Appropriate DCC Block size

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dmiller

Member
I am starting to lay track on my first DCC mid-sized layout. I am using the MRC Tech 6.0 6 AMP out put Sound Control. (Will probably upgrade eventually as it can only program 6 trains. )
My first block is a single track Main about 15 feet long with TWO 8 ft parallel Staging tracks . At any time, one train could be running through and 2 could be idling. One train would be lit passenger. Is it OK to wire all three tracks and 4 turnouts as one block or should I insulate the 2 staging tracks with separate feeders. Thank you !
 

Greg@mnrr

Section Hand
I might be a bit confused since I'm not real familair with the MRC product....but the MRC 6 will allow the operation of DCC and DC locomotives (not DC and DCC at the same time) and I would believe the layout would be wired like a standard DC layout with the staging tracks wired as separate blocks (because of the DC operations), so the layout will never be a true DCC layout.

With a DCC layout there no need to be concerned about using blocks. The most important concern is installing feeder wires for each section of track or flex-track and watch out for reverse loops which it doesn't appear your layout at this point would have a reverse loop.

A third point is installing feeders on the diverting points of each turnout with either DC or DCC.

Solder the rail joiners for proper conductivity.

In the future you'll no doubt move on to a true DCC layout, meaning having a Command/Booster DCC system like Digitrax, NCE or MRC, rather than a power pack like the MRC 6 that can enable the sounds on a DCC locomotive.

Do you have DC locomotives? I would suggest installing decoders in the locomotive as long as their are not museum pieces that will never run great on either DC or DCC. Mixing DC with DCC usually isn't the choice of many hobbyists.

I've purchase bargain locomotives with DCC decoders for as little as $70 for a Bachmann 70 tonner to $60 for a new Walthers locomotive with DCC.

Maybe a Forum member familiar with the MRC 6 can shed some light on its strengths and weaknesses.

Thanks.

Greg
 

dmiller

Member
Thank you for your reply Yes the Tech 6 can switch between being DC and DCC I has the booster and a wired walk around control My locomotive is stable is about 50 /50 DC and DCC (6 each?)and I am converting them gradually over. All my favorite locos are DCC and working on converting the others . Since I am caulking the track to the Woodland Scenics foam roadbed it will be harder to insulate track or re=connect track after the fact it is glued ( Although I am NOT going to glue the turnouts ) ALSO I am mostly the only one ever running trains, so I hoping to have one train running on the main loop while I switch another on sidings or in the yard.

Thank you I will :
1. installing feeder wires for each section of flex-track and Solder the rail joiners for proper conductivity.

2. Installing feeders on the diverting points of each turnout with either DC or DCC.

I was reading that you should have Power manager blocks for DCC ..
DO THESE POWER DISTRIBUTION BLOCKS (With a POWER MANAGER or for trouble shooting), NEED TO BE ISOLATED FROM OTHER POWER DISTRIBUTION BLOCKS??

THANK YOU
ALL!
 

Iron Horseman

Well-Known Member
...I will ...1. installing feeder wires for each section of flex-track and Solder the rail joiners for proper conductivity.
My opinion that is overkill, If there is a feeder to each section of flex track the soldered rail joiners are redundant, and if enough of them are soldered it could lead to expansion and contraction issues.

I was reading that you should have Power manager blocks for DCC ..
Well once again. Unless something has changed all a power manager does is take the output from one booster and distribute it into separate blocks. One would want to do this for a few reasons. One is if you have a monster 20 Amp booster that can power the whole layout, so instead of welding with it one can separate out blocks through the power manager. Could be much cheaper than one booster for each block. The other reason is that with only one "block" a short circuit anywhere will shut the whole layout down. So one breaks the track up into smaller blocks and the power manager contains the short circuit within that smaller block. On our club layout we had a massive yard where things derailed often and frequently caused shorts. We isolated it into three separate management areas so trains weren't studdering all over the layout each time a wheel picked a frog in the yard.

DO THESE POWER DISTRIBUTION BLOCKS (With a POWER MANAGER or for trouble shooting), NEED TO BE ISOLATED FROM OTHER POWER DISTRIBUTION BLOCKS
But the short answer to this question is yes. Power manager blocks need to be isolated from each other and from other power booster blocks.
 

trailrider

Well-Known Member
Since you do have DC locomotives, I would isolate blocks and wire for DC. That way, if nothing else, you can turn off the staging tracks regardless of the type of engine you have. As I only run one train at a time, I have a DPDT toggle switch on my main control panel that is wired to a DC on one side and a DCC power pack on the other. I have blocks so I can store engines in various places, with each block wired with a DPST (I wire feeders to both rails), so I can cut off power to that block. If I had wanted to, and didn't mind the duplicate wiring, I probably could have wired each block selectively to the DC and the DCC power, but that would have made for an awful lot of work and wiring.

The MRC Tech 6 6.0 is a good starter system, although I eventually had problems with the speed control dial, and when I went to the two power sources (DC and DCC), I went to an NCE Power Cab for the DCC and a heavyduty DC pack. I have over 100 DC locomotives, mostly kits I built over the last 65 years or so, and there is no way I will ever be able to convert them all to DCC.
 

Greg@mnrr

Section Hand
My opinion that is overkill, If there is a feeder to each section of flex track the soldered rail joiners are redundant, and if enough of them are soldered it could lead to expansion and contraction issues.
Soldering every joint is a personal preference for many and I have soldered all my joints on my layout and have been without problems. I believe that expansion and contraction issues are due to environmental issues affecting the sub-road. It takes less than 10 minutes to solder a rail jointer.

You don't have to do an over kill on feeders or soldering rail jointers. Just make certain that every section of track has either a soldered rail jointer or a feeder.

The extra feeders do not harm the layout's operation, but tend to improve electrical conductivity and the DCC signals that are transmitted through the power feeds. In some cases I used rail jointers and soldered feeder(s) to the base of the joiner and then soldered the jointer(s) end to the rails.

If you are new to "The Art of Soldering" please practice and within a short time you'll be a professional.

Greg
 
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flyboy2610

Loveably weird
What I plan to do is solder the rails joiners on every other section of flex track, then run a feeder to each of the resulting 6 foot sections. That way there will still be a bit of room for expansion, but still maintain good electrical conductivity.
 




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