I am a 'newbie' to model railroading. I have a 10' x 10' room put aside for my layout which will be basically a U or horseshoe shape going around three of the walls. I am using Atlas code 55 in N scale. Since I'm starting from scratch, I want to do it RIGHT and that is why I've decided to buy DCC straight away. I want to run a maximum of 4 trains at once. I would like the capability of having two users (drivers) operating at the same time, but I want to manually set turnouts. I will be using mostly Kato and Atlas Locomotives. I live in Australia with 240V/50HZ power. What are your suggestions please?
One of the beauties of the Digitrax LocoNet system is that you can expand and adapt your railroad and its Digitrax devices as your needs change. The biggest question involves the number of trains that will be running at any given time. Since you state that you want to be running four trains at once, with two operators, the Zephyr will be perfectly fine since it can handle up to twenty trains at one time, depending upon your power requirements. Should your system needs grow, the Zephyr can still be used as a stationary throttle and booster in an expanded system.
The 3 amp Zephyr Xtra should be able to handle the power needs of the railroad you describe.
The Zephyr Xtra has a throttle for one operator. To add another operator, you have several options:
1. You can use one of the JUMP ports and a smooth DC power supply to add another operator (there are two JUMP ports avaialble so you can actully add two operators with this menthod.
2. You can add another operator with a Digitrax Utility throttle or Digitrax Advanced Throttle.
3. If you add UP5 (Universal Panels) you can walk around with the throttles
4. You can also add InfraRed or Radio throttles for additional operators
Since you will be operating your turnouts by hand, you won't need any stationary decoders. You will be able to add these later if you change you mind and decide to control the turnouts through your layout control system.
Welcome to the model railroad hobby, and have fun!