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DCC wiring and Walthers Turntable

 
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drhall23
L2: Beginner


Joined: 14 Jan 2008
Posts: 12
Location: Kenmore, NY

PostPosted: Mon Jan 14, 2008 11:02 am    Post subject: DCC wiring and Walthers Turntable Reply with quote

I am new to the whloe DCC wiring and control of model railroads. I have been a way from the hobby for about 10 years. My first model was a simple 4x8 layout in my parents basement that used the traditional DC control. Since this was a small layout, I could keep control of everything via a power pack and selector switches. Now that I am out of college and have a 'real' job and my own home, I have started constructing a new layout in my basement that is about 12' x 15'. I have two mainlines with a yard, an inner loop, many sidings and a turntable.
I just recieved my Super Chief Starter Set (8amp) from Tony's Train Exchange last week and want to start wiring it, but as I read the manuals and a DCC book I have picked up, I still have questions.

How do I wire the turntable and all the sidings that will come of the turntable? do each of these need feeder wires?
Can I use 14 gauge wire from the DCC system to a terminal strip and then have the feeder wires come off the terminal strip rather than the actual 14 gauge wire?
What is the best way to do turnouts? Keep them separate from the DCC? I have about 20 turnouts now and they are all the atlas motor. Does caboose make an electric switch?
Thanks for your help!
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pturvill
Model Railroad Guru


Joined: 13 Jun 2007
Posts: 246
Location: Whidbey Island, WA, USA

PostPosted: Mon Jan 14, 2008 1:46 pm    Post subject: Re: DCC wiring and Walthers Turntable Reply with quote

drhall23 wrote:
How do I wire the turntable and all the sidings that will come of the turntable? do each of these need feeder wires?

Yes, every track needs feeders (how else would power reach them?). You will also note that the Walthers TT is effectively a "split ring" type, so it does its own polarity reversing as it turns. Just be sure that the polarity of each approach track matches that of the bridge when it's stopped at that track's position. You also need to supply DCC current to the appropriate terminals on the Walthers control box.

drhall23 wrote:
Can I use 14 gauge wire from the DCC system to a terminal strip and then have the feeder wires come off the terminal strip rather than the actual 14 gauge wire?

Absolutely. It's very common to use such a device, with 20-22 gauge feeders going to the actual rails. Just keep the smaller feeders relatively short, and you should have no problems.

drhall23 wrote:
What is the best way to do turnouts? Keep them separate from the DCC?

I'm not sure what you mean by "keep them separate from DCC." The rails, of course, MUST be powered by DCC. If you're referring to the wiring of your switch motors, then you have a choice. If you're content with controlling your turnouts manually with pushbuttons or whatever, then the power source is immaterial; you can use an old DC power pack or whatever works for you. Most DCC users, however, use stationary decoders (e.g., DS64, DS54) to permit turnouts to be controlled directly by the DCC system. On your DT400, that's the main purpose of SWITCH Mode.

I don't think Caboose Industries makes an "electric switch." However, there are numerous options for electrical/DCC control of your turnouts. Most serious modelers select one of the better brands of turnouts and pair them up with their favorite switch motors. Probably the most popular motor is the slow-motion Tortoise from Circuitron. These are very DCC friendly, in that they use very little current, can be controlled by just about any stationary decoder available, and offer fairly prototypical operation of the points.
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drhall23
L2: Beginner


Joined: 14 Jan 2008
Posts: 12
Location: Kenmore, NY

PostPosted: Mon Jan 14, 2008 2:34 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thank you very much for the input.
How easy is to switch the turnouts over at a later time? I am probably leaning towards using an old DC power pack to power the push buttons switch machines. Or should I implement DCC decoders upfront? i.e., before ballasting the track and such?
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pturvill
Model Railroad Guru


Joined: 13 Jun 2007
Posts: 246
Location: Whidbey Island, WA, USA

PostPosted: Mon Jan 14, 2008 10:02 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

drhall23 wrote:
Or should I implement DCC decoders upfront? i.e., before ballasting the track and such?

Unless you plan on changing/upgrading the switch machines, there's no reason you can't add stationary decoders at some future date, since all that would be changing would be the wiring.

OTOH, if you were to change from, say, snap-action machines to slow-motion ones, retrofitting to ballasted track could be a bit of a challenge. Even so, it's not impossible; I've done a few that way.
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drhall23
L2: Beginner


Joined: 14 Jan 2008
Posts: 12
Location: Kenmore, NY

PostPosted: Sun Feb 17, 2008 11:48 pm    Post subject: loco headlamps w/DCC Reply with quote

how can i program my locos to have their headlamps be lit while running?
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pturvill
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Joined: 13 Jun 2007
Posts: 246
Location: Whidbey Island, WA, USA

PostPosted: Mon Feb 18, 2008 2:15 am    Post subject: Re: loco headlamps w/DCC Reply with quote

drhall23 wrote:
how can i program my locos to have their headlamps be lit while running?

That depends somewhat on which make/model of decoder you're using. Most manufacturers publish manuals explaining which CVs need to be set for various modes of headlight (and other) functions.
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emccamey
L1: Learner


Joined: 20 May 2007
Posts: 5
Location: East Texas Woods

PostPosted: Mon Feb 18, 2008 10:53 am    Post subject: Re: loco headlamps w/DCC Reply with quote

drhall23 wrote:
how can i program my locos to have their headlamps be lit while running?


The DCC definition for lights is function zero. Properly wired and installed decoders provide control of lights with F0. It's usually a flip flop. Push F0 on the throttle and the lights come on if they are off, or go off if they were on.

Note that most front lights only operate while going forward, and the rear light operates when going backwards. The F0 function doesn't alter the direction selection function of the lights. Many decoders have advanced programing of lights that can alter the effects. So called rule 17, where the front light dims to half brightness when running backwards (or sitting on a siding) can be set up and either be automatic based on direction - or can be controlled with a different Fn control.

Check your decoder manual on the options and programming set up.
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