Can someone give an explanation in order of how dcc conects.

Discussion in 'DCC & Electronics' started by prodigy2k7, Dec 21, 2006.

  1. prodigy2k7

    prodigy2k7 Member

    How does DCC connect to your track?
    for example:
    First it comes out of ur AC wall socket and enters your booster,
    then it leaves the booster and enters...blah blah
    blah blah...
    and ends up wired to your track....

    Where do the boosters come in?

    Also im waiting for a question to get answered :p :
    Can a DC loco run on a DCC track? why or why not?
  2. steamhead

    steamhead Active Member

    OK, Let's keep this simple. The AC that comes out of the wall goes through a transformer (generally a "power pack") and enters your "command station". That's the unit that controls your trains. It comes out the other end and goes to your track where the locos do their thing.

    A "booster" is an additional power source that is used in conjunction with your cammand station to provide greater power to your track so you can run more engines at the same time than the command station could handle. Most entry-level systems can handle 3-4 engines without the need for a booster.

    Yes, you can run a DC engine on DCC track (set the command station to address 00). It will buzz a lot when stopped, but the buzz will diminish as you turn the power up. It's not a good idea to do this for any length of time as you can damage the motor. Also don't let it sit on a live DCC track - same thing happens.

    Hope this helps.
  3. prodigy2k7

    prodigy2k7 Member

    I am confused,

    That loco:

    [COLOR=red][FONT=Times][SIZE=5][COLOR=red][FONT=Times][SIZE=5][COLOR=red][FONT=Times][SIZE=5][COLOR=red][COLOR=red][FONT=verdana][SIZE=3][COLOR=red][B]FEATURES:[/B][/COLOR]Fully assembled and ready to run on conventional DC-powered layouts.
    Equipped with a 28-speed step decoder.
    With DCC On Board® technology, you can control the direction,
    speed, and lighting using the Bachmann® E-Z Command® Digital
    Command Control System

    Why is it DC if DC doesnt work well on DCC setups?

    What kind of loco do you need for a DCC setup?
  4. LongIslandTom

    LongIslandTom Member

    You need to understand the difference between DC and DCC...

    DC is Direct Current. The direct current electricity travels from one rail, into the motor onboard the locmotive, causes it to turn, and the electricity is returned through the other rail, completing the circuit. How fast the motor turns depends on how much DC voltage is going through the rails. You control the speed of the loco by varying the voltage. No electronics involved here at all, just a straight, simple electrical circuit (just like as if you put the wires of a motor to the + and - terminals of a battery to get it to turn).

    DCC, which stands for digital command control, is a lot more complicated. It uses alternating current (AC). The flow of electricity reverses direction 60 times per second, and the voltage is constant at 16V. A DCC decoder aboard an HO DCC-equipped locomotive will take that 16V AC current coming from the rails, and convert it to clean DC current so the locomotive's DC motor can use it. The rails also have a carrier signal, which sends commands to the decoder chip to vary the DC voltage going to the motor, thus controlling the speed of the locomotive.

    This is why straight DC locomotives won't work on a DCC system, unless you tell the command station there is a DC locomotive on the tracks, and the command station will attempt to run the DC motor by varying the timing of the pulses of electricity going to the DC locomotive rather than the voltage (which is very hard on a DC motor-- It causes bad vibrations and generates a lot of heat).

    So a DCC-equipped locomotive is essentially a normal DC-motored locomotive with a DCC decoder chip controlling the motor. The more recent DCC decoders have microchips can actually sense what kind of current is on the rails, and automatically adapt. That's why most DCC-equipped locomotives can work on either DC or DCC.

    Hope this clears things up.

    BTW if you want a DCC-equipped locomotive, I would recommend you look into Atlas locomotives with DCC onboard. Those run a lot nicer than Bachmanns.
  5. prodigy2k7

    prodigy2k7 Member

    thanks, its all makes sense...

    what I was really looking for was...

