Re: Planning N scale DCC layout electrical questions


Hi Norm,

Here is my take.....

1 - Most the track is about the same. Atlas, Peco and Kato all have good
conductivity.  Rail size makes no difference, so Code 55 is no different than 80

2 - See above

3 - Feeders are dependent more on the track than any set rule. For example. you
can drop feeders at every soldered rail join with flex track.  But if you are
using sectional track, that gets a little overboard.  The key is to solder the
rail joiners but also leave some unsoldered for thermal expansion. The other
part is what turnouts you are using, and whether the frogs are powered or not.
It is a good practice to drop a feeder on both paths of turnouts. and not rely
on frog power to provide the power to the adjacent rails. As for methodology,
Common Home is better and allows for better isolation and troubleshooting.

4 - No, see above

5 - Any one of the major manufacturers, whether it be NCE, Digitrax, MRC, Lenz
or others.  They all have to pass safety testing before they can be sold to

6 - Decoders only overheat when they are having to dissapate too much power. 
Since most of the decoders have an auto shut down when a short is detected, the
main cuplrit is running the locomotives too hard with too high a voltage. A bad
decoder install can also cause the decoder to burnout.

7 - Amps is for how many locomotives and other devices you want to run like
stationary decoders to throw turnouts etc. In each system, there is a setting
for either the scale size or a voltage trim capability. N scale is best run on
12Volts. A 2.5 to 3 Amp system should be fine for your proposed layout.

8 - A reverse loop can be implemented in many ways. It does not require a
seperate booster if you use Common Home wiring and might if you use Common
Rail.  You can use toggle switches or the easiest is to use and auto-reversing
circuit breaker.  Something like a DCC Specialties PSX-AR hooks into the
existing power bus and isolates the reversing section from the rest of the
layout. It is not the cheapest solution, but it is the most reliable.

9 - No, see above

10 - Though to answer without a track plan, but the most control of this would
be the operator paying attention.

Hope this helps to shed some light on the subjcet for you.

Happy New Year,


From: Norman Seifert <stargazing_pilgrim@...>
To: WiringForDCC@...
Sent: Sat, January 1, 2011 12:49:09 AM
Subject: [WiringForDCC] Planning N scale DCC layout electrical questions


I am not an expert model railroader; please keep the answers as clear as
possible, no “Change the voltage in the booster to 500 volts and connect both
wires to the same rail.”

For a 3’x5’ N scale DCC layout:
1. What brand track conducts electricity and the DCC signal best?
2. Is Atlas code 55 or 80 best for DCC conductivity?
3. I read someone recommended feeder wires to every section of track and not to
use common rail wiring. ?
4. Do you really have to solder ever piece of track together?
5. Which DCC command systems UNDER $300. are safest electrically for N scale?
6. How do you prevent overheating current - burning up N decoders?
7. Maximum voltage of systems? Most are listed in amps.
8. Do you need a booster with reverse-loop-modulars?
9. Do you need a transformer for reverse loop modulars?
10. How to prevent 2nd. Locomotive(both DCC) from entering opposite end of
reverse loop and causing a short? Only have one Open switch into the reverse
track would work, but is there a wiring way to stop the second train?
THANKS for replies to any of the questions.

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