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How to use DCC and DC on one layout

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How to use DCC and DC on one layout
Posted by Ringo58 on Tuesday, January 19, 2021 10:38 AM

I have just switched over to DCC using an NCE Powercab. Having ran only DC for the last year, I have 15 DC/DCC ready locos that I like very much and will slowley add decoders to them. 

How can I make an easy way to switch between DC and DCC?

Could I wire in a switch? Flip it one way and I'm running DCC, flip it the other way, DC. 

Is this possible?

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Posted by Track fiddler on Tuesday, January 19, 2021 10:50 AM

Good morning Ringo

In answering your question there is a way to do it and a very simple way at that.

My situation is just the same as yours.  The newer MRC Tech 6 is a very affordable power pack that is compatible with both DC/DCC.  Lots of info and a few videos on the net.  Check it out, it's "plug-n-play".  This is what I will eventually be going with.

 

 

 

TF

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Posted by RR_Mel on Tuesday, January 19, 2021 10:54 AM

I operate my layout dual mode.  I used a relay to switch the track power from my DCC controller to my DC power pack.  I connected the relay coil to the DC power pack accessory power so that when I turn on my DC power pack the relay pulls in and switches the track from my DCC controller to the DC power pack.

Has worked great for over 12 years.  I can operate in either mode DC or DCC.

I operate in DC mode about 70% and DCC the remaining 30%.  Basically I operate my passenger trains in DCC and freight in DC.

 

Mel



 
My Model Railroad   
http://melvineperry.blogspot.com/
 
Bakersfield, California
 
I'm beginning to realize that aging is not for wimps.

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Posted by Ringo58 on Tuesday, January 19, 2021 10:58 AM

Track fiddler

Good morning Ringo

In answering your question there is a way to do it and a very simple way at that.

My situation is just the same as yours.  The newer CRC Tech 6 is a very affordable power pack that is compatible with both DC/DCC.  Lots of info and a few videos on the net.  Check it out, it's "plug-n-play".  This is what I will eventually be going with.

 

 

 

TF

 

I actually just returned my tech 6 back to the hobby shop in exchange for the NCE powercab!

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Posted by snjroy on Tuesday, January 19, 2021 10:59 AM

Ringo58

I have just switched over to DCC using an NCE Powercab. Having ran only DC for the last year, I have 15 DC/DCC ready locos that I like very much and will slowley add decoders to them. 

How can I make an easy way to switch between DC and DCC?

Could I wire in a switch? Flip it one way and I'm running DCC, flip it the other way, DC. 

Is this possible?

 

Yes, exactly. It's one OR the other by flipping a switch. Just make sure whatever is connected to the layout or sitting on it is compatible to both. I had a small DC layout, that I converted to DCC using the same approach. Because it was a small layout, I would remove all of the engines and used only DCC engines when on DCC, and DC engines when on DC. Some DCC engines were left on the layout when on DC as they were compatible. But DCC quickly took the lead in air time, and after a few weeks, I spent 90% of my time on DCC... My new layout is 100% DCC. I still have a few locos to convert, but I'm getting there.

Simon

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Posted by Ringo58 on Tuesday, January 19, 2021 11:01 AM

RR_Mel

I operate my layout dual mode.  I used a relay to switch the track power from my DCC controller to my DC power pack.  I connected the relay coil to the DC power pack accessory power so that when I turn on my DC power pack the relay pulls in and switches the track from my DCC controller to the DC power pack.

Has worked great for over 12 years.  I can operate in either mode DC or DCC.

I operate in DC mode about 70% and DCC the remaining 30%.  Basically I operate my passenger trains in DCC and freight in DC.

 

Mel



 
My Model Railroad   
http://melvineperry.blogspot.com/
 
Bakersfield, California
 
I'm beginning to realize that aging is not for wimps.

 

Thats a good idea! Would a 3 position toggle switch work? 

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Posted by RR_Mel on Tuesday, January 19, 2021 11:09 AM

Yes, but . . . .  the toggle switch is not fail safe.  You have to remember to operate the switch, the relay is a safe interlock preventing an accidental screw up.

 

Mel



 
My Model Railroad   
http://melvineperry.blogspot.com/
 
Bakersfield, California
 
I'm beginning to realize that aging is not for wimps.

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Posted by mbinsewi on Tuesday, January 19, 2021 11:29 AM

I can run both DC and DCC, but I disconnect one system, and connect the other, physically, no switch as Mel uses.

By disconnect, I mean I remove the two wires from the DCC power supply to the control panel, and connect the two wires from DC, and vice versa.

