Hi, all

Just getting back into model railroading after a long absence due to work interfering with my leisure activities!

Just purchased a Roco 33241 (HOe 0-6-0T) from Rey with the decoder installed before it is sent to me.  I don't need a controller with bells and whistles, just the basics - direction and speed.  I'll be in trouble with the home front if I can't keep the cost under $100;  will the Bachmann 44212 do the job, or is there another one I should be looking at?

Thanks for any help!


  • Dear John

    The Bachmann 44212 will run your new Roco Loco, but only in conventional mode. It is a basic DC power pack with speed and direction control.

    It does not adddress the decoder in your locomotive. You may look through some forum topics and articles that explain the basics of digital operation. Feel free to ask more questions.

  • vintage_modelervintage_modeler DES MOINES, IA
    Thanks for your prompt reply.  From the description of the Bachmann, it sounded like it was a basic DCC controller.  Bummer.  I'll check the forum for DCC info, but at this point I'm just needing some recommendations as soon as possible as to controllers which will give me basic speed and direction control in DCC mode with this loco.  Am I going to be able to run in DCC mode for under $100, or am I wasting my money having Rey install the decoder when it gets to his shop from Roco?
  • John

    The least expensive DCC controller I am aware of is the Bachman 44902. You need to Google for prices. They range from $85 - $127

    Do you have any other locomotives? Are you planning on getting more locos? What tracks are you using? Do you have any powerpacks or DC speed controllers, at all?

    It would be nice to know all this to prevent you from potentially heading in the wrong direction.
  • vintage_modelervintage_modeler DES MOINES, IA
    Hi, Choo Choo

    Based on what I'm finding, it appears the Bachmann would be my choice, as you suggest. 

    However, based on feedback from the Model Railroader DCC forum, I need a second opinion on something.  I know DCC is not a panacea for smooth-running trains, but I will be running my Roco loco by itself on standard n-gauge track, in a continuous loop, no reverse loops or wye's, just a basic round-the-table type of setup with the occasional sidings for industries and businesses.  My DC transformer is an MRC 1370, which will be used on a standard gauge train on a separate set of tracks on the same layout.

    $64 question:  will DCC provide smoother and more trouble-free running than DC with a relatively simple setup like mine for my Roco loco, or should I stick to DC and keep my soldering iron hot for the occasional gap repair?

    Any ideas as to whether the decoder Rey will be installing in the loco may be more conducive than any other decoder in overriding the normal vicissitudes of running i.e. gaps, dirty track, etc?  I don't know if there are any options as to the decoder used for this model.  One answer I received from the forum indicated that some decoders provide a momentary pulse to overcome an occasional loss of power such as would be encountered with a slight gap in the track.

    Thanks for your help!

  • Hi, John

    The answer to the $64 question is "NO".

    Digital operation (DCC), by itself, has nothing to do with mechanically smooth and troublefree overall operation.

    Let us look at your basic around-the-table setup with an occasional siding. By description, this is an electrically contiguous circuit. Suppose you wish to employ another loco on that track, maybe a little shift engine, and you place it on a siding, along with your main loco on the thru-track.

    Now, that looks good, don't it. But when you turn up the speed control,

    they will obviously both run. Tough, but true.

    DCC allows you to address both locos individually, like dialing a phone number, only one phone rings, not all of them.

    Additionally, DCC allows access to functions like lights, operational sounds and a few other sundries, depending on your systems and decoder specs.

    Maybe now you understand better that DCC ops by itself does not improve reliability, in a mechanical sense. It opens other gates that plain DC operation will never make possible.

    During my 12V DC 2-rail days, I had 4 contiguous track lay-outs, using 4 separate DC powerpack/ speed contol units. They were all MRC brand.

    As far as the decoder Rey is supposed to install into your Roco loco, they come either with or without sound. I do not know what you ordered. I cannot help you with that. You should check with Rey.

    Please, think all this over. My e-mail is roger.heid@att.net. Please, contact me for further assistance to prevent loading down the forum.

  • Just checking in. Not much activity on the forum, at least here or military rrs. Andreas has done wonders with HOe (HOn30). Haven't converted any to dcc yet but love the way they run

  • RailwriterRailwriter Durham, NC

    For anyone just getting into digital -- whether in HOe or HO -- I would still strongly urge consideration of the Roco Multimaus / z21 controller combination. The controller is relatively intuitive -- you can show a visitor how use it in a few minutes -- has relatively decent documentation (as well as additional third-party documentation), and can be very economical, particularly when purchased as part of a start set.

    You can easily add a second Multimaus, allowing two people to control two different trains at the same time.

    Roco offers digital start sets in the $300-400 range -- with contents varying over the years -- that include an engine, several cars, tracks (in most sets), and the Multimaus z21 controller. Bought individually, these items would cost mor than twice that amount.

    Yes, Roco now offers some digital start sets in HOe, too.

    And, as I've pointed out previously, start sets can be a good investment, even if you already have some track and rolling stock.

    -- Ernest

  • I have not a clue what is HOe. I did Google it, and came up with this: "In the modern setting, a “hoe” is someone, generally a woman, who is promiscuous." One surmises this is not the general drift, here. Also, learned it was a gardening tool. Seriously, would someone kindly educate me? I am failing here.

  • RailwriterRailwriter Durham, NC

    HOe (or H0e – the European version with a zero instead of the letter O) is the HO scale (1:87 scale) implementation of 760mm narrow gauge.

    There are also other implementations of narrow-gauge railroads in HO scale, such as HOm – meter (1000mm). However, HOe and HOm are by far the most popular for modelers.

    760mm, often popularly called “Bosnia gauge,” was also widely used in other parts of Europe, primarily Austria and Germany. Meter gauge was extremely popular in Switzerland but also used in other countries.

    For modelers, narrow gauge offers the same advantages as narrow gauge offered to prototype railroaders – the ability to fit more railroading in less space. Narrow gauge lines can have tighter curves than standard gauge lines, because rolling stock is both shorter and narrower.

    To get back to the main topic of this thread: As the HOe models are smaller than standard gauge HO models, not all HO decoders will fit. However, physically HOe locomotives are about the same size as N scale models, so, in most cases, N scale decoders will fit.

    DCC came somewhat later to HOe than to HO scale itself, and for a long time even new narrow-gauge models were not designed for digital operations. It was not unusual to have layouts where the HO operation was digital, while the narrow gauge line was still analog. However, in recent years, Roco has even been offering HOe digital starter sets.

    Both Roco and Liliput have long offered a moderate range HO scale narrow gauge models. Some other manufacturers also provide such products.

    Of course, other than for the rolling stock, almost all other HO scale accessories – 1:87 road vehicles, structures, etc. -- will still work on a narrow gauge layout. (Again, many modelers choose to model both standard gauge and narrow gauge operations, with at least one station being served by both gauges.)

    An important factor to consider is that in Europe, there are still many revenue narrow gauge operations, while in North America, remaining narrow gauge lines are some type of museum or tourist operation. In Europe, many narrow gauge lines still provide an important role for workers commuting to and from their jobs.

    For some more about this, take a look at this article on the Reynauld’s Blog (from a few years back):


    -- Ernest

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