RailPro with Direct Radio
compared to
a typical DCC system

Category RailPro DCC Comment
Based on New Technology The typical DCC system is based on over 20 year old technology where, in contrast, RailPro was built from the ground up on the most modern technology such as color touchscreens and DirectRadio for communications! If you are a current DCC user, or thinking about purchasing a DCC system, the question we think you should ask yourself is, "do you want to buy or keep buying over 20 year old technology?"
Ease of Use With RailPro, there is no need to learn addressing, multiple programming modes, multiple consisting modes, control variable programming, speed table adjustments, hexadecimal and binary notation to set control variable bits, etc, etc, etc.  In our opinion, if you have how-to-clinics, hundreds of pages for manuals, and numerous people for tech support, then your product is too difficult to use and not what customers really want!!! 
Two-Way High Speed  Communication to Locomotives Our DirectRadio technology allows RailPro components to have two-way high speed communication that is not supported by the DCC standards*.  This allows RailPro to achieve our patent pending consisting (linking locomotives together), real time reading of current adjustments, updates (program, picture, sound, and light effects), real time feedback, fault reporting and more!
Linking Locomotives (Consisting) The way RailPro links locomotives together is patent pending and unlike any DCC system.  Direct Radio allows RailPro locomotives to communicate together almost instantly to be sure that each locomotive pulls its portion of the load and run smoothly together. Further, unlike DCC, you can setup different manufacturers locomotives to run well together in under a minute. To do this with DCC you are expected to set over 30 control variables, use a speedometer for better results, and in the end they still don't communicate to each other or compensate for actual train load. Many DCC users have spent hours setting up only two locomotives to only come to the conclusion that it is not working well and is not worth the effort.
Speed of Selecting Locomotives With RailPro you can take control of another locomotive or consist with only two touches of the screen!  Being able to quickly select another locomotive makes a big difference when you are running the switch engine and main line locos, or controlling the entire layout yourself.
Adjusting settings like sound volume or top speed, etc. With RailPro you adjust a setting like sound volume by touching the screen.  The screen will display the current value automatically. Then you can just turn the knob to adjust the value in real time! Compare this to the typical DCC system.  You need to figure out what programming mode is proper, then look up the control variable in a manual and finally check the range of values that can be entered. Further, you will not know what value you are starting from, so to increase the value you will not know what value to start with. It can take 10 times or even longer to go through the steps to just change the sound volume!
Instantly see settings currently set in a locomotive Not supported by DCC standards* on main track.  At any time you can select a locomotive on a RailPro system and see all of the current settings.
Buttons that you can easily identify their operation With RailPro's touchscreen, you can see pictures and read text that describe each buttons functions so you do not have to try to remember what F14 does, or what F9 does, F7 etc.
Automatic recovery of button states When a DCC loco looses power (i.e. runs over a dirty spot on the track) it looses its function button settings!!!  So if you have the front light, ditch lights, bell, and other sounds on, then you have to manually restart them each time the loco looses power!  A RailPro loco uses Direct Radio to reinstate all speed, direction, and current button status automatically when the loco recovers from a power loss!!!
All RailPro products can have their program updated Most DCC components have limited or no ability at all to update their program.  All RailPro components have updateable programs.  We have already taken advantage of this capability by adding new features to our existing locomotive modules.  For example, we added directional lighting and auto ditch lights "after" we shipped the LM-1's and our customers were able to update their equipment without returning them.
Rail Sonic HD Sound System(TM) Only Ring Engineering has Rail Sonic HD Sound System(TM)!  Our Rail Sonic HD Sound System(TM) allows our products to make realistic sounds.  Ring Engineering's Rail Sonic HD Sound System(TM) is everything from the digital equipment used for recordings, to how we master, store, and reproduce sounds. 
User Definable Buttons On the RailPro handheld screen you can setup the buttons anyway that you want.  You can add, remove, or move buttons to the locations that you would like.  This is done by simply reading the screen and touching the pictures.  Compare this to the typical DCC system with a bunch of function buttons labeled F1, F2, etc.  Some locomotive modules allow you to re-map buttons, this is accomplished by setting an array of bits in control variables. That is far from what we call user friendly.  
