Model Railway Forum banner
1 - 11 of 11 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
16 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi chaps,

Just planning and wondering whether to go DCC or not. I've a contact who says he can convert all my n-gauge steam locos to DCC so I seriously thinking about it after years of convential wiring.

A really daft question but, I assume you run more than 1 loco at a time but how on earth do you control them and stop them crashing? Fairly obvious on standard layouts of old, i.e. usually two one or two main lines, each with a controller and a bank of switches. Is DCC basically taking over sevral controllers but still requires the usual switches of points and route setting by hand, unless computer control is used?

Also, I assume isolation areas are still needed to avoid running over unset points etc??

Hard to get my head round it in practice and how it will be different, better. Is is worth the extra expense.

Sorry to be a bit thick!


Cudders
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
285 Posts
Hi Cudders -

a new returner myself so no doubt more erudite responders will appear shortly.

But think of it like this -

Power is applied constantly to all tracks (as it happens it's AC but that is irrelevant) overlaid on the power are digital signals - that allow controller(s) to talk to DCC decoders in engines (and elsewhere) if you set engine A off heading in a direction and then another engine heading in the opposite direction - with the same controller both will just do what they (were last) told - with the resultant crash!

To use a DCC controller you first select the loco you want to send a new setting to and then set the setting e.g. speed, lights etc.

One controller is not tied to a set of sectional track as previously.

As regards points etc. then you have the choice of

(i) hard wiring them (as before) into their own circuits entirely separate from the DCC system.
(ii) putting a decoder on them which saves on wiring as then can control the point with an instruction either from the controller - or from computer control if you wish - but this is expensive as by my reckoning it makes each point ca. £40 - £10 for point, £10 for motor, £20 for decoder.

There is no reason why you need to move to DCC control of points just because you use DCC in locos.

Anyway that's from my very limited experience.

Having returned after an absence of 30 years I think DCC is good and here to stay.

Tim

My Blog
 

·
No Longer Active.
Joined
·
13,319 Posts
Hi Cudders,

Not dim questions at all - we all started somewhere & all of us are still learning !

In theory, using a decent DCC console/controller & provided suffiecient power available you could control 9,999 locomotives with only 2-wires/cables. A certian amount of dexterity is required to control a number of locomotives, but you can add slave controllers or use a console with 2 separate control knobs.

You can leave route setting as it is (if you have an existing layout) - many people, including myself do. You can use the DCC console or a computer with suitable equipment.

You can use isolated sections to avoid derailments/collisions but not really necessary.

It took me a while to get my head round it but it's well worth it in the end. Very few people go back to analogue from DCC.

Depending on where you are located you may be able to attend one of the DCC courses or make contact with a local club that uses DCC.

& no - you ain't thick, as I said we all start somewhere.

BTW - welcome to the forum.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
16 Posts
Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Thx for the replies chaps.

I like the thought of computer control taking over the main lines and auto routing etc while I fiddle in the yards and shed. Computer control is a must I think for me.

Do any of you DCC guys use it and if so, what programs do you use?

Cudders
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3 Posts
Hi,
I have recently started in the hobby, so still experimenting, did start out non DCC with sectioned off track, had a try at DCC and now much prefer the DCC system as I can run two or three locos on the same track. I left the track as it was and wired each section into the DCC and it seemed to work.
I have wired the points to I think it is called a stud and pen system and did try the DCC control of points, find I prefer to keep my points on the stud system its cheaper too. Except I needed a separate power pack for the points my DCC controller kept showing a fault when I tried to operate the points (but this may be me that is at fault) so used the auxiliary power off an old controller.
I have only experienced a few difficulties.
1. I seem to need to keep the track cleaner than I did with the analogue system
2. I was told that some of my older donated locos may not be suitable for chipping. Something to do with the type of motor fitted but not had any actual problems so far.
3. Tend to forget that the track is always live even when nothing is running and I want to 'adjust' something.

I started by obtaining a cheap second hand controller and had two locos chipped to try it out. When it comes to crashes my controller has a large red button that stops everything in one go. Only needed to use it once myself but a few time when my young nephews have come to "play with the trains"
Colin
 

·
DT
Joined
·
4,794 Posts
Computer control is quite advanced - requiring many isolated sections that each pass through feedback modules before all being connected to the DCC power supply.

The computer can then locate the train and send the relevant commands down the DCC BUS.

