DCC Virgin needs some VERY basic help

Discussion in 'DCC & Electronics' started by DCC Virgin, Sep 12, 2005.

  1. DCC Virgin

    DCC Virgin New Member

    Hi everyone, I hope you can answer one fundamental question I can't seem to find the answer to anywhere. Having had a traditional HO system as a child, and now introducing my son to railway modelling, I've decided to go N gauge to save space and make a more interesting layout. I've had the chance to acquire an MRC Prodigy Advance DCC system, but I can't find out anywhere how I wire it up two run two circuits connected by a pair of points (Uk speak !) and some sidings running of both circuits.

    I can see lots of talk about wiring up return loops, but I can't fathon out how this applies to a couple of normal circuits.

    Is it possible to do all this with the DCC system I've got ? Also, does anyone know of any problems with using Kato Unitrack and DCC ?

    Thanks guys ! ( & gals !)

  2. MasonJar

    MasonJar It's not rocket surgery


    Welcome to The Gauge!

    The basic answer to your question is that with DCC, all the track is on full (~12V) all the time. It is the decoder(s) inside the loco(s) that receive a signal, and feed appropriate power to the motor.

    If I understand your layout description, you have one oval inside another, with sidings off each loop. The simplest way to wire this (assuming that you do not have power-routing points/turnouts) is to run wires to one point on the track. Really - that's all.

    The "proper" way (for reliable power and signals to the decoders) is to run a larger gauge "bus" wire underneath the layout following the track, and then have small gauge feeders powering the track every 3-6 feet.

    Take a look at this link for some useful information and links you can find on the Internet.

    Hope that helps.

  3. 60103

    60103 Pooh Bah

    Nigel: It's as simple as Andrew said. You need at least 2 wires on each loop. You need insulated gaps The same as DC (to prevent shorts) on metal frog points, and probably an extra feeder beyond them. You do have to keep the wiring straight -- if you cross the wires between loops, you'll get a short.
    Having extra blocks is a convenience for when you have a wiring problem/breakdown and you have to break it down into small segments.
  4. DCC Virgin

    DCC Virgin New Member

    Thanks Guys, I think I'm getting the idea. I'm just not really clued on DC style circuits in general. So the basic two wires that come from the DCC system can be routed around the track - say underneath, and spurs can be run off of this busbar type layout up and onto the track to power all sections - those beyond normal isolating points. I've read I have to be careful and choose a suitable grade of wire, and I take the point that I have to be careful to ensure the tracks are connected consistently to avoid a short.

    Any experience of Kato Unitrack in this context ?

    Thanks again for the swift helpful replies !

  5. 60103

    60103 Pooh Bah

    I don't know if it was Kato Unitrack, but someone had a major short circuit on his layout. He had used a track where the terminal tracks had 2 different coloured wires coming from it, and had carefully matched the wires to the busbars. However, one of the terminal tracks was put in backwards to the rest and the wires went to the wrong rails.
    How do the turnouts work in Unitrack? Insulated frogs? Should be no problem. Check the Loys Toys website for DCC wiring info.
  6. DCC Virgin

    DCC Virgin New Member


    Thanks for the link to Loys Toys - finally found a description of DCC wiring I can understand ! I'll definately be using that site for reference. Is soldering the only way to connect the feeders to the bus ? If so do you need to insulate the joint ? I take it you solder to the track too ? I was wondering if there any splicing type conenctors to join the wires ? Any advice or links on this would be great ! Thanks for your patience too.

  7. MasonJar

    MasonJar It's not rocket surgery


    Soldering remains the best way to physically and electrically join the feeders to the bus. However, there are Scotchlok (brand) "suitcase" style connectors available in North America. Don't know what you might find in the UK. These simply snap over both wires, piercing the insulation as you close it to make the connection.

  8. 60103

    60103 Pooh Bah

    I solder my wiring connections. Or I try to. I start by wrapping the smaller wire around the larger one to test. Sometimes I never get back to solder it. I wrap insulating tape around the joint, especially if there are competing joints nearby. I bought a tin of "Liquid electrical tape" but I haven't opened it yet.
    I have tried dodges like spiking the wire to the side of the rail. One of my friends doesn't solder and used plasticene; I went over with my soldering iron.

Share This Page