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Is it possible to create a layout which with the throw of a simple switch can go from DC control to DCC control and back again?


This subject may be of interest to a lot of members and visitors who are contemplating DCC but don't want to have to chip all their locos and especially the older collectables that they may have that may not work so well with DCC.

What are the constraints when contemplating a dual purpose layout?


Is it better to opt for totally isolated seperate layouts within a layout?


I would guess that with Hornby keeping it simple and using the track as the "bus" then it would be equally simple with such a set up to incorporate a switch that immedietely converts to whole layout back to DC control. You then remove all your DCC chipped locos and have a play with your non chipped locos.

Happy modelling
Gary
 

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I have a small layout for running both the conventional 12v system and the Hornby live steam. There are four sections on which I can run either type of loco. I switch each section over between the live steam 'bus-bars' (virtually the same as those needed by DCC) and the conventional system using double-pole relays. Sections are completely isolated from each other by insulated joiners. This ensures the two systems cannot be accidently connected together. You could connect every section like this and link all the relays together to one switch to select which you need.

More information is in the 'O,G and larger scales, Live Steam' forum on the second page in the thread 'Mixing Hornby live steam with 'trad' 12volt'.

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John Webb
 

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Over the last two years I have been building a quite complex layout which measures 12ft x 6ft.

One of my main criteria when designing this layout is that it would be able to operate either as a DC layout or a DCC layout.

I achieved this by using two isolation switches on the DCC power feeds from controller, which some manufacturers recommend anyway, and the other item which changes operational mode is two multi pin plug and sockets.

To date I have had no problems at all operating in either mode.

I also hasten to add that nowhere on the control panel or layout are there any electronic modules or any relays involved in the changeover.

Derek
 

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QUOTE I also hasten to add that nowhere on the control panel or layout are there any electronic modules or any relays involved in the changeover.

That's the key I think. On my layout it will only work in DCC because I am digitizing everything (points, reverse loops, delays, lights). For me to still run analog I would have to totally isolate a section.
 

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There are modules which allow trains to go from DCC controlled sections to DC control and vice versa, so the two don't have to be completely separate.
 

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Is it possible to create a layout which with the throw of a simple switch can go from DC control to DCC control and back again?
Mine does. I have two oval circuits with several terminal branches. The power feeds from the track have crocodile clips at the end so that when (or more accurately if) I want to use analogue dc I connect the crocodile clips to the terminals on the analogue dc controller. When I go back to DCC I connect the two negative clips together and the two positive clips together and connect them to the DCC power feed. Takes seconds.

I also have the option to have one section analogue and DCC should I wish as the two circuits are isolated due to their analogue origins.

My accessories at this point still comes from the AC output from the analogue controller but when I get my new DCC system and more dosh I will ultimately have them operated from the new system.

What are the constraints when contemplating a dual purpose layout?
Where control of your accessories lies and if you have isolate sections and electrofrog points

Is it better to opt for totally isolated separate layouts within a layout?
Defeats the purpose of having DCC. One of the big selling features of DCC is that you don't have to mess around with all the extensive wiring of isolated sections.
 

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I think the bottom line is:-

DC - one loco per live electrical feed
DCC - In real terms the limit is determined by the depth of your wallet.

My layout is currently wired as 4 sections - two per main line. Each main line pair is connected to one half of a H&M Duette (that's variable resistance DC control for those too young to remember a Duette).

I can run two locos at the same time - one these already has a Lenz gold in it.

There are no isolation sections at all, the whole layout is live because, as regular readers will know, I am going to convert to DCC just as soon as a UK version of the ECoS lands in the UK (sounds like late October from other threads on here).

Until then I am stuck with two loco control and no flexibility in operation. If I want to have more DC locos, I will have to add switches and an awful lot more wiring.

I really don't think you can from DCC wiring to DC wiring, but you can go from DC to DCC. Connect the DCC to the DC feed and close all your section switches.

David
 

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QUOTE I really don't think you can from DCC wiring to DC wiring, but you can go from DC to DCC. Connect the DCC to the DC feed and close all your section switches.
I run my small DC layout which has about 12 isolated sections either as standard DC or as DCC by simply plugging the DCC feed into the DIN socket for my hand hand controller and then switching all the isolated section to take power from the "Hand Held" ( which is now the DCC ).

I still control points etc via my track schematic via probe. I can also run DC locos alongside the DCC simply by isolating the DC loco in a section. Thus I can run several DC locos as well as the DCC ones. Isolating the DC locos stops the annoying buzz!

I suppose the above is only practical when you want to use an existing CAB controlled layout either as DCC or DC.

I have also extended my layout and will convert it long term to solely DCC. I could wire up the extension for CAB control and keep it dual mode as per the original sections. But as I want to move to computer control of locos, blocks, points and signals then I have to move to full DCC in the long term. Plus CAB is a lot of wiring and a schematic board to build.

But as an interim the above works well for me as I have 15-20 DCC locos out of a stock of 70 ish. I keep buying more as the latest Bachmann and Hornby are so good and they are coming DCC ready or with chips pre-installed. At least this way I can migrate slowly rather than have to change everything in one go.
 
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