What is DCC?

Discussion in 'DCC & Electronics' started by Gil Finn, Jul 25, 2006.

  1. Gil Finn

    Gil Finn Active Member

    I have a cou[ple of engines with it.

    What is it and what do I need to use it? [​IMG]
  2. 91rioja

    91rioja Member


    It stands for Digital Command Control. You would need the power boosters that work with DCC to use it on the locos you have with DCC onboard.

    Unlike traditional DC, where you have to have multiple blocks or multiple cabs to run multiple trains, DCC allows you to control multiple trains via a single throttle. The decoder in the loco is given an address, you dial in the address on the throttle, and away you go.

    That is the very simplistic definition; the web has some good resources on this as well. Hope this helps to get started.
  3. green_elite_cab

    green_elite_cab Keep It Moving!

    Are you sure they have DCC, or are they just DCC ready?

    DCC is Digital Command Control, and it more or less sets track power to full, and sends signals through the rails, which are picked up by the DCC Decoder (A small electonic chip).

    the Decoder decodes the message from the DCC station, and carries out that function.

    In order to use DCC you need some sort of DCC station and controller so that you can send the DCC signals through the rails. Next you need a DCC decoder to install in your locomotives.

    Locomotives that are DCC ready have either an 8 pin plug, or you just need to remove the "dummy" circuit board and install the DCC decoder board. Its all really easy.

    For your Shay and Climax, there is probably an 8 pin plug somewhere in the locomotive. the worst case scenario is that they only made provisions for installing dcc like metal contact pads that you need to solder the wires to, such as that on my spectrum 44 ton switcher, but if it s newer, i doubt you'll have this problem.

    There are many different kinds of decoders, so you have to pick the one thats right for you. some decoders are just bare bones, while others have all sorts of functions and sounds. Some can figure out the difference between DC and DCC (this is called Dual mode). If you want to run the locomotive on DC, make sure it can. Some decoders can't, and it is bad for a decoder to run it on DC track power if it isn't a "dual mode" decoder. Most of the High end decoders are dual mode.
  4. Gil Finn

    Gil Finn Active Member

    Are you sure they have DCC, or are they just DCC ready?

    They are DCC ready. I undestand TMCC as I have several O ga engines with it and operat them as such.

    I just didnt know what sort of hardware this took.

    Thanks you for the help.

    Gil Finn
  5. Woodie

    Woodie Active Member

    Basically, Gil, Instead of your DC controller varying the voltage on ALL the track that it is connected to, and hence ALL your locos will start/speed up/slow down/stop according to the varying voltage on the track, DCC has a constant voltage on the track. i.e. full power.

    Each loco has a little circuit board inside it. (called a decoder). You "program" these decoders with what you want the loco to do. i.e. turn the headlight on when going forward only. Put the rear headlight on at all times. etc, and also give each of your locos a number.

    When you use your controller, you would, say, select loco number 10. Then move the throttle to, say, half way, in a forward direction. Your controller then sends computer-type commads through the tracks that are picked up by that decoder only (Number 10), and the decoder then adjusts the voltage to your loco, to move in a forward direction at half speed.

    Because they are "computer-type" commands, you can also plug your computer into your layout, and use computer programs to control your locos. i.e. have your throttles on screens on your computer monitor.

    There is more to it than this. Instead of selecting "loco number 10" on your throttle, you can select "turnout number 15", and switch the turnout (Provided you have a "decoder" attached to the turnout.

    The price of a decoder can very from about $10 - $15 for the basic ones, to over $100 depending on the functions you want. The expensive ones support sound, so your loco with CHOOF CHOOF CHOOF along the track, according to the speed, and when you press a button on your throttle, the whistle will blow, or the bell will ring etc. This needs a tiny speaker inside your loco of course.

    Try this linkhttp://www.railwaybob.com/Modules/WhatIsDCC/DCCWhatIs01.htm from the top thread of this section of the forum. (DCC links) for some more basic info.
  6. jetrock

    jetrock Member

    "DCC ready" doesn't necessarily mean a lot--it could mean that the loco has the proper connectors for a DCC decoder, ready to plug in, or it could mean that the motor isn't directly grounded to the frame, which is a DCC no-no.
  7. Gil Finn

    Gil Finn Active Member

    Thanks a gain. I dont want to use it. Blocks and t a transformer will do me fine.

    it was an education.

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