Model Train Forum banner

1 - 11 of 11 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
3 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
I'm a beginner building my first DCC Track. I'm looking for recommendations on how to wire DCC.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
8,680 Posts
It is as simple as running two wires from your DCC controller to
the track. It is generally recommended that a larger layout
have drops from the track every 6 feet or so to a bus (of 2 wires) from your
DCC controller. For the typical layout that is all that
is required. No blocks or panel switches needed.

Describe your layout and we can make more precise
suggestions.

A brief DCC primer:
A DCC system puts around 14 volts modified AC on the
track at all times. That current also carries the digital
signal from your controller. The DCC decoder on board
each loco has a specific digital address. It responds
to digital signals addressed to it by the controller. You
can run 2, 3 or more locos at the same time on the
same track with one Controller. Those digital electronics takes
the complications from your layout and makes it
easy to enjoy your trains without the need for
a lot of wires and switches.

Don
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,909 Posts
As usual, Don has done a good job. Wiring for DCC is considerably more simple than wiring for block assignment of DC power. Just two wires for each roughly 10' of track, 5' in either direction, but 6-8' in either direction from a single pair of 22 gauge feeders shouldn't present a problem.

What becomes trickier is how you'd like to manage the 'oopsies'. By that I mean shorts. When a metal flange or a piece of metal from an item bridges two rails (this often takes please near the 'frog' crossing at the center of turnouts (switches), you can fry things, melt things, and ruin things. This takes place mostly when the short detection circuitry in your DCC base unit can't detect the short. This failure happens with reduced voltage, meaning noisier signal, and this happens in turn when you run too long feeders (voltage loss) or feed lengthy runs of tracks with a single pair of feeders (again, voltage loss).

There's a lot to know. If you google "dcc wiki", you'll find excellent information with diagrammes to help you get the most out of your DCC system, not least of which would be safety.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
9,897 Posts
Your DCC set likely has 2 outputs, one for the main track and one for a programming track. Hook up the main track outputs to your track, and your done. It can be just that simple. My son runs an 8x8 L shaped layout on a single pair of AWG 22 feeders. My old 6x12 had a pair of AWG 16 wires from the DCC unit to a terminal block centrally located under the layout, with 4 AWG 18 feeders to the tracks from there.

For the programming track outputs, I attached a short pigtail of AWG 16 solid wire with about 1/2" of the end stripped. The programming track is a 3' length of flex track on a length of scrap 1x3 , with about 1/4" of rail sticking off one end. To use the programming track, I hook a test lead with alligator clips to the pigtails and the exposed ends of the rail.
 
  • Like
Reactions: Real

·
Registered
Joined
·
4,206 Posts
I'm a beginner building my first DCC Track. I'm looking for recommendations on how to wire DCC.
Real;

You can find out everything you'll likely need to know about DCC wiring from this excellent book. "Basic DCC wiring" by Mike Polsgrove. You can order it from Kalmbach Hobby Store or www.amazon.com You may also want to check out our "DCC Forum" section and our "Beginner's Q & A" section. The files attached below should also help you with all sorts of model railroad issues. I wrote them to help beginners building their first layout.

Traction Fan :)
 

Attachments

·
Registered
Joined
·
357 Posts
Be very sure of the track connections with the joiners if you don't solder them. This can be loss of power at times when they get loose from temperature change, etc.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3 Posts
Discussion Starter #8
My layout is to have gravel around it's turntable. Any suggestions on what glue I should use and how?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
8,680 Posts
Choice of glue is one of those 'you make the pick' after you
see suggestions from our crew of expert scenic folks.

So, I'll start the discussion:

One of the often used and ecomomical adhesives for ballast 'gravel' is
plain ole 'Elmer's white glue' diluted and dripped on
with an eye dropper.

Don
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
9,897 Posts
Personally, I use diluted matte medium. Matte medium is a product for liquifying artists acrylic paints, and is available at most art supply stores. I prefer it to white glue because it is more flexible when dry, so it resists crumbling better, and it resists yellowing better. The drawback is that it's much more expensive.

Wet your gravel (ballast) first with 35% isopropyl alcohol (the 70% strength store stuff diluted 50%). Some people spray it; I prefer a pipette to dribble it on. Thoroughly wet the ballast. If you don't, the adhesive will pool on top, creating a hard crust over loose material. You'll know it's thoroughly wet when the alcohol starts to seep out. Before it dries, dribble on the matte medium, again, thoroughly saturating the ballast.. It will take 24 hours or so to

Dilute the matte medium as follows: one part medium to 4 parts warm water. At 2 drops of dishwashing liquid for each cup of solution. Mix thoroughly. Cover and let stand overnight. The next day, there will be a layer of white sludge at the bottom. This is railc, used as a duling agent for paint, but unnecessary for our purposes. Decant the liquid (that's your adhesive) and discard the sludge.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,594 Posts
I like to use E6000 spray adhesive. Works very well for ballast, grass, and lichen. I have use the Elmer's method with success in the past too. The E6000 is just easier and faster, even if more expensive.
 
1 - 11 of 11 Posts
Top