DCC Wiring Problem on a Small N Scale Layout


Good Afternoon

I am relatively new to DCC and I have a few questions about wiring my layout. Here are the details of what I have done:

1. 3'x10' n scale unitrack layout (double tracked with several spurs) with number 6 turnouts (17 of them).
2. Turnouts are isolated with Kato plastic joiners at the diverging tracks of the turnout and then powered by Kato feeders (24 gauge wire).
3. My Kato feeder wires are going to be stripped of insulation, folded back to create a thicker wire, tinted with solder and then soldered to spade connectors.
4. All feeders are connected to 2 separate terminal barrier strips.
5. The bus wires (16 gauge stranded wire; 2 foot long sections) run from the barrier strips (one for each track) and connect to an NCE Power Cab DCC system.

I am trying to divide and conquer in a logical manner as I have already run into the issue of not being able to get a DCC locomotive running with even one feeder connection despite knowing that the feeders (I tested a couple of them randomly) will power a given section of track using DC. What am I missing here? Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated. Thanks.


Don Vollrath

You DO have a DCC decoder in the test loco... right??
1. Use a separate piece of track wired directly to the DCC bus according to the NCE instructions for wiring it up and make sure you can control the loco as expected using your NCE PowerCab. If this doesn't work review your wiring of the Power Cab system and make sure you are addressing the loco with the correct DCC loco address. (see #2) If #1 works then the problem is somewhere in your layout track connections, etc. So...
2. Use a voltmeter and measure the AC voltage across the track section where the loco does not respond to DCC commands. There should be 10-16 Vac as measured on the track (the DCC power). Work your way out from the PowerCab Panel and make sure you have the Power Cab plugged into the correct RJ connector and are using the correct curly vs flat cord.


Greg Elmassian

Any updates?


Hi Greg

Thank you for your suggestions. I tested my locomotives and DCC system on a test track. Everything works. I have also made progress with my layout and I am happy to report that the sections of track I have installed and wired are working quite well with my DCC locomotives. I am being patient and meticulous to avoid any further issues. Thanks

Greg Elmassian

Great news! Sometimes it pays to take a step back to a more basic configuration.

Glad it is working.