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Darren Jeffries

The Introduction Thread...

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katoftw

If it is about rail and non japanese, then the Worldwide rail forum would be the best bet.

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Robert46

Hi All,

 

I'm Robert, greeting from Indonesia, glad to know that I can join this forum. I was looking for the forum that discussing n scale shinkansen train set in details and found that this forum seemed to have that requirement.

 

FYI, I'm totally new to this kind of hobby, but I have decided to focus on the japanese n scale trainset.. and I just bought a starter set of Tomix 500 shinkansen series.. hopefully this is not a wrong decision.. As i've read on some other forums, some members said better to build and start with starter package with DCC ready. But I think there should be a solution. Therefore I join this gorup and hoping to have more precious information from you guys. Thanks a lot for all for your help..

 

Cheers..

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JR 500系

Welcome Robert! This is indeed a good platform to discuss your new found hobby/ interest!  :)

 

I'm not into DCC and know nothing much about them, but it seems if you are to go into DCC, Kato seems the friendlier brand than Tomix. Kato train sets are often DCC compatible and ready to drop in factory made decoders. The guys into DCC can advise you more on this.

 

Tomix will be more geared towards flexibility. The new type of Wide tracks are great for varieties, as they can be fitted with various types of walls to see how you want to use them, like Overhead viaducts or ground level fences etc...

 

Tomix Shinkansens also have the power coupler function; i.e. power flow is granted through the couplers as there are copper strips through them to transfer electricity, and is great for no flicker lighting and low speed running as the current flow is often constant and smooth. I think the starter set 500 series you have might not have this neat function...

 

There are various pros and cons between the two main brands so end of the day you'll need to see what you're aiming to have ~ Cheers!

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Martijn Meerts

Kato does have some sets that can take their custom DCC decoder, but their decoder is very limited feature wise. So depending on where you want to go with DCC, you may want to hardwire decoders even in DCC-friendly Kato trains.

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cteno4

Welcome Robert!

 

Glad you found the forum, looks to be spot on what you were looking for! Lots of friendly folks and hopefully you can find your answers. Take a look thur the doc section, lots of good info there on what's been done with doc and various Shinkansen trains.

 

Cheers

 

Jeff

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Robert46

Hi Densha, thanks for this. sorry

that I went to more detailed discussion on introductory post.

 

Thanks JR500 and Martijn for awesome reply. so much to learn for newbie like me. :) I do decided to go into dcc, but perhaps I could learn some more points from your reply n it may change my mind. to be honest I still have no idea how far I would go with DCC. but my simple thought is DCC is more with Kato rather than tomix, is it right? the other things, I read from other post in jns forum, that kato or tomix didnt produce the same model. lets say jr300, perhaps kato didnt produce it but I wanna collect it also with kato trains like e4 max or e6 series. this made me confused if I wanna run kato n tomix trains in one track. n I still need to decide whether I would choose kato unitrack or tomix track. what I understand is kato n tomix track cannot be joined.

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Robert46

Hi Jeff.. thanks for your reply. yes I am sure here I could find what I need.. :) thanks..

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spacecadet

Hi Robert,

 

Don't worry, a lot of people here don't have DCC at all. I plan to upgrade to it one day, but it's not as easy with Japanese modeling as it is with American modeling. A lot of popular models are not DCC ready (though the newer ones usually are, but not all popular trains have been recently updated), and because of the temporary nature of a lot of Japanese layouts, it's just not as big in Japan as it is in some other parts of the world.

 

As you get more into it, you can check in advance to see if the trains you like are available in DCC-ready models. Some sites out there will also tell you how hard it is to upgrade various models that aren't DCC ready, for example: http://sumidacrossing.org/Collection/

 

Edit: Personally, I find DCC pretty overwhelming in general and it's one reason I haven't gotten into it before now. Look at some of the DCC pages (under "Layout Control") at the site listed above - my eyes glaze over reading all that. It can also be hard to find really specific info on how to wire decoders to specific Japanese locomotives (unless you speak Japanese), so I think you made the right choice to start with DC.

Edited by spacecadet
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Densha

Hi Densha, thanks for this. sorry

that I went to more detailed discussion on introductory post.

Don't be sorry, that's exactly what we would like to hear about! :)

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Robert46

Hi Spacecadet..

 

That's nice to hear your reply.. before i found this forum, I had read the post of sumida crossing and it set my mind to go DCC.. if Japanese models are not that easy or friendly with DCC, the next question is then how should we run together the DCC ready models with hard to install DCC models? should it run on different track / different electrical system in one lay out? Sorry if my quetion seems stupid or too general as a newbie... :)

 

at the moment, i also cannot imagine if i had to install DCC to the model that are hard or impossible DCC applied.. even with the statement DCC friendly (from Kato), I still need to see and learn how to install or plug and play the DCC.. moreover, we dont wanna damage the nice model... but at the same time, we had some collection of DCC models and wanted to run them together.. thats the case that i need to be clear..

