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DCC Z scale and power source recommendations

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12 years 6 months ago #6967 by Cypress Hills
DCC Z scale and power source recommendations was created by Cypress Hills
If one were to use DCC in the MTL GP-35, what would the maximum DCC transformer needed?

Who makes the most Z friendly DCC transformer?

Murray

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12 years 6 months ago #6969 by shamoo737
Replied by shamoo737 on topic Re:DCC Z scale and power source recommendations
Murray, I have a Powercab, and they can be had for around $140. I find it very easy to use. The other entry level system is from Digitrax. I hear its harder to use. Most of z scalers pick the NEC, so we can help you if you run into problems. For a beginner, I wouldnt recommend the most powerful system. Its quite expensive for top of the line dcc system. With a entry level system, is more then enough for a small layout.

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12 years 6 months ago #6987 by Cypress Hills
Replied by Cypress Hills on topic Re:DCC Z scale and power source recommendations
Thanks for that. Is it still possible to get a DCC system that operates atleast one cab in analogue mode?
And is operating a Z MTL engine in analogue mode on DCC harmful to the health of the motor?

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12 years 6 months ago #6988 by shamoo737
Replied by shamoo737 on topic Re:DCC Z scale and power source recommendations
I think you can do it with Digitrax,but I am not sure. I know I cant do it with Nec

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12 years 6 months ago #6989 by SJ-BAZ-man
Replied by SJ-BAZ-man on topic Re:DCC Z scale and power source recommendations
Digitrax and Lenz can do it but it is a really crude way to do it. The DC motor will run much differently than you imagine and will get warmer than normal.

You can run a DCC loco on DC, if the CV value is enabled (most are defaulted to 'No') BUT, it takes ~5 volts just to overcome the DCC circuitry so 1) the loco will not run fast and 2) not run with other DC locos.

It is best to be all DCC or not. You could however, run 2 mainlines: one with DC and the other with DCC.

Warning: Do not place a DC loco on a DCC powered track. The motor will overheat !

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12 years 6 months ago #6993 by garthah
Cypress Hills wrote:

Thanks for that. Is it still possible to get a DCC system that operates atleast one cab in analogue mode?
And is operating a Z MTL engine in analogue mode on DCC harmful to the health of the motor?


MRC has announced a new power pack that has both ananlog DC and DCC in one controller. It will also be able to operate the sounds on dual mode decoders when operating in DC mode.

Operating an engine with a DCC decoder in it on DC requires a dual mode decoder and the DC function has to be enabled. If you place a DCC encoder equipped loco on a DC track you could very well destroy it. The same with a DC engine placed on DCC track could very easily lead to a motor burnout.

You will need at least 50% of your DC power packs output voltage to run the dual mode decoder on a DC system, so your engine in DC mode won't start moving until you have 5 vdc to the track and then you can increase the speed from there. Depending on the decoder you may not be able to run very fast off of a Z-scale power pack as the manufacturers are expecting a 12vdc power supply not a 9 or 10vdc one when developing their dual mode decoders.

Other than the dual mode from Athearn used in their steamers in N-scale I have only used the TCS decoders in dual mode and in N-scale they seem to work fine. I use an NCE Powercab for my DCC system. Have not tried the TCS MXA4 dual mode decoder in z-scale yet.

My feeling is running both DC and DCC if you are not electrically inclined is going to lead to heart ache and damaged locos and even then it is not all straight forward. Do visit some of he DCC boards and see the problems people are having try to get their DC converted to DCC. There are certainly allot of problems. With the smaller demand for power (read amps or milliamps here) the systems to run z-scale and N-scale seem to be less complicated compared to say G scale.

this is just one persons opinion

cheerz Garth

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12 years 6 months ago #7012 by Cypress Hills
Replied by Cypress Hills on topic Re:DCC Z scale and power source recommendations
Thank you for your very clear and concise explanation. You helped confirm in my mind for my simple layout, that two MRC 1300's is more than enough.

I really appreciate this forum and group for their help. Cheers to all. And top of the season to you.

Murray
Medicine Hat, AB

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12 years 6 months ago - 12 years 6 months ago #7014 by SJ-BAZ-man
Replied by SJ-BAZ-man on topic Re:DCC Z scale and power source recommendations
Murray, if you have non-Märklin locos (i.e. MTL or AZL), then DCC is fairly simple and will allow you to run any of your locos anywhere in any direction regardless of the others. This is great for running a mainline and then doing some switching operations. Of course, if the layout is small (like a 2x3 oval), this doesn't make sense. Stick with analog DC.

The reason I say non-Märklin locos is that decoder installations are not easy in them. The other manufacturers are quite easy.

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12 years 6 months ago #7016 by Cypress Hills
Replied by Cypress Hills on topic Re:DCC Z scale and power source recommendations
Thanks Jeff. I'll stay with analogue for the time being. Cheers mate.

Murray

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9 years 5 months ago #15175 by killieman54
Replied by killieman54 on topic Re:DCC Z scale and power source recommendations
O/K I'M CONVINCED THAT THE NEC POWERCAB IS THE WAY TO GO BUT WHAT ABOUT DECODERS?

THANKS

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9 years 5 months ago #15176 by markm
A quick answer: Depends on what you're running. There are "drop-in" units for the MTL GP9 & GP35, there is also a unit for AZL's GP30 & GP38-2 and future GP7 and GP9. The Z2 wire-in unit tends to be used more most others. You can get details of using the Z2 in the various Z forums.

Hope this helps,

Mark
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9 years 4 months ago #15179 by garthah
The TCS decoders can be programmed to be multi mode or DC analog and DCC friendly if when programming you set decoder for DC operation by saying yes to the question in the power cab. I do not find the Digitrax decoders to be as DC friendly in that they seem to require more power to run on DC through a decoder than the TCS boards. I find very little difference in slow speed and high speed track speeds for DC versus DC using the TCS mza4 drop in decoder for MTL locos which I am most familiar with. when run on my power cab versus a Joeger medvend snail speed or Rokuhan controllers . I have used the Z2 and like it just as muchas the MZa4 the main difference is mZa4 is a 4 function decoder so ditch lights are possible while Z2 is 2 function decoder so only headlights on I have not found any DCC system that can run DC as well without problems with the engine that do not have decoders in them. The problem is the fundamenal track power on a DCC system is AC in nature and is not friendly to DC motors under any condition.

cheerz Garth
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