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your 30 yr old Hornby isn't really suitable for DCC. They have primative motors and drive systems. They run to train set standards. You've already found out that good stock
will run well with DCC. It gives more control and features than a conventional anolgue system. Another no no is traction tyres. They leave a coating on the track. Tender drive loco's have traction tyres and the very dated Ringfield motor, try if you can to avoid this. Your DCC system relies on a good contact between the loco and the track.
I think once you have a taster of DCC you might just look at a better DCC setup.
 

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Right I'm probably going to tell you what you already know, but with fault finding and DCC it will pay you to have a structured method of fault finding. From what you say you have eliminated the DCC command unit and the decoder/loco it's self. If you hav'nt run a couple of checks and assure yourself that both are functioning properly. If in doupt try another loco/decoder. Is your command unit giving you any indication of a short ?
IE does it give you a buzzing signal ?. If it does when does it do it ?, IE what triggers the short.
IF the short is not the decoder/loco or the command unit, what happens when you power up the layout ?. Have you checked the connections from command unit to track bus ?.
I am assuming you have a track bus. Use a simple light 12v car light with a couple of leads soldered to it to check track power, it will give you an indication if you have track power round the layout. Do you use a wiring convention. I use RED to the A front rail and BLACK to the rear rail. ALWAYS use this convention regarless of what others may tell you. It makes checking connection easy and simple.
I always wire up with the command unit on, why if I make a mistake it tells me, with a buzz. It's simply a question of eliminating all the variables 1 x 1 in a logical sequence, to determine where your problem is.
Finally have you checked the cab bus, check the cable, the plugs can be cripped poorly try another cable, they can give problems. finally change the socket that you plug your trottle into.
If you still have problems I'm available for a small fee if your around Somerset
 

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excellent progress
. Normally I allow 65-70mm between bus wires, and I like to make them as tight as possible. One my last layout I used bare copper earth wire
about 7mm in dia. A refinement on my mates layout was to use shackles to really make the bus wires as tight as possible. I have some photo's somewhere I'll post them tomorrow if they would be of intrest.
 

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QUOTE Doug, 7mm bus? You probably robbed your local power station.

No the cheapest copper earth wire available. All houses in South Africa have an earth leakage system because of the frequent lightening storms. This makes excellent bus wire, and it's strong and dos'nt need to have the sheath stripped when you add a dropper.
 
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