 

If i just collect the models that I like from various manufacturers but cannot play them together, that would be sorry and useless in my opinion.. :) of course i am sure many people here who build this railmodel hobby wanted to have their collections last of a lifetime which is great and memorable... :)

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Robert46

In addition, I have watched some youtube videos that run the kato and tomix n scale shinkansen in one track (but I dont know what track that was used). Of course, its beautiful to see the trains rolling like that... but i still have no idea with the plus and minus points from that system / construction... And i saw it is in japanese language and seemed to be posted by japan modellers... And i thought some of them just played with standard layout with no diorama at all.. just with the track, accessories and buildings provided by manufacturers... but still, its nice to see :)

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spacecadet

if Japanese models are not that easy or friendly with DCC, the next question is then how should we run together the DCC ready models with hard to install DCC models? should it run on different track / different electrical system in one lay out?

This has the potential to go over my head pretty quick, but what I do know is that DC and DCC are both standards. If you're running DC track, any DC trains will work on it. Same with DCC; if you're wired for DCC, any DCC trains will work, though the functions available may be different depending on your decoders and controller. (Note that you generally don't want to try mixing the two; you want everything to be either DC or DCC.)

 

The only difference is that some trains/locomotives just need a drop-in decoder (you just remove a door or at worst take off the shell and place a decoder inside) and some need more manual work - wiring, filing, sometimes milling. Since you're just starting, you can try to avoid models that are not DCC ready/"DCC friendly", but that will limit what you can run. Your other option is to just worry about it when the time comes, and buy what you like now.

 

at the moment, i also cannot imagine if i had to install DCC to the model that are hard or impossible DCC applied.. even with the statement DCC friendly (from Kato), I still need to see and learn how to install or plug and play the DCC.. moreover, we dont wanna damage the nice model...

I felt that way when I first started also but after a while, you'll get to know how to handle your models and will feel more comfortable with basic disassembly and assembly. Both Kato and Tomix expect you to take their trains apart (that's why they sell things like decoders, couplers and lighting kits), so the trains are built to be able to take it as long as you do it properly.

 

Installing a DCC decoder on a non-DCC friendly power car or locomotive is still a little beyond me too, though; I think you should work up to that.

 

If i just collect the models that I like from various manufacturers but cannot play them together, that would be sorry and useless in my opinion..

That's why I am still running DC. It's the lowest common denominator; you can buy anything and it'll just work. DCC gives you more advanced and realistic features, but it takes time and effort to make it work unless you limit yourself to DCC-friendly trains.

Edited by spacecadet
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Robert46

Hi Spacecadet...

 

Many thanks for your detailed info :) I think I started to get the point.. Perhaps, I should be okay for now with DC since I am still a new runner.. And hopefully as I progressed with this hobby, I could learn more and hopefully I can be with DCC which can have more realistic features.. but for now, the most realistic thing is to start with DC first..

 

 

I felt that way when I first started also but after a while, you'll get to know how to handle your models and will feel more comfortable with basic disassembly and assembly. Both Kato and Tomix expect you to take their trains apart (that's why they sell things like decoders, couplers and lighting kits), so the trains are built to be able to take it as long as you do it properly.

 

Well, okay if they (kato and tomix) expect us to do that with their trains, but I need to learn more and add more references so I can do the process properly..

 

DCC seems more advanced and it is for professional modeller...

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Melandir

DCC seems more advanced and it is for professional modeller...

 

Robert,

DCC it's not more professional, it's just different and a bit more expensive (you need to buy a decoder for each loco/motor/EMU-DMU end cars), the choice to go DC or DCC should be taken asap

 

First planning a DC or DCC layout mean a completly different way to cable it, then once you have a good amount of DC train and start to think about going DCC most of the time you stop because all the decoders you need will cost a lot all together, but if you buy the decoder together with the train the total cost will be a little more but it's a doable expense.

 

Some decoders (not the Kato ones) can also work in DC mode, so your train can work on a friend/club layout that work on DC too but it's not possible otherwise

 

about me: I have gone straight from the beginning to DCC, and I have brought less trains due to the cost of the decoders, but my long term plan is to build a computer controlled layout with signals and DCC was the only choice to accomplish it

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Martijn Meerts

DCC isn't necessarily complicated.. In it's most basic form it really just requires a couple of wires to the layout, and you're set. Once you get into automation and computer control and the like, it does start to get complicated fast. However, the same is true for DC. I've seen automated DC layouts which have tons of wiring all over the place.

 

Installing decoders takes a little practice, but most locomotives are very similar, so once you get the hang of it, it's no problem. The light boards can be problematic and often require a little surgery to get to work properly though. And then there's steam locomotives, which you might want to skip until you're comfortable with taking trains apart and rebuilding them, and soldering =)

 

You can always ask specific questions on the forum (just create a new topic in the DCC section), and we'll try to answer as best as we can. Quite a few also take pictures while installing decoders, so that's also a good source to see how to go about installing them.