    A DCC decoder aboard an HO DCC-equipped locomotive will take that 16V AC current coming from the rails, and convert it to clean DC current so the locomotive's DC motor can use it.

    ^^that part,,,

  6. prodigy2k7

    prodigy2k7 Member

    I want to find a cheap loco for like $50-60 max that has a DCC onboard, let me guess, not going to find an atlas loco that cheap with dcc? (i dont care for sound)
  7. prodigy2k7

    prodigy2k7 Member

  8. LongIslandTom

    LongIslandTom Member

  9. prodigy2k7

    prodigy2k7 Member

    how do u know the first link is dcc on board? i dont see it saying that anywhere =(

    EDIT: infact, neither say it, how do you know that? lol maybe im blind

    Edit again: HO 4-Function Dual-Mode® Decoder (im assuming thats it for the 2nd link?)
  10. LongIslandTom

    LongIslandTom Member

    Yep. That's the DCC decoder on-board the loco.

    I think I'll pick up a couple myself. It will make a great Christmas gift for a few friends of mine. :D
  11. prodigy2k7

    prodigy2k7 Member

    psh lol can i be your friend? haha!
  12. LongIslandTom

    LongIslandTom Member

    Heh, if I can convince Bill Gates to adopt me as a son, I'd have no problems giving gifts like that to everyone for Christmas. sign1
  13. prodigy2k7

    prodigy2k7 Member

    heh, btw i like you the most on this forum, most helpful so far. =)
    I won't name any names but some are annoying me, you are not annoying me :)
  14. LongIslandTom

    LongIslandTom Member

    I'm sure everyone on the boards are trying to be helpful. Sometimes attempts at levity might be taken the wrong way, but I think over time you will see the guys here are a swell bunch. The vast majority of the time, anyways. :D

    Seriously. Of all the major model railroading boards on the net, this one is the one I've found to have the friendliest atmosphere, and consequently the Gauge is pretty much the only MRR board I visit.

    Best jump on that Atlas GP38 soon. After I reserved two, looks like they only got one left in stock. Unless you want to get the undecorated version and paint it up yourself (which is great if you want to freelance your own roadname).
  15. NYNH&H

    NYNH&H Member

    I have a number of Bachman locos. They don't run too well, but for $30 at a train show you just can't beat the price. I have had the best luck with the FT-A and FT-B. None of the hooded diesels run as smooth. With Bachman's lack of QC (I have two GP35s, bought at the same time, one runs slower and makes a lot more noise than the other), YMMV. If you can spare the $$$, then go for an Athearn RTR DCC ready (pop the shell off and PLUG in a decoder), or an Atlas. I have seen heard good things about Atlas. Most modern DCC decoders are dual-mode, so they run equally as well on DC or DCC. You do lose functions on DC, however.

    As for DCC, it is NOT AC. It is swtiching bipolar square wave DC. It looks to a dumb loco (non equipped), or a light or whatnot like AC, but it switches something like 8000 times a second, is not a sine wave, and has both 0 and 1 bits, the zero bits being longer. When running an analog loco, it zero stretches, in order to create a positive voltage potential over time, and make a DC loco go forward. NOT RECOMMENDED.

    A command station and a booster are TWO different things. The wall power goes into a power supply, the AC or DC output from that goes into both the command station and booster in parallel. The command station takes signals from the cabs, and makes a low current DCC signal. Then, attached boosters that that signal and amplify it, typically to 5 amps, although there are up to 10 amp boosters out there (for G gauge). That boosted singal goes to the rails. The confusion about a command station or booster probably is a result of the fact that most modern systems have the command station and the first booster in one box, with an internal connection. Then, extra boosters can be added. In the case of Digitrax, ever booster is a command station, but there is one model meant to be a command station and booster, and one meant to be a booster, but also features a command station that is diabled when running with another command station (you can have as many boosters as you want, but ONLY ONE command station). Digitrax, NCE, MRC, and LENZ have integrated boosters, wheras the 10 amp NCE system, and CVP have separate command stations and boosters.

    Two great sites are and the dcc wiki (google it).

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