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!

background buildings model trains

DCC on a Budget

Jeff writes:

“I am 100% new to this hobby, but intend to build a DCC controlled layout from scratch, around 8 sqm in size. I have read a lot of information and realize how important it is to start off correctly.One thing I am struggling with is I want a computer controlled system and want to know what I can get on a budget. Could your readers please advise me on what might be best?”

4 Responses to DCC on a Budget

  • Jay Ross says:

    Much depends upon just how much computer control you want. You will need the computer, a Dcc control system, and an interface link from Dcc system to Computer’s input. You can use JMRI’s free download software, that allows you to put your layout diagram on the computer screen. With JMRI, you can control turnouts, trains, and detect where the trains are at on the layout, to show up on the computer screen You will need turnout control motors with Dcc controllers. You will also need track section block detector circuits, also Dcc accessed. You may also want to have signals for crossings and block detection visual effects. Then, your locomotives would have to all be Dcc controlled. IT won’t be cheap. Most of the equipment can be found on the web. My layout has an NCE Power Cab Dcc system, I use JMRI, my turnouts I use Tam Valley’s “Singlets” and servo motors mounted under the layout.

  • David says:

    If you are reasonably computer savvy and are afraid of messing about with electronics, you may want to checkout DCC-EX. You can run JMRI on a Raspberry PI. JMRI has a whole section on their web site.

  • Frank B says:

    You might like to just start with a basic DCC system, then upgrade it to computer control as you become more knowledgeable. (Leaving connections accessible in your design. ) Soundtraxx has command stations that can plug into a computer. Buy a beginner’s book on basic DCC systems. Join a model railway club for massive help and advice. Look through all the DCC manufacturer’s websites for all the free tutorial articles.

  • Nigel says:

    For a very simple system, take a look at Sprog:


    If you’re not in the UK, they seem to ship overseas. I use one and it’s compatible with JMRI etc.

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Your email address will not be published.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)


Download Your Free Catalog

Use Tiny Railroad Micro Controllers

N Scale Track Plans

Watch Video

Model Train DCC HELP

Model Train Help Ebook


FREE Tour Inside Club

Take a FREE tour inside the club.

Scenery Techniques Explained

Scenery & Layout Ideas

Reader Poll

Sorry, there are no polls available at the moment.

Model Railroading Blog Archive