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Connecting a DCC System to the Track

Don has this question for readers:

“Until now I have been totally DC, but thought I might test the waters with DCC. I recently purchased a Bachmann GP9 DCC locomotive and am running it in DC mode.

I’m just now sure how DCC systems get connected to the track. Are they connected the with two wires like on DC? And, if at any time I want to disconnect the DCC system and reconnect my DC transformer so I can operate my older my DC locomotives, can I do that? Depending on how I get on I might look at converting a couple of my older DC engines as I understand that’s possible?”

6 Responses to Connecting a DCC System to the Track

  • Dale Arendssays:

    The DCC system should have a set of connectors labeled something like “to track”. Simply disconnect the wires from the DC supply and connect them to the DCC system and you should be good. You will have to program in the DCC loco(s) to the controller so the DCC system can talk to the right locomotive.Most DCC locos default to ID 3 so you should reassign the loco to something else (most of us use the road number of the loco itself) since all IDs have to be unique. The instructions that come with the DCC system should get you and running in less than 10 minutes after the connections are made.

    Going back to DC is as simple as disconnecting the 2 wires from the DCC system and reconnecting them to the DC supply. You will then have to switch the locos back to DC mode.

    My recommendation is that you get a length of track separate from the layout and do your testing there before committing the entire layout.

  • Allen Blacksays:

    A large number of modern locos will work on DC and DCC So no need to change the loco just the two wires to the layout

  • David Kaysays:

    To use DC and DCC on one layout, just connect the two wires from the different controllers to the outside terminals of a DPDT switch. The two centre terminals take power to the track. If you use a ‘Centre Off’ switch, the power is totally switched off from one supply, before the other supply is connected. That is how I power my layout. (See attachment)

  • David Kaysays:

    I power my layout with a DC and DCC controller via DPDT switch. Connect the two wires from the DC controller to the left terminals on the switch and the DCC controller to the right terminals. Power is taken to the track from the centre terminals. If you use a ‘Centre Off’ switch, power from one controller is switched off before power from the second controller is connected.

  • Skip Duldsays:


  • David Stokessays:

    Skip – No need to yell mate.
    DCC is not all black magic. There are many good DCC systems on the markets ranging in price from under $100 to $900. As Skip says, you need a DCC system.

    You then need locos fitted with DCC chips, and I think this is what Skip is getting at. Manufacturers have three, possibly 4 types of loco. They are DC, DC/DCC Hybrids, DCC fitted which have the chip in already, and DCC ready – that is there is wiring in the loco set up to take a chip bur don’t contain the chip.

    This is a trap for young players, make sure you are b=getting what you need, and what you are paying for.

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