Z scale DCC questions

Discussion in 'FAQs' started by zeeglen, Jan 6, 2004.

  1. zeeglen

    zeeglen Member

    Am not into DCC but am wondering about DCC decoders in MTL F-7s. A wiper user now wants to go DCC and was asking me about this:

    The standard decoder outputs 12 volts. Too high for 8 volt MTL motor rating and some concern about burn out. It appears that ZDCC installs can and do get away with the 12 volts without problems.

    Does anyone make a DCC decoder specific to Z scale with reduced output voltage?

    Has any DCC user ever damaged a Z motor with 12 volt decoders?

    Is it possible to reduce the AC voltage to the main power source (booster?) to reduce the track voltage and still have the system work?

    Assumimg there is lots of room, such as the decoder in a drawbar-coupled and wired dummy B unit, has anyone tried 2 paralleled strings of 6 silicon diodes in series to drop a constant 4 volts between the decoder and motor? Or 2 x 3.3 volt 2-5W zener diodes in series to do the same thing?

    (cross posted to N/Z scale)
  2. Gary Pfeil

    Gary Pfeil Active Member

    Glen, the decoders simply output what they see as input, minus perhaps 1 1/2 volts due to rectification. It is the track voltage you'd want to reduce. Digitrax has a switch for adjusting output voltage, labeled "O", "HO" and "N". I believe HO outputs 14 volts, N 12 volts. I would think you could drop this voltage by using diodes between the booster and the track.
  3. zeeglen

    zeeglen Member

    Encouraging, but the decoder needs a certain voltage for it's digital logic too. If the voltage to the track is reduced, will the decoder continue to function? If the decoder's logic supply is regulated down to 5 or 3.3V, no problem.
  4. Gary Pfeil

    Gary Pfeil Active Member

    I can't say for sure Glen, I don't think the lower voltage will affect the decoders ability to operate. You may want to check the Digitrax site, or email them. Or any of the other decoder manufacturers for that matter.

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