Wiring a layout for DCC

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Stale crackers
I'm new to the whole DCC scene here, and was wondering, what does DCC rquire as far as wiring to the layout? I understand the extension boxes, and boosters, but what involves wiring to the track? I don't plan on using turnouts via DCC, so is it just 2 wires to the 2 rails, and programming, or something different?


In Training Down Under.
Most guys run a heavy gauge bus wire under the layout and the smaller gauge feeder wires up to the rails every 6 or so feet. Keeps the volt drop to a minimum.



Coal Shoveler
At it's most basic, two wires attached somewhere to the tracks, and it will power an entire 4x8 layout. It can be done, but not recommended.

Most folks will use one set of heavier gauge bus wire under the layout, with feeders every few feet, for better connectivity and less voltage drop. Some of them will also wire up a couple extra blocks, for ease of troubleshooting. May not be necessary for a 4x8, but larger layouts (or really small, complex ones) would benefit.



Rainman, I haven't seen where you stated the size layout that your talking about. As Kennedy has already said, for a smaller layout you don't need a lot of complicated wiring schemes with power blocks, boosters, and etc. As stated: two wires-two rails.

If you are talking about something larger than a 4x8, then I would go along with what others have said and run common bus wires (12-14 gauge) for each power output then feed your rails from them with about 20-22 gauge wire every 6-9 feet.

For large layouts, many like to divide them into power sections (blocks) with circuit breaker protection. This serves two purposes: when there is a short, you will know which block has it by the breaker number and only that section is affected, and if you expect a lot of locomotives to be running it is easy to divide the power to the layout by adding a booster for other sections.

Personally, I would suggest that you not buy a booster until you see that it is needed. I run a Super Chief 8 amp system with ~1000feet of track and don't need one. All this hype about voltage drop from the rails is grossly exaggerated and is minimized by all the parallel connections that are made through the busing/feeders and by the track, as mentioned by NZRmac. More important is good clean connections to minimize distortion of the DCC Signal.

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