Dcc recommendations

John Russo

Registered
24 Sep 2015
161
21
65
PA
Country flag
The PIKO G Scale DCC kit is quite straightforward to set up and use. The basic set up uses a 5 Amp supply, with additional boosters available if needed

It is made by Massoth, so is backward compatible with LGB MTS, and if you become interested in doing more with DCC you can readily add Massoth components.

See here for PIKO G Scale DCC brochure.... https://wgrr.ca/assets/images/99330_G_Digital_Flyer.pdf


If you want simple DCC, the PIKO system is a good choice.


Can be bought here: Piko G Scale Complete Digital System (35010, 35020, 35037, 35038) by Massoth
 

meiningen8

Registered
25 Oct 2009
301
19
Country flag
The KM1 System Control 9 looks to be a neat compact alternative DCC system
 

Dan

Registered
28 Jan 2010
536
41
Eastern MA
Country flag
It is not cheap decoders that do not work over 22 DCC volts on the track, it is the NMRA spec stating max DC is 27 volts and DCC max is 22 volts. Some manufacturers followed the NMRA spec to the letter and give a fault if over 22 volts. My Zimo decoders are spec'd for 30 volts even for HO versions which work great in small G locos.
 

Greg Elmassian

Registered
8 Mar 2014
7,206
919
San Diego
www.elmassian.com
Country flag

dunnyrail

DOGS, Garden Railways, Steam Trains, Jive Dancing,
25 Oct 2009
23,333
4,467
74
St.Neots Cambridgeshire UK
Country flag
If you want simple DCC, the PIKO system is a good choice.


Can be bought here: Piko G Scale Complete Digital System (35010, 35020, 35037, 35038) by Massoth
About the only thing I find wrong with the Piko system compared to Massoth or indeed the original LGB systems, once Radio Control (RC) is added all handsets need to be RC. With Massoth and the older LGB a tethered controller can still be added due to additional phone type input sockets on the rear of the base stations. The Piko one only has one that is needed for the Radio unless I missed a tethered possibility on the RC receiving unit.

But that guy is a real enthusiast, the look on his face when running 2 locomotives. Talk about a kid in a Smartie factory.
 

Software Tools

Registered
18 Jan 2013
164
23
Sydney, Australia
Country flag
With Massoth and the older LGB a tethered controller can still be added due to additional phone type input sockets on the rear of the base stations.

For new buyers of DCC systems it's not really an issue.

Thanks to the global proliferation of personal hand-held electronic devices (of all types) in recent decades, tethered hand-held devices are very much a thing of the past nowadays.
 

dunnyrail

DOGS, Garden Railways, Steam Trains, Jive Dancing,
25 Oct 2009
23,333
4,467
74
St.Neots Cambridgeshire UK
Country flag
For new buyers of DCC systems it's not really an issue.

Thanks to the global proliferation of personal hand-held electronic devices (of all types) in recent decades, tethered hand-held devices are very much a thing of the past nowadays.
It could be if price is an issue. But not sure how the costs of Piko RC Navigators work out unless they are of course already fitted with rc?
 

Gtarling

Registered
26 Aug 2019
64
7
73
Grantham
Country flag
I've decided that the Digikeijs system will suit my purposes for the time being. If I find that I've outgrown it in future, then I'll consider upgrading to a better system at that time. The problem now is that Digikeijs DR5000 units are currently like rocking horse droppings and I'm having trouble finding one. I'm in no great hurry though, so I'll just wait until one turns up. Thanks for all the help and advice chaps!

Gordon
 

phils2um

Phil S
11 Sep 2015
1,457
412
Ann Arbor, Michigan
Country
United-States
Country flag
I've decided that the Digikeijs system will suit my purposes for the time being.
I was just glancing at the DR5000 manual. It appears to be limited to 3 amps without an additional booster. I think you'll be disappointed almost immediately! This is really only enough current for 1 of the bigger, two motor large scale locos - which defeats the whole purpose of DCC control. I guarantee you will be buying another booster and power supply right away if you purchase the DR5000. In your initial post you mention not going overboard but that cost is not a major concern. Purchasing a DCC system that seems directed at the smaller scales to save money is not the way I would go. Members here have given a lot of good suggestions for DCC systems known to work well with large scale trains. I think you would be well served to reconsider your choice.

(Note that I deliberately did not mentioned in my earlier post the Märklin CS3 that I use and am happy with. The reason being that there is not a handheld remote with a real speed control knob and decent sized function buttons currently available for it. This was a primary requirement for your system. I'm satisfied using my smartphone as a controller even if it is not ideal. Even though my CS3 puts out 5 amps I needed to add an additional 5 amp booster to comfortably operate three locos on my RR.)
 
