Consisting Term Confusion

Below is a Table showing the NMRA Consisting terms versus each manufacture name for it. Most of the terminology confusion occurs within NRMA's Basic consisting in that there are many different names used by the different manufactures for various reasons. The NMRA term is at the far left while a specific DCC manufactures consist type name is shown under the Manufactures name.

Table Title Notes:

"Memory Location" refers to where the consisting information is stored or "based".

"Prog Method" referes to the programming methods used to set up the consist be it automatic or implicitly done. Serv. = Service Mode. Ops means Operations mode.

"Analog in Consist?" refers to the option of running a single DC locomotive as part of the consist.

Table Field Notes:

"N/A" = Not Available.

"No Info" means I could not find any specific information to make any determination. Typically if no information is provided, it means the option is not supported.

If you want to learn about the advantage and disadvantages of each type of NMRA consisting, go here: NMRA DCC Consisting

Information on Unique Consisting features, Slang and Marketing terminology

NCE has a feature that allows you to use the lead and rear locomotives long address to control the Advance Consist via it's consist address. Think address Aliasing. Stated another way, you are not forced to control the Advanced Consist using the consist' assigned short address. NCE has not created a marketing name for this feature. It just is a part of consisting the NCE way.

NCE has a another feature called "Consist Manager". The creates a scrollable list of all the Advanced Consist that have been setup first by showing the assigned short address along with the ability to to see the Lead and Rear locomotive addresses of the Consist. This allows you to quickly find a given consist even if you do not remember the consist assigned short address. You can then edit the list. When you select a given Advanced Consist, it then shows you a complete list of all the engines including the middle engines.

NCE uses the terms "Old Style" when referring to NMRA Basic Consisting. The terms serves as a historical based antonym for Advanced consisting which came later in DCC development timeline.

Digitrax's "Universal Consisting" is not actually a form of consisting in of itself but a name for the automatic method that it goes about choosing the type of consisting for a given decoder in a consist. Digitrax's Universal Consisting defaults to using NMRA Basic Consisting. Digitrax Universal Consisting will use NMRA Advance Consisting for those locomotives in the consist that have their "decoder status" set to enable Advance Consisting. Digitrax's "Universal Consisting" also allows one Analog (DC) Locomotive at short address "0" to become part of any DCC consist giving it ultimate "universality" even though a DC locomotive has nothing to do with DCC.

MRC follows Digitrax consisting terminology in name only. It does not implement Digitrax's "Universal" features beyond NMRA Basic Consisting.

Lenz has a feature called "Smart Consisting". Lenz keeps track of every locomotive in a consist so you can pick any locomotive in the consist by its locomotive number to control the entire consist.

EASYDCC has a limited form of a Consist Manger that is only accessible at the main system panel. You can ask it if a given engine is part of a consist or not and it will tell you which one.

ESU follows Digitrax consisting terminology in name only. It does not implement Digitrax's "Universal" features beyond NMRA Basic Consisting.

Zimo has two names for NMRA Basic Consisting depending on what system you are using. Today it is called Universal and follows Digitrax consisting terminology in name only. It does not implement Digitrax's "Universal" features beyond NMRA Basic Consisting.

Brute Force Consisting : Slang term that means Basic Consisting. The command station "Forces" the engines involved to act as a single consist.

Reference Source for NMRA Terminology

Digital Command Control

(Alt om Hobby & NMRA 1998 1st printing)

By Stan Ames, Rutger Friberg & Ed Loizeaux with NMRA backing.

Chapter 6.3: How consist control affects functions. This is basis for my position on consisting names & terminology given the books roots in the creation of the DCC standards and RP's.

To learn more about the book, go here:DCC Books & Reviews