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Wiring For DCC

Nick is planning an HO layout and asks:

“I am starting a new layout after a 25-year absence from the hobby. I am excited to embrace some of the newer updated equipment and model railroading methods used today. I have already purchased a lot of new tracks to replace all of the old brass tracks from the ’70s. My plan moving forward is to construct my new layout using DCC. Is it good practice to do so 100% or is there a reason why I should still wire the layout in DC first? I only have one (1) good loco left from the ’70s. In addition, is it recommended that I install all the switches and turnouts in DCC?
Your thoughts please?”

Please add your comments below to assist Nick.

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5 Responses to Wiring For DCC

  • geoffsays:

    If you are going to use DCC, then wire the layout using “DCC practices” from the get go. DC and DCC wiring practices are different, and as you will know from your previous experience, it’s a lot easier to wire something “right” as you are laying track than to go back and rewire a finished layout.

    Can’t help you with the switches. I use manual throws for mine.

  • Dalesays:

    How big is the layout going to be? Leaving aside reversing mechanisms, reversing loops, wyes, turntables, etc., wiring a DCC layout is easier than for DC. A simple power bus with feeders to the track (every 18-24 inches) is just about all you need. Reverse loops, wyes, turntables, etc., will require reversing sections and either toggle switches (ala DC) or auto-reversers to prevent shorts.

    If the layout is going to be large, you might want to consider power blocks so you don’t overtax your power supply. Most of the available DCC systems have power block capabilities. If you are planning on using DCC decoders for turnout control, things get a bit more complex but not too much.

    As long as all of your locos have DCC decoders, there is really no reason for wiring to be DC style. But that also means that any of your friends with DC locos won’t be able to run them on your layout.

  • Nicksays:

    Hey thanks fella’s
    FYI only because you mentioned the complexity of my plan.My layout will probably not take more than about (2) 4 x 8 sheet of plywood. Would love get at least 2 trains running constant and if possible a 3rd train that could be used to dance around in a small yard. Then who knows when I might expand.
    Thanks again, NICK

  • Richard Landrethsays:

    Why not wire it to handle both DC and DCC? Simple conversion from one to the other with a dpdt switch. By having both available, your non-DCC friends can run on your track as well as let you take advantage of any great non-DCC engines you come across.

  • Philsays:

    If you are going DCC consider using DCC++ for your all operations. There are many videos available to show you what to do and the cost for DCC will be under $15 US. It involves buying an Arduino Uno (~$2.50 US) and a Motor Shield (~$5.00). All the computer software is free.

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