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Help with DCC

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  • Member since
    April 2003
  • 305,206 posts
Help with DCC
Posted by Anonymous on Saturday, September 13, 2003 9:23 AM
can someone explain in a nutshell what DCC is. I am coming back after a 10 year layoff and want to build a layout with the kids.
If I understand it correctly I can just send power to my whole track and the DCC controls each cab ?

Thanks in advance for your help

Gary
  • Member since
    April 2003
  • 305,206 posts
Help with DCC
Posted by Anonymous on Saturday, September 13, 2003 9:23 AM
can someone explain in a nutshell what DCC is. I am coming back after a 10 year layoff and want to build a layout with the kids.
If I understand it correctly I can just send power to my whole track and the DCC controls each cab ?

Thanks in advance for your help

Gary
  • Member since
    October 2002
  • From: City of Québec,Canada
  • 1,258 posts
Posted by Jacktal on Saturday, September 13, 2003 1:13 PM
I will keep it as simple as possible as I will let other more experienced people supply you with more in depth info.It is as you say mostly.With DCC the tracks carry a steady voltage(AC instead of DC however) which is mixed with a pulsed signal that a loco installed decoder reads.Each decoder having its own adress(digital encoding)allows for running more than one loco on the same track at the same time in different directions if you want to.Since AC is alternating + and -,the decoder selects through diode control in which direction the motor rotates.Even more,the decoder can control other functions like the loco's headlight,a horn or whatever,without having to send any power to the motor.Have ever seen a model loco sitting with its headlight on?Real neat........Short enough?This is how I understand the system.For more,just visit "Loy's Toys" website....great info there.
  • Member since
    October 2002
  • From: City of Québec,Canada
  • 1,258 posts
Posted by Jacktal on Saturday, September 13, 2003 1:13 PM
I will keep it as simple as possible as I will let other more experienced people supply you with more in depth info.It is as you say mostly.With DCC the tracks carry a steady voltage(AC instead of DC however) which is mixed with a pulsed signal that a loco installed decoder reads.Each decoder having its own adress(digital encoding)allows for running more than one loco on the same track at the same time in different directions if you want to.Since AC is alternating + and -,the decoder selects through diode control in which direction the motor rotates.Even more,the decoder can control other functions like the loco's headlight,a horn or whatever,without having to send any power to the motor.Have ever seen a model loco sitting with its headlight on?Real neat........Short enough?This is how I understand the system.For more,just visit "Loy's Toys" website....great info there.
  • Member since
    April 2003
  • 305,206 posts
Posted by Anonymous on Saturday, September 13, 2003 1:25 PM


DCC (Digital Command Control) is a system that allows you to operate your trains, not your track. [:)] A small electonic device called a decoder is placed in each locomotive and receives digital signals from the Command Station through the rails.

Basically, the command station puts out a constant voltage to the rails. A digital signal is superimposed on the AC track voltage to reach the decoder. The decoder will respond only to singals intended for it.

-sd80mac-
  • Member since
    April 2003
  • 305,206 posts
Posted by Anonymous on Saturday, September 13, 2003 1:25 PM


DCC (Digital Command Control) is a system that allows you to operate your trains, not your track. [:)] A small electonic device called a decoder is placed in each locomotive and receives digital signals from the Command Station through the rails.

Basically, the command station puts out a constant voltage to the rails. A digital signal is superimposed on the AC track voltage to reach the decoder. The decoder will respond only to singals intended for it.

-sd80mac-
  • Member since
    December 2002
  • From: US
  • 736 posts
Posted by tomwatkins on Sunday, September 14, 2003 8:40 PM
The 2 previous posts cover the basics very well. It's a great way to run a model railroad. You really do run the locomotives rather than the blocks of track. Loy's Toys web site is excellent for info on Digitrax DCC.
  • Member since
    December 2002
  • From: US
  • 736 posts
Posted by tomwatkins on Sunday, September 14, 2003 8:40 PM
The 2 previous posts cover the basics very well. It's a great way to run a model railroad. You really do run the locomotives rather than the blocks of track. Loy's Toys web site is excellent for info on Digitrax DCC.
  • Member since
    April 2003
  • 305,206 posts
Posted by Anonymous on Sunday, September 14, 2003 10:37 PM
Now lets hit some other important items.

DCC generally allows for simpler track wiring as compared to block wiring.

DCC is more expensive than dc but the price spread isn't the difference between a dc power pack and a dcc system. It is the difference in price you have to pay for all the doohickeys you have to buy for block running, plus the power pack, plus the extra throttles in dc running as compared to a dcc system with the same number of throttles.

Often decoding a fleet of engines is more expensive than the dcc system.

DCC is more than just running multiple trains easier and better than dc; it is also about all the functions it can do as they come on the market and are made available for all scales at a reasonable price:

- cab uncoupling (great on switchers)
- sound
- less reliance on track power
- consisting (multiple lash ups)
- speed scales for smoother running
- speed stabilization
- more control over lighting, whistles and bells
- power routing (great for staging)
- computer control and run
- signalling
- intense R & D into new functions and abilities with decoders
  • Member since
    April 2003
  • 305,206 posts
Posted by Anonymous on Sunday, September 14, 2003 10:37 PM
Now lets hit some other important items.

DCC generally allows for simpler track wiring as compared to block wiring.

DCC is more expensive than dc but the price spread isn't the difference between a dc power pack and a dcc system. It is the difference in price you have to pay for all the doohickeys you have to buy for block running, plus the power pack, plus the extra throttles in dc running as compared to a dcc system with the same number of throttles.

Often decoding a fleet of engines is more expensive than the dcc system.

DCC is more than just running multiple trains easier and better than dc; it is also about all the functions it can do as they come on the market and are made available for all scales at a reasonable price:

- cab uncoupling (great on switchers)
- sound
- less reliance on track power
- consisting (multiple lash ups)
- speed scales for smoother running
- speed stabilization
- more control over lighting, whistles and bells
- power routing (great for staging)
- computer control and run
- signalling
- intense R & D into new functions and abilities with decoders

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