Any recommendations on a DCC decoder to use

Discussion in 'DCC Control' started by cmcan, Jan 31, 2018.

  1. cmcan

    cmcan Full Member

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    Hi All,
    I am currently playing around with the DCC++ and JMRI systems.
    Do you have any recommendations for a basic decoder.
    All I am looking for at this stage is something that will move the train (I will look into sound and other things later) as I am looking to dial the system in before expanding to a larger layout.
    thanks
    Cameron
     
  2. Sol

    Sol Full Member

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    The cheaper ones do have some history of not doing the best.
    Lenz or TCS are good but the actual decoder is dependent on the loco - for 00 scale - it can be 8 or 21 pin
    https://sites.google.com/site/markgurries/home/decoders/decoder-plugs-sockets
     
  3. jakesdad13

    jakesdad13 Staff Member Moderator

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    A cheap and basic decoder, made in China but distributed here in Derby UK is the Laisdcc brand. Both Keith of this parish and I have used them, and found them to be very good. I paid around £10 for my 21 pin but I've just googled them on ebay and it looks like they've gone up to £13 plus p&p.

    Hope this helps.

    Cheer's, Pete.
     
  4. cmcan

    cmcan Full Member

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    Thank you gentlemen
     
  5. Keith M

    Keith M Staff Member Moderator

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    Think that price will be including the 'stay-alive' Pete, I've just (10 minutes ago) ordered a couple of 8 pin ones from the Great Yarmouth seller at £9.95 each plus P+P.
    Keith.
     
  6. cmcan

    cmcan Full Member

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    My loco is 8 pin,

    Ill give them a go

    Cameron
     
  7. David

    David Full Member

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    Although they are a little bit more expensive than the norm, I think you'll find Zimo decoders are superb in their running qualities and ease of setting up. They also tend to have more functions available than most.
    I find the two better sduppliers for Zimo are:

    1) YouChoos http://youchoos.co.uk/

    2) Digitrains http://www.digitrains.co.uk/

    Cheaper decoders can be more difficult to get running right, which in some cases can put someone off DCC.
    I had a friend who had an O gauge tank engine and he'd fitted it with a DCC Concepts decoder (Basic version) and was having some poor running issues. He called around to mine and I swapped it for a Lenz Silver I had laying around in the spare decoder box, and the loco ran as smooth as silk, straight away. After looking up the DCC Concepts decoder spec, it should of coped easily with the motor load, etc in the loco, but it was, in actual fact, awful.

    David ;)
     
  8. Keith M

    Keith M Staff Member Moderator

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    I too am a "Youchoos" fan when it comes to Zimo sound decoders, having found the proprietor John Gymer extremely helpful and accommodating. Although having used only the odd none-sound Zimo, and now DCC converted over 100 loco's of "DCC ready/Non-DCC ready",Bachmann 'split-chassis' and a couple of the 'not suitable for DCC conversion' (is there such a thing???) variety, I am a confirmed 'LaisDCC' decoder user, with around 30 fitted to date, and have found them to be entirely satisfactory. My current stable of loco's have a variety of different brands of decoder fitted, as I've tried most of the well-known brands from the pricey (Lenz), the 'own-brands' like Bachmann (moderate) and Hornby (avoid like the Plague!), Hattons 'own-brand' etc, and found the LaisDCC ones equal to the pricier ones in my estimation. I am not an ESU fan, having had problems in the past with these, and I only have one loco fitted with an ESU sound decoder, this being an 'already fitted' buy, not my choice, but others experiences may differ. I feel the main point affecting choice is more a matter of the loco's electrical load, obviously, '0' gauge needing a higher current draw, necessitating a 'beefier' decoder current handling capacity, but as I only model in '00' gauge, sometimes the real decider is the physical size of the decoder itself. As someone who is now retired and therefore less 'cash-rich', price is a consideration, but I wouldn't waste time and money on cheaper decoders which didn't 'deliver' in terms of performance and 'adjustability' if paying more gave me what I was looking for. The Lais decoders at around £10 without, £13 including a 'stay-alive' I've found are perfectly adequate for my needs, and the complete online user manual is useful should any slight 'tweaking' be required, though I've seldom found it necessary to adjust from the 'standard' settings. As with many things in life, "Yer pays yer money and takes yer choice!"
    Keith.

    As an aside, I have NO connection with Lais (or indeed any other decoder manufacturer/supplier), just the results of my own experiences.
     
    jakesdad13 likes this.
  9. Bear

    Bear Full Member

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    I most highly recommend Lenz Standard + V2. They do everything I want, have Railcom for programming on the main, 1A continuous motor output and great lighting functions. Very tough, I have about 25 in service and never smoked one. I get them delivered to my door in Australia from Germany for about $30 AUD. There is a big hobby shop in Melbourne that sells Hornby 8249 "chips" (brrr) for $50. The number is 10231-02 for the ones I use.

    You may want just a basic chip now but when you really want to set up the loco with complex speed tables and lighting functions (JMRI shows it all) you will be glad you have the options available.
    The ebay guy I get them from is good. I can order six but he only charges postage for one so the more I buy, the cheaper they get!
     
    Last edited: Mar 9, 2018
  10. Davoetype

    Davoetype Full Member

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    Hi Cameron

    Anything but QSI. To mimic some sort of well known author, "how do I hate thee, let me count the ways"

    My absolute favourite is Loksound(diesels) followed closely by Soundtrax (steam). I have over 30 Loksound in service and never encountered a problem. Talks happily to JMRI and speed matching is easy.

    I think that most of us entering the new and sometimes challenging world of DCC?....well let us first put a toe in the water. When appreciating the running qualities, quickly graduated to full conversion of the layout to DCC with sound, specific function programming, etc. There will no doubt be issues but the ability to restore to factory settings is useful! I have been DCC for about four years now and moved on to even converting some of my beloved classic brassies to DCC with sound. Squeeze in a can motor, isolate it from the chassis, fix up the pickups, and a few other things but is that not part of what we have been going through for years as the hobby has matured?

    WSish you all the best as you move forward

    Cheers

    and happy modelling (with dcc it will not be happy al lthe time but then nothing is)

    Richard
     

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