DCC & ABC GEARS
This is a brief explanation of DCC and how it works without going into vast amounts of details. Perhaps leave that to the experts....! There are many features and benefits to using DCC -
for more information please contact Steve Weeks at South West Digital.
Digital Command Control (DCC) is a model railway control system which allows controls of individual locomotives, rather than control of sections of track.
Conventional model railway control systems work by providing a power feed to a piece of track; any locomotives on that track responds by moving forwards or backwards. This is both cheap and simple to install and is fine for simple layouts. However, if two locomotives are on the same powered section of track, then both will move in the same direction.
This is a powerful way of controlling multiple locomotives on both simple and complex layouts. Varying the voltage on the track to control a train is quite satisfactory for a simple layout. However, when it comes to larger layouts with a number of running lines and multiple train operation, you need a lot of wiring and switching to connect the correct controller to the correct locomotive on the correct section of track.
With DCC, power is on all of the tracks, all of the time. DCC power is a low voltage digital AC signal. The actual regulation of the locomotive speed goes on in the locomotive itself. A decoder fitted inside the locomotive, converts the AC Power to run the DC motor in the locomotive. So to control the locomotive, instead of varying the track voltage a command is sent along the track to tell the loco what speed and direction you want it to move in. This remote control means that you can have as many trains in operation as you like without having to use section switching.
One of the considerations with DCC is that the decoders can become expensive and physically large for current hungry motors. ABC Gears motor/gearboxes are among the most efficient units in the market and with the wide range of motors, we can offer you high powered units without the need for large, expensive decoders. See our motor information page for details on the stalled current (amps) and continuous current of the motors.
Older decoders are rated at different current outputs and it is very important that the stalled current (amps) of the motor used is less than the rating of the decoder. Without this knowledge you run the risk of blowing decoders which can be very expensive. If you cross reference the decoder you are using with the stalled current of the motors that we supply you can easily ensure you are using the correct decoder. It is important to remember that the stalled current information we provide is the stalled current at 12 volts. If you run your system on 18 volts, the stalled current of the motor will rise in proportion. For example: A motor with a stalled current of 2 amps on 12 volts will have a stalled current of 3 amps on 18 volts.
Nowadays most of the newer decoders have built in current protection. The decoder will simply shut down if the current exceeds the maximum that the decoder can give. These decoders can be a little more expensive to buy but usually come with a manufactures guarantee so will be replaced if anything goes wrong. Please check with your decoder supplier to ensure this is the case. With these decoders, the stalled current of the motor is not so important, but the continuous current rating of the motor is very important. If this is exceeded, we want the chip to shut down to protect the motor. On the other hand, if a power hungry motor is quite happy to draw 2 amps when pulling a heavy goods train up the 1:40 gradient, we don’t want the decoder to shut down when we get half way up. As an example, our 6 watt Maxon motor has a stalled current of 2.2 amps but the maximum continuous current is only 0.597 amps, so the LokPilotDDC V4.0 decoder with a maximum continuous current of 1.1 amps is perfect for the job.
For more information and pricing on the LokPilotDCC V4.0 decoder, please go to the Decoder Price List as they are now available ex-stock from us.