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Discussion Starter #1
I currently hav a 18 year old Aristo Craft 4-6-2 Pacific and shopping for a power supply. I am assuming that because the motor is directly wire to the track with no electronic interface that I can only use an Analog power supply to run it. Is this correct.

If I go with analog what are my restrictions with upgrading my sound card. I was looking at a Phoenix Sound Systems but it seems to only work with DCC.

I am on a tight budget so blowing $300 is not a great option.....lol
 

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Yes, you need a DC power supply (power pack) to run your track powered loco. No restrictions on sound. Look at the Phoenix 2K2 or Sierra for sound (the P5 is for DCC). The 300 bucks (actually more like 250) will be money well spent, in my opinion. Good sound is worth every penny.

p.s. Got my start as a Navy tech!
 

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That makes three Navy Techs.
If you cut the motor wires, and insert your decoder between the pickups and motor, you can have dcc.

Analog dcc is acc.

ET(SS)
 

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Hi Del.

The P5 is not only for DCC.
With a few programming changes the P5 can also be used with battery R/C.
Add the plug in P5T for up to 6 triggerable sound functions which can be set to trigger high or low.
I do them all the time now.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
When you live in Eastern Canada you can add $50 to everything you buy for shipping and taxes....lol
I would prefer to stay with analog and find a sound card that will work. Analog sound card seems to be non existent.

I have herd that DCC is not the best for outdoors and analog is more robust and forgiving.

My father runs LGB Analog and never has problems
 

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Sierra works analog, 2K2 works if so programmed.
 

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I have the older Pacific and installed the Phoenix sound in it right after I bought the loco. That was 10 years ago and still operating the sound with the original battery. Dcc works great out doors. Later RJD
 

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Posted By NavyTech on 09/12/2008 10:03 AM
...snip
I have herd that DCC is not the best for outdoors and analog is more robust and forgiving.
My father runs LGB Analog and never has problems



It is just the opposite.
Let's say a loco starts moving when the motor has 2 volts.
On analog, let us suppose you are running slow, just 3 volts on the track.
When there is oxide or dirt on the track and only HALF the voltage gets through, then the loco only has 1-1/2 volts, not enough to keep the motor going. Think about it. Do you ever have problems when the loco is running FAST, IE 24 volts? No, on analog the loco slows down on every little bit of dirt. I a sense, analog locos seek out and stop on dirt.

DCC has 20 volts on the rail all the time.
So, if the oxide or dirt drops half the voltage, the decoder still has 10 volts. It will still apply 3 volts to the motor. The loco does not stop.

Several people on this forum have used DCC, and for one reason or another switched their track temporarily to Analog DC, only to find that it was almost impossible to run trains on analog. They had been running on DCC so long that they did not bother keeping the track clean enough for analog. They were surprised how much cleaner they had to keep the track in order to run on analog.

Yep, If your dad had LGB with sliders, his tains runs fine on analog. They would run even better on MTS or DCC.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Ok DCC is the way to go but how can I do it without breaking the bank.

Digitrx is nice but I will need what?
Zephyr Digitrax Command Control Basic Set $200

DG583S Large Scale, High Current Draw Mobile Decoder $67

Not to mention the new sound card $200

Maybe I am shopping in the wrong places but $467 + shipping+ taxes adds up.....
 

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No, The Zephyr is not for "G".
You need a 8 amp command station, DCS200 - $246.00
A throttle, UT4 - $64.00
A decoder, A MRC 8 amp G decoder is on sale for $11.00 at St Aubins
A full featured Sound card. SFX064 $56.00 Steam or Diesel.

$377.00 is a stiff up front cost.
But, what happens when you have 10 locos?
What happens when you want to run 4 or five at a time?
Set up a spread sheet tp compare DC and DCC. For a DC block system add up every foot of wire, every toggle switch, every screw terminal, every insulated joiner, every battery you need for sound and lights to work, every single part you need for the layout you expect to have.
Do the Same for DCC.
You will find that to run multiple trains, at some point, DCC will have a cost advantage over DC. For most people the breaking point is THREE or FOUR locos. Then consider that all your lighted cars are constant, full time lighting. Sound cards work even when sitting idle all day. You have control over every light and sound. Locos run smoother and don't stall a slow speeds, etc. The coice is even more compelling.
You can get most of those benefits without DCC. Easy, buy only imported brass locos, add lots of little batteries and electronics, buy $200.00 sound cards (they still don't give you all the features and control of the SFX064). Then where is thhe cost advantage of DC?




I realize it is easy to pay 4 or 5 dollars for a toggle switch, or 20 dollars for a roll of wire. I's hard to shell out $300 for a system all at once and tempting to buy another loco instead. The question is. "How much more will you spend over the next year or so if you stick with DC?"
 

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Discussion Starter #11
Sounds like the best way to go is DCC. My lack of knowledge is crippling my decision making...I think I will put off buying a power supply until I understand more about DCC and what I can do with it. Although I have no plans to run more than one Locomotive at a time things may change in a year or two when I expand my track.
 
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