Last edited:

Gtarling

Registered
26 Aug 2019
64
7
73
Grantham
Country flag
Phil - the figures that you've quoted are causing me to reconsider my requirements. I can't really see me wanting to have more than one loco at a time running, with perhaps one or two waiting in a siding. However, it does make sense to have the current capability to have two locos running at the same time.

Quick question - I note that adding a booster to any DCC system requires the booster to be connected to an isolated section of track, so what happens should two locos happen to enter the same section of track at the same time? Looks to me that that section of track could well be overloaded?

Gordon
 

Greg Elmassian

Registered
8 Mar 2014
7,206
919
San Diego
www.elmassian.com
Country flag
Not sure where you read about isolated section of track.... that is common for an autoreverser, or the programming track.

I think you need to read a bit more about DCC. In some cases you split the layout into separate sections isolated from each other, called "power districts", this would be in the case you had a 5 amp system, but were running 2 loops, one train each, and you needed more TOTAL power, then you might power one loop with the 5 amp system and the second loop with an additional booster.

In the case of the 3 amp system, it's really too "lightweight" to run a section by itself. Yes yes, people will say they can run 5,000 trains on one 3 amps system, but from a practical perspective, you should make most power districts 5 amps. Realize other locos just idling will pull power too, and then there are lighted passenger cars, and then maybe you are using turnout controllers.

The track is the foundation of your layout, next up is your power delivery system. Don't start by limiting yourself right off.

Also, pay attention to the voltage output too, make sure your system can deliver close to 24 volts TO THE RAILS (input voltage does not count).

The recommendations you have here are from experienced people trying to help you from making a mistake.

(I have 24v and 40 amps total on my system, I run long trains and have steep grades)

 

Gtarling

Registered
26 Aug 2019
64
7
73
Grantham
Country flag
Greg - Thanks for your advice, much appreciated. So, just to clarify, if I have a large and simple oval, single track, then I can just connect a booster unit to the track (effectively in parallel with the existing DCC unit) in order to increase the current capability? Obviously, polarity will need to be observed.

Gordon
 

Greg Elmassian

Registered
8 Mar 2014
7,206
919
San Diego
www.elmassian.com
Country flag
no, separate... power districts are separate...

so most layouts start as one set of track all connected together, and a single booster feeding the layout.

As the layout grows, if you are using more power than the booster can supply, you can isolate part of the layout and feed that with a separate booster.

You really cannot parallel booster outputs.

A DCC system consists of throttle(s) connected in some way (wired or wireless) to a Command Station.... the brains.

Then the output of the Command Station goes to one or more boosters (that have the voltage and amperage to run locos)

Many times the Command Station and a Booster are packaged in the same box.

I think you are getting a bit ahead of yourself... Find a 5 amp (or more) system you like, and then build on that as you expand.

My layout is in about 4 sections, and about 800-900 linear feet, but I run long trains that take a lot of current.

There are basically 2 loops (so they get 12 amps each), a switchyard (8 amps) and some passing sidings (8 amps).

So I have my layout in 4 power districts running from 4 boosters. My system has 2 boosters packaged with the Command Station. It's a Zimo, and it is unfortunately the highest cost system you can buy, so this is just an example, not a recommendation.

Maybe you can read some on my site: (that is a link below)

DCC

There are 750 separate pages on my site, surf around.

Greg
 

Gtarling

Registered
26 Aug 2019
64
7
73
Grantham
Country flag
Greg - not sure if it's me not asking clearly enough, or you're not reading my questions fully. Anyway, despite what you wrote, it appears that a track section fed by a booster needs to be isolated from other sections of track - this make sense (to me at least). The question remains - what happens if a second locomotive enters a section of track being fed from a booster which causes said booster's current capability to be exceeded? Do let me know if my questions are clear enough or making sense!

BTW, there's a lot of helpful and useful info on your website and I'm slowly trawling though it!

Gordon
 

PhilP

G Scale, 7/8th's, Electronics
5 Jun 2013
31,106
3,228
Tamworth, Staffs.
Country flag
If you exceed the current capacity of the Central Station (or a Booster) it will shutdown. - Or whatever else it is designed to do under a fault/overload condition..

I (personally) think you would be able to run two (two-motor) loco's into/through a section with a 5A booster.
The proviso being you are not starting one from stationary, or running lots of lighted carriages / pulling lots of stock, through tight curves and / or grades..

The law of averages, means you will probably have loco's spread out, and if one is just sitting in a loop, then it will not be a problem.

