Help Getting Satrted with NCE

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RR_Son

New Member
Hi Folks,

I'm not really into model railroading all that much, but my 65 year old father is. In fact, he's turning half of his basement into a Model Railroad as he's getting ready to retire. As it goes, I've been helping him through some of the process, which has been nice working with my dad. So far we've gotten the benchwork all done, roadbed is done, track is layed (double main line). Now we are ready to start installing a NCE Pro Cab system. My dad would like to meet and talk with someone, hopefully in our area, about getting started on wiring the NCE system. He'd like to review with someone his layout and how to get started with the DCC wiring. We're both hung up on how to properly wire his layout using the NCE district component (EB3), using all three districts.

Does anyone on here live near the York, Lancaster, Harrisburg - PA area that would be willing to possibly meet and talk and help us get started?
 

SpaceMouse

Fun Lover
Welcome to the forum.

You could post a plan and we could help. Mostly wiring for DCC is a lot more simple than DC.

For the most part, you run a buss wire, 12-14 ga., directly under the track. If you are using flex then provide a drop-down, 18-22 ga, from each piece of track to the buss.

The only complication is if the layout is big enough you want to break the layout into power districts. These districts are isolated by breaking conductivity in the track, either by leaving a gap or putting in insulated joiners. You simply run a separate buss wire to each district.

There is one other situation that requires special attention--the reverse loop. Any time a track turns back on itself, the polarity will not match. A DCC engine can handle a switch in polarity, but it cannot straddle two different polarities without causing a short. Therefore you must change the polarity of part of the track while the engine is on it. This can be done with a manual toggle or an automated circuit.

Again if you post a plan, we can show you what to do. This stuff isn't tough.
 
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OldGettysk

Running the MC & Buffalo
Welcome to the forum ! Sorry the last time I was through York was twenty some years ago . Busted a Center Carriage Bearing and my Ford van on a Saturday Afternoon and had one heck of a time trying of find a garage open to get it pressed on. Their are many guys on the Furom fron PA, who might live close to you ! Also many guys on here who have a lot of knowledge on the subject!!!!
 

RR_Son

New Member
Thanks Chip and Paul for such prompt respoonses!!!!

For the most part, you run a buss wire, 12-14 ga., directly under the track. If you are using flex then provide a drop-down, 18-22 ga, from each piece of track to the buss.
We got that part down pretty much. Dad bought 12 guage stranded wire for the Buss lines and 22 guage solid for the track "drops". I believe he commented about doing the "drops" every 3-feet.


The only complication is if the layout is big enough you want to break the layout into power districts. These districts are isolated by breaking conductivity in the track, either by leaving a gap or putting in insulated joiners. You simply run a separate buss wire to each district.
He wants to break the overall layout up into (3) parts I know. I was looking at a DCC wiring diagram from NCE, but I was a bit lost in its detail, or lack of. I understand that rail insulating joiners need to be applied between rails separating each adjacent district. What we were unclear of is how to run the Buss line(s)???? From the sounds of what you (Chip) described, I'd run a bus line out of the EB3 to say District ONE and terminate it just below the insulated rail joiners separating District ONE and TWO. Then I'd run another Bus from the EB3 out to District TWO, picking where DISTRICT ONE left off and run it until I hit the break between DISTRICT TWO AND THREE and so on.

Is that correct?

One other question, I read where the NCE EB3 can only use #16 or #14 guage wire in/out of it. My dad wants to use #12 guage for the Buss lines. How do we transition from #14 out of the EB3 to #12 gauge wire?

Sorry for all the "stupid" questions guys! Thanks for being so basic and ease of understand your answers so far.

Paul, sorry to hear of your car troubles twenty years ago here in York, PA. If it happened now it probably wouldn't be a problem. We've come a long in twenty years! We have shops around here open on Sundays now!!! :)
 

SpaceMouse

Fun Lover
That's how I would do it with the power districts but usually you use power districts when the size of the layout requires additional boosters for those areas. You might not need to do this.

