Best Power Booster for Bachmann DCC

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#1
My son received a Bachmann Digital Command train set for Christmas this year. Included were two DCC trains. He also received another Bachmann set with an analog engine. Loving trains as he does, he spent some Christmas cash on a fourth engine, another DCC. We combined the track from the two sets to create a more complex layout. When running three engines at the same time, everything is fine but if you add the fourth, things really drag. I strongly suspect that we will add a fifth train sometime in the near future along with several of some type (DCC or remote, I don't know yet) of powered turnout.

So, if I'm correct, we are in need of a power booster. The Bachmann 5amp seems like an obvious choice but I'm learning that, while Bachmann sets are inexpensive, add-ons are pretty pricey and the 5amp booster is no exception. I'd like something simple to use that will allow us to run 5 or 6 engines simultaneously and work with the Bachmann Digital Command Control unit.

Any suggestions?

There will be a big train show in town next month and I'd like to go into it a little better armed than I did going into my last train purchase so any help and info would be appreciated.

Thanks.
 

tankist

Active Member
#2
IMHO, not a good idea to spend money to upgrade dead end system. i would sell the bachman and get something more substantial, like digitrax zephyr. if the emphesys is on the sheer numbers the new model will run the required amount of trains. what is best system out there is arguable however (i'm an NCE person).

just my 2 cents
 

Cjcrescent

Master Mechanic
#3
I have to agree with Anton on this, esp if its the basic Bachmann DCC system. It has several other limitations besides low power output.

If you and your son stay in the hobby, you'll learn of the advantages of a better system, such as expandability, programming, networking, portable throttles, etc..
 
#4
While I'm still looking for an answer to the original question, should I go with the zephyr, can you have two units connected to the same track so two people can control any of the trains?
 
#5
I'm just dropping this line in here to start a DCC power control obversation. that is I hear alot of talk about who's the best in DCC like; NCE, Zepher, MRC, Digitrax and so on. Everytime everyone puts down Bachmann. I just want to put my two cents in for them. first of all I started with the bachmann digital commander set. it came with two locos and accessories. From that I have built a 120 sqaure foot layout walkin style. I have been buying bachmann for four years now. upgraded to the wireless Dynamis system and I haven't had any trouble with the system. Also on top of that the fact is that I can program 9,999 loco's, run up to 400 at one time plus run my electicals like switches, lights and accessories. ALL FROM MY ONE DYNAMIS WIRELESS DIGITAL BACHMANN COMMAND SET! Plus I can add boosters, hand units and more. Just like the rest of you with those more expensive setups. I just touched the surface of what bachmann has to offer. I have several locos from spectra steam to diesel and Ill admit it needs more power to the track but thats why they sell the boosters. Just like the rest of you who have to buy boosters from your systems company. The only difference that I see is you guys and gals pay more. With that I can only say that Im a guy with a champagne taste but a beer drinkers wallet. lets face it We all love our trains no matter what type they are and all we want to do is keep those engines running and running but it takes money and some of us just don't have it but still want the hobby. so my advice, find what you like and invest in it as long as it has quality and a good warranty!!!!

Teekaho!!
 
#6
While I'm still looking for an answer to the original question, should I go with the zephyr, can you have two units connected to the same track so two people can control any of the trains?
AFAIK you're SOL :( - Only one "command station" per layout. [This is a slight oversimplification, but no, you can't use both the Bachmann & a Zephyr for example.]

You can have multiple throttles, possibly wireless (the Bachmann Dynamis system as recommended above for example!), but only one command station.

How far do you want to go? If you just need more power (and it sure sounds like it) then the Bachmann booster should suffice.

However, I'm guessing it's their "EZDCC" unit and don't know how expandable that is - Does it support multiple throttles? Can it be used as part of their Dynamis system?

If not, you may indeed be better off to "bite the bullet" and move to another, more expandable system - Digitrax, NCE and to a lesser degree Dynamis systems are all "recommended" it seems.

HTH, Cheers,
Ian
 
#7
bachmann is expandable

you say you have the EZ dcc command station. Well with that you can expand with a 5 amp booster and add a extra control station so two can enjoy the power and locos. also if you wanted to you could build a nice layout and connect power terminals around the track so you could either move around or even add more controlers so even more people could join in the fun. how ever if you wanted to go to wireless then the only thing that could be reused is the booster for you would have to get new handsets and wireless receiver (prefer the probox system) with that you can grow as big as you wanted to. good luck and remember to just have fun.
 
#8
....If you just need more power (and it sure sounds like it) then the Bachmann booster should suffice.
Whoa!.... The "defense" of Bachmann kit prompted a little research - And I've very definitely modified my comments!..... Assuming you have their EZ-Dcc unit, Walthers quotes expansion parts as follows:

- 5A booster; $305 :)eek: Holey moley! - when you said in the OP it was expensive, I was figuring about the same as the command station!)
- "Walk around Companion" - A wired throttle; $120
- Walk around companion connector panel; $42 [At least one needed for each walk around companion.]

Wow! - As far as I can tell, that's all the expansion possible on the EZ-Dcc unit. It seems if you want to go Dynamis the EZ-Dcc stuff is "scrap" and their Dynamis starter set is $325 (with a 2.3A power supply. I couldn't find the rating of the EZ unit.)

