The Adaptability of Digital Command Control (DCC) In Model Railroading
A simple DC (Direct Current) transformer will give you a nice chugging locomotive going one way on your model train track, however, with a DCC (Digital Command Control) unit you can have the flexibility of having an entire train-switching yard happening right in front of your eyes! That is the adaptability that is available with this coming-of-age technology in the model railroad hobby!
Assuming you have already done all that you can with the standard controller that you got with your train set, whether that is a Bachmann, Kato, Marklin, Atlas or other brands and you want something new, what now? You know about the different types and combinations of wiring that can be used to make all the lights work, all the smoke come from the stacks to mimic the operation of your engines and the different things that can be accomplished with traffic control devices and lights, whistles etc. Now it is time to take your layout to the next step.
By using the Digital Command Control, you are doing just that. The DCC sends a continuous electrical current to all of the many things you have installed on your train layout board, just as you have had all along, however, now you have a digital receiver installed in each one of these items. You can thus control each and every one of them with the selectable controller and enhance the operation and, more importantly, the look and feel of your system.
The technical side of the Digital Command Control is, actually, not as complicated as you might think. The digital nature of this very popular and gaining popularity every day. A DCC system is easier to wire than a straight DC system.
You will need to get power to all sections of the track, lights in all rolling stock, lights in all houses, streetlights, cars on the roads, trestles, drop bars at street crossings, smoke from chimneys in houses and stacks from engines. In summary; everything that is happening on your train layout board can be controlled with a Digital Command Control. All that is needed at this point is a digital receiver, in each of these, to make them accessible from your command center.
It will be a relatively easy task to “bundle” certain things to happen at the same time if needed and this can also be set up to activate in series so that it will duplicate the changing of time as people, (in your little world) get home from work, move about the board to go to grocery stores and just generally live their lives.
The ability to set up the activation of certain sounds, such as air horns, screeches of wheels on track and the normal operational sounds of a busy train yard can add to the realism that you have begun this very interesting hobby to bring about in your own “train room”. The flexibility of the Digital Command Control system will assist you in this endeavor.
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Robert Anderson is the author of Model Railroad Scenery & Layout Construction Ideas.