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Digital & analog Locos

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orionstars View Drop Down
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    Posted: 03 Mar 2017 at 1:25pm
For starters I'm a Digital newbie.

I'm looking at beginning an HOe project and think I would like to start off with a Roco starter set. On the store here I can get either the analog or digital.

My question is if I choose analog could I run digital/decoder equipped locomotives on it?

If I by the digital set would I be able to run analog locos on it? (without installing decoders that is.)

Thanks for the help,
pete
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (1) Thanks(1)   Quote RRVRR Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 03 Mar 2017 at 4:06pm
Pete,
In general those are two worlds and the bridges between are thin.

Analog Locomotives on Digital
Some DCC Controllers in the old days have allowed  to control one DC loco to run on a digital layout but it was a risky compromise. The Address used was the "0". Some Loco's worked some not and I ended up ones burning out a motor what I had to replace. So my recommendation is not run analog locos on a digital layout even if the description would say you can. The new Z21 from Roco what newer starter packs now include has not such a feature as to my knowledge.
So the answer of this question would be mainly "no".

Digital Locomotives on Analog
Most new digital locos can run on an analog layout. There is a setting in the decoder (CV) that is usually set this way as a factory default. So the decoder senses if the track is powered analog or digital and adjust his behavior accordingly. Make sure you check before you buy it that the decoder has this feature, it is usually called "multi-protocol decoder".
So the answer to this question is "yes".

The future is digital and not analog so I can't recommend investing in analog. I know that there are still people out there that refuse to go digital. It might be the large investment to convert the DC-Locos to DCC, buying a DCC command station, changes of layout wiring or just not feeling comfortable with the new technology in general. I'm not saying that there is anything wrong with DC but the features you get with DCC makes more sense to me.

To name just one that stand out the most is that can have multiple locos sitting on the same piece of track and you control each individually. So my recommendation is to start digital.


Edited by RRVRR - 03 Mar 2017 at 4:12pm
best, Markus


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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (1) Thanks(1)   Quote Railwriter Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 03 Mar 2017 at 4:51pm
I completely agree that digital is not only the future, it is also already a major part of the present.

So, I would definitely go with a digital start set.  (There are a couple of articles on the Reynauld's Blog that focus on start sets.)

When you do buy additional locos, make sure that they at least have a socket and a space for a decoder.  While it is possible to convert most analog locos to digital, even if they are not prepared for installation of a decoder, this can be a lot of work.

HOe, like N, is of course smaller than HO and has more limited space for decoder installation.

Once I was convinced that my next layout would be digital, all the locos I bought either already had a decoder installed or came with a decoder socket.  In the latter case, it was usually very easy to install a decoder.

By the way, I really like the Roco Multimaus controllers that come with their digital start sets.

-- Ernest

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote orionstars Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 03 Mar 2017 at 5:11pm
Thank you for the feedback!

I am completely sold on the Digital world.....now. A few years ago I would've built any layout analog and just thought no more about it. Then I was introduced to operations and now DCC really is my only way forward.

It's just that I am still DCC ignorant :)

So your replies help a lot. Thank you Ernest for mentioning that older analog locos can be converted. I was just thinking that I should double check that is possible here too.

Is the Roco Multimaus the new digital system or is that the z(Z)21 - or are they both together? I've become familiar with NCE and Lenz in big ways as an operator, not system owner, so the Roco system is brand new to me.


Sidebar:
I was thinking of picking up the analog set first and introducing it to the family then stepping on to the Digital one.

My littles (3.5 & 4.89999) are already chin deep in Marklin My World (so is my wife as she requested the Swiss Train - but don't ask her directly, just watch and listen for the proof! ;). My next major venture at this point is in Nn3 (though final commitment is still in debate) but I see this as a great step for the whole clan.

Pete

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (1) Thanks(1)   Quote Railwriter Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 03 Mar 2017 at 8:48pm
Learning digital is not that difficult -- if you take it one step at a time.  There are lots of digital capabilities that you don't need to worry about in the beginning.

The Roco digital start sets now have the white z21 box with a cable-connected Multimaus controller.  With a relatively inexpensive upgrade, you can use a tablet or smartphone as a controller -- though I have no interest in that, being quite content with the two Multimaus controllers I currently have.

(The black Z21 box has more functionality -- but again, you will not need that in the beginning.)

The Multimaus is very intuitive.  You can even add a wireless additional  Multimaus later.

A little over two years ago, I really knew very little about digital -- but, between reading everything I could on the subject and discussions here, I quickly came up to speed.

One good thing -- most of the instructions for various types of digital devices can now be downloaded from various sources.  So, you can read the instructions before you buy the the item and before it arrives.

And, of course, people on this forum are glad to help.

-- Ernest

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (1) Thanks(1)   Quote RRVRR Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 06 Mar 2017 at 8:17am
When you stay in the DCC World (not Maerklin) it doesn't matter which Brand of DCC you are using. I can't recommend the in the US widely available Digitrax because we and other clubs have unexplained faults with the system. So I would stay in the European DCC Market. NCE is also a stable System. A surprising new system is the DR5000 from Digikeijs from the Netherlands that is also available here in the states. It has a build in WiFi router. The big advantage - it is a multiprotocol system so you can use Roco, Lenz and Digitrax Controller with it.
best, Markus


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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Model Train Projects Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 09 Mar 2017 at 8:06pm
Hey Pete,

I can only agree with the before mentioned, BUT yes one I do have, I run an Digitrax system for almost 7 years now and I never had an issue.

It all depends on what you like to do, as you mentioned before, H0e. Roco makes some rolling stock and track, but also other manufacturers, like Bemo. It also depends what you want to model. German, Austrian, Swiss, or US. For the first 3 options, I agree that you should go for a european system. 

I bought the simple Digitrax DCS51, use boosters and run my layout with a computer, so I do not need an all out control station, I just needed something creating the DCC signal for me.

Depending on how good you are with electronics, you could build you own comtrol station, they over ready sets you just need the solder together.
Br

Leif
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote RRVRR Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 10 Mar 2017 at 7:51am
Leif, I assume the Digitrax issue is happening when multiple controllers run different trains and you have a mixed variety of wired and wireless controller. I heard the issue mostly from other Clubs and not from a home layout where one or two running trains.
best, Markus


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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote BR42 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 10 Mar 2017 at 3:33pm
Hello:

Never had a problem like this with me Digitrax system.  Would not think about switching it against another.  I use a DCS200 Super Chief which has all the functionality I want.  If necessary, I could upgrade to the newest control station, and all the other components would still work as  boosters/throttles.

Ulrich
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote RRVRR Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 10 Mar 2017 at 4:12pm
Like I said, I assume it happens with multiple controllers and trains running. We also had problems when locos are not specifically dispatched. Digitrax is sensitive on this as well. We found this out by using JMRI with it and looked for the loconet traffic and the buffer. It is just to make you aware of the fact that there is a flaw existing. It might show in your configuration or not but since I know of it I can't recommend it as long this is not addressed by Digitrax and fixed.
best, Markus


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