Everything on model trains, model railroads, model railways, locomotives, model train layouts, scenery, wiring, DCC and more. Enjoy the world's best hobby... model railroading!

DCC Narrow Gauge Trains

John writes:

“Please help me. I have just started with DCC narrow gauge. What type of controller should I get? I have just turned 66, and computers are not my strong point but I can get by. What is the best way to start? I have had OO gauge in the past. The reason I have to go smaller s a lack of space. I live in Halesowen. Is there a club near me ? Can any one help me? Regards”

Contribute your thoughts below.

3 Responses to DCC Narrow Gauge Trains

  • Geoff says:

    The rule of thumb I’ve read is that a you can have 4 locos per amp of power in n scale and 2 per amp in HO/OO scale. That seems to me to be a bit optimistic, but the NCE PowerCab with 5 amps should have enough power for 009. It’s what I use. It’s a basic starter set that can be upgraded with a bigger power supply if you expand!

    DCC programming can be daunting until you try it, at which point you will find the basic stuff – ie assigning a number to each loco – to be quite easy! The NCE powercab manual is about 60 pages long, but you only need to read the first 4 to program your loco. The rest you can forget about, or read later if you want to get into double heading, fine tuning the speed your loco runs at, or controlling point motors etc with DCC. This latter stuff is when you would want to connect up your computer to the DCC controller to make the programming easier. I haven’t done that yet, and probably won’t.

    If you are planning to go with DCC sound, the downside to the Powercab is that, being of US origin, it is programmed with US default codes. Ie the button on the power cab that says “whistle” sends out the code for F1, which in the UK as I understand it is the command to turn the sound on or off! But as far as operating a non-sound equipped loco, it does that fine out of the box. I have two of the Bachmann Baldwins, and I’ve been running them just fine. I didn’t know about the sound issue until I read about it on another group. However, according to the manual, I can reprogram the whistle button to some other F number, which I will do when (if) I get a sound equipped loco. (I could just press the appropriate F button to get the whistle, but if I have a button marked “whistle” I would bug the @#$% out of me if it didn’t work the whistle!) I got the NCE powercab because I live in Canada, and people in my local club (none of whom run 009) use NCE.

    If I’m allowed to suggest this on this forum, I would suggest you get onto facebook, and join 009 Railway modelers, 009 Railway modelling, and 009/OO9 HOe railway Modelling. (I’m assuming since you are downsizing from 00 that you are going to 009) The standard of modelling is quite high, I would never personally post a picture of what I am doing, but there is lots of advice available. Another plug is to join the 009 Society. But you can go to the 009 Society website and see a list of area clubs and a list of exhibitions and events. There’s one in the West Midlands, and they meet at Moorfield Hall, which google tells me is 22 miles from Halesowen, although that seems to be going from one side Birmingham to the other, so maybe it’s a longer journey than it seems!

    Good luck, have fun with narrow gauge. Many people say that 009 is the fun gauge!

  • phil johnson says:

    May I suggest NCE Power Cab. It has everything you need to get started. It’s stupid simple. Easily expandable. And you don’t need a second mortgage to purchase.

  • Morgan Bilbo says:

    Don’t ignore the Digitrax DCS52. It has 3 amps. Enough in HO for 6 normal decoders. Consisting or double heading will reduce the number to be run. But some of this depends on your personal decisions. If you are the only one running, you have 2 hands, hence, 2 controllers. If you intend to have people over to run with you, then that becomes a much larger situation and the NCE would be better.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Add a photo or image related to your comment (JPEG only)

Model Train DCC HELP

N Scale Track Plans

Watch Video

Use Tiny Railroad Micro Controllers


Download Your Free Catalog

Model Train Help Ebook


FREE Tour Inside Club

Take a FREE tour inside the club.

Scenery Techniques Explained

Scenery & Layout Ideas

Model Railroading Blog Archive

Reader Poll

Sorry, there are no polls available at the moment.