Sound and DC vs DCC Power?

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#1
Hi all!
I've recently decided on what engines I'm going to buy. They are as follows:
Walthers Sperry Rail Car
http://www.trainworldonline.com/cat...ies/58-sperry-rail-detector-car-146-932-60753

Concor mP54
http://www.trainworldonline.com/cat...ge-Mail-No-Pantograph-Standard-DC-LIRR-194528

Kato P42 Amtrak
http://www.trainworldonline.com/cat...ls/Kato-37-6101-HO-GE-P42-Genesis-Phase-Vb-68

So now that I've got that all over with, it's time for my questions:
1. I'm using Kato Unitrack, and Atlas Code 83 track (in seperate ovals, not together of course!). What DC power packs, controllers, etc are compatible to either of these tracks? I currently have some Bachmann controllers that came with starter sets, but they don't seem too reliable.
2. Do any of the above trains that I've listed contain the ability to use DCC? I know the Kato can't, because the one that does is too expensive, I'm purposely getting the one without DCC. But what about the others?
3. What are the advantages to DCC? Why should I bother using DCC for my trains? It seems I could use a regular DC powerpack for my trains, and get a seperate model train sound system and speakers. This brings me to my next question:
4. What sound systems do you guys recommend I use? Ones that plug into the wall? Into the controller? Do they have wireless remotes? Can you use any speakers for them?
I really appreciate any advice you guys give me. I always learn so much from these forum posts.
Thanks for listenin!
- TG
 
#2
And if you own one or more of the engines I've decided to purchase, please feel free to comment on how you like them! I'd hate to buy an engine that is known to be bad.
 
#3
Dcc will allow you to control each engine seperately on the same track. With Dcc you can run one train following the other at different speeds. Most new DC engines can have Dcc added later. All DC/DCC equipped engines are duel mode. They can be run on DC or DCC without any modifications.
For sound in the engine .Broadway Limited Blueline and Paragon 2(dc/DCC) is for DC only and you will have to purchase their add on controller once to access all the sound You can also program the sound with it.
Atlas, Proto (Walthers), Intermountain and Broadway Limited all with QSI sound will work on DC only and Dcc You will also have to purchase their add on controller once to access all the sounds and program.
I have purchased several Blueline, Proto, Broadwayand Atlas Gold engines with factory sound for under $125.00 New on Ebay from dealers. The seperate controllers are around $50.00.
Bachmann has just come out with a sound value line of locomotives but they use soundtrax and need to run on DCC or you would have to purchase the MRC black Box (no programing) to get all the sounds. The MRC tech 6 ( has programimg)would also work for running DC and DCC sound units .
Athearn is now also using Soundtrax for sound.
With all the above you will get only the sound of the Engine or chuff without an add on controller to get the Bell/Whistle or horn. Except the Qsi system you can flip the reverse switch on your powerpack to use the bell or horn/whistle.
Any seperate DC sound decoder will run $45.00 to $100.00 and you will have to install them. The engines with factory installed sound are a better way to go for me.
Mrc also makes a model 1025 sound box and speaker for diesel and steam sound that is not in the engine and you can have sound for everything you are running just not in the engine. This connects to the power pack and track.
 
#4
Thanks for all that information! It seems I'll stick with DC, as I won't have the knowhow to install DCC into an engine.
I think I might go with the Mrc 1025 sound box. I'll look into it. Thanks for the help!
If anyone has any other information they'd like to share, please do so! My thirst for knowledge will never be quenched :)
 
#5
BTW, I'm thinking of something that produces very generic horn and bell noises. It doens't have to be complicated. I'd rather it not have to be "programmed" (I don't know how to do that), nor do I want to install a sound whatever inside an engine, because I don't know how to do that.
I believe Kato is coming out with a thing that attaches to their controller, and you put little sound boxes in it and it has 6 buttons that each produce a different sound. Here's the link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=D2pXndpVTe4&feature=c4-overview&list=UUD4u4KFbkn_IJ3Rds7a9XSQ
If anyone knows what the product in that video is called, please let me know! I would love to purchase one, it looks perfect for my needs.
 

Cjcrescent

Master Mechanic
#6
First off there isn't a modern locomotive that can't have DCC installed. Most manufacturers of DCC even have brand if not loco specific DCC boards that are a simple unplug the wires from the old board into the new board without any soldering being done. If you're not going DCC because you can't or feel that you can't install it, there are many LHS's and many web based DCC stores that can do it for a small fee. Even some of your friends that have DCC may install it for you.

Given the ease of wiring that DCC is on the track, there is almost no reason not to go DCC. I know that I've saved over $3000 wiring my layout for DCC instead of DC. My case may be a little extreme, but similar savings percentage wise can be available to anyone. There is also no reason why you can't mix track brands as well.
 
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#7
First off there isn't a modern locomotive that can't have DCC installed. Most manufacturers of DCC even have brand if not loco specific DCC boards that are a simple unplug the wires from the old board into the new board without any soldering being done. If you're not going DCC because you can't or feel that you can't install it, there are many LHS's and many web based DCC stores that can do it for a small fee. Even some of your friends that have DCC may install it for you.
That's a very good point, I hadn't thought of that. My layout is very small, so it's not like I'd have hundreds of wires everywhere due to DC controllers. However, I live a few minutes away from a hobby shop, which has some very nice and smart employees. I might ask them about installing DCC.
 
#8
The Kato unit sounds and looks nice but i have had the Mrc 1025 sound unit for years and it was only $39.95 when i got it. Have to see what the Kato unit will be. Probably much higher.
 
#9
The Kato unit sounds and looks nice but i have had the Mrc 1025 sound unit for years and it was only $39.95 when i got it. Have to see what the Kato unit will be. Probably much higher.
It sounds like I'll end up with the MRC 1025. Can you explain exactly what it does/how to operate it? Because I was attracted to the Kato one in the Youtube vid because it looked simple enough to connect to the Kato controller (I don't have any controller, BTW, just a few crappy Bachmanns) and the sound boxes were easy enough to connect.
If the MRC 1025 operates differently (and obviously you like it and it's good, you've had it for years), can you please expand on how to use it? I'd appreciate it :)
 
#11
Thanks for all that information! It seems I'll stick with DC, as I won't have the knowhow to install DCC into an engine.
I think I might go with the Mrc 1025 sound box. I'll look into it. Thanks for the help!
If anyone has any other information they'd like to share, please do so! My thirst for knowledge will never be quenched :)
All you need for newer stuff to convert to DCC is the DCC board; older stuff takes a little soldering skill, but it's easy to do once you learn how. If you're going to do this, I suggest using decoders that come with or plug into a wiring harness, that way you can't accidentally cook the decoder during the install.
 
#13
Thank you bobwrgt for the link. It was very informative! Hard to follow, but if I think I go the route of the 1025, I will print it out and follow the instructions. It seemed that the reviewer had trouble wiring the thing to the controller, and ended up having to plug it into the wall. You said you had this unit. Did you experience the same troubles of wiring??
 



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