Sharing track voltage

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#1
Hello, I have 12 volts running through my track and used extension track feeder to power a ds64. I also tested a string of leds that I will use to light every house on the block, my question is how long can I keep sharing track power before I need another source such as a booster? And is that what boosters are for?

Thanks
 

fcwilt

Active Member
#4
Hi,

If you try to draw more current from the unit than it is rated for it will shut down on it's own.

If that happens on a regular basis than you need to get a booster and shift some of the load to it.

Frederick
 
#5
Hi,

If you try to draw more current from the unit than it is rated for it will shut down on it's own.

If that happens on a regular basis than you need to get a booster and shift some of the load to it.

Frederick
Thanks and I'll read more about boosters so I know just in case. I thought they were for huge layouts with tons of track. I don't think 5 leds would do it but there will be more of everything in the future.
 

Iron Horseman

Well-Known Member
#6
Hello, I have 12 volts running through my track and used extension track feeder to power a ds64. I also tested a string of leds that I will use to light every house on the block, my question is how long can I keep sharing track power before I need another source such as a booster? And is that what boosters are for?
In reverse order:
Yes, that exactly what a booster is for.
Power can be shared until the current threshold is met. That is add up the max current draw of the locomotives that will be on the track simultaneously, add current from lighted cars, add the current draw of whatever is off the DS64, add the current draw of the lights. Subtract that from the current rating of the DCC supply. When that value goes to zero, that is the end of sharing without a booster.

One could also just upgrade the wall wart that provides the power to the NCE unit to a higher powered one. The power supply that comes with the NCE Power Cab used to be rated 1.7 Amp., and is rated a 3 Amps max, 2 Amps continuous. So one would look for 2 amps to be the limit until one needs a booster.

For things like lights, there has to be a power supply for a booster, why not just use that power supply to power the accessories directly rather than adding an expensive piece of equipment in between? DCC power is very expensive compared to wall warts and even DC power packs.
 
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Olie

Active Member
#7
If you decide to add a booster, I would recommend the Tam Valley Depot booster. http://www.tamvalleydepot.com/products/dccbooster.html
These have become very popular so the price has almost doubled, but if you shop around you can get it for about $45. Add in a power supply and the total will be around $60 but now you can boost up to 5 Amps. I don't know the NCE power cab but if it has Loconet or Railsync, you can run those two wires to the booster for DCC signal or just use the track buss. I currently use a Digitrax DCS51 with a DT500D controller, the Command Station powers my HO ceiling track and then I run a Loconet to the TVD booster which runs my N scale trains. I've got power plenty.
 

Greg@mnrr

Section Hand
#9
Greg:

I would recommend a separate power supply for the LED lighting and run a independent buss line to from the second power supply for the LED's.

I like many DCC users believe that the DCC power should be keep separate from all other uses other than powering the rails. Trouble shooting a power problem with individual buss lines is much easier should a problem arise.

BTW: 12 volts for DCC seems to be lower than norm for HO. Most HO DCC system run at 14.5 -15 volts for best performance from the DCC decoders and locomotives.

Greg
 
#10
Greg:

I would recommend a separate power supply for the LED lighting and run a independent buss line to from the second power supply for the LED's.

I like many DCC users believe that the DCC power should be keep separate from all other uses other than powering the rails. Trouble shooting a power problem with individual buss lines is much easier should a problem arise.

BTW: 12 volts for DCC seems to be lower than norm for HO. Most HO DCC system run at 14.5 -15 volts for best performance from the DCC decoders and locomotives.

Greg

Thanks, I will go separate from now on but for now I'll just run the ds64 (there isn't much else right now) the leds are supposed to run on a 9v anyway. You said lower than norm for HO, it is N and I am using the stock 22 gauge wire and probably don't have the most accurate multimeter. I don't see how I could have made a more positive connection but I'll re do if there's ever a problem.
 