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kvp

Imho the isn't complicated part ends with taking a steam locomotive apart and soldering delicate electronics into it. :) This might be a reason why most japanese modellers just use plain old DC and maybe add off the shelf analog automation products that doesn't need any assembly or computers. (like most Tomix stuff)

 

about me: I have gone straight from the beginning to DCC, and I have brought less trains due to the cost of the decoders, but my long term plan is to build a computer controlled layout with signals and DCC was the only choice to accomplish it

So far i've made a few small tabletop automated layouts and they don't use any DCC and in fact most of the time i run Tomytec train collection trains on them. By not buying decoders (and actually tripling the price of each set), i've managed to get quite a lot of these trains. They run just fine with plain DC and some Tomix TCS automation sensors. Having simple DCC won't help with precise platform stops and Tomix threadle sensors work with both DC and DCC. Using DCC doesn't mean you will know the exact location of each train more than with DC. The only difference is that you can have more than one train in a block, which kind of defeats the purpose of signals and block control but very good for shunting puzzles.

 

 

First planning a DC or DCC layout mean a completly different way to cable it, then once you have a good amount of DC train and start to think about going DCC most of the time you stop because all the decoders you need will cost a lot all together, but if you buy the decoder together with the train the total cost will be a little more but it's a doable expense.

Imho the basic cabling is exactly the same, you need isolated blocks and separate wires for the turnouts. The common beginner's fault with DCC is cabling everything together until the booster output glows from all the current going out through a single wire. This also prohibits any occupancy detection and transponding to work, which essentially throws the possibility of computer control out though the window. So wiring a layout to work in both DC and DCC means it can be used as both and from the computer control point, both look and work essentially the same. The DCC protocol is just a bit more fancy with more bells and whistles.

 

Also paying for the decoders later or with the trains is not a big difference in money, you can upgrade them gradually then when all of them have decoders, you can switch a nicely cabled layout from DC to DCC without taking it apart. (this means it's a good strategy to add feeders to every track before gluing them down, so any power routing turnouts can be bridged in DCC mode by just plugging in the extra feeders, if the turnouts have screw in type bridges, just drill a hole under them so they can be added later)

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railsquid

By not buying decoders (and actually tripling the price of each set), i've managed to get quite a lot of these trains.

 

This is my problem... so many reasonably-priced Japanese trains, the cost - and moreover the hassle - of adding decoders makes it just not worth it. I think if I was just sticking to my mainly locomotive-orientated, mostly DCC-ready British/European stuff, DCC would be viable but DC and some simple block control will cover most of the use-case I have for DCC anyway.

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Robert46

Thanks Martijn and Melandir,

 

Will go to DCC section for the right room to ask.. okay DCC is different and a bit expensive, but seeing the plan to build DCC layout need more complication on wiring or cables, perhaps it can be considered difficult or challanging..

 

But thanks for some point of views above, giving me more insight.. thanks.. :)

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Jtrainz

Hello there,

I'm creator of Japanese 3D modelling train game & Route creator, I really like Japanese trains, now I'm creating the Yamanote Line route, here's my site : www.jtrainz.com 

you can download or buy my trains set :)

Best regards,

 

Endo

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arxon1st

Hello all, My name's Honza and use mostly exclusively Japanese manufactured rolling stock and a mixture of track from Kato, Tomix and some Fleischmann. I am just a novice when it comes to modeling a layout as opposed to just "playing with trains" as some put it. I am focusing on the RhB (which I love). Now that Kato has made the glacier express and are going to come out with the Albulla I am really excited. I gotta thank the folks here for turning me onto loco1 and modeltrains+, those sites are awesome and more user friendly than 1999.co (or HS as I've seen it called). Anyway, i do own some Japanese prototypes like the EH10 which I really like a lot. Why I started to get obssesed with Japanese manufacturers is because of greenmax and the kit bashing oportunities they provide to make RhB rolling stock for my N scale fantasy. Anywho, thanks everyone and I hope I can be of service.

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cteno4

Welcome arxon1st!

 

It's all good, what ever you enjoy is the important thing. Many that have gotten into modeling layouts started by jsut playing with trains, it's an addictive slope and all the great tomytec buildings and scenery bits make modeling easy to start if the bug bites you. Simple perceived scenery can go a long way and be very cheap and easy to do. Do what you love!

 

The green max kits are great for kitbashing trains as they are cheap and many times have extra parts to do variants that can be helpful. Great way to experiment and learn model making techniques. Important thing is to just try things and learn.

 

Cheers,

 

Jeff

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OhmMega

Hello from the US. Getting back into trains after a long while, since I was a kid.

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miyakoji

Hello from the US. Getting back into trains after a long while, since I was a kid.

Hi OhmMega, welcome to the board. No shortage of info here to help get you and your wallet back into it :)

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cteno4

Hi omega,

 

Welcome! I think you stumbled into one of the best places to get started back into trains.-- Japanese trains! So much variety to choose from and great quality at a reasonable price! Look forward to your re-blossoming!

 

Jeff

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Melandir

Hello from the US. Getting back into trains after a long while, since I was a kid.

 

Welcome

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