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DCC/Live Steam switching

4490 Views 5 Replies 5 Participants Last post by  classicdelights
Can anyone help please. I run a layout of basically two circuits with insulating fish plates on the points between them so that I can run all DCC or DCC (one circuit) and Live Steam (other circuit). At present I can unplug the Live Steam part and plug in DCC in its place. Is there a switch I can use on the DCC/Live Steam circuit to save always plugging and unplugging the live input. I have a Gaugemaster DPDT C-off which in theory would do the job but would it take the Live Steam power. Any ideas would be appreciated. Thanks Bernard.
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I use a plug in system when I want to run DC locos on my Live Steam track.
One "male" plug [from the track] plugs into a "female" socket on the wire from whichever controller I wish to use.
I use 12v "caravan type" plugs ....available from most decent Camping,Caravan & Outdoor etc,etc Stores.
A three way switch [12v] would prob'ly solve your problem ...but tbh,I feel that my system is better/safer [less chance of error] ....if live steam voltage gets into your DCC controller,I dread to think of the consequences.....with a plug,its disconnected ...end of problem.
Personally, I would go for Terry's solution - that way you have to go for a more definate operation than simply throwing a switch. In any case,I should imagine the the track would have to be cleaned thorougly after operating live steam before using dcc.
Thanks for the advice. Weighing up the options/problems, I think I'll stick with the plug and socket idea. As to cleaning up after a good steam evening, it's worth every minute of it just to get the smells, etc. of a real steam engine.
Welcome to the Forum.

Another consideration is that the wiring for the Live Steam needs to be at least 1sq mm cross-sectional area to cope with the 6 to 7amps taken by the engines. This is considerably heavier that the cable used by most for wiring their layouts but is most important to avoid voltage drop to the further reaches of the layout with potential loss of control.
Such wiring will also happily cope with the much smaller currents taken by DC or DCC fitted locos.

I actually use relays under the baseboards to switch between the high-current busbars for the steamers and the traditional 12v DC controllers on the layout I've built - so I can run the different systems over the same sections of track.
See Mixing Hornby Live steam with 'Trad' 12v but note that at present the photos need to be updated!

John Webb
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Agree with everything written so far on cables. I use solid core copper mains cables as the bus. Strip the grey sleeve off and you have one brown and one blue solid core cable to string around under the layout plus a very useful smaller diameter copper earth for other uses. I then solder 10 amp droppers from every yard length of track (SMP Scaleway) and solder these to the bus underneath. You just need to scrape a small section of insulation off the bus wires with a Stanley knife (carefully) to attach the droppers.

I use Maplin 10 amp toggle switches for the sections (storage loops) and Maplin 10 amp DPDT switches for the point motors (slow acting type). These Maplin switches are really heavy-duty items and strongly recommended.

The double track ECML in the loft works faultlessly so the system seems to work. It also confirms that Hornby live steam locomotives perform perfectly on SMP code 75 finescale track. I use Marcway points and these are also fine for live steam.

Well done getting this forum going chaps.

Kind Regards
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