Sunday, April 24, 2011
DCC - A new religion ?
I am of course talking about the church of DCC.
Digital Command Control, for uninitiated, is a new(ish) way of controlling toy trains. Each loco has a little electronic chip inside it which listens to the commands sent from the computermebob controller. This device can also run points, signals and sound should you wish to do so. All the major manufacturers have a system you can buy along with lots of specialist DCC makers. Thanks to some nice common standards all the controllers can run all of the chips allowing the modeller to chop and change between makes.
Now I don't mind a gizmo or two. I was an early adopter for DAB radio with an expensive walkman size device. This taught me a lesson and I became an early abandoner 'cos there's b****r all signal around here even outside the offices of the company who provided the transmitters. Not to worry, I have a small craving for an iPad and if I the money was freely available would happily stump up for all sorts of junk as long as it has an LED on the front.
Despite this, I don't do DCC. Partly because I can't be bothered, partly because I don't want to spend the money putting chips in my locos, partly because I don't see any benefit for the sort of layouts I build, but mostly because many of the people who do use it won't shut up about it.
It seems there is a type of "modeller" who on purchasing his DCC controller, decides what he really needs to do is build a demonstration layout to show people the benefits of DCC. Not build a layout that just happens to use DCC but a plank with track specifically to show off the new toy. There are at least 6 different examples touring the exhibition circuit and that's just the ones that have done more than one show. I know at least one club building another. All come with laminated diagrams explaining how to use the new magic power.
Worse, model railway magazines are full of it and there isn't an online forum that doesn't have a DCC Zone, you can't escape. People say with confidence that it is the future in the same way that today I would say that Tuesday is the future. I'm sure that there are plenty of newer modellers who don't realise that there is a cheaper and judging by the questions that seems to be asked, simpler, method of making model railway work.
Maybe I should join in. I could stand behind my demonstration plank showing how I can achieve movement with only 2 wires and a controller that costs less than a couple of chips. Will I ? No chance, much better things to do.
And another religious parallel. All the major faiths seem to have a way of making a lot of noise. Church Bells, calls to prayer, brass bands and now train noises played at full volume. Turn it down I say. Or at least I would except you probably wouldn't hear me over the roar from a OO gauge Class 47 who's owner doesn't understand that you have a loud control 'cos he can't be bothered to read the manual or just wants to show off his latest toy.
At least real religion has given us chocolate eggs. Don't get that with DCC do you ?