wiring existing N scale layout to dcc

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I am totally new to model railroading. recently I aquired an N scale analog layout, it's divided into 27 power districts and has 18 elect atlas turnouts (code-80). I reconnected all power districts and turnouts and everything seems in working order (trains are running, turnouts work and power districts turn on/off. Layout is on a 4x8 sheet of plywood track is all Atlas code 80 with 1 reversing loop, untortunately the previos owner used telephone wire for all connections. My question how do I convert everything to DCC using a BUS wire and keep the power districts? Appreciate any and all recommendations.

Thanks Marvin

-- marvin fiddler (marvin@aircargoassociates.com), January 25, 2005


Before you go overboard...Make a sketch of the layout and... 1. 27 power districts is unlikely. Look for insulated rail joiners in addition to counting up the track feeder pairs. Insulated track blocks define potential power districts and signal detection blocks. 2. After doing #1, update your drawing to show all insulated rail joiners. 3. Now plan ahead to redefine rail sections that you indeed want to be isolated from one another. Consider signal detection blocks (if any), reversing loops and power districts. (Do you really think you will need multiple power districts? How many operators and trains can you have on a 4 x 8 layout?) OK, OK... Having a power cut-off switch for loco storage tracks is useful. Beef up those wires if long, but wire 'em up to an esisting DCC bus. 4. Now plan out your under-the-table DCC bus runs to accomodate the plan of #3. For a 4 x 8 N scale layout you should be able to get away with 14 or even 18 ga wire for the DCC bus. Use the existing track feeder wires. Just shorten them up and connect to the appropriate DCC bus. Check for proper rail phasing as you work.

I recommend using an On-Guard auto-reverser. ~$34 at Tony's.


-- Don Vollrath (dvollrath@magnetek.com), January 26, 2005.

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