If you are wanting to consist three power-cars, and pull a dozen 50' steel-side cars, then you will have a problem.

PhilP.
 

Greg Elmassian

Registered
8 Mar 2014
7,206
919
San Diego
www.elmassian.com
Country flag
So, the next step is to understand "phase" or "polarity" of your DCC system to answer your next question.

Even though the "Waveform" on the rails is square, rather than a sine wave, what is on the rails is like the AC you feed your home and appliance outlets.

So, while there is no "polarity" as in plus or minus (as the polarity is changing many times a second),

there IS a "phase". This means if you have 2 boosters, for example (and they are running the same voltage), then you CAN connect them together if they wired such that the are both in phase, i.e. their Alternate Currents are "synchronized".

So finally to your question... when a loco or powered car is straddling an "insulated" break between power districts, if they are in phase, everything is fine.

If they are not, you indeed will have a short.

For track in a loop, for example, no problem, wired right once, is always right.

But there are layouts that have a section where the track plan can effectively connect the right rail to the left rail. even insulating the sections would cause a short when the loco wheel spans the insulating gap, or a powered car does this.

In this case, you have a "reverse loop", and there is a nice component called an "autoreverser" that will detect the short (polarity/phase mismatch) and REVERSE the connections on the autoreverser side and everything is fine. The electronics work so fast that the short circuit is very short in duration and you (and the locomotive) don't even notice it.

As long as the entire train is in the reversing section, then reversing the phase/polarity in that section causes no issue (the locomotive goes the same direction regardless of the phase/polarity.

Basically no fuss,, no muss.

So, you isolate power districts from each other. They can have separate boosters, or perhaps come from the same booster and have separate circuit breakers. The power districts that could have a phase/polarity issue need an autoreverser.

It's actually quite simple and very flexible. Like I said I have 4 boosters, and I do have an autoreverser, I have a WYE leading into my switchyard, which inherently causes a "reverse loop" (mind that not all reverse loops look like a loop).

This is as clear and concise as I can make it, hope it helps.

Greg
 

Gtarling

Registered
26 Aug 2019
64
7
73
Grantham
Country flag
Phil - Thanks, it's all starting to become a bit clearer now. The ESU system I'm considering has a 6 Amp rating for the main unit, so I think I'd be fairly safe running two locos hauling at the most 5 or 6 coaches.

Greg - your reply much appreciated, the learning curve is steep at my age! So, if I want to have two boosters supplying the same piece of track for increased current capability how do I know for sure that the units I buy will synchronise OK? Looking like I may well need to add an autoreverser or two eventually.

Gordon
 

dunnyrail

DOGS, Garden Railways, Steam Trains, Jive Dancing,
25 Oct 2009
23,333
4,467
74
St.Neots Cambridgeshire UK
Country flag
Phil - Thanks, it's all starting to become a bit clearer now. The ESU system I'm considering has a 6 Amp rating for the main unit, so I think I'd be fairly safe running two locos hauling at the most 5 or 6 coaches.

Greg - your reply much appreciated, the learning curve is steep at my age! So, if I want to have two boosters supplying the same piece of track for increased current capability how do I know for sure that the units I buy will synchronise OK? Looking like I may well need to add an autoreverser or two eventually.

Gordon
We had a Massoth (5a) system on the Ruschbahn running 10-12 locomotives or at least that many powered up, most were just stationary between turns with at most 4 or 5 running at any one time. No multiple lash ups or very long trains that they like over the pond. Start off with what you are proposing I doubt you will ever need more.

Oh and yes that same controller is running another Swiss based railway with at most 2 double motored locs running 6 heavy lighted LGB coaches and perhaps another 2 shunting with 4-6 more powered and not running most of them sound as well. The only reason we are not running more of the trains at any time are the logistics of the line (still under construction) and a lack of operators.
 

Greg Elmassian

Registered
8 Mar 2014
7,206
919
San Diego
www.elmassian.com
Country flag
OK, while I have stated that a MOMENTARY connection between 2 power districts each powered by a different booster, I will have to make clear that PARALLELING two boosters PERMANENTLY is not allowed.

The phase is not going to ever be PERFECTLY synchronized, and also this would wreak hell with the over current/voltage protection in the boosters.

One booster connection per ISOLATED power district.

One booster can feed multiple power districts.

You may NOT go the other way, multiple boosters to the SAME power district. (there are some exceptions, but they are for special systems like my Zimo that has 2 internal boosters and is designed to parallel the 2 INTERNAL boosters).

You keep coming back to paralleling boosters.... NO!!!

Greg