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Digitrax Zephyr Xtra Starter Set Review

Updated on September 9, 2014

The Zephyr Xtra Starter Set, made by Digitrax, is a great starting block in building your DDC (Digital Command Control) model railroad empire. I use mine to control a 6ft x 18ft HO Scale model railroad layout. I actually purchased the Zephyr Xtra Starter Set several years ago and still have not outgrown its capabilities. This set can easily drive three locomotives, eight switches, and several accessories without even breaking a sweat.

Price is another factor that led me to purchase the Zephyr Xtra Starter Set. It was inexpensive compared to other DCC systems on the market. This is a major factor when you have a family and little funds. Another factor was that you can expand the Zephyr's capabilities with add-ons available from Digitrax, such as a booster which will give you the extra power needed to control more accessories and locomotives or a computer interface allowing you to use your computer with open source (free) applications such as PanelPro for layout control. In addition, the Digitrax web site was professional, informative, and it instilled in me confidence in their products and support.

Digitrax technical support is top-notch, I had an issue awhile ago where I would lose computer control of the Zephyr command station and they helped me troubleshoot the problem until it was resolved. It turned out to be a faulty USB cable (that I provided) between my computer and the Digitrax computer interface.

I have four words for you "Made in the USA". Yes, the Zephyr Xtra Starter Set is made in the good old United States. So by purchasing a Zephyr Xtra Starter Set, you are supporting American jobs and getting a value packed, expandable DCC system.

Digitrax PR3XTRA USB Programmer w/PS14 Power Supply
Digitrax PR3XTRA USB Programmer w/PS14 Power Supply

I use this computer interface to allow me to control my Zephyr command station from my computer. I use and open source (free) application call PanelPro on my computer to control the layout.

 
Digitrax DS64 DCC Stationary Decoder, 4 Turnouts
Digitrax DS64 DCC Stationary Decoder, 4 Turnouts

You will need one of more of these devices to control turnout switches on your layout. Each one of these units can control up to four turnout switches.

 

Using my iPod to control locos. This this can be done with the Zephyr Xtra Starter set with the addition of the USB Programmer w/computer interface module.

Nothings more exciting than trying to beat the train at the crossing. This is a lot safer then trying to do it in real life!

A Bachmann Gandy Dancer I purchased, I then added a Digitrax DCC Decoder.

Automated railroad crossing lights. This this can be done with the Zephyr starter set with the addition of the USB Programmer w/Computer interface and block detector module.

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