Inspired by the talk given at the BRMA(Q) AMMC by Greg Palmer, I managed to get to the local supplier of the system Greg recommended as a good one to use to give DCC a go when I was in Brisbane - Austral Modelcraft. Greg suggested the NCE PowerCab as being a good entry level bit of kit and Ray was quite helpful in the chat I had with him at the shop - and another N Scale modeller who was present, who I know by sight although not by name, also said it was a good set up as he had been using it for sometime on his US based layout.
Anyway, brought it home to Longreach and waited for the parcel from Hatton's with the pair of Bachmann EZ decoders I had ordered. My reading had suggested that for British N there wasn't really a lot of difference between brands and Greg suggested getting a couple of cheap chips to start with - on the basis that if I did something to let the magic smoke out it wouldn't be a big outlay. I went with the Bachmann ones as I was putting the chips into a pair of Farish Class 24s and I assumed - rightly - that the Bachmann 6 pin NEM decoders would be designed for use with Farish locos. The documentation confirmed this.
The chips turned up yesterday and I put them in, followed the instructions in the NCE booklet and was away. So far I haven't done to much but being able to run to locos from the one controller is a plus as it gives you the opportunities to try things out. The lights being on on the locos while they were stationary - and being able to run them in opposite directions around the Kato oval setup was pretty good. Changing to the 128 step speed function gave super slow motion creep and on reading a bit more about the chips a realistic top speed can be set for each loco.
So the plan is this - blue diesels chipped and Swallow Street Mk 2 will be a DCC layout. But the only things being chipped will be locos. Changing points will be the old fashioned way. The idea will be to have locos being driven by drivers - and someone else running the signaling. Just like the real thing!