Convert Bachmann Non-DCC Turnouts To DCC Control

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#1
Hello All,

I am new to this forum and have re-entered model railroading after a several decade hiatus. For my first setup I have tried to go the most inexpensive route and purchased the Bachmann "Your First Railroad" EZ Track Set along with a Bachmann SD40-2 DCC equipped Loco and the NCE Power Cab Starter set.

The EZ Track set came with 4 remote turnouts (left & right #'s 44561 and 44562 respectively) these turnouts are DC and come with remote switches, however I would like to be able to control these turnouts with my Power Cab.

It has been suggested that I could do this by using something like NCE's "Snap-its" which would be connected to the turnout's existing wiring and then to the Power Cab. I'm a little confused on to how this would be wired...

I understand (I think) as to how the wiring from the turnout to the Snap it would be connected (I assume that I would just use the 3 wire green cable that comes with the turnout that normally connects to the supplied remote switch and instead wire that to the Snap it).

If this scenario is correct, how do I supply power to the Snap it? I only have the 1 power panel that came with Power Cab, so if I have 4 turnouts (which I assume means I would need to have 4 "Snap Its" (1 for each turnout)) How would I attach the 8 corresponding wires for power? I do not want to solder wire to the track if I don't have to. Is there another type of panel that NCE sells to accomplish a nice "neat" connection that I'm looking for? And also, does the Power Cab in it's "starter kit" form offer enough power to drive these turnouts even if this scenario would work or do I need to purchase an SB3 for additional power to the track?

Is this even the proper way to go? As I said I would like to keep the expenses down as I re-enter the hobby and would like to make use of what I already have. Is there a better way to do this using EZ Track? I see that Bachmann does sell "DCC Friendly" turnouts but they are kinda pricey. Or is there a better way than I have discussed (in my confusion) to make this work?

Thank you all for your time and sharing of your knowledge. After I get past this turnout stumbling block I'll be tapping any of yours knowledge for installing a SoundTraxx Tsunami AT1000 in my loco, but one stumbling block at a time!!!

Thanks!!!

Josh
 

Iron Horseman

Well-Known Member
#2
I am new to this forum and have re-entered model railroading after a several decade hiatus. For my first setup I have tried to go the most inexpensive route and purchased the Bachmann "Your First Railroad" EZ Track Set along with a Bachmann SD40-2 DCC equipped Loco and the NCE Power Cab Starter set.
Wow. In my opinion the EZ-Track in the long run will be the opposite. It will be the most expensive option. The track is marginal quality and very pricey.

The EZ Track set came with 4 remote turnouts (left & right #'s 44561 and 44562 respectively) these turnouts are DC and come with remote switches, however I would like to be able to control these turnouts with my Power Cab.
I have a standard reply to this type of statement. Why? To do this one ends up using the DCC controller like it is a video game. Dial up this thing do this function, dial up this thing do this function, and oh by the way my train is running away so I have to quickly dial it up and get control of it again.


It has been suggested that I could do this by using something like NCE's "Snap-its" which would be connected to the turnout's existing wiring and then to the Power Cab. I'm a little confused on to how this would be wired...
I would start by downloading the user manuals for them an researching it.


And also, does the Power Cab in it's "starter kit" form offer enough power to drive these turnouts even if this scenario would work or do I need to purchase an SB3 for additional power to the track?
And now you are figuring out one of the huge disadvantages of using DCC for turnouts. DCC power is very expensive relative to straight AC or DC power normally used for changing remote control turnouts.

Is this even the proper way to go? As I said I would like to keep the expenses down as I re-enter the hobby...
As you can probably figure from my earlier comments, I do not think this is the way to go. Another first question I would like to have you ask yourself is, "Why do you want "remote control" turnouts to begin with?" Are they way back out of reach? Are they hidden in a tunnel? Is it going to be computer controlled? Is there going to be elaborate scenery that could get broken if someone reaches in to change a turnout? I mean it isn't that hard to reach over and throw a little lever just like the prototype switchmen do. I am a big user and proponent of manual turnouts.

You can mix Bachmann EZ-Track with other brands if you mount the other on a layer of cork to make it the same height.
 
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#3
Usually I see people control turnouts manually, with throw or a throw connected to a wire to the turnout. If the distance is too far, then they power the turnout throw with a twin coil or stall motor unit and put a switch on the fascia.

Controlling via DCC hand unit is cumbersome and expensive. You need to buy a powered throw (twin coil or stall motor), then buy a DCC controller (DS64?) for around $20-$40. Then set it up and configure it as you would any DCC decoder (these are stationary as opposed to mobile ones in your engines). To actually use you must change your handset to the stationary decoder and activate it, then back to your train, and so forth.

Unless you need to control the turnout(s) from various locations, I think there are better ways than using DCC.
 
#4
Thanks for your responses guys. I do appreciate your insights and knowledge.

Ultimately my goal is to control my layout by computer through the JRMI suite which is one of the reasons I want to do this conversion. I agree that control through the Power Cab handset may be slightly more difficult due to having to multi-task but I'm okay with that. I have read the respective manuals for the products I have mentioned and there has been no "clear cut" instructions as to the way I would like to achieve this.

I do have the standard DC remote switches that came with the turnouts and I'm willing to use those as sometimes my back will not allow me to lean over the layout without considerable pain.

As for the EZ Track, I got an excellent deal on the set for the amount of track that was included and I want to slightly increase the size of my layout over time.

Once again, thank you for your responses, I really appreciate it.
 





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