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Guide to Selecting DCC Systems

With so many choices, which system is for you? Here is a checklist (H) to narrow down the options:

• What is your budget?
• What scale do you operate?
Generally the larger scales require more amperage to operate, more cost.
• How many regular operators?
The number of operators increases the amperage, the number of throttles and the cost.
• How much amperage/power do you need?
Here is a guideline for HO, for N use 1/2 Amps and for S, G and O multiply Amps by 2.

#/Operators #/Trains Amps Required
1-2 1-4 1.5-2.5
3-6 1-12 4-6
7-10 1-20 8-10

• Do you want additional features like wireless, PC, or turnout ops?
• Which throttle/cab style appeals to you?
• If you have tried a system, did you like it?

Digitrax Digitrax Lenz Lenz MRC NCE NCE
Features Zephyr Super Chief SET-90 SET-100 Prodigy Adv PowerPro PowerCab
Max number of cabs101203131TBD632/4
Locos per Consist Unlimited 120 256 256 Unlimited Unlimited Unlimited
Max nr. of loco addr.4 digit4 digit4 digit4 digit4 digit4 digit4 digit
MU capablilites Same addr. 120 256 256 128 506 136
Speed Controls1 knob2 knobsKnobKeypadKnob orThumb WhlThumb Whl
or keypad Keypad or Keypador Keypad
Total Functions 10 13 9 13 20 13 13
Feedbackyesyesyesyesnoyesyes
Max. Current (Amp) 2.5 5.0 5.0 5.0 3.3 5.0 2.0+
Software Upgradesnonoyesyesyesyesyes
Operates St. Decoder yes yes yes yes yes yes yes
Read/Write Progr.yesyesyesyesyesyesyes
Ops Mode Progr. yes yes yes yes yes yes yes
Direct Mode Progr.noyesyesyesyesyesyes
Wireless Option IR/Radio IR/Radio yes yes no Dplx Radio Dplx Radio
Mfg Warranty1 yr1 yr 10 yrs 10 yrs 1 yr1 yr1 yr
NMRA Conformance TBD no yes yes no yes Pending
Sound SupportFullFullFullFullFullFullFull
Position. Report Xponding Xponding Railcom Railcom no NMRA NMRA
Computer Opsyes yes yes yes noyesyes
Basic System MSRP $199.00 $449.99 $290.00 $349.00 $329.98 $499.95 $179.95
Tech Info
AHD
Athearn
Broadway Ltd
Circuitron
CMX Products
DCC Specialties
Digitrax
Generic / Other
Lenz
Miniatronics
MRC
NCE Corporation
Pricom Design
Soundtraxx
TDP Associates
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