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Which DCC System Is Best?

Darryl is hoping for suggestions:

“I am about to embark on my first model railway journey and not sure where it will take me, but I know it will be DCC. What systems do you recommend that are for starting off and expandable for the future? I want something reliable too. Thanks in advance.”

Share your thoughts, experiences, and opinions with Darryl using the COMMENTS link below.

14 Responses to Which DCC System Is Best?

  • Morgan Bilbosays:

    You ask 20 people and get 40 different answers. LOL What you should do is find local modelers or clubs. Go see and try the different systems in actual service. Do not rely totally on price or what “everyone recommends”. Each system has it’s own merits and demerits. IMHO there is no ONE perfect system. Some areas of the country use one brand more than other areas. Now – if you are alone and have no one near to test the system with. Then, read forums to see what others say. When shopping for price, the Internet is your friend. There are several online retailers that are very competitive and friendly. Be open minded and careful. Hope this is helpful.

    • Caseysays:

      yes everyone is entitled to their opinion. i agree keep an open mind and listen to what others say to form your own opinion.

    • Tom Osterdocksays:

      I agree, when I first started in DCC I joined an HOn30 group. they liked Digitrax so I bought that system. I never really got a handle on it since it is fairly complicated. They have reduced the complication I believe with new systems. Then I joined a On30 group which I still belong to. The Northern group uses MRC and I really like the simplicity and having the directions for use on the back of the hand held controller. that being said the southern group of the On30 group uses NCE. I really like it also, a little more complicated than MRC but not near as bad as Digitrax. All of the being said all three use different cables for control. Now since they all have plug ins but one is 4 wire one is 6 wire and one is eight wire. All of our modules can accept any of the systems so that is how our modules are built I have all three systems but want to get rid of the Digitrax since I will never use it again. I now have wireless for MRC and NCE and love both sets.

  • JLPsays:

    You will find people are very loyal to their favorite brand of DCC, just like automobiles. Best advice is find a local modeler or club and highly consider using what they are using. Nothing beats having someone local to help you with any issues you may encounter.

  • Lousays:

    For about $160 USD I picked up the NCE Power Cab; it has all you need to start out, its easy to use, versatile and easily expandable. I bought mine when I first converted to DCC about three years ago and find it to be dependable. Its a good means to get into DCC and not as limited as other starter systems on the market.

  • Herveysays:

    The best one is the one you are most comfortable with. All of them are good but you have to be comfortable with it. Are there other modelers around you using a DCC system? Talk to them and ask them to let you try running a train and work through setting up a decoder.
    Are you going to be running on other layouts also? Do you have a friend or acquaintance that is running a DCC layout. If you want to use them as a knowledge resource you will get better help if you have similar systems.

  • Geoffsays:

    Like Lou, I went with the NCE power cab because it is a relatively inexpensive but complete starter system, but also because most of the other modellers in my area use NCE. That said, the “really best” system will be the one that others in your area use since you will be able to get help and advice and if you get to the point where you can join in on operating sessions, or invite others to yours, your systems will be compatible so you can take your cab with you.

  • Tom roisesays:

    I started out with MRC. Due to cost. But, wish I had waited for a deal on NCE. I hear great things about NCE and agree with the others who have answered you.

  • Philsays:

    Check out the arduino dcc++ system. For under ten dollars US I can run my dcc trains. Use a computer to download the files and the control software.

  • Bruce Webbsays:

    Darryl: Morgan and Casey hit the nail on head. I have used Backman, MRC & NCE. I am using NCE now I like it the best will not break the bank and easy to expand. Bruce W. in Utah USA

  • Nicholas Westwoodsays:

    Z21 system for the easy interface that can use your tablet or mobile to to control locos and points. No need to remember loco numbers as the selection isvia a photo of each and every loco and ponts.

  • Darrylsays:

    I’m blown away by all the responses and suggestions. Mighty good thanks.

  • Philsays:

    Here is a link to the dcc++ arduino system for programing and running your layout.
    The software and hardware are explained. The software is free and completely compatible with all dcc engines. The hardware involves one generic Arduino and a motor shield which can be perchasef on eBay for under $10 US
    The rest is fairly simple.
    I suggest everyone should see how easy it is to use.

  • Donald Mooresays:

    NCE POWER CAB is because its user friendly and it’s expandable.

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