Upgrade, Part One

Change is easy. Improvement is far more difficult
-Ferdinand Porsche-

For the longest time I told myself that I was perfectly content with using 1st generation Tsunami decoders controlled by my CVP EasyDCC system. After all, I had fully amortized my investment long before construction began on The Hills Line. The sound and motor control from the TSU1s was good enough to make me content, especially considering I was running single units. Plus I had a functional brake even in the pre-ProtoThrottle days, which was key for my style of railroading.

But then Scale Sound Systems came out with their new speakers… and then my friend and fellow IAIS modeler Scott Thornton started sharing videos of his ESU equipped SW1200… and then the EasyDCC system was briefly discontinued by CVP… and so on.

After some reflection on these developments, I felt like I was missing out by sticking with what I was comfortable with, technology wise. Time to make an improvement.

I wrote in a previous entry how, if I were starting over, I’d probably choose a different DCC system to simplify the signal path between the ProtoThrottle and my locomotives. The clear choice became the NCE Power Cab. It became the clear choice due to it’s all-in-one form factor and it’s direct connection from the ProtoThrottle receiver to its control bus.

As proof to how much things had improved in the 16 years since I purchased the EasyDCC setup, I went from seven separate devices down to one. I spent more time unplugging cables from my old arrangement than I did completely setting up the new one. Literally within seconds, I was up and running with the Power Cab.

Of course, using a new control system to operate old decoders is the model railroad equivalent of buying a Porsche and only using it to drive to church on Sundays. To truly take advantage of updated technologies, I need to improve what’s under the hood.

More to come…

5 thoughts on “Upgrade, Part One

  1. Hi James:
    This is an excellent decision. I’ve done this a couple of times – I upgraded from a Lenz DCC system to the ESU system – and have upgraded decoders from Tsunamis, to Wowsound, and now to ESU/LokSound. I have not regretted it in the least.
    – Trevor (Port Rowan in 1:64)

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I really like that fascia for mounting the DCC hardware – that looks very nice.

    I never looked far enough into the NCE PowerCab thinking that it was a kind of island of technology. Initially a brilliant DCC ‘all in one’ system but not a component that could be incorporated into a larger system but (thanks to that link you posted) it can be used with a second throttle. Thanks for the tip!


    Liked by 1 person

  3. I use the powercab as it allows portability. It is just plugging from one fascia board to the other that makes it so brilliant. I am in the process of building a second layout (don’t ask) and by buying a second fascia board I can reuse the same dcc system elsewhere for peanuts cost. I find some of the programming quirky but when using JMRI that is easily overcome. Great choice!

    Liked by 1 person

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