Bachman EZ Command - Share your thoughts, please

Discussion in 'Easy DCC' started by trainchaser007 (Brandon Adams RIP 9/22/2017), Jun 18, 2013.

  1. trainchaser007 (Brandon Adams RIP 9/22/2017)

    trainchaser007 (Brandon Adams RIP 9/22/2017) Passed away September 22, 2017

    First, if you haven't already heard, don't go to the Bachmann site right now unless you have some good anti-virus software.

    With that out of the way, I am investigating the expense of making the switch to DCC. I like the simplicity that the Bachmann EZ Command system seems to offer. I had a Bachmann analog power pack/controller in the past (until my daughter knocked it off of the layout and it landed on concrete). I'm not going to buy anything anytime soon but I would like to get some other opinions about EZ command...pros and cons? I can tell you that cost is probably my most important factor. Also, I would like some pros and cons about other systems like NCE power cab and Digitraz Zepher. I plan on watching some youtube videos about each system soon. Please share your thoughts and thank you in advance. It may help you to know that I would like to be able to run 3-6 locos at a time on 3 tracks. Some of my sentimental locos from my childhood are not really suited for DCC. EZ Command includes an analog option but warns about prolonged use of DC locomotives. - Brandon
  2. William Jackson

    William Jackson Bill Jackson

    I really do not know about other systems. I would say to go the extra dollar on the system. I have the small NCE power cab, but my layout is small. I have not had any issues with running 5 engines with DCC. I would say NCE is Great.
    William Jackson
  3. okrlroads

    okrlroads Member

    Would highly recomend going with another system besides the Bachmann EZ Command. it is limited to setting engine # and direction. If you want to change any other CV's you'll have to take the engine to another system.

    Both Digitrax and NCE make good systems, that also allow for expansion and the ability to use JMRI to help with setting up decoders. JMRI is not required to change CV's with these systems, but it is real handy!

    JMRI is a free program that makes changing decoder settings fairly simple, plus keeping a record of the settings if you need to reset the decoder. Both systems will require additional componets to interface with your computer and running the JMRI program.

    For the price, either NCE and Digitrax would be a better value in the long run due to ability to expand your system if needed.
  4. Jim James

    Jim James Staff Member Staff Member

    I just started using the NCE powercab and love it. Easy to set up, ergonomic throttle and the 7' cable allows me to follow my trains all the way. You can recall up to 6 cabs and customize your throttle settings. Got mine on eBay for about $149. I did a bit of research first like you are doing. It's fun reading about all the options but I finally chose NCE. it's also expandable and has a wireless throttle upgrade available as well. I also use JMRI to set up my decoders but I use it with my SprogIII DCC system. Enjoy the researching.
  5. trainchaser007 (Brandon Adams RIP 9/22/2017)

    trainchaser007 (Brandon Adams RIP 9/22/2017) Passed away September 22, 2017

    Thanks everyone. Not what I was hoping to hear due to price but I got the info I needed which was also what I had anticipated. If something sounds too good to be true, it usually is.

    Can someone describe the steps (proceedure) involved in installing a NCE power cab system on a pre-existing DC layout? - no "power districts" involved.

    I was about to buy some plastic rail joiners and create some power districts but that was before I realized I could go to DCC for a lot less than I thought. I hate the idea of not being able to run some of my older, sentimental, DC, truck mounted motor type diesels, and some of my analog steam engines on a DCC system. I have 2 tracks and soon, a long thru siding of the 2nd track will be a complete and independent, 3rd DC track outside the 2nd one. If need be, I could leave the smallest track (a simple oval with no turnouts) as a DC track for running my analog units without risking burning up their motors.
  6. Jim James

