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Is Block Wiring a Good Idea when Running DCC?

Ben has OO and asks readers:

“I heard block wiring is not necessary for DCC, whereas with DC it was essential. Although that makes sense, surely on DCC it would still be sensible to isolate electrical problems by isolating one block at a time?

I know people use multiple drops with DCC as a way of evenly distributing power and increasing reliability. So maybe I’m barking up the wrong tree? Feedback appreciated.”

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9 Responses to Is Block Wiring a Good Idea when Running DCC?

  • Kevin Chingsays:

    If you block wire DCC then you are defeating the sense of having DCC in the first place.the track is alive at all times as each loco is controlled independently

  • Billsays:

    In the DC sense block wiring is not necessary. For DCC if you have enough space to be running multiple trains you may wish to separate your track with insulating joiners at strategic points and control the electrical feed to each “block” with fuses. Operating a train across the layout is seamless but if a short develops in one area the remainder of the layout continues to function.

    • Sheldon Clarksays:

      If you have a complex track layout, it would make sense to divide your railway up into separate power districts to avoid having the whole lot shut down in the event of a fault. If, however, yours is a simple railway where it would be relatively easy to trace a fault, then wiring the whole lot up as one would be the way to go. You pays yer money…………

  • Ernstsays:

    I would guess that block wiring with a simple on-off switch on each block would not hurt anyone and also it might just help you in the future with shorts and other unforeseen stuff on a DCC layout, not that i have any knowledge on DCC systems.

  • Gerald Hyinksays:

    Yes, use block wiring. Without it a short shuts everything down.

  • Craig Inghamsays:

    Blocks with DC or DCC are a convenient troubleshooting asset. Also, as previously suggested, a problem does not have to shut everything down and interrupt other segments. Also, it allows operation of part of the railroad while another part is undergoing maintenance.. it provides convenience.repair

  • Jaysays:

    I run DCC & DC, so I use Block Wiring. I also use block wiring for the reasons that I like to shut off blocks with trains parked in them, and for trouble-shooting purposes. I also employ Block Detection on my layout, and that does require the use of Blocks. If you have a very small layout, blocks are less necessary, but for large layouts it becomes more important for isolating problems.

  • Bernie Haylettsays:

    I have divided my DCC layout into three sections so as to cut down on the time it takes to locate a short. Each section is driven from the same CAB but via a 25W 12V automobile lamp. These have negligible resistance when cold but light up if a short is present. The resistance when lit is much higher and limits the current draw from the CAB to a safe level.

    • Tolaksays:

      Now that’s the sort of fuse I like; it tells you when there is a problem, and provides protection, all in the same module.
      Have you found any issues with teh inductance of the bulb affecting the control logic? Is it worth putting a capacitor across the lamp, so the high frequency signal can get through easily?

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