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- Scope: This page lists
club, groups, and individuals in Central Pa who are
involved in DCC.
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1. DCC Contacts In Central
2. A Few National DCC Resources
3. Some Fred Cupp Opinions On Some
Of The Different DCC Systems (below)
- Note: To use email
addresses, first remove the capital letters
extra garbage characters are intended to deter the spammer's
1. DCC Contacts In
- Allentown (Bethlehem) - Stan Price
of the Black Diamond Society is using Atlas DCC.
- Lancaster (Strasburg) - The
Pennsylvania Railroad Education center is using DCC on their
G-scale layout, and also their HO scale layout. I believe the
manufacturer is North Coast Engineering.
- Lancaster - The South Penn MRC is
using Digitrax on their entire layout.
- State College - John Balogh - John
is the National Chairman of the NMRA DCC SIG. HIs email is
and his work phone is 814-863-1252. His DCC SIG Information Page
is at http://jdb.psu.edu/nmra/dccsig.html
- Williamsport - Fred Cupp - Fred has
worked extensively with North Coast Engineering, including having
assisted in writing some of the manuals, assembling decoders from
kits, and has written programs in Quickbasic to computer control
the North Coast command station. Fred can be reached at
and his phone is 570-321-5687.
- Williamsport - Jim Ingram - I am not
particularly knowledgeble about DCC, but I do have some
experience, including using a Quickbasic program (written courtesy
of Fred Cupp) to automatically ramp up and down an S gauge engine
equipped with a Soundtraxx decoder, for operation on a small
display layout (layout
photo). Phone & email at bottom
A Few National DCC
2. A Few National DCC
3. Some Fred Cupp
Opinions On Some Of The Different DCC Systems
- Date: Fri, 23 Mar 2001 10:13:15
- From: "Fred B. Cupp"
- Digitrax - Obviously first to market
with many new products, however they also have the record for
recalls and support complaints. In addition,it is conceeded that
the human interface is very hard to learn and especially bad if
you don't use it regularly, (weekly). The internet discussion
lists have many complaints about the "multi-key"entries to select
locos and features.
- Easy DCC (CVP products) - They are
ahead of the game with a radio throttle, but the DCC systems are
not a plug-n-play concept. You buy a bunch of boards, cabinets, or
even kits to assemble. Easy DCC is probably the lowest price for
the most features, but you need to be technically adept to
assemble and set it up.
- Lenz, Zimo - As they are European,
the support is a little poorer and the info needs a little more
"translation". Although they are in English, we do have some
problems in terminology, etc.
- Model Recitifier Corporation (MRC) -
This is a beginner's entry level system. While it is technically
in compliance with the NMRA DCC standard, it only performs a
limited subset of the features covered by the standard. You cannot
use the actual locomotive cab numbers, you can use only 1, 2, 3,
4, 5, etc; in groups of 3 at a time. You can run any group of 3 at
a time, but you cannot intermix them. Unfortunately a user who
starts out with this system and then wishes to migrate to a more
advanced system may have to install new, more-capable decoders, to
get all the features of the better systems.
- A North Coast Engineering (NCE) -
Pricewise, (apples to apples), they are just a slight bit higher
than Digitrax, but much easier to set up and use. (IMHO). The
quality control of the product is very high. (My system is still
running without any failure since about 1989.) And I beat my
system! The entire line of NCE decoders is now shifted over to the
"Silent Running" type of motor PWM.
- Wangrow - North Coast originally
produced the Wangrow "System One". About three years ago, Don
Wangrow decided to split, manufacture and also write his competing
version of software. He has been mostly playing catch up, leaving
new product development and customer support deteriorate.
If you want to have the most complete set of features available at
only a minor increase in price, then the North Coast would be
preferable to the Wangrow.
As a closer, I will include a quote from a
message on the net just this morning, by Ed Loizeaux. He is one of
the three authors of the book "Digital Command Control" the
Comprehensive Guide to DCC.
- Subject: Why NCE was
- > I am curious why you choose
- In my case, the following factors
influenced me (not necessarily in any order of
- 1. Personality of the owner. NCE's owner is
an active O scale modeler with a keen interest in prototypical
operations. Owners of other firms may have an interest in trains,
but are not actively modeling. Some owners really turned me off
with their attitudes. It is easy to meet owners at the annual NMRA
National Convention & Train Show.
- 2. Best manual on the block. Easy to
comprehend by the non-technical person.
- 3. NMRA conformance certificate for nearly
all products. Strong public support for the NMRA program instead
of carping about it like a certain other DCC firm.
- 4. Empathy for any managerial-level
professional engineer working a secure job with a large
corporation who voluntarily gives it up to become self-employed
making model railroad equipment for the rest of us to enjoy. Crazy
reason, perhaps, it relates to my personal life as well. Wanted to
- 5. Conviction that all the rah-tah-doo
about "get off the bus" was a bunch of hooey.
- 6. Detailed technical support was easily
available without the need to deal with a bunch of non-technical
lower-level folks prior to receiving the desired
- (Jim usually answers the phone himself. He
says he handles an average of 85 calls per day!)
- 7. I liked the other users/customers of the
NCE system. I got "good vibes" from them. Some users of
competitive systems just couldn't relate to my specific situation
and/or questions. You can get an idea of the personalities by
lurking on various DCC e-groups lists. Ask a loaded question or
two and evaluate the responses for
- 8. Everyone else in my local area had
already chosen NCE. I could get lots of help quickly if help was
needed. But no help was needed and so it didn't really matter.
Quick phone calls to NCE once in a while resolved all the
- 9. Appreciation for NCE's philosophy that
being first to market is less important than having a product that
works. Simply works! Not some of the time, but works all of the
time. Other firms rush things to market and then spend the next
two years debugging it. I don't need that at all. I can wait a
while until the design is solid and armor plated. No rush. Lots of
other things to do in this hobby. Ballasting 600 feet of mainline
track takes time. Groan.....
- The above list is not in any order of
importance. I am not generally impressed with all the technical
whiz-bang features touted by some firms. I just want to run trains
with an absolute minimum of hassle. My hobby is not electronics
- Hope this helps.
- Ed Loizeaux
page modified 8/12/02 -a-