#11
The recommended upgrade path for the NCE Power Cab is to use the NCE SB5 (SB = Smart Booster). You can upgrade the NCE power supply, but you need to do this with caution. It's all explained here:

https://sites.google.com/site/mgurriesncedcc/home/nce-powercab/powercab-power-ratings

- Jeff

Thanks for the link, I read it and should probably read the book that came with the power cab. I have one n scale loco so I have a while before I've reached any limits. For the sake of trouble shooting I'll keep things separate (for the most part)
 

wombat457

Well-Known Member
Staff member
#12
I would not recommend using track power for accessories UNLESS the accessory calls for it. Your best option is to keep your NCE solely for your track power and buy a decent DC Controller for all of your lighting and other accessories NOT dependent on your track power.

A brand new out o the box DC controller, such as an MRC Railpower 1300, will set you back around $40 tops and is all I use for all of the lighting for my structures and all other accessories. An NCE SB5 Booster will set you back around $220. Frankly, paying an additional $180 for my lighting just isn't worth the money and unless you have a massive layout running 6 or more trains all at once, your NCE Powercab will be more than enough to provide track power with feeders.
 
#13
Hi All, I did some research and found my stationary decoder was sold ala carte, now I'll order up the power supply cord that goes with it. The original question was about lights, I'll run lights off one of the terminals.

Greg
 
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#14
Hello again, I must be missing something, I started out borrowing power from my tracks to power a ds64 to operate switches and it worked great, in an effort to do it right I bought a power cord (ps14), it's the one that goes with it. I disconnected the track wires and powered up with the cord and nothing worked? Now I have the track wires and the power cord attached. Maybe because i had no power cord it got power where it could? Yet still satisfied the whole track "a" track "b" set up
 

Iron Horseman

Well-Known Member
#15
Hello again, I must be missing something, I started out borrowing power from my tracks to power a ds64 to operate switches and it worked great, in an effort to do it right I bought a power cord (ps14), it's the one that goes with it. I disconnected the track wires and powered up with the cord and nothing worked?
Is it still connected to the loconet? Perhaps is was only getting the command signal through the track wires.
 
#16
I'm a noob and not really sure what loconet is, assuming it's a computer / internet source of running trains. I have a power cab running the trains and apparently controlling the decoder, it seems fine now. It's almost as though the power supply didn't do anything.
 

Iron Horseman

Well-Known Member
#17
I'm a noob and not really sure what loconet is, assuming it's a computer / internet source of running trains. I have a power cab running the trains and apparently controlling the decoder, it seems fine now. It's almost as though the power supply didn't do anything.
Ok, I missed that. You are using a Digitrax stationary decoder unit (the DS64) on an NCE system. NCE doesn't have loconet. But just as fyi, the plugs on the "back" near the power input that look like phone plugs are loconet (see yellow circles in photo below. Also notice there is nothing connected to the "track" terminals). A Digitrax command station would be connected to the DS64 via that satin telephone like cable. That is where it gets the command signal from. Since NCE doesn't have that, connecting it to the track is the only way the unit can get the command signals in order to know what to do.

The power supply did do something, it is just not noticeable. Will become more apparent when the system starts to load up.

(Don't know who's system this is - just found it on-line searching for "Digitrax DS64 wiring diagram")
loconet.jpg
 
#18
Ok, I missed that. You are using a Digitrax stationary decoder unit (the DS64) on an NCE system. NCE doesn't have loconet. But just as fyi, the plugs on the "back" near the power input that look like phone plugs are loconet (see yellow circles in photo below. Also notice there is nothing connected to the "track" terminals). A Digitrax command station would be connected to the DS64 via that satin telephone like cable. That is where it gets the command signal from. Since NCE doesn't have that, connecting it to the track is the only way the unit can get the command signals in order to know what to do.

The power supply did do something, it is just not noticeable. Will become more apparent when the system starts to load up.

(Don't know who's system this is - just found it on-line searching for "Digitrax DS64 wiring diagram")
View attachment 29776
Thanks for the reply, it makes more sense now. Nice pic, they should use a pic like that in the instructions. It would have at least raised the questions of where's the track wire and what's the cat wire for?
 

tootnkumin

Well-Known Member
Staff member
#19
What you learn with DCC systems is that while the loco decoders may be compatible with all control manufacturer systems i.e. they all will run on whoever's DCC control system you've got, the control systems have their own quirks.
 



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