A comparison of cost between LCC and other popular options for detection.


As model railroaders the basic cost of various options is always an important consideration in our choices of
system and hardware. How does the cost of LCC stack up when compared to NCE, Digitrax, and CMRI for block detection.

In this comparison we will base our comparisons on 16 blocks of basic detection because most options do not work
economically for smaller numbers of blocks.

How It Works

Block detection consists of two parts, the detector, and the interface.

  1. LCC - For the detector we use the RR-CirKits BOD-8 boards, CT coils, and a Tower LCC
  2. NCE - For the detector we use the BD-20 detectors plus the AIU01 Auxiliary Input Unit.
  3. Digitrax - For the detector we use the BDL168 which includes a LocoNet interface and the BXP88
    which also includes Transponding.
  4. CMRI - For CMRI we use the cpOD detectors and a cpNode.


  1. BOD-8 - 8 block detection board times 2 each. $41.65 x 2 = $83.30
  2. 16 CT coils @ $2.00 each.                                  $2.00 x 16 = $32
  3. Tower LCC 16 line I/O card.                               $69.95

                                                         Total $185.25 or $11.58 per block.


  1. BD20 Block Detector 14 each.                           $17.95 x 14 = $251.30
  2. AIU01 Auxilary Input Unit.                               $59.95

                                                         Total $311.25 or $22.23 per block.
    (Note: the AIU is only 14 channel)


  1. BDL168 - 16 Detection Sections                       $149
  2. BXP88 - 8 Detection Sections                          $175 x 2 = $350

                                                     Total BDL168 $149 or $9.31 per block.
                                                     Total BXP88 $350 or $21.87 per block.


  1. cpOD - detection board times 16 each.            $13.00 x 16 = $208
  2. cpNode Version 2.5                                          $80.00

                                                             Total $288 or $18.00 per block.

All comparisons based on MSRP and fully assembled commercial hardware.

Note: LCC, NCE, and CMRI detectors all use CT coils for 100% isolation and no voltage drop.
Digitrax detectors use series diode detection which introduces a voltage drop between the
booster and detected blocks, and imposes block current restrictions. This also requires full
current capacity block feeders from the track to the detector board which increases wiring
cost and layout electrical noise.