Running DCC on regular layout : LUSENET : Wiring for DCC : One Thread

I belong to a train club and have several locos that I run there on a regular basis. I'd like to be able to run all my locos on my home layout, when finished, or at the club. I am considering putting DCC on my home layout. I was wanting to know if you can run a DCC equipped engine on a non-DCC layout? I dont want to go DCC if I am going to have to have different engines for home and the club.

-- Kendall C (, December 10, 2001


Kendall, I can only speak for my system, which is an MRC Command 2000 system. The system does have it's drawbacks, however, I can "Deprogram" my units to run on regular DC layouts. I've done it many times in the past with no problems as I belong to a club myself. And it's simple to "Reprogram" when I bring the units back home. I would venture a guess that most any system would allow you to do the same, but I'm not sure. If you do not yet have a system, be sure to check into it before buying one. Dave

-- Dave (, December 10, 2001.

An excellant place to get this DCC answer is the DCC Special Interest Group. First goto and join up. That is where the "brains" of the DCC world hang out. I am faced with the same query as I adapt our large club layout to a mixture of DC/DCC and I'll be monitoring the answers that you receive.

-- Wayne Roderick (, December 10, 2001.


some DCC decoders support Analog Mode (run on DC) and some don't. For the decoders that do support analog mode, it can be enabled or disabled with one of the CV variables. You can leave analog mode turned on all the time but sometimes strange things happen on DCC and you are advised to disable analog mode except when you want to use it. This is a simple programming operation.

You may or may not like the way DCC decoder equipped locos run in analog mode. I suggest that you try to check out the decoders that you might use to see if it is suitable to you.

I do know that once you try operation with DCC you will never be satisfied with DC again.

I have limited experience with analog mode. I have some Digitrax DH121 decoders. On DC I find that startup is a little jerky but after that operation is smooth.


-- Dale Gloer (, December 11, 2001.

You can put in a DPDT switch in loco wiring to select the source of motor power to be from either the DCC decoder or directly from the rail pick-ups to operate on DC. Space is limited for HO and N scale but it is a good alternative for S, O, & G. A 2 prong plug & two sockets would also work and might take up less space.


-- Don Vollrath (, December 11, 2001.

Most decoders can do this right out of the factory and require no reprogramming.

However, if you're using pulsed DC the decoder will get hot and the thermal shutdown may activate to protect the decoder. This has happened to me. Filtered DC is the best source of DC for DCC decoders to operate on.

Decoders will drop the voltage to the motor by a few volts so your locomotives will operate slower on DC and may not be able to MU with non-decoder-equipped locomotives.

Also note that, depending how you wired and programmed the decoder, you may or may not have control of the headlights on DC.

Finally, I've had problems with analog mode enabled in my decoders. When I turn on my command station/booster, I've had locomotives take off at full speed! The voltage is initially at 0, and when the booster is turned on it rises quickly (a few milliseconds, I guess) to DCC track voltage. However, my decoders interpret the few milliseconds of below-normal track voltage as DC, switch to analog mode and hit the afterburners!!

Reprogramming the decoders to non-analog mode is easy and does not affect DCC operation one bit. Reprogramming them back to analog mode when taking them to a non-DCC layout is also very easy.

The solution to all this is to wire in a switch as someone suggested or to use the Atlas decoders, which have a plug that can jumper the decoder out of the circuit entirely.

Incidentally, I'm using a Wangrow System One with Lenz LE103XF decoders.

-- Mark Lanctot (, June 12, 2002.

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