Best DCC switches and other wiring woes : LUSENET : Wiring for DCC : One Thread

I'm starting a new layout and I want it to be DCC right from the get go. I am using soild-core 22 gauge bus wires under all tracks and droping the 18 gauge feeders every secion of track. For my staging yard I have used Atlas No. 6 Customline turnouts and soildered an 18-gauge wire to a screw and tapped and installed the screw in the Frogs. I think all, or most, of these suggestions were as per your site's reccommendations. Now I am ready to lay the portion of the layout that is to be scenicked and I can't decide what track/switches to use (ie. are DCC freindly and reliable). Actually, the track depends on what switches I will use. Ideally, I'd prefer to use the Code 83 No. 6 turnouts. I have heard mixed feelings about Atlas' No 6 Code 83 turnouts. Can you tell me what your oppinion is on them? Of course I plan modify any switch I buy as per your suggestions, but I want to know what the best turnout to start out with is. I like what you had to say about the Peco Insulfrog system, but they only have code 75 and 100 I really would like code 83. The Plitz system also intregues me. I even got there all-German catalog. However, I don't like their unrealistic tie plates and they also don't mate wll to Atlas Flex track. So that brings me back to Atlas N0. 6 Code 83 again. I will be using either a choke cable turnout throw system or Tortoise machines, I haven't decided yet. But I don't think that will matter anyway.

A second question/concern I have pertains to wiring the DCC into blocks. This really confuses me. The layout I am building measures 5.5 X 12-feet in size. I will be running trains with up to 3 to 4 powered units. The most the layout will be able to handle will be two of these trains on the main line and perhaps a switcher in the yard. So there might be a total of up to 10 locomotives running at one time on my layout. (I don't really know which DCC system I will use. I'm leaning toward the Atlas system but I'm not married to any particular company. Whatever I need for the best operation I will get. I want to do it right. That is the most import part of this to me.) My question is, will I need to "block" the mainline and yard? Or just wire it straight with out any blocks? I have read on other forums that this should be done to keep the system from overloading. Is this true? I appreciate any help you can give me.

Sincerely Robert Gross

-- Robert Gross (, October 09, 2001


Hi Robert. I won't be much of help about switches. However, I can give You some advice about DCC. Which system to buy depents largely on what You want it to do. The more a system can do the more it will cost. I personaly selected a system that can grow with my layout respectively with my future wishes. I wanted among other things train number recognition, computer integration, from manual to fully automatic operation and a professional looking and working switchboard on my monitor. I found this in Zimo. Wheter You need to "block" the layout depends on a couple of things. If You want automatic operation and train number recognition You do. If You don't want automatic operation You don't, if You by a good system. With Zimo You get 8 Amps of output. The output is fully regulated and stabilized. That means, if a train is moving slowly while a second train starts-up, the first will not slow down as a result of the drop in voltage. The control unit will always keep the voltage at the level You set it at (between 12.0 and 24.0V). The control unit also keeps checking how much current the system uses. If the current increases to high, it will cut the power to the layout and prevent any damage. There is no need for extra fuses or "blocks". If the layout is on a computer, this system will also tell You where the short circuit is on Your layout. Check it out on this website: There are also links to the manufacturer.

Hope that helps, Art

-- Art Luescher (, October 09, 2001.

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