DCC Wiring blocks

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My daughter and I are building Linn Westcott's old HO Railroad That Grows. We are ready to start laying tract. In prior layouts I used block wiring. For this layout, I would like to start out with DCC. I am still learning as fast as I can about DCC systems to decide which one to buy... so I do not have one to read the installation manual to see if the manufacturer recommends block (or booster section) wiring or not. But I can't lay any track until I know whether to put in insulators or not.

Any suggestions would be appreciated. Thanks.

-- Hugh Morgan Hall (rosewood8@sbcglobal.net), January 07, 2005


One of the advantages of DCC on small layouts that have only one or two operators is the fact that you can get rid of all the blocks on the layout and wire it up as one single big block. However, you will still need to install a sufficient number of track drops. This will greatly simplify your wiring. DCC ability to run engines within the same block eliminates the need for blocks all together.


From a general point of view, wiring up a layout into one big block has one downside. If a train derails anywhere on the layout creating short, ALL trains on the layout will stop running too. If you have just one or two operators, that usually not a big problem. But on large layouts or layouts with lots of running trains and operators, this can become a big problem. Under these circumstances, the concept of an elctrcial block comes back with a new definition. Power districts. The WiringForDCC website talks about how to set these up. check out:


Starting at the Using TailLight Bulb section.

The basic idea is to break up the track in to areas where people are going to be working a long time such as a yard. Each area become a selfcontained block. With the main line on one block or power district and the yard on another power district, when there is a short in one or the other, the other power district is not effected. Since you only have one booster or power station, you will need to use what is called a circuit breaker. In the DCC worlds, the least expensive way to do this is with lightbulbs. Hence the topic name. There more to this, but that covered on the website.

Hope this helps

Mark Gurries

-- Mark Gurries (gurriesm@macconnect.com), January 07, 2005.

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