb 2002 06:24:54



Quote:

>I know Bachmann is right up there with its Spectrum line, but are there other
>manufacturers that do as good a job in producing DCC-ready locos?

In my opinion, for HO you can't beat the ease of Atlas' latest releases.  Analog
or DCC is only a jumper away.  Plus they make some of the best running locos
lately.  No, if you are looking for lots of functions with FX then you'd
probably have to replace the controller board to get that.  However, right out
of the box DCC, Atlas is good.  They're N-scale locos are either purchased with
or without a Lenz decoder.  The conversion to DCC for the non-DCC locos is
pretty easy too.  Same with some of the Katos; but it depends on what decoder is
available and if you have to mod a frame.

I always suggest to a person new to the hobby or new to DCC to get the Atlas
since it is so easy w/ no additional cost (except what is built into the
purchase price).

-Lee

---------------------------
Nashville, TN
Southern / Norfolk Southern - Z, N, HO Scales
NMRA Lifetime & Southeast (Cumberland) Region Lifetime Member
DCC all the way baby!

 
 
 

Who makes the best DCC-ready locos?

Post by Steve Mag » Thu, 14 Feb 2002 12:53:56




Quote:
>I know Bachmann is right up there with its Spectrum line, but are there other
>manufacturers that do as good a job in producing DCC-ready locos?

>Frank

From my own experience, no manufacturer makes a loco that is truly
P'n'P across the whole range, nor is truly DCC RTR for all
circumstances). To whit:

Atlas - decoder is not back-EMF, will need replacing if this is
important to you. Same for sound.

Bachmann (Spectrum Steam) - Additional components added to board
interfere with operation of some decoders, or the ability to read
their settings via a program such as Ezy-Ramp. Chokes need replacing
with jumpers, caps need to be removed. Ditto the diodes for correct
lamp operation.

Proto2000 (Steam) - lights need to be replaced with 12v 50ma GOW's or
similar (or LED with dropping resistor)

Athearn - yeah, right. Their Genesis series requires the PCB be
replaced with DCC one, and it is marketed as "DCC ready"???

BTW, I love the Bachmann Spectrum Steam line, would not be without
them, but my goodness the quality is variable, and componentry varies
from one production run to the next, so it is difficult to write up a
gauranteed cure-all fix. They also seem to be more tolerant of some
decoders than others. I have several Spectrum K4's for example.
Initially they all had Lenz LE130 back-EMF decoders, and ran no
trouble at all. I pinched these for other uses and put a TCS decoder
in one and NCE (something)14(something) in the other. Both then took
off like rockets at speed step 8 on 128 speed step setting, no amount
of resetting CV2 or speedramps would fix them. Cut all the gunk off
the boards as above, now no troubles. And now can be read by Ezy-Ramp

Friend put a Soundtraxx P'n'P decoder in a Mountain, modified the
board as per Soundtraxx instruction. Turned it on, discovered he had a
smoke generator as well, except that the smoke came from the tender.
Light stayed off, NMW. Checked the board, found one of the
surface-mount devices was now blackened. Local agent for Soundtraxx
agreed to replace the board, meanwhile the Bachmann PCB was inspected
in minute detail. Turned out there was a small whisker of solder trace
between Pin 6 and Pin 7. Didn't affect the Lenz decoder that was in it
previously, just fried the sound decoder!!

Steve

PS - there must be a solder glut in China at the moment, judging by
the huge globs that Bachmann put on their boards.

 
 
 

Who makes the best DCC-ready locos?

Post by Jeff Scarbrou » Thu, 14 Feb 2002 16:44:07




Quote:
>From my own experience, no manufacturer makes a loco that is truly
>P'n'P across the whole range, nor is truly DCC RTR for all
>circumstances). To whit:

>Atlas - decoder is not back-EMF, will need replacing if this is
>important to you. Same for sound.

Well, yeah, but...they didn't put the front handrails on either, so I
guess it's not RTR on analog, either...

Jeff Sc.
Athens Ga.

 
 
 

Who makes the best DCC-ready locos?

Post by Steve Mag » Thu, 14 Feb 2002 19:32:12



Quote:

>Well, yeah, but...they didn't put the front handrails on either, so I
>guess it's not RTR on analog, either...

>Jeff Sc.
>Athens Ga.

Literally, yes, you're right.

Steve
Newcastle (Not Pa)

 
 
 

Who makes the best DCC-ready locos?

Post by no longer not on The Haggi » Thu, 14 Feb 2002 21:05:39


Quote:

> Athearn - yeah, right. Their Genesis series requires the PCB be
> replaced with DCC one, and it is marketed as "DCC ready"???

Compared to the regular line, they are!

:D

Kennedy

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Who makes the best DCC-ready locos?

Post by jbernie » Fri, 15 Feb 2002 02:49:02


Quote:

> From my own experience, no manufacturer makes a loco that is truly
> P'n'P across the whole range, nor is truly DCC RTR for all
> circumstances). To whit:

> Athearn - yeah, right. Their Genesis series requires the PCB be
> replaced with DCC one, and it is marketed as "DCC ready"???

  I think setting up the chassis so that you just pull the old light board and
replace it with a DCC decoder light board is about as simple as it comes....

Jim Bernier

 
 
 

Who makes the best DCC-ready locos?

Post by no longer not on The Haggi » Fri, 15 Feb 2002 21:34:09


Quote:

>   I think setting up the chassis so that you just pull the old light
> board and replace it with a DCC decoder light board is about as simple as
> it comes....

I recently received a Genesis loco, but haven't done anything with it yet.
So, I don't really know what's involved in putting in a decoder.  Most of
my experience is on P2K installs, though I've done a number of plain
Athearn and a couple of Atlas.

The main thing that I look for when installing is whether I need to change
light bulbs or not.  This is an inherent limitation in any simple DCC
install, especially one that requires the swapping of boards.  Which brings
up a question; L/L uses 1.5v bulbs, which need resistors to accomodate
DCC's 12v when we plug in a decoder.  What happens when manufacturers use a
12v bulb to begin with, on regular DC?

Kennedy

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Who makes the best DCC-ready locos?

Post by Fred Dabne » Sat, 16 Feb 2002 04:07:01


Quote:
> The main thing that I look for when installing is whether I need
to change
> light bulbs or not.  This is an inherent limitation in any
simple DCC
> install, especially one that requires the swapping of boards.

Well, if you don't already know,  the Genesis models also use
1.4 volt bulbs.  They use a diode drop constant brightness
method.  I don't know what the values are but they do it
without making it run slower.  Different motor specs?

The low voltage lamps have one advantage.  They run much
cooler so they can be used stuck in the plastic shell or
ditch light castings without melting or warping them.

The huge bulbs LL uses probably would warp the
plastic so they need light pipes the same way
the 12 volt bulbs do.

Fred D.

 
 
 

Who makes the best DCC-ready locos?

Post by no longer not on The Haggi » Wed, 20 Feb 2002 23:37:01


Quote:

> Well, if you don't already know,  the Genesis models also use
> 1.4 volt bulbs.  They use a diode drop constant brightness
> method.  I don't know what the values are but they do it
> without making it run slower.  Different motor specs?

> The low voltage lamps have one advantage.  They run much
> cooler so they can be used stuck in the plastic shell or
> ditch light castings without melting or warping them.

Yes, I saw the note in the instructions for my SD70M, which are woefully
deficient in DCC comments (other than the ditchlights).  Any idea what size
bulbs those are?  I also have to figure out what size resistor to use.....

Kennedy

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