Wiring A Yard & Engine Facility for DCC

Discussion in 'DCC & Electronics' started by ROCK4350, Jun 15, 2008.

  1. ROCK4350

    ROCK4350 New Member

    I am new at DCC, I have my main line wired, how would you wire a multi-track yard and and engine facility? Right now I have two feeder lines on each end of the yard and blocked on both ends, will this work?
  2. UP SD40-2

    UP SD40-2 Senior Member

    ROCK:wav: , Since your running DCC, theoretically you wouldn't have to "block" ANY of the tracks:winki: .

    HOWEVER, i too am running DCC, and i use sound decoders in my engines, the problem is not all brands of the "older" sound decoders had it so the sound can be turned off if your not using that particular engine. to solve that problem i DID block JUST MY ENGINE HOLDING tracks, i have them hooked up to toggle switches.

    with out blocking the engine holding tracks, no matter if you use a sound decoder, or just regular decoders, those engines will always be "on", which is fine really, MANY run there layouts like that without any harm:thumb: . my personal thoughts though, why have an engine powered if your not using it, thats why i just blocked off the engine holding tracks, but with non-sound decoders, that is probably overkill.

    lets see if other folks chime in on here and see what they say on this matter:winki: .

    [​IMG] -Deano
  3. seanm

    seanm Member

    If you are in a multi user situation and have someone working the yard and someone else working the mains, it might be a good idea to make the yard a separate power district. There is a fair chance that there will be a short in the yard and it would be nice to not take down the rest of the layout if you have a short there. Now if this is a fairly small layout, it really doesn't matter.
  4. 60103

    60103 Pooh Bah

    Rock: Plastic or all-metal frogs?
    Actually, I would probably wire both the same: insulated rail joiner just beyond the frog (both rails) and another feeder beyond the insulated joiner.
    Double rail feeds at the point end of the first turnout.
    Sidings between 2 turnouts insulated at both ends and fed in the middle somewhere -- this way you can run into the siding from either end.
  5. ROCK4350

    ROCK4350 New Member


    My switches have plastic frogs on them.

    Do I need to run a second set of double wires under my yard like the main lines and if so do I need to tie them into my current double main wires also do I need a power booster for this? My yard is 7 tracks wide and about 8' long. I have double insulated rail joiners on each end of the yard. My shop area and fueling facility is also a part of the yard.

    While running DCC can you have you DC locos on the tracks? Cause I'll need to get decoders for all my DC older Athearn units eventually.

  6. 60103

    60103 Pooh Bah

    Rock: you don't have to install a power bus, but it makes the wiring easier. Whether you need a separate power booster for the yard depends on how many locos you plan to run at once and how many amps the current power supply is rated at.
  7. steamhead

    steamhead Active Member

    Hi...I pretty much follow Deano's practice. Even though I don't have any sound units, there are some locos that don't gert used as much as others. So I have a several tracks (and eventually the roundhouse tracks..) that I can turn off so the locos aren't juiced up all the time....
  8. 60103

    60103 Pooh Bah

    DC locos will (should?) run on your DCC system at address 00. Of course, this means all of them, at the same time. There is a difference of opinion about whether this is hard on the loco; you get funny noises from the motor. I'm no sure about non-selected DC locos; they will sit on the tracks with the lights on (maybe).
    There are also odd things that happen with reverse loops -- it's close to DC operation style.
  9. MasonJar

    MasonJar It's not rocket surgery

    While you can run DC engines on address 00 (and only on some systems like Digitrax), they will all respond if there's more than one on the layout at a time.

    Also, it is not a good idea to leave DC locos sitting on DCC powered track for any length of time. The howling noise will get to you ;) and it's not good for the motors anyway. You could get around this using Deano's approach to powering each siding or track via an on/off switch.

    In the long run, it's probably best to get decoders for the engines you intend to run on a regular basis.

    As for the yard power, I would second (or third :)) the suggestion that you have it as a separate power district - depending on how many powered up locos you intend to have there simultaneously. You should also run a heavy-gauge bus under the layout, and run a short feeder to each section of track for best performance. Each 8 foot track is theoretically comprised of two or more sections of flex track, therefore requiring two or more feeders.

    Hope that helps.

  10. railwaybob

    railwaybob Member

    Hello Rock4350.

    Yard Power District Wiring - Now And For The Future
    Since you have double-insulated tracks at both ends of your yard, you can run power into your yard off the same command station/booster. OR you can set up a separate power district. AND, if you decide to power your yard from the same command station/booster, you can wire the yard so that, if, in the future, you want to set up the yard as a separate power district, it's a simple matter of cutting in a power manager device (like the Digitrax PM42). The choice is yours.

    To wire the yard for the future (or the present if you want a separate power district), you would run a 2-wire buss of 14 or 16AWG wire (the recommended way to do things) the length of your yard. You would solder in track feeds (about 2 or 3 per track as your yard is about 8' long) to this "yard buss". You would then solder the two wires at one end into your main track power buss.

    Use some trailer hook-up wire that you can get from an automotive supply store because it comes in different colours, comes in different wire sizes (12, 14, 16, 18 AWG) and makes wiring very easy. You can get your track feeder wires from you LHS or from an electronics store - suggest 20 or 22 AWG. You simply follow the colour codes, say, red wires for the back rails and white wires for the front wires. From there it's a simple matter of connecting red-to-red and white-to-white. Here's some tips on how to do it.
    Installing the Track Power Buss - Page 1

    Frogs And Turnouts
    There's a lot of discussion on other websites about the modifications you HAVE to make in order for the turnout to be "DCC compliant". If you've got to hack a turnout apart to make it "DCC compliant", I suggest you use another brand of turnout.

    To be "DCC compliant", the frog of the turnout must be "insulated". That means that power from the point rails cannot conduct electricity through the frog. Some turnouts, such as the Peco Insulfrog, the Atlas Streamline, and the "newer" Shinohara and Walthers turnouts are already "DCC compliant". Other turnouts such as most handlaid ones require some MINOR modifications. The mod is usually to cut the two rails beyond the frog. (By the way, it's not necessary to put insulated railjoiners at all 3 ends of the turnout.)

    So, you now say the frog is not powered! How will my locomotives get power!? If your locomotives have pickups from both trucks - whether on a diesel or from the tender - there's no problem. If your locos have pickups from one truck, you might have a problem - maybe.

    What about "power routing? IMHO, it's over-rated. As long as you have the frog insulated and track feeds somewhere near the point end and two somewhere on the other end of the two diverging tracks, you should be okay. To get a better idea of what I'm talking about click on this link.
    Installing the Track Power Buss - Page 2

    You will have more concern about 6-axle diesels shorting out on the frog than any problems you might encounter because the frog isn't "power-routed". The short on 6-axle diesels occurs because the back axle touches the edge of the diverging rail on the pointed part of the frog - usually on short or medium length turnouts (usually anything shorter than a #8 ). It's a simple matter of filing/grinding the top of the pointed part of the frog back about ¼" and rebuilding the frog back up with some epoxy. Hey, you'll be following prototype practice where the railways weld the frog to build it up because of the wear and tear on the pointed end of the frog!

    Hope this helps.

Share This Page