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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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7 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

  • captain mikie says:

    SIMPLE: unless your layout is very large and you are using boosters, etc for a reason, start over:

    my DCC layout is 7 feet by 3.5 feet — I used 14 AWG stranded wire for the buss, ran it through the benchwork supports under my 2″ foam layout board. Used a Digitrax Zephyr as my controller and have run as many as 5 DCC locos at once in various directions and speeds with no problem.

    Use one Gauge of buss wire in the same color consistently throughout your system, also feeder wires need to be uniform in color for each side of the rail. Don’t mix wire sizes and colors, you will be ok.

  • Jay Ross says:

    You didn’t say that you are using dual gauge track,but if you are, wiring can become much more complicated. Though DCC systems will allow you to have your layout wired with minimal track feed wires, I prefer to have my layout wired with blocks, controlled by selector switches. With blocks, you can turn off sections of the layout to help in isolating electrical problems. With the little information you provided, it sounds like a possible short circuit. I agree with the comments to check the track voltages. You might try just running your DCC output to a section of “Test Track” (separated from the layout) to verify that each loco is working properly, and also the DCC system is functioning properly.

  • Harry Connell says:

    looking for advice,had decided to try DCC, all advice on which is best system please, currently relaying my 00 gauge railway and have a single branch line that I would like to convert to DCC while the rest is analogue, my query is that there are turnouts not only to my engine shed but to the twin main lines, what affect will that have on the digital running? or does the branch need to to total independent? all help and advice appreciated

  • Harry Connell says:

    hi guys, close up of the area queried black line is branch, red & green main lines, dotted line engine shed

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