DCC and DC operations

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#1
I am beginning to convert my layout to DCC, however; I have a number of blue box Athearn locomotives and several other brands. My question is: Can I operate the layout as a totally DCC as long as the DC is not on and visa versa. This way I could operate my Dcc locos and also the dc locos. I would run Dcc when DCC power is on and dc when dc power is on with dcc power off. Thanks for the info

Dan
 

Iron Horseman

Well-Known Member
#2
I am beginning to convert my layout to DCC, however; I have a number of blue box Athearn locomotives and several other brands. My question is: Can I operate the layout as a totally DCC as long as the DC is not on and visa versa. This way I could operate my Dcc locos and also the dc locos. I would run Dcc when DCC power is on and dc when dc power is on with dcc power off.
Just using on and off power switches still leaves the units connected to a powered line only backwards. The power from the DC unit going backwards into the DCC controller might smoke it, and vice verse. So the answer is, "NO".

The better way to do it is to install a DPDT switch (and I'll even specify a center off) between the track and the two controllers. This way each controller is always totally isolated from the other.

If your DC system is a cab control, just connect the DCC controllers as one of the cabs. Flip all the selector switches to that cab and the layout is DCC.

I think you will soon find that the DC option is used less and less.

You also realize you need to remove all the DC locos from the layout when it is running in the DCC mode. Right? Otherwise the motors will ummm ummm buzz themselves to death.
 

D&J RailRoad

Professor of HO
#3
On the former D&J Railroad, Stafford Division, I used rotary switches for the cabs and when I integrated DCC to the layout I put that on one of the cab positions, with a blank connection in between it and the DC cabs.
 

tootnkumin

Well-Known Member
Staff member
#4
I'm not going to do this myself, but does anyone consider it would be safe to leave DCC locos that had the dual DC option turned off, on the track when it is operating in DC?
 

Mark R.

Custom Painter
#5
I'm not going to do this myself, but does anyone consider it would be safe to leave DCC locos that had the dual DC option turned off, on the track when it is operating in DC?
No problem doing that. If you have DC turned off in the decoder, it will just ignore the DC voltage on the rails.

Mark.
 

trailrider

Well-Known Member
#6
What you are proposing is something like I am doing. I, too, have a bunch of DC only locomotives, and a few DCC with sound. My layout is set up with blocks for DC running, and so I can leave a loco (or loco with train) in a block that is turned off, and have the rest of the layout running on DCC. You must not have a DC motor on DCC, or you will burn out the DC motor! There are a couple of ways you can do this:

One way is to connect the main bus for the layout to an MRC Tech 6 6.0 power pack/controller. This pack can be selected for either DC or DCC with the press of a button. I have one, and it would be the complete answer...if I could walk and chew gum at the same time! :p But, after nearly frying a DC motor with the Tech 6 in DCC mode, I decided to set up a DPDT toggle switch on my control panel. The center contacts are wired to the track bus (which is broken up in to the individual blocks each of which has a DPDT switch that is wired like a DPST Center Off...one set isn't connected). One set of the side contacts are wired to the Tech 6. The other side is wired to a separate MRC 260 DC power pack, which has plenty of juice for two or three Athearn Blue Box diesels. The toggle is labelled and set so that when it is to the left, it is DC; to the right is DCC. (Be sure to check which contacts on the back of the switch corresponds to which direction the toggle is thrown. Some switches have the contacts on the opposite side of the switch, and some on the same side. Check with an ohmmeter!) There can be other solutions, but, to me this is the simplest and "safest" for my motors.
 
#7
I am also running both dc and dcc and sence funds at this time is a lot short i unplug what power that's from the layout that's not in use got to love male female wire couplers
 





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