    Jim James Staff Member Staff Member

    Long story short: Hook up the two wires (black and red) from the NCE unit to the two wires coming from the track. Just like a DC power pack. That's basically it. If you want to run your DC engines just unhook the NCE and hook up your power pack. Easy. Now I don't know how your track is wired now but it's best to have feeder wires soldered to each track section and join them with a "bus" wire. This ensures bulletproof electrical continuity.
    I enjoy the benefits of DCC so much that I'm slowly adding decoders to my favorite DC locos.
  7. trainchaser007 (Brandon Adams RIP 9/22/2017)

    trainchaser007 (Brandon Adams RIP 9/22/2017) Passed away September 22, 2017

    For now I only have wires soldered in one place from the power pack (that senario on each track) but I plan to improve with the "bus" system to eliminate some "hesitation" spots. It's good to know I could go back and forth from DC to DCC fairly easily. Seems like I could possibly have a DCC system and a DC system going into a toggle switch to switch back and forth between systems. Thanks for the earlier reply.
  8. klrwhizkid

    klrwhizkid Administrator Staff Member Administrator Supporter

    Brandon, your assessment that you could connect your track to a DPDT toggle switch to change from DC to DCC and back is correct. Before you make the switch to DCC, you must set up your power distribution through a bus and feeders connected to every section of rail, no matter how short for reliable operation. I encouraged Jim James to do so with his layout and he is speaking from his own first hand experience.
  9. Iantha_Branch

    Iantha_Branch Member

    I know I'm a little late with this, but I'll throw in my 2c.

    I'll echo Richard, Don't get EZ command. It lacks the ability to program and decoders do mess up sometimes and need a reset.
    NCE and digitrax are both great, but my opinion: go with NCE. It's walk around from the start and it's easier to understand (has a better screen) when programing. I have a couple videos on programing using the power cab and I know there's some videos out there on the zephyr as well.

  10. Ozarktraveler

    Ozarktraveler Member

    Thanks for asking these questions, and thanks to those answering... these bite size lessons are excellent. I am relieved to know that I can use both my factory DCC prepped locos as well as my older DC equipped ones without too much difficulty.
  11. SteveM

    SteveM Member Supporter

    Perhaps Keith or someone could elaborate on this, but if Craig wants to switch back and forth, shouldn't the DPDT be center off? Don't want to get even momentary connections between them?
  12. Iantha_Branch

    Iantha_Branch Member

    Keith is more of an expert on this than I am, but a DPDT should be on-off-on configuration.

    I have no idea what would happen if you crossed power from a DCC system with a DC power pack.

  13. Jim James

    Jim James Staff Member Staff Member

    Probably wouldn't be pretty. If you have a DC loco on the track and hit the DCC power your loco will race off at full speed with potentially ugly results. I would be afraid to make it too easy to switch back and forth.
  14. Iantha_Branch

    Iantha_Branch Member

    Actually a dc loco on a dcc track will just set there and buzz with the lights on, not take off.

    What i was talking about is what if you had power from both sources connected to the same circuit?
  15. klrwhizkid

    klrwhizkid Administrator Staff Member Administrator Supporter

    In response to the questions about the use of the DPDT toggle switch, common DPDT toggles are of the break-before-make (non-shorting) variety. This means the connection between the common terminal and one of the switched terminals is open before making contact with the opposing switched terminal.

    A make-before-break (shorting) toggle switch is not common; most shorting switches are of the slide switch design.

    Interconnecting the DCC system to a DC power pack is not a desirable effect. The most likely effect would be a blown fuse or each system will activate some type of short-circuit protection system.
    Last edited by a moderator: Jun 21, 2013
  16. Ozarktraveler

    Ozarktraveler Member

    Sorry, in my case I plan on switching over to dcc. I appreciated the instructions for wiring up older, non-dcc prepped units. :)
  17. HWB

    HWB Supporter

    [I have no idea what would happen if you crossed power from a DCC system with a DC power pack.


    With a Digitrax system it will go into its short circuit routine. I used light switches to connect DC and DCC to a previous layout. Nice and big, easy to see. It has taken a long time but everything I have has been converted or neutered.

    STAY AWAY from the EZ-Command. Any other system is the way to go

    Howard at MP 195
  18. bob_wintle

    bob_wintle Member Supporter

    NCE or Digitrax Zephyer. Do not have the DC Powerpack hooked to your layout when you have a DCC system attached to it. Not even with a center off toggle. You will be sorry at some point. Once you go DCC you will never regret that decision.
    Bob Wintle MMR419
  19. Jim James

    Jim James Staff Member Staff Member

    Here, here. I second that.
  20. gstout

    gstout Member Supporter

    If you are going to convert to DCC (and you will be glad you did), I do not recommend moosing around with a Bachmann or other off-the-market system. Please choose Digitrax, NCE or other quality system, as they are readily expandable and will serve you better in the future.


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