Technology: How Much Is Too Much?
My 2 cents Misngth ....

My current loco roster is about 55% DCC 45% DC (some of my DCC decoded engines ALSO run on DC, just cant control the sounds). Currently I have the inside loop DC, the outside loop is DCC. My Dads last two layouts I had wired to run DC or DCC with just the flip of 4 toggle switches, ALL engine holding tracks were blocked off with toggles too. I am going to do the same with my layout, just havent got around to finishing the wiring yet, about 80% there Misngth . 

For me, I ALWAYS prefer DCC when switching stuff and just flat out feel like really WORKING trains. Having the sound to do the actual real horn sounds, the bell sounds, hearing the engine move, and I have a paddle lock that I use to lock and unlock at the switches, counting to 5-15 to allow for the brakeman to get out and do his stuff. DOING ALL OF THAT, REALLY ADDS to the whole experience, I find it takes model RRing to a whole new level, adds a lot of value to the whole train running experience. AND, as mentioned by others, running two trains at once on the same system is 100% easier with DCC, the wiring is way more simple too, no blocked sections. 

HOWEVER, if I am working on something in the train room(my train room shares another hobby also), and just feel like watching trains run through the scenery, DC is perfectly fine for me, so my DC engines get used alot  in this situation. Many times I'll have a DC train going, and a DCC train running on another track, while I am also watching something like High Iron of Wisconsin on the TV hooked up to my computer, while I am doing something. Honestly, I really dont plan on converting any more engines to DCC at this point, I have a proven plan and it has worked just fine, running DC and/or DCC works for me.  

Just to make it clear, yes, I am for DCC and technology in model RRing...not into a computer running my trains, but if your into it, good for you I say Goldth .
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I always think these kinds of posts are interesting. I promise I'm not trying to pick on it, but I'm not sure it makes sense.

First, what matters is what you're trying to accomplish. You don't need to justify your DC use if it gets the job done. A small layout where sound and lights don't matter really don't need anything but a DC power pack. If you're trying to make a club work, DCC is probably better.

Second, I feel like most of the "myriad other problems" are a problem for most model trains be they Rapido's newest release or an old wide-body Blue-box engine. Bad track is bad track. Bad wheels are bad wheels. Lubrication is almost never a problem unless you've got an old P2K that has been sitting in the box too long, and in any case, is that a technology issue or just poor choice on the part of P2K? The only other time lubrication gets me is with my inside-bearing commuter cars, but thats probably a unique problem for me and the handful of you who have a set of Amtrak Amfleets.

Third, if we want to play the "time" game, it is just so convenient that it turns out this year happens to be 13 years since we moved from Zealot back to our own website. I know I have posts going back that far at least. I am pretty sure any stock locomotive I have from 2008 still runs. Sure, some details were delicate and get damaged, but if the argument is that "older trains were indestructible" is going to be made, I think its fair to point out that the base models are themselves intact, and if you had added details way back when, how much more robust would they have been?

I totally get that lemons exist out there, but generally speaking, if you put a basic decoder like an NCE D13 or a TCS T1 (as well as their 8 and 21 pin equivalents) into a competent engine like those from Athearn, Atlas, P2K, or any other big name, you should reasonably expect it to work.

I can kinda get the sentiment if you tried DCC when it was new. Digitrax didn't make programming easy. Early digitrax decoders as well as MRC decoders as a whole were completely unreliable. However, the technology has matured. NCE systems make programming an engine a brain-dead process of just answering yes or no questions or entering a locomotive road number. The previously mentioned brands of decoders just don't fail that often. My biggest pet peeve is some Tsunami decoders are really bad about turning the lights on if they hit a "dead spot". Is that really a consequence of "too much technology"? Seems more like just poor design choice for Tsunami, so I don't buy those decoders unless I need to.

Anything I have that requires constant troubleshooting and attention was stuff I took shortcuts on as a teenager, and that seems like more my fault for not doing it right the first time.
Modeling New Jersey Under the Wire 1978-1979.  
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This is a fun thread to read.

I was reintroduced to this hobby, gosh what feels like, almost 20 years ago? But not that long ago? The forum was one of the many of firsts that I found. When I was ready to start building the cost of the an NCE DCC Power Cab was $150 brand new off of eBay. To me...starting from made sense to jump to DCC right off the bat. Plus my local club uses it too so it seemed like a good fit for me. Plus, I kinda added things as I went along as my budget allowed me to. I wasn't worried that none of my engines had sound at the time, nor that most of my switch machines were hand thrown while some were wired to a DC Wallwart Power supply and DPDT switches peppering the front of my layout. I knew given time, I could slowly gather the required stuff needed so that when I was ready to take the next step I could. So as years went on I purchased decoders and what-not and eventually converted the guts of the layout to entirely DCC operation.

Now...I can't imagine firing up the layout and not hearing the satisfying chuff along with that ghostly whistle of an 0-8-0 switcher and being able to throw a switch from the same cab that moves the engine. ...and if I fire up the laptop and open the WiThrottle, I can use JMRI to run the layout from an app on my phone.

That said. I cannot imagine trying to source and purchase all of the components now. Everything has become much more expensive and I can see how that would put off many people. The appeal of just two wires and a power pack to just to make things move, and some simple hand thrown switches might be exactly what I'd have stuck with. There is a huge appeal to that as well.

I hope that made some sense to you guys?
The problem with technology today is that it is rapidly obsolete. Anyone here running their original cellphone or computer?

DCC is very impressive from one point of view, but looking through my back issues, I have lost track of the number of "newer, improved" systems that have replaced the original, and the replacements come faster and faster with the ever-steepening techno curve. Do I want to follow a constantly climbing curve, in both techno and money, or do I want to enjoy my hobby? Especially given the number of vendors who constantly go out of business, especially in electronics.

It's personal choice, and mine is based on the firm knowledge that I can do that without ever installing DCC.

Just sayin"....
All technology is progressing faster than we can pay for it. Computers, cars, washing machines, telephone, the list goes on and on. Many are obsolete before they hit the showroom floor. We have choices, we can decide to try to keep up with technology advances and pay the price, or we can just pick a point where we are satisfied with what we have and go on from there. I've picked DC as my jumping off place, most of what I have, I bought as far back as 20 years ago and I have no problems using it today. I have a Tech4, a step up for just a DC controller, but not close to DCC.  Some folks chose DCC and somewhere along the line, bought what was the current technology then and reasonably priced. They can still use what they have and have pleasure doing it. Others want no less than the latest bells and whistles, and that's fine. I think we all think this way, choose what you want and are will to pay. I'm sure if someone wants to get into DCC and doesn't want to spend today's prices, they can surely find someone willing to sell them some older versions that will suite their needs. Notice, I didn't say, "can't afford", I said "doesn't want", big difference. Just be happy with what you have, and if you're not, upgrade to the level that does please you, certainly, there's something out there that you are willing to spend on that you'll be happy with.
Don (ezdays) Day
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