There are a lot of choices in large scale when it comes to power,
sound, and control. Equipment almost always comes ready to run on
DC power, but it’s often without sound. Many people choose to add
to the experience with sound and independent control of
locomotives using one of the products listed below:
As least locally AirWire (using battery power and Phoenix sound)
seems to be the most popular control system choice, and for good
reason since it’s easy to use and reliable. Although once you add
sound and batteries it’s also one of the most expensive options.
Note that QSI makes Gwire, which is mostly AirWire-compatible, so
you have two manufacturers to chose from.
Locolinc has been around since the early 90’s. Today the system
remains relatively unchanged, but the manufacturer still sells
and supports the product. If you’re buying used equipment it’s
not uncommon to find a Locolinc receiver already installed.
NCE makes a 10 amp DCC system with radio control which has proven
to be one of the most popular DCC systems for large scale use.
It’s not as cutting edge as some, but it’s reliable and
QSI makes sound and control systems which work with DCC, DC, or
Airwire (using their Gwire receiver). Unique features include
stereo sound outputs, and sound that varies with the actual load
of the locomotive (uphill vs downhill).
Zimo is known for DCC sound decoders packed with features and
functionality. They are also working on a premium DCC system
which, when released, will likely be the most expensive but most
popular DCC system on the market.
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