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What’s the Loco Number Limit in DCC Zones?

Geoff has this question:

“I’m new to DCC. I’m planning a small UK OO narrow gauge layout. The system I bought has an output of 2 amps. The circuit protector can have up to six zones, but 1 amp each. The docs say that the 2 amps will power up to 4 HO locomotives at one time, but am I right in thinking that the circuit protector will limit that to 2 in each zone? The docs for the circuit protector say you can connect it in such a way to have 3 zones 2 amps each, which perhaps is what I need to do?”

2 Responses to What’s the Loco Number Limit in DCC Zones?

  • Billsays:

    Geoff,
    A number of things going on here. First you are planning a “small” layout. Probably going to be too many “zones” if you have more than 2. The idea of breaking it up into zones is to allow a short in one zone to not affect the other zones. If it is a small layout then the zones will be small and if a train moves from one zone to another that is in short then the train goes no further until the short is cleared.

    Generally a modern or recent locomotive will draw about 1/2 an amp. This is true until you add lighted passenger cars or something else with numerous lights. If those lights are drawing their power from the track then you have to add their current consumption to your locos. If they are LED’s then it won’t be too much current but incandescents will add up very quickly.

    How you structure your zones is up to you but you will still only have a maximum of 2 amps to work with. This means 4 locomotives max assuming no extra lights on your trains.

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