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Attached is a pic of my HO project. It is not as big as it looks, so I don't plan to run more than one train at a time nor will I break into blocks. My idea was to start simple. Can I wire for DC equipment and later upgrade to DCC without changes under the table? Will I have to change the turnouts when I upgrade?
 

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Welcome Migbait...

Interesting benchwork...is that aisle wide enough for you
to turnaround? I had one like that and it was very awkward.
I can see where the area on the lower right can support a loop but
will you be able to put in a minimum of 18" (or better 22") radius
loop on the lower left?

But to your questions:

Wiring for DCC is utter simplicity. And is actually no
different than that for DC. Two wires from your DCC
controller to a pair of wires under the table that we call a 'bus''.
For a layout the size you will have, you'll want to have drops
from the track to the bus every 6 feet or so.
This will provide a constant smooth
power all over your layout. No isolated sections or
block switches needed, unless you have a reverse loop.
In short, wire for DCC per above and your DC system will
work fine for one train at a time. You will be able to run
2, 3 or more trains at the same time when you do switch
to DCC.

Turnouts are turnouts. They don't care whether you have DC or
DCC. Claims to the contrary are just hype.
However, DCC systems DO NOT provide a source of
power for turnout motors. Most of us use either an old DC power
pack or a suitable discarded wall wart with an output voltage of
around 12 or more volts. Depending on the type of motor you
use you may need a 12 v DC source.

New optional stationary DCC decoders are available to operate turnouts.
Some of these use 'track' power, others require a separate power
source.

You have a roster of very experienced modelers here on the Forum
who will be glad to help you with any of your questions.

Don
 

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Thank you, Dan. That's the clarity I need at this time. And yes. The loop on the left is tight. I put a test loop on that side. It worked. I'll be modeling a 1950s diesel branch line. I'm thinking of tunneling into the wall to widen the loop, as that is a storage room behind that wall.
 

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Attached is a pic of my HO project. It is not as big as it looks, so I don't plan to run more than one train at a time nor will I break into blocks. My idea was to start simple. Can I wire for DC equipment and later upgrade to DCC without changes under the table? Will I have to change the turnouts when I upgrade?
Migbait;

Welcome to the forum! First of all, this is not a dumb question. How do I know that? Because you asked it. The only dumb questions are those that are not asked. No "newbie" in history, and we've all been newbies at one time, was ever born already knowing everything there is to know about model railroading. I've been a model railroader for well over half a century, and I don't know everything. Neither does anybody else, so don't beat yourself up for being new. From your screen name, I'm guessing you were once a military pilot? Possibly in either Vietnam, or Korea, since that's where we fought against Migs. Did the Air force, or Navy just issue you an airplane with no training? Did you start out relatively ignorant, and learn from experienced pilots? Model railroading is the same thing, except here people don't shoot at you!

As for your question, the short answer is yes. You can wire for DC now, and later switch over to DCC without rewiring anything. In fact, since you plan on making you layout one big electrical block, you are actually, wiring it for DCC now.
The only real layout wiring difference between a DC layout, and a DCC layout, is the electrical blocks and the gaggle of wiring and toggle switches on a control panel to connect those blocks to one or the other of two DC power packs. That system is called "dual cab control."
If you plan on only running a single train, you will not need any of those insulated track blocks, block feeder wires, block power assignment toggle switches, or even a second power pack.
Just run one pair of feeder wires from your power pack's "Track" or "Variable DC" terminals to the track. You are now wired for simple one train DC operation.
When the big day comes, and you decide to switch over to DCC, (Why not now?) you will simply remove those two track feeder wires from your present DC power pack, and connect those same two wires to the output terminals of your DCC controller. Your layoutis now wired for DCC!
The locomotives will need to either be new ones with DCC factory-installed, or your present locomotives with DCC decoders installed in them, by you.

Will you have to change turnouts when "you upgrade?" (to DCC)
Not necessarily. Any turnout can be used with DCC, but some have certain wiring features that make them "DCC friendly or compatible." The file "All about turnouts" attached below, explains this whole issue in detail, along with a lot of other information about turnouts in general.
Do you already have turnouts? If you do, What brand, and type, are they?
One of the most common brand/type combinations used is the Atlas "Snap Switch." This type has a big, black, twin-coil switch machine attached to one side of the turnout.
Atlas also makes a separate type of turnouts called "Custom Line." These are Atlas's better quality turnouts, and they come without the attached switch machine.
Other popular brands would be Walthers/Shinohara, Micro Engineering, and Peco.
If you are using a "roadbed track" system, Like "Kato Unitrack", " Bachmann EZ-Track", or "Atlas True Track", these each have their own type of turnouts, intended to mate with that brand & type of track.

Starting simple is a great idea. I have written some files for new model railroaders (attached below) and in them I recommend they build their first layout using my "Three S principal." Make it Small, Simple, and Sectional. You seem to have two out of three going on, good for you. If you have any questions, just ask. We are glad to help. Also check out our "Beginner's Q & A" section. It has lots of questions asked by new modelers, and answers from not-so-new modelers.

Good Luck & Have Fun;

Traction Fan :)
 

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I agree with TractionFan. The only stupid question is the one you don't ask. We're born with a pretty basic skill set: eat, sleep, cry, breath, and soil ourselves. Everything else has to be learned. How do you learn if you don't ask?

Short answer, the other two guys are correct: the only thing you have to change to convert to DCC is the control unit. Track and wiring can stay as is. The hardest part about converting to DCC is if you have a lot of old locos that need to have decoders added to them. Good news is that you can buy new stuff as either DCC Ready, which means the decoder usually just plugs into a socket, sometimes with minor changes to the loco. Or you can buy DCC locos from the start. Anything made in about the last 10 years will have a dual mode decoder which will run on either DC or DCC.
 

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What is your minimum radius going to be?
It should be at least 18", which should handle just about all 4-axle diesels and some 6-axle diesels as well (SD9, SD35 -- both have relatively short wheelbases).

DCC is actually easier than DC wiring. Pretty much just connect a few feeders to the rails and go.

The turnouts you use -could- complicate matters slightly.
Can you tell us which ones you'll be using, and what kind of track?

If you don't have locomotives yet, buying THE RIGHT ONES will make things much easier. You'll want locos that either have a plug for a dcc decoder, OR, have dcc pre-installed (most of these will be with sound, and more expensive).

My opinion is you won't go wrong with Atlas engines (either "Classic" or "Silver Series" or "Gold Series").
There are lots of new-old-stock (former Lifelike) Proto 2000 diesels that are generally easy to convert to dcc. However, many (most?) of these will need the original wheelsets replaced (the originals cracked, replacements are cheap and easy).
Walthers Proto (after they bought Lifelike) are decent as well.

Take some time and investigate all the dcc options.
Most folks stick to the traditional makers and wired, pushbutton controllers.

I prefer wifi running from a tablet, but I'm definitely in the minority in this forum.
If you have either a smartphone or tablet (Apple or Android), check out "Roco z21" at either the App Store or google play. App is FREE to download and try out. You want the one with the red engine on the blue background.
 
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