DCC idea for multi engines

Discussion in 'DCC & Electronics' started by alphanumeric, Jun 7, 2004.

  1. alphanumeric

    alphanumeric Member

    ok.. I plan to go DCC with my new layout. I mean 30$ an engine or so.. is not that bad of a price.. but it starts getting $$$$$$ if you have 4 engines as a set... so I am guessing you need 4 DCC's or whatever, for each engine..

    my idea is to have only 1 DCC in the main engine.. then daisy chain it off to the 2nd, 3rd and 4th etc..... using a tiny, fine micro wire between each engine.. now these 4 engines.. since wires are connecting them.. u couldnt seperat them..but if they are a set, why would u want to?

    hopefully I explained it good enough for you guys to understand.. let me know what you think..
  2. jwmurrayjr

    jwmurrayjr Member


    There are several considerations if you want to control more than one loco with a single DCC decoder.

    You need to be sure that the DCC decoder will handle the total amps of the loco motors that you intend to control. Decoders typically will handle 1 to 1.5 amps.

    Also you may run into some issues when trying to get multiple locos to run at the same speed. One of the advantages to DCC is the ability to "tune" locos to respond the same way (speed, momentum, braking) to a single throttle setting.

    And then there are the lights. Other issues I'm sure but since I run stream my life is simpler than the diesel guys'.

  3. Fred_M

    Fred_M Guest

    Sounds good on paper, but in the real make-believe model world the problems that Jim mentioned are a big problem. Also allow me to add a few more, the wire needs to be bigger than you might think because the first wires must run 3 more locos. Then you would almost need a drawbar because if the locos uncouple it will rip the wires out. The drawbars then lead to tracking problems whick can lead to derailments. It's hard to balance the drawbars as to loose enough not to bind v too loose and causing shocks. Too tight the loco derails and break the drawbars, too loose and the banging break the drawbars. I tried it with just 2 HO locos and it was enough to make the hobby not fun anymore for me. Decoders keep getting cheaper everyday. I would just put a decoder in all, or run your four unit lashup without decoders in address 0 (DC compatable mode). FRED
  4. alphanumeric

    alphanumeric Member

    hmm... well with your quote of decoders getting cheaper.. I guess I could waite.. my idea seems to sound more trouble then its worth :cry: hehe

    im not completly sure how DCC works yet.. but in my 4 engine lashup, all with decoders.. could you explain how I would send code to each of them to get em all going at the same time?

    is it just simply 1 decoder in each of the 4 locos with all the same IP or ID number?

    or do you have to punch in loco #1 then its speed, then punch in loco #2 then its speed etc... etc....
  5. jwmurrayjr

    jwmurrayjr Member


    It's more like assigning one address to the "consist". There are several approaches.

    Take a look at the manual(s) for the system of your choice. They are available online at the various manuf. web sites. Look under "Consisting" or something similar. Or better yet (maybe) take a look at Tony's info on consisting:


    The manuals are also a good way to get some feel for the systems. Not as good as using a system of course.

    Tony's has a lot of other good DCC info too.
  6. Fred_M

    Fred_M Guest

    Yes, you can get a basic HO decoders for $14.99 USD today that will throttle and control the headlights. Given time and demand the Chineese will start making and selling them for $5. As Jim says you "consist them". On mine you tell it with a few puches on the buttons that position #2 now also runs #4, #5, and #11 too. So you throttle on #2 they all take off as if one loco just like the real ones. :) FRED
  7. alphanumeric

    alphanumeric Member

    simply put fred, thanks :cool:

    I will have to bookmark that DCC page and read over it one night..
  8. SD90

    SD90 Active Member

    That would be no fun, you couldn't change the consists around if you did that. The 4 locomotives would always have to be MU'd togeter.
  9. nslakedivision

    nslakedivision New Member

    try digitrax.com and go to thier favorite links, plenty of good advise. I switched over all mine several years ago and wished DCC was easily available 10 yrs. ago then I would not have wasted all that $$$ in DC wiring with all the toggles and other junk now sitting in a box.
  10. 60103

    60103 Pooh Bah

    My friend tried jumpers to put the sound unit in a dummy diesel. We found that the wires between the units were too stiff to let the units operate reliably around curves.
  11. Woodie

    Woodie Active Member

    Yeah. I'm in that dilema now. New layout. Do I wire for DCC, and put up with it (i.e. no "block control") and only one loco sitting on the tracks at a time, until I can afford to go the whole hog, or do I wire for DC (with block control etc), just to have it all redundant in a year or two?

    hhhhhmmmmmmmmmm.......... **ponders**
  12. DougF

    DougF New Member

    I intend to wire for DC blocks initially. The blocks can then be converted to DCC by wiring it to one side and turning them all on. I can then use the isolation sections to turn off an engine when it's in the engine house or is not operating for some reason.

    I'm planning on sound and don't want everything making noise when they are in for service. I think this will probably reduce the load on the power supply.:)

  13. rockislandnut

    rockislandnut Member

    If you run sound and don't want to hear it just enter F8 on your DCC command station and walla no sound period. ( from that particular engine ) And from what I've learned if your DCC engine is just sitting there ( with sound off if so equiped ) it is constantly looking for a signal but since there is no signal for that engine there is no power consumed or if there is its so small that you'll never notice. I let an Atlas GP-40 ( HO master series ) DCC engine set on a siding for three days ( every bit of 72 hours ) and the engine wasn't even a bit warm.......well it was about 74 degrees room temp. :D . The only thing warm was my Digitrax Zephyr ( at the LED display ) and that will get a little warm with no engines on track if turned on.

    DCC is the only way to fly ( or run a model RR. :thumb: )

    And if you want to be in seventh model RR heaven just listen to a BLI steam engine idleing,( let alone huffing and puffing highballing 3/4 throttle with the whistle screaming ) it will blow your mind with all the pumps banging, boiler steam hissing, it's cool ( well not if your near live steam :rolleyes: but you get the point. :thumb: )

    GO DCC

    Attached Files:

  14. Rusty Spike

    Rusty Spike Member

    I have the MRC Prodigy system and run trains with no less than two engines in consist and often with 4 or 5 - katos and Proto 2Ks, modern diesels - I have to put them back into a consist each time I power off the system but it only takes about 10 to 15 seconds to lash up 5 engines. It goes like this: press "Consisit Setting", dial to the loco you want, press "Add Loco", dial to the next loco's number, press "Add Loco", etc., etc. Once all your Locos are in, you exit this mode with one push of the "Consist Setting" button and immediately, the 4 or 5 engines run as one from the last loco's address. One of my engines has sound so I like to add it to the consist last - then I get to ring the bell and sound the horn for the consist as well.

    Hope that is encouraging at the least - DCC has really added to the fun of my layout - I control trains, not track and blocks.
  15. rockislandnut

    rockislandnut Member

    You have to put them back into consist each time you power back up? :confused: :confused:

    Maybe thats the way MRC systems work but on my Digitrax Zephyr when I consist 2/3 engines they stay MU'ed untill I remove the units with the function MU commands. I've two units right now ( one with sound ) that have been MU'ed for at least four months and the power has been off and on many,many times and they are still MU'ed.
    Lesson learned for I did not know that about MRC Prodigy.:(

    That must be something like the Atlas Commander putting all DCC decoders back to speed step 28 when you shut the power off ( if you previously set it to 128 ) very annoying. :( ( for me anyway )

    But what the hey, you've got DCC and thats whats counts. :D
  16. daboonk

    daboonk Member

    i think thats y they invented dummys

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