Practical Guide to Digital Command Control by Larry Puckett DCC Soft Cover

Practical Guide to Digital Command Control by Larry Puckett DCC Soft Cover

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Practical Guide to Digital Command Control by Larry Puckett DCC Soft Cover
Practical Guide to Digital Command Control by Larry Puckett DCC Soft Cover Copyright 2008  111 pages
Just imagine your road engine and a local switcher working together to sort cars and make up a train at a busy industrial lead or small yard on your layout. Even more realistically, locomotives can be joined into consists or as helper engines, then cut out of the consist or train once the grade is topped, without having to touch them. Lights can be turned on or off, horns blown, bells rung, switches thrown and other functions, all controlled from a single hand-held throttle. Railroad signaling, once seen only on the most advanced layouts, can now be easily implemented by any modeler. Plus computer interfacing is made much simpler. And all of this can be accomplished with off-theshelf components, no kits to put together and you don't have to recruit an electrical engineer for your operating crew just to get it all working.
Why Use Command Control
Command control gives us the ability to operate numerous locomotives under independent control without the requirement for electrically isolated blocks of track. This is accomplished in much the same way as radio-controlled cars and airplanes. Each locomotive has a receiver (called a decoder in DCC jargon) programmed for a specific address. The control signal is sent through the track rails as part of track power, and is received, decoded, and acted upon by the decoder in the locomotive. This makes it possible for locomotives on the same section of track to move in opposite directions at different speeds, just like on prototype railroads.
For purposes of simplifying locomotive control, DCC is just as good if not better for the small layout as it is for club-sized layouts. On small layouts it is very distracting for more than one operator to run trains because of the small number of blocks available. Each train requires its own isolated block plus at least one transition block, so if you start with a standard 4' x 8' layout having 30' of track, just to operate two trains independently would mean each operating block would be reduced to about 10-12'. As the number of trains increase so do the number of blocks required to operate them, and the blocks get progressively shorter, plus more switches and wires are required to keep it all under control. Since large layouts have a lot more track it is possible to operate several trains at the same time in a large number of blocks without ending up with ridiculously short sections of track for them to run on.
Command control eliminates the need for a lot of the blocks, switches, and extra wiring, making it possible to operate several trains at the same time on the same piece of track. A single operator can run several trains simultaneously from a single hand-held throttle on even the smallest layout so it gives you greater operating potential. Let's not forget the potential flexibility it gives modular groups. Most large NTRAK and HO-modular clubs are limited to operating only. one train at a time on each of their main lines. Some have developed complex block operations that allow more than one train to follow the other around the loops, however with DCC they can operate as many trains as they have boosters and throttles.

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