Doc track wiring question from a newb.

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Gregjl

Member
I've done a fair amount of searching with no luck, now I'll just ask. For dcc is it as simple as soldering one wire to one rail and the other to the other? Unless there's turnouts. It doesn't make sense to me right now. It's an electric motor, there's two wires, one plug that can go into the rerailer either way with locos that can face either way and still have forward and reverse with the correct buttons. It's all Bachmann ez track. Everything works fine now but I just want to know how it all works. If someone could point me to a video?

Thanks, Greg
 

jdetray

Well-Known Member
Hi Greg -

With DCC, there is always a constant voltage on the rails. When you change the speed of a DCC locomotive with a DCC controller, you are not changing the voltage on the rails. Even when a DCC locomotive is brought to a stop, the same constant voltage remains on the rails.

Instead, when you turn the "speed" knob on a DCC controller, you are changing the control signals sent through the rails to the DCC decoder in the locomotive. The decoder interprets the control signals, and it is the decoder that send the appropriate voltage to the motor in the locomotive, causing it to speed up or slow down. The decoder is powered by the constant voltage that is always on the rails.

Through all of this, the voltage on the rails does not change. It's the control signals that change, and the decoder responds accordingly. The decoder knows which direction is forward and which is reverse, and the decoder does not care if you swap the two track wires.

Does that help at all?

- Jeff
 
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Gregjl

Member
Jeff, It does help thanks. I couldn't get past the idea that the electricity powered the train alone. And didn't realize even though my train didn't come with sound I still have a decoder of some sort In there.

Thanks, Greg
 

wombat457

Well-Known Member
Staff member
What Jeff said and yep, it is as easy as attaching one wire to one rail and the other to the other rail. It doesn't matter which rail you attach which wire, just so long as they are on the same rails for all of the track, ie red wire to the inside track and black to the outside or visa versa. Turnouts are/can be a little different though depending on the type you use. With EZ track though, you can't go wrong where they are concerned, virtually "plug and play" I think.

My first layout was a Bachmann EZ track and from memory all of the wiring was plug in and only plugged in one way so you shouldn't have any problems. And yep, every engine, DC or DCC comes with sort form of a decoder. Most, if not all, DCC engines come with basic lighting as part of the decoder/board but not necessarily sound.
 
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jdetray

Well-Known Member
When I built my layout, I initially powered it with an old DC power pack. Then I purchased a NCE Power Cab DCC system. The "installation" of the Power Cab consisted of disconnecting the track wires from the DC power pack and connecting the same two wires to the Power Cab. Instant DCC.

I already had a Bachmann 44-tonner locomotive that runs on either DC or DCC, so I was literally up and running with DCC in a couple of minutes.

- Jeff
 

tootnkumin

Well-Known Member
Staff member
The way in which the track is powered is the key to understanding the major difference between DC and DCC operation. The initials cause a bit of this confusion by the fact of having DC in both, but the DC refers to the type of electricity whereas DCC is the type of control system. DC= Direct Current. DCC= Digital Command Control.
 

tootnkumin

Well-Known Member
Staff member
CSX,

Probably should have worded that better.

Usually referred to as a lighting board and found in what used to be referred to as DCC/Ready or similar and the board has an 8 pin or sometimes a 9 pin socket into which a DCC decoder can be plugged. If there isn't a circuit board and the wires from the pickups are attached directly to the motor and/or the lights, then extra work is needed to make it possible to fit a decoder. The main thing with those is to insulate the motor from the frame and rewire the pickups from the wheels.
 

wombat457

Well-Known Member
Staff member
Toot'n,

Yep, knew it was lighting board in DC and not a Decoder - wasn't thinking when I wrote what I wrote :(
 

tootnkumin

Well-Known Member
Staff member
Toot'n,

Yep, knew it was lighting board in DC and not a Decoder - wasn't thinking when I wrote what I wrote :(

I knew you knew 'cause you're no longer new, was meant mainly for Greg, 'cause sooner or later he's gon'na come across this DCC Ready and the other variations of it and wonder, just when he thought he was getting a handle on all this DC/DCC stuff, "What the heck is this?".
 




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