New Layout - need DCC help

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#1
Hey Folks,

I'm building my home layout (as you may already know) and getting excited as I see the bench work going up. When I was researching before I read that it's best to wire as much as you can before you cover the top with your plywood. This got me thinking about what I need to wire a DCC layout. Being I've only run DCC layouts with modular groups I've never done the entire DCC system myself. So here I am lost on what I need to get in place before I cover the easy access to the lower bench.
Some Background: I have used Digitrax for all other work with modular groups so I have a throttle (Duplex Radio) and I have the Digitrax Zephyr (older non plus) starter set. I know the Zephyr will not power the entire layout so I was thinking I could use that for a section of the layout like the yard and buy what I need from there. My issue is what do I really need to get this layout powered correctly. I need to learn about what I need to get done now. Like I need to run wires for power (done that), need to run a loconet for digitrax and what about extra wires for other accessories on the layout like lights or whatever. Should the loconet not be run along side the power wires? Should I drill new holes for the loconet? Do I need the loconet to just run along the layout or will it be best to follow the tracks like I did with the power wires?

I know this is a loaded post with a lot asked but I'm trying to show what I know of DCC at this point and learn what I can now before I make more work for myself later.

I can post a picture of the layout if you would like or you can see a work in progress of the layout in my other post (http://www.modelrailroadforums.com/forum/showthread.php?23678-My-first-complete-layout-design/page8).

For now I know I'm not placing the reverse track (in green on top of layout) so I'm thinking I'm not needing a reverse loop controller on this layout. I could be wrong, that's why I'm starting this post. I will get a new layout design done over this holiday if I can.

Please ask questions and post any ideas you may thing will help me get this correct.

Thank you and Happy Thanks Giving all!

Dave
 
#2
The limitation of the Zephyr is the number of addresses and the power draw of the trains not the size of the layout. How many of each would determine weather it would be adequate or not. Here is link to a Zephyr used as a backup on my layout. http://www.modeltrainforum.com/showthread.php?t=14852&page=27 post 265. I normally use the Zephyr on my work bench. To keep the voltage drop low, I would use 14 gauge wires for the rail bus and 20 or 22 gauge for 6" feeders to the rail. Loconet has the same digital signal stream on it as the rail power wire. It probably would be better to route it away from the bus on a large layout but doesn't seem to matter on a small one. If there are issues with it, you can always add a repeater. LNRP XTRA LocoNet Repeater Module. You should use color coded wire for different types of wiring (rail power, turnout operation, block detection, signal lights, DC supplies, accessory lighting, etc) and some sort of labeling for future use. Your layout plan is complex enough that this practice would be warranted.
 

Iron Horseman

Well-Known Member
#3
Should the loconet not be run along side the power wires? Should I drill new holes for the loconet? Do I need the loconet to just run along the layout or will it be best to follow the tracks like I did with the power wires?
Are you planning on using the loconet for signalling? If so then I would put them along the track to be close to the sensors & signal boards (SEC8?). If not I would make them as short as possible (direct and to the point where they need to be for throttle plug ins).
 
#5
Like most thing you n this hobby you can do things in many ways. I thank you for the ideas and I'm sure there will be more questions to come.

Dave
 





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