what is DCC

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Ok I know many must be laughing at me but I had an HO setup in my parents
basement I was about 14 we moved to a new house had no where to set them back up.. Now I'm 26 married and have a daughter I would love to set them
back up for her and obviously for myself ;) and been seeing something about DCC, What is it? is there a website I can visit to learn about it?

Thanks in advance,


Drum Driver
Simplest way to describe it is: It enables you to operate several engines with one power pack. Each engine has a decoder chip to operate on different channels. This also allows you to turn on/off the lights, bell, and blow the horn if they have on board sound. Don't be afraid to ask anything here. I learned allot about it on here also. Bring any problem you have here and people love solving them. Mostly from experience. Saves you allot of trial and error, even if you run a plan by everyone here before you build it.


Diesel Detail Freak
I'll bring up the biggest point I've ever seen...

If you're interesting in a small, single track loop, just for fun, then DCC is a very expensive way to get to that. DC would be fine. Heck you don't even need DCC for sound anymore.


Lazy Daydreamer
Josh is right, you don't need DCC if you're not planning to ever expand beyond a really-simple layout. But will your layout always be that small? Hint: It's much easier to get decoder-equipped locos one at a time when you're just starting out, than to wait until you have a large roster and then upgrade all your engines.

What finally convinced me to go with DCC is that I can move two locos on the same short stretch of track in opposite directions - like in an engine terminal, when I'm assembling a consist. [I went crazy trying to accomplish that with block wiring ~15 years ago on my old layout.]


Thank you, pleasure to be part of this forum.
Thank you NZRMac for the link great stuff so much to look at I don't know
what would be good for me.
And no jbaakko I like many of you dont want just a week end loop :) I like more.

Would using a computer type DCC be less expensive?
Also I have a few locos that where bought back when.. Will I be able to
install decoders into these?


In Training Down Under.
Most of the good DCC systems can be run using a computer, either serial port or USB. But you still need a DCC system to interface to.

If the motor can be isolated from the loco chassis and you have a small amount of space in the shell then a decoder will go in.



Well-Known Member
Hi, Dominick, and welcome.

I'm not sure what you have taken away from all the replies and from your reading at Loy's, but DCC can be summed up this way:

It allows you to run two two at the same time on the same section of powered track so that they do what the real trains do...operate at different speeds and in different directions. So, if you would like to not have to flick toggles so that two or more locomotives will do different things at the same time, then DCC is what you need. If you will rarely run more than one locomotive, and don't mind isolating all others on the layout so that they don't get the same regulated voltage, then DC is simplest for you. As soon as the idea of not having to recall and to select blocks with toggles appeals to you, then you can spend the money on DCC.

Note that it will cost you money to have decoders installed in your older locomotives, even if you don't want sound decoders and speakers installed. If you are electrically skilled, you can save quite a bit of money if you install your own decoders. In that sense, DC is way less expensive.

Not to put too fine a point on it, suppose you had two different locomotives, and you wanted to have them meet on the same ladder track in your yard. You will never get that to happen with DC unless you are prepared to rewire one of the motors so that it operates in the same direction of rotation as the other locomotive, but when the other locomotive is reversed. Sound complicated? As you are surely aware, even picking up and turning around the second locomotive will not get it to run toward or away from another loco on the same section of contiguous powered track. On the other hand, with DCC, you simply direct each locomotive to go forward, or one forward and one backward, or both to reverse as the case may be, and they will move toward each other and couple up. Now that they have sound in DC engines, the only real advantage to DCC is this more prototypical ability to move about the layout without resorting to reaching to and flicking toggles as each engine moves across power gaps in the track plan.

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