You can do this in stages. Keep all the isolated sections in the track, they will be used. Join up all the feeders and/or switch on all your isolated sections and connect to the DCC BUS so everything is live. If you have return loops and turntables, add reversing units, if you have shorts on the points add more isolators to the frog rails. Add feedback modules to a few sections at a time, connecting them up to a PC and seeing what it achieves. Perhaps start with a yard or station and work down the line.

Regarding control, one DCC cab controller controls a train with it's knob or buttons, but it can also be controlling others at the same time. Depending on the brand, you can switch between trains to send various commands to them. This could get confusing si it is possible to add more cab controllers where each controller controls one or perhaps two trains only. I have done that here:


Arnold Digital Central Control unit connected to a Digital Loco Control and a pair of Digital Keyboards

Let us know how you progress. DCC in N gauge is not the easiest path, but you can get lots of pleasure by using DCC if you are interested in more realistic control of your locos and trains.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
16 Posts
Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Thx guys.

One final question. Can you have DCC and standard controll at the same time? The reason I ask, having 50 locos chipped would take time and lots of cash so would hate not being able to run the rest of the loco stud whilst this is done.

If so would this be done via the DCC controller or can you have standard controllers running at the same time as the DCC unit?

Thx

Cudders
 

·
DT
Joined
·
4,794 Posts
QUOTE (cudders @ 27 Jun 2007, 11:04) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>...
One final question. Can you have DCC and standard controll at the same time? The reason I ask, having 50 locos chipped would take time and lots of cash so would hate not being able to run the rest of the loco stud whilst this is done....

There is no reason why you can't have a DC section of track in amongst the DCC track as long as they do not connect with each other directly. You would have to have a completely isolated transition section of track to prevent a loco running from DCC to DC and visa versa.

Even though some DCC decoders can run on DC and most DCC systems allow one DC loco to run on DCC, I really doubt that it would be good to mix systems and have a loco run from one to the other.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
5,592 Posts
I strongly advise you not to run N gauge loco's without a decoder on a DCC layout. Doug was very clear about having a totally different section for DC. Under DCC N gauge motors tend to quickly overheat and can fail if they are run without a decoder fitted. My experience is with the older Farish motors but I think it's a good rule of thumb to avoid this problem. Small motors have a high pitched whine when run as locomotive 0. This is caused by vibration and this quickly leads to heat build up and plastic bits used as bearings melt. DCC with N gauge is now well established and highly successful most American loco's are DCC ready. If possible try to buy a DCC setup with an N gauge setting that allows you to reduce voltage as you really want to be around 12 volts for your scale.
I understand that with N gauge you tend to have more loco's I had over 120 on my layout (I started with N gauge and was running DCC in 1994/5). try to select 10 or 12 loco's for conversion first and do those and maybe one or two a month, you'll be mazed how quickly you have converted your whole stock. At least Decoders have dropped a lot in price. Dont be tempted with really cheap decoders, and don't convert poor runners to DCC until you've resolved their running issues.

 

·
Registered
Joined
·
16 Posts
Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Well as I can't have working colour signals on my LNER/LMS layout, not sure whether to go with DCC or not. Seems that is a big reason for having it coupled with detection etc.

Just can't decide either way...why did I have to be a Libran


Cudders
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
16 Posts
Discussion Starter · #11 ·
QUOTE (Makemineadouble @ 27 Jun 2007, 16:58) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>I strongly advise you not to run N gauge loco's without a decoder on a DCC layout. Doug was very clear about having a totally different section for DC. Under DCC N gauge motors tend to quickly overheat and can fail if they are run without a decoder fitted. My experience is with the older Farish motors but I think it's a good rule of thumb to avoid this problem. Small motors have a high pitched whine when run as locomotive 0. This is caused by vibration and this quickly leads to heat build up and plastic bits used as bearings melt. DCC with N gauge is now well established and highly successful most American loco's are DCC ready. If possible try to buy a DCC setup with an N gauge setting that allows you to reduce voltage as you really want to be around 12 volts for your scale.
I understand that with N gauge you tend to have more loco's I had over 120 on my layout (I started with N gauge and was running DCC in 1994/5). try to select 10 or 12 loco's for conversion first and do those and maybe one or two a month, you'll be mazed how quickly you have converted your whole stock. At least Decoders have dropped a lot in price. Dont be tempted with really cheap decoders, and don't convert poor runners to DCC until you've resolved their running issues.



Thx mate. Makes sense that.

Cudders
 
1 - 11 of 11 Posts
Top