How many prefer to buy DCC equipped vs. DCC ready?

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#1
Personally I have no issue with saving a bit of money and installing the decoder myself. Typically you save about $40-50 and the Digitrax decoders I buy from Yankeedabbler are about $25-26 dollars so I'm ahead about $15-20 or so. This buys another car or most of another decoder. I have done a few non DCC ready frames requiring hard wire but they are a PITA I usually ship those off. I'm curious as to what other people like to do when you purchase locomotives? Opt for convenience and RTR or perhaps save a bit of money? It makes no difference really its just personal preference I am just curious.
 

fcwilt

Active Member
#2
Hi,

I buy DCC equipped when I can.

I'm 67 and my hands shake when I try to do fine work. Opening up today's models is difficult for me because of all the details that are easily damaged, particularly steam engines.

Frederick
 

Iron Horseman

Well-Known Member
#3
I'm curious as to what other people like to do when you purchase locomotives? Opt for convenience and RTR or perhaps save a bit of money? It makes no difference really its just personal preference I am just curious.
Well, if one is comparing based on a normal price for a DCC equipped locomotive I say it is worth it to do yourself. However, I seldom pay normal price. I wait for the loco to go on clearance or pick it up 2nd hand. In that case I usually pay less for one with pre-installed decoders than I would for doing it myself. Example I just purchased a Walther's Proto-2000 F7A for $160, and a Broadway limited E1B for $179. I am pretty certain I could not have done these for less than $220 starting with a straight DC unit.
 
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wombat457

Well-Known Member
Staff member
#4
Personally, I'll buy DCC equipped engines. I tried converting one DC/DCC ready engine once and made a mess of it so for peace of mind (knowing it is right from the outset) I buy all DCC equipped.
 

Greg@mnrr

Section Hand
#5
It makes no difference to me if the locomotive has DCC installed or is DCC ready. The Plug 'N Play decoders are so simple to install without the need to solder or cut wires. However, I'll purchase sound locomotives to avoid the speaker and decoder installation.

I do do have several older "new in the box" locomotives waiting for decodes which I purchased along with the locomotives. Most need wiring which is no problem and then these will be DCC equipped locomotives.

Thanks.

Greg
 
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D&J RailRoad

Professor of HO
#6
If it's just a plug and play setup, I can go either way. The straight DC locos that need the wiring reworked are beyond my interest anymore.
I'm currently working on a C40-8 model on an Overland chassis and the difference between this and a DCC equipped loco is worlds apart. I just can't cut the wires to the exact length to do a real clean install, besides, I have way to much other stuff to do.
 
#7
Definitely, pre-installed! I model N-scale, and most of my already-DCC'd locos were already fairly well discounted by MTS, either equaling the cost of the loco and a decoder, or besting it by $10-$50. To me, it's a deal either way. I just got two Kobo Custom Shops-installed DCC'd Kato F40PHs for $115 each, which was full-list price, and I still thought it was a deal.

I kills me that I didn't pop for a Kato MP36PH with a pre-installed TCS decoder on sale for only $99. I ended up buying the DC-only version later (after it sold out) for only $69, but would've much preferred to spend the extra $30 up front to have it already in there (I've still yet to order the decoder and install it). I did however just snag an already DCC'd Kato SDP40F on sale at MTS for only $84.42!

While some decoder installs are a breeze (and some, not), it's just one less thing to have to do! Here's a few of the several dozen locos yet to be installed:

 
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chadbag

Well-Known Member
#9
I am doing Euro and Japanese trains, so can't speak to US models, but prefer the DCC-Ready instead of installed (unless the installation is a TCS decoder). I have standardized on D&H decoders for everything except where a KATO lightboard has a drop-in or almost drop-in replacement board from TCS (which mimic the Digitrax drop-in boards). So, I'd rather buy the decoder and put it in myself if it is a DCC Ready train / locomotive (a lot of mine are EMU/DMU) so that I can put my choice of decoder in.

Some of the European manufacturers are now putting proprietary hard coded decoders in their locomotives (I am looking at YOU Trix/Minitrix [and maybe Fleischmann but I don't have any of those so am not sure]) instead of a standard interface port of some sort (6pin, 18pin, etc). Luckily, it appears that Trix uses D&H based decoders IIRC -- their pre-installed ones are D&H with some custom firmware to support locomotive special-features.

I also buy trains that don't have any DCC support (Tomix, Tomytech, Microace, Greenmax, some KATO Japan) as well as older used Euro locomotives and I have to build in a wired decoder. Being a "nerd" I enjoy the challenge and also, if I want that specific train, since I intend to eventually be DCC only (except for a test/run-in track), I need to convert it somehow.
 

