Saturday, 18 May 2013

Project 31 DCC

This forms a post script to my previous post about 'Project 31'. The model was finished but West Halton, as well as Botanic Gardens, is intended to be DCC, so all the locos will, obviously, need to be appropriately equipped. I've chipped a lot of locos over the last few years for both others and myself, however I'd still class myself as a bit of a novice when it comes to DCC as a whole.

I see DCC at shows an awful lot and all I want is simply control of the trains. Seeing everything controlled from a handset seems very 'unrailwaylike' to me. And it seems to take much longer than is desirable! So a nice simple solution - West Halton will have mainline locos mixing with works locos so DCC will certainly simplify operation of the exhange sidings!

When I built the chassis I made no provision for space required by a decoder! The wiring was very temporary and very half heartedly done; just enough to allow the loco to run! There's weight secured in the roof above the motor, so no room on top of the it. The easiest solutuion I decided was to build what is essentially a shelf from Plastikard. There's a enough room to remove the bogie for servicing as long as I'm careful!

Wiring is simple as the loco has no lighting - the photo I worked from show the loco running with no lights on at all. The chosen decoder was recommended by my local shop and is by Gaugemaster. It's a basic four function decoder and the loco runs beautifully! But now I'm wondering if the cab interiors need a little toning down - their rather clinical appearance contrasts starkly with the loco's external condition!

It strikes me that there's quite a bit of snobbery around the choice of decoders as well as a good deal of brand loyalty too. Brand loyalty I quite like; we all do it to a certain extent. But the snobbery is quite odd really - on one well known forum one person asked for people's experiences of the Gaugemaster decoders and received twenty five replies telling him what he should get instead! Not "I tried them and prefer this" but almost ignoring his request! A bit like when the resident 'expert' which every club, society and pub seems to tolerate offers his opinion, whether you wanted it or not!

So, initial impressions of the Guagemaster decoders are very positive - I much prefer learning by doing.

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