Converting from DC to DCC on existing HO scale layout


Hi. As noted above, I am considering converting some of my locomotives to DCC. I have an existing layout where the track is already painted and ballasted and am concerned about whether the turnouts would need to be altered in some way. My track is Atlas code 83 where the turnouts have insulated frogs. The layout runs well on DC with little to no stalling on these insulated frogs. Would the turnout frogs need to be separately powered or would a locomotive decoder with a stay alive capacitor work is this situation? The layout has two rail wiring, with #14 buss wiring and #20 feeder wires spaced every three feet on center. The turnouts are manually thrown. Thanks in advance for any help.

Paul O <pomilian@...>

Charles, convert a couple of your locos to DCC; buy your DCC system of choice; remove your DC transformer; install your new DCC system and have fun running your trains!
Please don’t attempt to mix the two systems; use one or the other.

Paul O


Hi Charles,

Your layout sounds like it is in pretty good shape.  If you have some stalling, you may have trouble with sound locomotives.  Upon power interruption, your sound locomotives may cut out and the sound will restart.  A stay alive capacitor will probably take care of that.  This will be easier than trying to modify your turnouts and powering the frogs.

Allan Gartner
Wiring for DCC

Don Vollrath

Charles, you have good start for a DC to DCC conversion. Code 83 Atlas turnouts do generally have a dead frog with sometimes marginal point rail connections. Barely noticeable unless you run DC trains at slower speeds. But putting in a keep-alive to each loco like as you convert to DCC will easily overcome those issues without making any changes to the turnouts and allow you to run DCC trains at realistic speeds.
Have fun!



Hi all and thanks for the responses. Based on this I think that I have a better understanding of the turnout issue and my existing layout. I would never attempt to mix DC with DCC as this was not my intent with this layout.
Best Regards,
Charles Trevey