I very seldom run in DC, so this works for me, as it's a positive no-brainer that DC and DCC won't get accidently crossed.

When I wired my layout, I made control blocks with both rails gapped, and feeders to each block.

The current MRR has an article about it.  I haven't read it yet.

Mike.

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Posted by Lakeshore Sub on Tuesday, January 19, 2021 11:48 AM

Hi Ringo,

 

One way to make the situation a little safer using just a switch is to use a DPDT switch with the center off position so that you have to go to an off position before switching to the other system.  Mel's advice is still trueabout some danger being involved,  so I would have the system that I am switching to turned off when you throw the switch.  That way you don't have both signals on at the same time.

As others have said, you will find yourself using DC less as you start adding decoders to your locomotives.

Good luck and have fun with it.

Scott Sonntag

 

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Posted by alfadawg01 on Tuesday, January 19, 2021 3:16 PM
A DPDT center off switch is what NCE recommends using if you want to use DC & DCC on the same layout. One or the other but never both simultaneously.

Bill

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Posted by woodone on Tuesday, January 19, 2021 3:31 PM

I use a RCA PLUG- one for DCC & one for DC. You can only plug in one or the other. No way to mess up.

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Posted by tstage on Tuesday, January 19, 2021 3:45 PM

Ringo58
Track fiddler

Good morning Ringo

In answering your question there is a way to do it and a very simple way at that.

My situation is just the same as yours.  The newer CRC Tech 6 is a very affordable power pack that is compatible with both DC/DCC.  Lots of info and a few videos on the net.  Check it out, it's "plug-n-play".  This is what I will eventually be going with.

TF

I actually just returned my tech 6 back to the hobby shop in exchange for the NCE powercab!

Smart man. Yes  I've had my Power Cab for 16 years now and have been very happy with that choice.  Since it's a dedicated DCC system you'll be able to do more on the DCC side of things than you would with the MRC Tech 6.

Tom

https://tstage9.wixsite.com/nyc-modeling

Time...It marches on...without ever turning around to see if anyone is even keeping in step.

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Posted by Ringo58 on Tuesday, January 19, 2021 3:47 PM

tstage

Smart man. Yes  I've had my Power Cab for 16 years now and have been very happy with that choice.  Since it's a dedicated DCC system you'll be able to do more on the DCC side of things than you would with the MRC Tech 6.

Tom

Yeah I realized that after I tried changing horns on my F45, wasn't happening!

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Posted by Ringo58 on Tuesday, January 19, 2021 3:48 PM

alfadawg01
A DPDT center off switch is what NCE recommends using if you want to use DC & DCC on the same layout. One or the other but never both simultaneously.
 

I was browsing napas website and found a few. I would want one with 6 terminals correct? How would the wiring diagram look?

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Posted by BigDaddy on Tuesday, January 19, 2021 5:23 PM

6 correct

I don't have drawing skill like the others but

           o    o    o

        /                  \

DCC                           DC

        \                  /

           o    o    o

The center terminals go to the track

Henry

COB Potomac & Northern

Shenandoah Valley

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Posted by Track fiddler on Tuesday, January 19, 2021 7:29 PM

Ringo58
 
I actually just returned my tech 6 back to the hobby shop in exchange for the NCE powercab!
 

You ought to be laughing at me Ringo!

When I first read your post and reply, the immediate picture painted in my mind was the NCE Powercab was some sort of low geared steam locomotive similar to a ShayLaughLaugh

After reading further into your thread and looking it up, I now know what it isWhistling

 

 

 

TF

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Posted by rrinker on Tuesday, January 19, 2021 7:55 PM

 To be extra safe, when running in the DC mode, unplug the PowerCab from the panel. That way it is impossible for DC power to feed back in and damage the PowerCab. 

                             --Randy

 


Modeling the Reading Railroad in the 1950's

 

Visit my web site at www.readingeastpenn.com for construction updates, DCC Info, and more.

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Posted by Lastspikemike on Wednesday, January 20, 2021 6:03 PM

MRC Tech 6 has some limitations. I'm not sure how you consist two diesels with one facing backwards, for example. 

Also, the Tech 6 remains set on the mode it was set when powered down.  There is a risk of you forgetting which that was.

Unless you really do guarantee no DC only locomotive is on powered track when powering up the Tech 6 it may be problematic. I have one. I may find out.

Critical issue is of course never ever powering up a DC only locomotive with DCC voltage.

MRR February issue page 56 has a pretty complete description of this topic. Except for the idea of a safety relay preventing DCC unintentionally powering the layout, assuming I understand that idea correctly. 

Alyth Yard

Canada

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