Unplugging DCC Throttles When Not in Use....?

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Section Hand
Today while I was in the layout room a thought again occurred to me about my Digitrax throttles. Usually they are plugged into the LocoNet panels around the layout even when not in use. Does it make any sense to unplug the throttles when not in use to prolong their life?



Well-Known Member
It probably doesn't make a difference one way or the other. My Pro-Cab stays plugged in to the panel. I do unplug it from the wall after every use. Even though we have a whole house surge protector on the panel, I figure if left plugged in to the wall, and we do get a spike, and the surge protector would happen to fail that's a direct path to the track where all the DCC/sound locos are sitting on the layout.

D&J RailRoad

Professor of HO
I wouldn't leave any throttle plugged in and just hanging from a panel. Too much chance of being damaged by accidental contact when walking by.


BN Modeller
I leave the throttles (digitrax) plugged in but I do unplug the power to the system.
I also unplug everything when soldering on the rails or wiring.


Section Hand
Ken: I have a type of early computer mouse holder that I use to hold my throttles and are attached to the fascia using strong double back tape. These holders keep the Digitrax throttles secure and unlikely they will fall out of the holders if bumped. I maybe should of purchased several more when I had the chance perhaps 12 or so years ago at a close out. Several dollars a piece.

On several of throttles I gathered the extra cable together and secured with a wire tie and that helps to keep everything neat.


String of  WC Cars at Siding.JPG

Two of the computer mouse holders on right. -Greg


Active Member
SIMPLE way to avoid even thinking about it is to plug a 3 prong power strip with an on/off switch in the 110 outlet. Hang the thing perhaps on a bench leg in arm's reach..Plug the charger/power-source/adapter, what ever it's called, into the the strip and turn it on and off. That's what I did until I had to relocate = no layout these days..Planning a small L shelf where I am now... Dang, it's been near 4 years now of arm chairing it only.....M
There is one problem even when using a power strip to plug in all your railroad electronics. These power strip "switch" only the hot side of the circuit to stop any power from traveling to the devices plugged into them. A lighting hit could be carried by the neutral side of the circuit and cause damage as well.

A good surge protector would be a better choice. They aren't cheap!

My concern is should I unplug some throttles when I am running trains and certain throttles are not needed like when I'm operating alone and only use a Digitrax 402 throttle while the others just sit in their holders plugged into the Digitrax LocoNet panels on the the fascia. Why have juice running into an idle throttle?

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Active Member
Are you inferring lightening bolt from the sky ? Like, what are the odds of that !? On top of this the L bolt will go to ground via the large 3rd leg of plug, if it even gets past the roof or gutter of the building ..When was the last time we learned of a house losing all its appliances or family members due to lightening ? Seems a bit a far fetched...
Far as unplugging your daisy-chained DCC throttles while running trains alone, is silly ..Because if there were another person(s) operating a 2nd or 3rd controller, it would be the same as no one using them. The controller sees no diff. nor siphons off current when not in use. They're idling. If we were still in the analog days of the telephone, would you unplug the extension phone in the other room than where you are, until you use it ?..The extra controllers are on line and ready for you or anyone to immediately grab and use when needed, while layout is turned on...
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A high school classmate of mine, had his house hit by lightning last summer, had to replace everything, electronics, appliances, etc., so it does happen. What I do, is keep my electronics plugged into an APC UPS. If a lightning strike were to occur, APC will cover everything plugged into them, up to $50,000.00.
I thought I did a post about lighting but some how its disappeared.

Anyway, we have a house in our neighbor that was struck by lighting several years apart and each time the lighting struck the chimney. No damage to the home's electrical system.

Lightning can and will do damage to a building's electrical system and electronic equipment in the home. The office buildings where I work we had complex lighting protection on the roofs to prevent lighting damage. I seen lighting hit these buildings several times and no damage from the strikes. These building are filled with computers and medical equipment at all are sensitive to lighting damage.

I lost a friend who was struck by lighting on a golf course since he didn't want to finish his game. The storm was several miles away, but the lighting move a long distance or was in the area and caused his death. The lighting struck his golf club and when through his body and out through the metal spikes on the bottoms of his shoes.

Here's an interesting web site about lighting.


Several years ago at our cabin we had a 70 foot White Pine tree get hit by lighting during a unusual December thunderstorm. The lighting completely destroyed the tree leaving just a stump and trenches where the roots once were located. The tree parts were spread over our driveway, the town road and in the woods with no pieces larger than four feet long. There was so much wood in the road that the town crew was called out and cleared the roadway for traffic.

I have a real respect for lighting.

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Active Member
I have real respect for Thomas Edison and George Westinghouse...Edison's impact on mankind is colossal, profound and, immeasurable .. His birthday should be a national, if not international, holiday. I say, get rid of Halloween, the candy makers', sugar industry, and *dentist's salute to tooth decay, obesity, and, most of all, diabetes, and replace it with T.E. Day .... G.W. single-handedly rescued the railroad from demise due to its deadly danger to brakeman, crew, and public.. M

*no offense toward dentists..You perform a highly necessary service. I don't mean you push candy..
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