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Do You Need Independent Bus Wires, and Boosters for DCC Wiring?

Ray with HOn3 asks:

“I have wired my new layout based on lots of advice I could find. I have one track that is 12mm gauge and a separate track on same layout that is 16mm gauge. So far neither loco will run. Should I somehow run 2 independent bus wires? Should I get a booster? I am trying to use a basic NCE unit. Hopeful.”

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3 Responses to Do You Need Independent Bus Wires, and Boosters for DCC Wiring?

  • Warren Duncan says:

    Ray, more information is needed to try to help. Are your locomotives DCC, How are the two separate tracks connected electrically, a simple schematic drawing would be helpful. Regarding a booster, how large is your layout. In itself, the two different gauge buss wires would not prevent the locomotives from running. I would set up a simple test track to verify the NCE unit is working properly, being sure it is connected properly.
    Good Luck, Warren

  • Martin Brown says:

    Ignore the locos for a moment; have you got power at the track? With DCC, power should be getting to the track continuously, not just when you ask a loco to move. Have you shorted it out somewhere? Does a trip need re-setting? If no power is reaching the track, trace the wiring back to the source to find out why not.

    Ideally use a meter capable of showing about 20v AC or with a suitable bulb or LED. If used very briefly, a 12v bulb should survive but you will blow most LEDs unless used with a suitable resistor. Meters are dirt cheap these days – buy one on eBay – it may save a lot of head scratching!

    If you are getting somewhere around 16-24v AC at the track, the problem is probably the programming of the loco DCC chips. Programming seems daunting to begin with but get hold of a guide and follow it carefully. It seemed like gobbledegoop to me but after the first one it gradually makes more sense. It all works by black magic and you have to sing the right incantations.

  • bruce Webb says:

    if you are using the 2 amp starter set use the flat cord for the hand held unit and make sure that it is pluged into the left plug on the the little unit that has the little red led at the bottom just under the pluds. if you plug it into the right socket it will power up the hand set but nothing will go to the track. only the left socket will power up both the hand held unit (cab) and the track there for it must be plugedin at all tines to run trains note: the right socket can now be used for another cab. I hope this givrs you somewere to start looking

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Use Tiny Railroad Micro Controllers

A micro controller is basically a small programmable computer device to help hobbyists “make things operate.” It is clever way to realistically replicate the movements, actions and functions you are likely to see on a full size railroad.



Micro control technology can be used for:

Rolling stock and scenic lighting effects, street lamp lighting, lighting up of structures, emergency vehicle flashing lights, replicating a campfire or arc welding, tall structure tower lighting, block occupancy detection, turnout operation, motors/servos, solenoid, infrared, right-of-way signal lighting, current sense, crossing gate & signal operation, semaphores, flashers, turntable control, gate arms, draw/lift bridge control, fast time clock, DCC testing, scenery sound control, wireless controls, and lighting fixture day to night control. Read more...

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A simple DC (Direct Current) transformer will give you a nice chugging locomotive going one way on your model train track, however, with a DCC unit you can have the flexibility of having an entire train-switching yard happening right in front of your eyes! That is the adaptability that is available with this coming-of-age technology in the hobby!



By using the Digital Command Control, you are opening up a whole new range of possibilities. A continuous electrical current is sent to all of the many things you have installed on your train layout, however, now you have a digital receiver installed in each various items. You can therefore control each and every one of them with the selectable controller and enhance the operation and, more importantly, the look and feel of your system.

The technical side of the DCC is, actually, not as complicated as you might think. In reality, a DCC system is usually easier to wire than a straight DC system.

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Scenery, structures, and fine detailing is a fundamental aspect of any good model railroad, particularly if it is intended to replicate a true-to-life railroading scene. How realistic or authentic you make your railroad is entirely up to you... and you alone.

Some enthusiasts like to replicate every tiny detail so as to accurately depict, in every aspect, a miniaturized version of a real life scene.

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