Rewiring an existing layout for DCC

Marcus Ammann
 

Hi Paul

I agree with what Dale has said and all that Allan with his Wiring
for DCC site suggests, Ulrich has stated what I have termed, "too
many negatives to go to DCC" and has scared off many a potential
DCCer.

A lot of home layouts will not need 2, 3 etc boosters and will never
reach the full potential of one booster's designed current limit.
They will only run one to say 4 or 5 locos, and that would be with a
few operators.

I would encourage any modeller contemplating going to DCC to reap the
rewards that are available in DCC, to JUST connect a DCC system to
his layout, with one proviso, use a 12 volt "1156" or similar lamp in
series with one track feeder, but the booster will never cut out with
a short, the lamp illuminates and gives a "very" visual warning. This
will protect the layouts wiring and limit the total number of locos
on the track running at one time, but at least a single opertor will
be happily operating with DCC and enjoying all the new found features
that DCC brings with the minimum effort and all done in a few hours
and that includes fitting a decoder.

A DCC equipped loco does not draw anymore current than its dc
equivalent, maybe a few milliamps more to power the electronics but
thats all.

I have over 100 Peco turnouts in code 100 and have not converted any
of them to "DCC Friendly". I would only convert installed turnouts if
they are causing a problem, and only after I have done things like
improve track alignment and correct any wheel sets that are out of
gauge, this will correct most problems. I have progressively changed
my layout as the need arises and have used all the information that
Allan and others have provided on his web site, to answer my own
questions and help me understand the "wiring problems".

With my recommendation, you will address a problem when it presents
itself, otherwise don't worry yourself about some things that never
happen, but at least you are running in DCC and not thinking about
how to modify all your turnouts and rewiring your layout and never
getting to DCC. At a later stage you will probably rewire sections or
the whole of you layout.

If starting from scatch, then yes, wire system as it suggested in
these pages, modify turnouts prior to fitting and wire in power zones.

There is NO substitute for good wiring practices.

Marcus




--- In WiringForDCC@..., Ulrich Albrecht <albreuf@m...>
wrote:
Paul,

One of the statements I often heard about conversion from DC to DCC
is
that if everything works under DC, just hook up a DCC booster, and
things
will work. In my opinion, this has to be taken with a grain of
salt, and
here are my reasons:

a) DC uses much lower current loads than DCC. I you use a booster
like
Digitrax DB150 or DCS100, the maximum output is 5A, while a good
power
pack in DC may deliver 2A. You may end up overloading your DC
wiring with
a DCC-booster. I rewired my lauout completely.

b) DC is much less sensitive to shorts than DCC. This applies
particular
to turnouts. A metal whell that short circuits a turnout may not be
noticed by the DC powerpack due to the short duration of the short,
but it
will trigger the booster.

My sugestion, rewire the whole thing unless you have a AVG#18 power
bus
(actually I would use AVG# 14 or lower when rewiring). The #18 is
o.k.
unless your loads will exceed 3A, in this case it will cause a
voltage
drop. Also make sure that all your wheels are in gauge, so that
they do
not touch parts of switches which are connected to opposite outputs
of the
booster. As far as Peco turnouts are concerned, I have no
experience, but
if you do not have a short under DC, your set-up should work except
for
b).

Ulrich


--- In WiringForDCC@..., sawlumber@a... wrote:
I have an existing layout. I'm getting ready to change over
to
DCC. I have
Electrofrog Peco turnouts. I have heard that if you put
insulators on the
frog rails and the stock rails of the switch, I won't have to
tear them out
and re-wire them? Any ideas?

Thanks
Paul


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