A *much* cheaper way to get more power (3A) and "unlimited" expandability is the (new) Digitrax Zephyr xtra for ~$200. Wired throttles are $42 and panels $17...... Or, you can get frisky as someone said a while back and go radio - The panel for this (UR92, only one needed) is $160 and throttle $250.

You're still ahead of upgrading the Bachmann!...... My apologies for not checking the #'s first!

I'm sure NCE do a similar setup, but have no experience with them or the Dynamis system so can't comment.

Cheers,
Ian
 
#9
#1 Bachmann DCC Command Unit $65 new
#2 Bachmann Walk-around $65 new
#3 Bachmann 5 amp $180 new

Since I already have #1 and #2, is #3 the best choice? I've seen other models of boosters for less but I don't know if they work with the Bachmann control units.

I've seen the Digitrax DB150 Command Station & Booster for ~$155. Will it work seamlessly with my setup? Is it better? There is also the NCE 5 amp booster for ~$135. How about that? Will it work seamlessly with my setup?
 
#10
compatablility

No unfortunately the units are not interchangable with one or the other. So its very important that you choose from the beginning what system you want. because you cant use bachmann with MRC or NCE or so on. One company one product! Sure would like to know where you found the Bachmann 5 amp booster for 180.00 though. Ill buy it right now..thanks ahead of time...
 
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#11
#1 Bachmann DCC Command Unit $65 new
#2 Bachmann Walk-around $65 new
#3 Bachmann 5 amp $180 new

Since I already have #1 and #2, is #3 the best choice? I've seen other models of boosters for less but I don't know if they work with the Bachmann control units.

I've seen the Digitrax DB150 Command Station & Booster for ~$155. Will it work seamlessly with my setup? Is it better? There is also the NCE 5 amp booster for ~$135. How about that? Will it work seamlessly with my setup?
No, the Digitrax and NCE booster won't work with the E-Z Command, at least not without some additional work.

Most command stations have a low voltage/low current output that is the same DCC data stream as the track outputs. Most boosters are designed to use that low voltage/low current output as the booster input. Some boosters can be with other manufacturers command stations if they are designed for the same type of input. For example, Digitrax, Lenz, and NCE boosters can each be used with command stations from all three manufacturers. They do have different wiring, but with a little digging you can find wiring diagrams to make them work. The E-Z Command does not appear to have these low voltage/low current outputs,and hence can not use these boosters.

Some boosters, such as the one sold by Bachmann, use what is called an opto-isolated input. These allow you to use the track output of the command station as the input to the booster. These boosters can actually be usd with any DCC command station. Digitrax used to sell an opto-isolated version of their DB200 booster only(but not any of the booster/command stations), but I don't know if they still do or not. CVP(the makers of EasyDCC) has a line of opto-isolated boosters staring at $80. I don't know for sure if there are any other commercially available opto-isolated boosters or not.

If you really like the E-Z Command and have no plans to upgrade, then I would probably just stick with the Bachmann booster. The advantage is if you have any problems you only have one manufacturer to deal with, and you don't have to worry about Bachmann blaming the booster manufacturer and the booster manufacturer blamiong Bachmann.

By the way,welcome aboard!
 
#12
Just to add. When they say that all components are not interchangeable, they mean the controlling system. The Bachmann decoders should work just fine with any system. They decoders user a standard communications method, so any decoder that adheres to the standard (I don't know of any that don't) will work with any system. Its just the controlling components that don't usually like being swapped. I would also consider getting a better DCC system. From what I have seen of the Bachmann system, it is good to start out with, but if are going to expand later, you are going to want a different system. The same thing happened to me when I go my original Atlas DCC system.
 
#13
Dear Atari, I think if you have a Bachmann Setup then you probably should just stick with it, The DCC revolution is just like 20 years ago with Apple and IBM, they dont work together each system is not compatible and its really just a matter of what system works best for you, I purchased the Zephyr because I got a five by Nine layout, but two mains and a yard and I think that will be the max power for that system, My neighbor has a big layout and he got the digitrax empire builder, which is $350.00 dollars, from doing a lot of shopping around, the sets cost around the same, I have read reviews of dynamis in model railroader and from what I read it looks like a good system, since all systems seem to cost the same, you might as well stick with Bachmann, because any other system would require to start all over whereas your already set up with Bachmann, Bachmann has a forum and that might be a good place to ask about boosters, Also, check out


http://www.modeltrainstuff.com/Bachmann-DCC-s/2066.htm

the above website has really good deals on DCC stuff, cheaper than hobby stores.
Good luck and I hope every thing works out for you and your son.
 
#15
...They have a $169 bachmann booster too.
:eek:

I'm sorry to keep harping on here, but the Digitrax Zephyr Xtra is ~$180 - Probably less if you search hard.

Your Bachmann locos will work with it just fine as noted.

You'd be getting a system that will expand "as desired", and not going down a blind alley.... [No criticism of Bachmann intended, just my 02c.]

All, again, IMHO.
Cheers,
Ian
 
#16
...I have read reviews of dynamis in model railroader and from what I read it looks like a good system, since all systems seem to cost the same, you might as well stick with Bachmann,
*If* he had the Dynamis system, I'd agree. But the EZ-Dcc kit appears very limiting to me, and doesn't appear to be upgradeable to the Dynamis (?)

May as well bite the bullet sooner rather than later.......

Cheers,
Ian
 





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