Addressing In RailPro, there is no need to learn or try to keep track of addressing.  You simply press the "Find Product" button when you buy a new product and a picture of the new product will show up on the screen!  Then you touch it to take control.  You can give each product a name that you will understand.
Large Layout Control Because of RailPro's use of high speed DirectRadio, its communication speed is magnitudes greater than DCC.  Therefore, you will get better response with many simultaneous users compared to a DCC system.  
Security In RailPro you can set a unique password in each component to completely customize the level of security that you want.  You can prevent another user from controlling or changing your locomotives, turnouts, etc.  With the typical DCC system there is no security.  Just dial up the address and start making changes.  All wireless systems should have built in security to prevent unintentional or unauthorized users. In our opinion, this reason alone should be enough for every club to use RailPro. 
Clean Track We are confident that running DCC makes it necessary for you to clean your track more often than with RailPro.**
Programming Modes With DCC systems, there are multiple programming modes that need be learned.  Some features can be done this way but not that way.  With RailPro there is only one simple way to make adjustments. 
Programming Track In RailPro, all adjustments can be made on your layout.  No programming track is required.
Accidental mass programming errors With DCC systems, it is easy to accidentally program every locomotive on the layout!  This is not possible with RailPro.
Updateable Sounds You can add and remove sounds from our locomotive modules to customize them to your prototype.  Many DCC offerings do not allow this very valuable feature. 
Locomotive Speed Control With RailPro you can send speed commands in 0.1% increments!  That is 1,000 speed steps compared to DCC maximum 128 speed steps. More importantly is that DCC's support of multiple speed step modes can be problematic. It is easy to set a DCC system or module into the incorrect speed step mode and then the loco will not respond. Even worse there is no indication that there is a problem! This is not possible with RailPro.
Much Simpler Wiring With RailPro the only wiring you need to do is the power wiring.  For a smaller layout all you need to do is connect two wires from the power supply to the track and plug it into the wall. With the typical DCC, even a wireless DCC system, you still need to wire a network. 
Warning and Fault Reporting Because of RailPro's DirectRadio (two-way high speed) communication, locomotives and other products can report warnings and faults in real time and in easily understood English.  For example, our Locomotive modules can report output short or motor overload messages.  By touching the warning or fault on the screen, a more descriptive explanation of the warning or fault is displayed.
Light Effects Unlike typical DCC decoders, RailPro's light effects are downloadable.  So, as we release new light effects, they can be added to your locomotive modules.  There is almost no light effect that cannot be added.  Also, you can put multiple light effects on a single output. 
Built in Help RailPro has a help button on most pages.  If you press  the help button, it will display information on what each button on that page does.  It is like have a manual built right in to the handheld to be sure you understand exactly what features do.
Real-Time data from Locomotives Because of RailPro's DirectRadio (two-way high-speed) communication, you can see data in real time as you drive your locomotive around the track. One useful piece of information available from the locomotive module is the voltage that it is sensing. When you drive around the layout if you see a low voltage indication, that may be a sign that the wiring should be improved to that section of track. 
Regulated Power Supply Our PWR-56 is "regulated," not the simpler "unregulated" type like many DCC systems use.  In fact, our Power Supply has three times less voltage drop than one from a leading DCC manufacture at full load. That means you get more power when you need it.
Track Signal Corruption Problems With RailPro, there is no signal on the track and therefore it is impossible to have corrupted communications on the track like with a DCC system. 
Price Compared to typical wireless DCC System Now the truly amazing part!  RailPro costs substantially less than a typical wireless DCC system! In many cases our locomotive modules cost less when compared to ones that have similar sound quality or have updateable sounds. And of course the others do not have all of the RailPro features like DirectRadio.  This is important because equipping locomotives is likely where a large portion of your money may be spent.
Module Size Our new LM-2 modules are almost 40% smaller than our original LM-1 module.  Our new LM-2 modules are now small enough to even fit in small switch engines.
