Jump to content

Japanese outline and DCC.


Markn

Recommended Posts

I am still at the design stage for my new N gauge Japanese layout and I've been quite surprised at the lack of DCC support or at least it seems that way to me. DCC would appear not to be very popular in Japan. My old layout was built as DCC from the outset but it looks like I may be going back to DC.

 

Sent from my F8331 using Tapatalk

Link to post

There are several older discussions here about japanese trains with DC or DCC, but it seems that the various DC based control systems available from all manufacturers and the style of operations on various japanese railways tend to allow to use DC. Most DCC offerings are mainly aimed at foreign modellers and mostly supported only by Kato, who has a large overseas presence with non japanese N scale trains.

 

Operations of late JNR and modern era japanese railways tend to use block based safety systems with EMU/DMU passenger trains and unit or directional trains for freight. The latter means either fixed rakes or freight cars (or even freight EMU-s) or freight trains that drop off/pick up cars at interchange sidings along the line. The latter might require shunters and allow a space for DCC, but it's relatively easy to handle these with a single analog throttle only. Mid train helpers are virtually not present, and even banking locomotives are not really common anymore. This means a single locomotive is usually enough for handle a single freight train on most layouts. Most modellers choose passenger operations are their main focus, meaning using the standard power routing turnouts are enough for layout control, with dedicated controllers for each loop or section in case or multiple stations on each loop. In most cases a single feed point per controller and the turnout controls are all what is used to run multiple trains.

 

One more aspect of against adding DCC to trains is the common layout of EMU/DMU trains, with motor cars in the middle and control trailers on the ends. Many times it happens that a single train is built from more than two cab cars and have multiple motor cars. Adding decoders to all of them is possible but could be really pricey. A simple alternative for controllable head/tail/interior lights are the various DC constant lighting systems that allow even stationery trains to have directional and internal lights on at full level, controllable from the throttle. Sound is usually added into the controllers (many times replicas of the actual real controllers) as it's easier, cheaper and sounds better, not to mention allows station and other running sounds (bridge, tunnel, crossing) to be automatically added using track sensors.

 

All of these are hard (but possible) to replicate using DCC and various add on technologies (like block occupancy detection and transponding), but it would be more complex, more expensive and it's still not available as an off the shelf single manufacturer plug and play system from any single manufacturer, while the same features are available for DC systems from most larger japanese manufacturers and they even support the temporary tatami layouts that are common in Japan.

  • Like 2
Link to post

Markn,

 

As kvp pointed out Dcc is harder to do in Japanese n scale, but can be done w.o too much work and there are quite a few on the forum doing Dcc with japanese trains. For me I have over 150 sets and maybe 50 locos so the cost of going Dcc with at least three decoders per set is not a fun prospect let alone the time cost doing so many custom installs. I keep looking to the future to do that maybe if decoder prices and robustness gets better and I get a lump of time...

 

But no reason you can't build the layout to do Dcc in the future. Just requires thinking thru any blocks you might want isolated and adding some extra feeders and rewriting can happen later easily. Hardest thing are point issues depending on the points you use and differences between D.C. And Dcc.

 

As kvp noted lots of fun running and features can be had with just D.C. And Japanese trains, not a game killer unless you are really wedded to Dcc as a must, then it's just the effort to install decoders and that's doable, just some time, money and skill/practice.

 

Cheers

 

Jeff

  • Like 2
Link to post

There are several older discussions here about japanese trains with DC or DCC, but it seems that the various DC based control systems available from all manufacturers and the style of operations on various japanese railways tend to allow to use DC. Most DCC offerings are mainly aimed at foreign modellers and mostly supported only by Kato, who has a large overseas presence with non japanese N scale trains.

 

Operations of late JNR and modern era japanese railways tend to use block based safety systems with EMU/DMU passenger trains and unit or directional trains for freight. The latter means either fixed rakes or freight cars (or even freight EMU-s) or freight trains that drop off/pick up cars at interchange sidings along the line. The latter might require shunters and allow a space for DCC, but it's relatively easy to handle these with a single analog throttle only. Mid train helpers are virtually not present, and even banking locomotives are not really common anymore. This means a single locomotive is usually enough for handle a single freight train on most layouts. Most modellers choose passenger operations are their main focus, meaning using the standard power routing turnouts are enough for layout control, with dedicated controllers for each loop or section in case or multiple stations on each loop. In most cases a single feed point per controller and the turnout controls are all what is used to run multiple trains.

 

One more aspect of against adding DCC to trains is the common layout of EMU/DMU trains, with motor cars in the middle and control trailers on the ends. Many times it happens that a single train is built from more than two cab cars and have multiple motor cars. Adding decoders to all of them is possible but could be really pricey. A simple alternative for controllable head/tail/interior lights are the various DC constant lighting systems that allow even stationery trains to have directional and internal lights on at full level, controllable from the throttle. Sound is usually added into the controllers (many times replicas of the actual real controllers) as it's easier, cheaper and sounds better, not to mention allows station and other running sounds (bridge, tunnel, crossing) to be automatically added using track sensors.

 

All of these are hard (but possible) to replicate using DCC and various add on technologies (like block occupancy detection and transponding), but it would be more complex, more expensive and it's still not available as an off the shelf single manufacturer plug and play system from any single manufacturer, while the same features are available for DC systems from most larger japanese manufacturers and they even support the temporary tatami layouts that are common in Japan.

Thank you for your very informative reply. I found the operations very interesting.

 

Sent from my F8331 using Tapatalk

Link to post

Markn,

 

As kvp pointed out Dcc is harder to do in Japanese n scale, but can be done w.o too much work and there are quite a few on the forum doing Dcc with japanese trains. For me I have over 150 sets and maybe 50 locos so the cost of going Dcc with at least three decoders per set is not a fun prospect let alone the time cost doing so many custom installs. I keep looking to the future to do that maybe if decoder prices and robustness gets better and I get a lump of time...

 

But no reason you can't build the layout to do Dcc in the future. Just requires thinking thru any blocks you might want isolated and adding some extra feeders and rewriting can happen later easily. Hardest thing are point issues depending on the points you use and differences between D.C. And Dcc.

 

As kvp noted lots of fun running and features can be had with just D.C. And Japanese trains, not a game killer unless you are really wedded to Dcc as a must, then it's just the effort to install decoders and that's doable, just some time, money and skill/practice.

 

Cheers

 

Jeff

Thanks Jeff. I think I'll be going DC. No more decoders to worry about. And I do like the style of the Kato controllers.

 

Sent from my F8331 using Tapatalk

Link to post

Markn

 

There are also some amazing tomix controllers that mimic real train controls with realistic breaking and acceleration, coasting, etc. really cool but will set the cc back some! But you can buy them with all the money you save from not buying decoders and fancy Dcc controllers. Also I think you will find the bang for the buck of Japanese model trains probably the best in combination of price, quality and selection.

 

One nice feature of the kato and tomix sectional track is the points are power routing so even just snapping track together on the table you can do nice operational control of siding and such.

 

I think you will find Japanese model trains quite fun and addictive as there is such a variety trains to get and Japanese train scenes can mix up wild combos of just about anything so lots of variety in scenes to do. Enjoy!

 

Cheers,

 

Jeff

  • Like 1
Link to post

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
×
×
  • Create New...