Espeefan

Well-Known Member
#10
No real preference for me. I've bought DCC ready when I wanted to spread out the expense, and because I wanted a full featured sound decoder, not one missing features. I've also bought DCC/sound equipped for certain pieces like my GP-7's and my E-1. I do so many brass re-motors that hard wiring decoders is second nature. Not buying many diesels these days. I also find I don't much give a rip about sound anymore. When the club has open houses or events for the hobby press I'll run sound, but when I run my steamers, I find it unnecessary. I've done a few sound installs in those, but after a while, meh!
 
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Rico

BN Modeller
#11
I do a little of both but prefer to add my choice of sound decoder if it's plug und play.
I also have a Railpro system but I'm still having difficulties getting it to work.
Lately I've just been running straight dc and quite enjoying the simplicity and silence!
 

Rico

BN Modeller
#14
First time I've heard a grumble about Railpro.
Yeah Toot I've been told that, I must be the exception?
The controller had to go back right off the hop for warranty work, one module (equivalent of decoder) is dead in the water and the other is misbehaving.
I've got a friend trying to work on the problem but I expect I'll return them to ring for testing.
 

tootnkumin

Well-Known Member
Staff member
#15
When new for me, DCC ready as I am DC only at this time but like the idea that I can upgrade later if I have the funds.
You can operate the sound equipped as well on DC if you can go that way. There are drawbacks, the sound will stop when you stop it, and it takes about 5-6 volts to restart it again, and some won't move till it's gone through the motor start up sequence again. Means you can't consist them with straight DC locos, 'cause they roll (or should) as soon as the track has power.
 

MHinLA

Active Member
#16
DCC/Sound on board.. Because if you buy the decoder (and speaker later on) separately, the cost of the decoder alone, added to the the 'DCC Ready' loco cost comes to about the same as 'on board' or 'equipped'. And opening the shell on locos can be tough and susceptible to breakage.. Then, if, IF, you want sound, have fun buying, mounting, and wiring up the speaker. For me, best to pay for it all there. Let the manufacturer do the work and give you the warranty for when it might go bad...I believe BMann is a lifetime warranty. But, as happened to me, if they no longer have parts for your engine repair you have to settle for a different loco type. Which can be ok, though. I sent them my beloved HO 2-8-0 and had to settle for a 4-6-0 (which is a gem). But I always miss the old Connie..I believe they're offering them again now, due to the great call for them. Happy hunting, M
 
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#17
Hi,

I buy DCC equipped when I can.

I'm 67 and my hands shake when I try to do fine work. Opening up today's models is difficult for me because of all the details that are easily damaged, particularly steam engines.

Frederick
Dang it - Frederick stole my answer. In addition to being dexterity challenged, my vision aint what it used to be. Thankfully I have one of those mounted mag glasses with a light around it. Otherwise I would be good old American Standard scale
 

Genetk44

Active Member
#18
I prefer to buy DCC equipped when I can, especially sound. That being said I am not averse to doing installs, including hardwired, if required but I prefer to just buy pre-installed if at all possible.
3D91D0C4-1D54-4F7B-92DB-64A6CE766138.jpeg
That being said, when I first got into DCC about 15 years ago one of the first things I did was to hardwire a non-sound decoder into the smallest loco I had, a Hornby 00 Terrier, just to prove to myself that I could. I figured if I could do it successfully then doing it to other locos would be a breeze.
 

tootnkumin

Well-Known Member
Staff member
#19
I prefer to buy DCC equipped when I can, especially sound. That being said I am not averse to doing installs, including hardwired, if required but I prefer to just buy pre-installed if at all possible. View attachment 37662 That being said, when I first got into DCC about 15 years ago one of the first things I did was to hardwire a non-sound decoder into the smallest loco I had, a Hornby 00 Terrier, just to prove to myself that I could. I figured if I could do it successfully then doing it to other locos would be a breeze.
Until you discovered that each model manufacturer built their's differently.
 

chadbag

Well-Known Member
#20
Until you discovered that each model manufacturer built their's differently.
In the end, they are basically the same. Track pickup fed to motor. You interrupt that and hook the track pickup to the decoder input and the decoder output to the motor, isolating the track pickup from the motor.

Of course, there are different forms of track pickup etc. but in the end it all comes down to the above. Armed with that knowledge, I've been able to add hard wired decoders to lots of different forms of trains from various manufacturers (mostly Japanese). From pot metal split frame, to spring loaded contacts fed from the wheels, to other variations. You need to trace the power and make appropriate decisions on how to isolate. The details may be varied, but the concept is the same, and understanding that, you can trace the details out.
 



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