You can transition from the #12 to the unit with #14--the shorter it is the less resistance.

How many people will be operating on this layout? If it is more than a couple, you might consider wiring smaller power blocks in the power districts--each of which is protected from shorting out the track. What this means is if a person shorts the track somehow, only the small area in which the short is in is affected. It also serves to show where the short occurred. This is done by wiring a cheap auto light bulb in series with the section of track. I'll explain better if you think it is an issue.
 
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NYC_George

Well-Known Member
Nec

For what reason are you spilting the layout into 3 districts?

I have a 24' X 30' double deck layout running some times 16 engines at once with a NEC Pro Cab without a problem.

NYC_George
 

RR_Son

New Member
How many people will be operating on this layout?
At most, just my dad and I, so just 2.

For what reason are you spilting the layout into 3 districts?
Correct me if I'm wrong, but in the evnet of a short the overall layout would be broken down into 1/3's and you wouldn't have to search the entire layout for the short. Just the affected 1/3 of the layout casued by the short would be disabled so it helps to narrow down the short location a little faster.
 

SpaceMouse

Fun Lover
Correct me if I'm wrong, but in the evnet of a short the overall layout would be broken down into 1/3's and you wouldn't have to search the entire layout for the short. Just the affected 1/3 of the layout casued by the short would be disabled so it helps to narrow down the short location a little faster.
This would work if you had independent circuit protection on each area. The light bulbs like I told you about would do this. But with 2-3 operators, you'll know that the engine sitting on the turnout is the culprit.

Rule of thumb: Break it into blocks to add power. Break it down to little chunks to keep operators running in the event of a short.

Neither seems to be the case with you so just run one big circuit and keep it simple.
 

RexHea

RAIL BENDER
Lon, I agree with Chip that unless you have a lot of folks running, keep it simple and not use power blocks. Also, tell your Dad the easiest way to connect the 12 AWG wire is to simply cut some of the strands off to fit. The size of the bus is not big because of current capacity, instead it is used because of low resistance value. Both 12 and 14 are recommended for bus wires, so you will be fine doing this.
 

NYC_George

Well-Known Member
insulated Districts

At most, just my dad and I, so just 2.


Correct me if I'm wrong, but in the evnet of a short the overall layout would be broken down into 1/3's and you wouldn't have to search the entire layout for the short. Just the affected 1/3 of the layout casued by the short would be disabled so it helps to narrow down the short location a little faster.
Set up the layout track wise for 3 districts by adding insulated rail joiners (Peco makes the best) but wire for the one big district. Then you can easily change to 3 districts later if you want. I found the easiest way to attach the leads to the bus is by using wire nuts. I bought a pack of about 200 for $14.95. Just make sure you get the right size.

NYC_George
 

RexHea

RAIL BENDER
I have a large garage layout that I had originally installed some blocks for future whatevers. I never wired them up with breaker protection, as most operators know when and where their trains have screwed up. The big advantage to having breakers on a large layout with many operators is when one operator has an oops, it doesn't turn off everyone else. This became painfully apparent not long ago when I had 12 train engineers.

Something that I would like to add: If you believe that you will ever use block detection/auto signals, then now is the time to go ahead and install blocks. They can be used as power blocks only for now and if you choose, but later and if you decide on detection for signals, it is a breeze to connect up to do both. I never thought about signals at the time and didn't plan very well with the block locations. Now, I have to go back under the layout and rewire, add additional blocks, and probably go to a chiropractor afterwards:D .
 

HaggisKennedy

Coal Shoveler
The other reason for power blocks is if you're doing complicated wiring which might cause shorts every so often. So, the blocks would be good to figure out where the problems are. If your wiring is solid, then that shouldn't be a problem.

Last time I was in York was in '94, on my last visit to BMY/UDLP/BAE.... :D

Kennedy
 




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