Ability to use handheld controller on any system You can use RailPro's handheld controller on any DCC system***.  With other typical DCC manufactures, you can only use their handheld controllers with their system.
Availability of Ready to Run locomotives. There are several manufactures that make locomotives with DCC installed. Currently with RailPro, you need to purchase DCC ready locomotives (ones with only the DCC plug) and plug in our modules to get all of the above advantages. In many cases, you can buy a locomotive without DCC and add a RailPro loco module for less money than buying a locomotive with DCC and sound built in.  There are several hobby shops that can install RailPro locomotive modules for you if you do not want to do your own installations. We are looking forward to working with locomotive suppliers in making RailPro ready locomotives available.
Future RailPro products are completely designed with the future in mind. You can easily add new products that can work together because of Direct Radio. The handheld controller can have new screens added to control new products by downloading a new program from the internet.  Most DCC controllers cannot be updated like RailPro. What new products have you seen from the major DCC suppliers in the last 5 years?  How about the last 10 years?


* There are some NMRA recommended practices that have a data response built in, but to our knowledge it has no support from any US manufacturer.  Also, the data rate is very slow and even if it was widely implemented, it does not support direct communication like our RailPro DirectRadio and would not be anywhere near the data rate needed to achieve what we do with DirectRadio and consisting locomotives.  Additionally, the recommended practice specifies that the power to the track must be stopped so the locomotive can send a small bit of data back to the booster.  For the reasons mentioned below** we are confident that when the power is reapplied current will rush into the locomotive wheels and cause serious build of black residue on the track forcing you to clean your track more often.
**  When we were developing our End of Train Device products, we accumulated a lot of testing hours running on analog and DCC power sources because it was important to know that our products would work well with both power sources. What we discovered was that we had to clean the DCC track far more often to keep it running. We cleaned the DCC test track multiple times more often than the analog track. The theory we can up with as to why the DCC track needed cleaned more often is because on a DCC system track power is a high frequency square wave that causes the current to pulses into the locomotive module (through the wheels) at higher peaks than with an analog system. We know that if we put no current through the wheels, then no arcing between the wheel and the track would happen. We also know that if we put hundreds of amps through the wheels, then the wheel to track contact point would arc and leave black burnt carbon deposits on the track. Therefore we are confident that higher currents cause more arcing and deposit more black carbon residue. The reason why DCC current pulses at higher peak currents than analog is because the DCC signal constantly changes polarity. All locomotives modules have front end capacitance (parasitic or intentional - most likely both). Because the DCC signal is square wave in shape, the signal has very fast rising and falling voltages. When a fast rising or falling voltage is applied to a capacitor, the capacitor looks like a short circuit. This temporary short circuit is one cause of higher peak currents through the locomotive wheels on a DCC system. A second cause of higher peak currents through the locomotive wheels on a DCC system comes from the fact that there is a time that the DCC voltage goes to zero. If a DCC signal changes polarity, than it must go to zero volts before it can change polarity. When the DCC signal is at zero volts, the motor, lights, and sounds of the DCC locomotive module are still using power. This power is supplied by an on-board capacitor (a capacitor stores electrical energy). During the time the voltage is at zero, the on-board capacitor discharges and when the DCC voltage returns, the capacitor charges quickly causing higher peak currents through the locomotive wheels on a DCC system. And since RailPro uses fixed DC, (no high frequency switching on the track) it does not have higher peak currents through the locomotive wheels like a DCC system does. In fact, it is expected that RailPro runs even cleaner than analog! Even though analog does not go to zero volts, many analog supplies increases and decreases voltage at 120 cycles per second (rectified 60 Hz from a wall outlet) where in comparison RailPro's DC power is steady. We ran a small RailPro test track for about a year and never needed to clean it! We finally cleaned the track just to see if the RailPro system was going to run any differently, and it did not. We are confident that we would have needed to clean the track several times if it were powered by DCC because previously the same test track was powered by DCC and needed cleaned often.
***
The DCC system voltage must be less than 18 volts peak and only consist of the signal specified in NMRA standards. Only RailPro equipped locomotives can be controlled with the RailPro handheld controller.


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