Digital Command Control


Digital Command Control (DCC) is used to control engines on model railways. Using DCC, locomotives on the same section of track can be independently managed.
Locomotives are fitted with a mobile DCC decoder that gets signals from the track and directs current to the loco as requested. Power can also be directed to lights, smoke generators, and sound generators.
The advantage of using DCC over standard DC systems is the simpler wiring needed to operate more than one engine at a time. Previously, to operate more than one engine independently, the track had to be wired into separate blocks with switches selecting which controller powered which area of track. If the operator didn't switch control of an area of track before an engine entered, a short circuit or loss of control was likely. With DCC however layouts can be wired as a single large block and each operator can control their loco without crossing a block boundary.
DCC controllers can produce an inertia simulation where the engine will gradually increase or decrease power in a realistic way without continuous inputs from the user. Mobile decoders are available which will adjust the power to try to maintain a constant speed, again without burdening the operator. Most DCC controllers allow an operator to set the speed of one locomotive and then quickly select another locomotive to control its speed. Recent innovations include on-board sound modules for locomotives as small as N scale.
This video gives great insight into the application of DCC on a real life layout.

Digitrax Dealers

Further Reading

A Practical Introduction to Digital Command Control for Railway Modellers

Other Model Railway Guides

Building a Model Railway

Model Railway Design

Model Railway Manufacturers

Building a Model Railway

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