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DCC and Turnouts – What Will Work?

unitrack nec power cab

Ed sent in this question for readers to tackle:

“I’m in the process of building my first N Scale layout. I’m using Kato Unitrack and an NCE PowerCab. I have yet to figure out the best way to operate my #6 Kato turnouts. Can a Digitrax DS64 be used with the NCE PowerCab for this purpose? If not, is there any other “turnkey” product that a non-electrical savvy person use?”

Add your answer, or view the answers, in the COMMENTS below.

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11 Responses to DCC and Turnouts – What Will Work?

  • Billsays:

    The DS64 is just a stationary decoder. It is compatible with any DCC system. So you can use a Power Cab to send the signal to it. I don’t know if the output from the DS64 is sufficient to move the turnout though.

  • Lou De Bragasays:

    Hi Ed,
    I currently have an HO scale layout using KATO Unitrack along with an NCE Power Cab. All my switches are currently powered using my KATO DC Controller using the AC adaptor along with 10 KATO turnout control switches operating 12 switches in all. I find this setup works just fine for the size of layout I have (2 scale miles in HO).


    • Gene Petersonsays:

      I use the same setup with 16 switches and Kato Unitrack and it works great . Also I like that track because it is very easy to change the layout which I have done many times. And it stays put without being nailed down.

    • Thom Harrissays:

      Hello, Ed (and Gene, also) if you are reading this. I also have a KATO layout using the turnout switches you use, but my layout is strictly DC, because I read somewhere that I would have to modify the turnouts to be non-power routing if I switch to a DCC system. Is that correct? I was surprised to read that you both continue to use the KATO DC controller with a DCC system. I guess I am a little confused on how this all works together, but would be interested in more understanding of your setup. (I have run DCC at a club I belong to, so I am familiar with the basics of the DCC operation.) Thanks for any help you can provide.

      • Rob Lewissays:

        Being that the switches (points) circuit is separate from the DCC track circuit then they work independently from each other

    • Edsays:

      This might be an easy solution for me as I’m going to be running a Unitram trolley system within my larger layout so I may just piggyback the Unitrack turnouts onto that.

  • Jimsays:

    I use the ds64 with tortoise switch motors and the NCE PC it works great. depending on the switch motors u use slow motion or snap i.e. Peco u will have to change it through the ds64 , the ds64 will operate either ,if u have any problems call digitrax they are great with customer service

  • Frank Bsays:

    The fundamental nature of DCC systems (to the NMRA standard) is that any make of control system will work perfectly with any make of loco or accessory decoder, because they are all designed to perform to a compatible set of operating standards.

    Technical details: https://www.nmra.org/index-nmra-standards-and-recommended-practices

    I advise you to study to become (at least basically) “electrically savvy”, because you will then be able to do a great deal more on your layout with accessories etc, and be able to diagnose the many problems that can occur with model railways. A school physics textbook will give you the basics of electricity, and there are many free online electronics courses available.

    • Ed McEnteesays:

      Thanks for your “non-help”.
      While I fully DO intend to become electrically savvy and study to learn what I’m doing, I was merely reaching out for some real help to get me past a hurdle so I could run trains and enjoy my layout while working on said studying.
      Thankfully, others were willing to be more helpful and provide some answers and alternatives that I was looking for

  • Michael Kentsays:

    For what it’s worth, here is what I do and find it works perfectly.
    I have a DCC ‘OO’ layout with, mainly, Peco track and, exclusively, Peco solenoid points.
    My cab is a Gaugemaster Prodigy (which I guess could be similar to the NCE Power Cab).
    I have 3 – DCCconcepts DCD-ADS-8sx accessory decoders controlling my 31 points and a Gaugemaster WiFi receiver/transmitter. This enables me to control the points using the cab and drive the trains using my iPhone or iPad
    As I live in Australia, all my kit/trains are locally sourced or from the UK (as I am!)

  • Scottsays:

    I use the NCE Switch-Kat stationary decoder, it’s for Kato switches. Simple to hook up, 2 wires to track buss and 2 wires to the switch. As a bonus there are connections for remote switches and directional lights. Throw the switches from the NCE cab or buttons on a console. I even use 1 for my double cross-over.

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