DCC Design

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DCC DESIGN

Why use a design service?

All layout designs are completed using a computer - Computer Aided Design (CAD). CAD design is extremely accurate and prevents mistakes being made in the drawing process. If  a minimum curve radius is required for example it is drawn at this radius and cannot be drawn slightly smaller to ensure it fits. CAD designs are easy to alter if the client wishes to make alterations/modifications. 
Designs can be based upon a prototype location with rationalization to fit the space available.  We can also check designs for operation and entertainment value to ensure the layout will give enjoyable service.
When using a CAD design it is a simple addition to request a plan with the addition of the baseboard frame. This ensures that turnout motors do not locate on the baseboard frame where they are located beneath the turnout or baseboard.

For more general design information please visit our Layout Design section.

Specifically DCC Design

When designing a DCC layout it is important to consider the requirements that adding DCC to the layout brings. The basic concept of DCC is that power should be available on all areas of the layout as isolated sections are no longer required. DCC layouts should be designed with the following considerations:

Consideration 1 - Power Requirements
With a variety of DCC systems now available it is important to consider the size of your layout in terms of the dimensions and the related amount of track; together with the power requirements of operation and standing locomotives and accessories on the layout. Many basic systems have a limited power supply and may be advisable to purchase a more advanced DCC system with a higher power specification.
 
Consideration  2 - Power Districts
Where the power supply from the main DCC controller is insufficient for the whole layout, create additional power districts to be powered by a 'booster unit'. This unit is connected to the master controller for the digital data but has its own transformer for a separate power supply. Power districts can be areas of the layout, loco sheds where a large quantity of locomotives may be standing as with fiddle yards. If using DCC control of turnout motors it is advisable to power the motors from a separate booster unit and power supply. This prevents any power being taken from the track when a turnout motor is operated and it also allows the turnout motor circuit to be isolated from the track circuit is a problem develops. Power districts should be protected using a DCC circuit breaker.
 
Consideration  3 - Zone Isolations
On large DCC layouts if a wiring problem develops, even a simple short circuit for example; if the whole layout is wired as one zones it may be difficult to locate the problem without removing all the stock from the layout. This can be a major inconvenience and may take considerable time. A simple way to help in this circumstance is to divide the layout into zones with an isolator switch which can be used to remove power form an area in the event of a problem. If the problem disappears when the zone is isolated then the problem is within this zone. Alternatively circuit breakers can be used to protect a zone which if a problem develops should shut the offending zone down whilst the rest of the layout continues to operate.

Design Examples

The two examples of CAD designs shown below illustrate the different design briefs we receive. Please view the CAD designs we have completed for clients:

Example 1 
 
Large freelance Fleischmann setrack loft layout designed to fit as much track into the space available. The client wanted several levels to allow continuous running of his large collection of Fleischmann and other European stock using Fleischmann Digital. The levels are indicated by the black base layer, blue level one with inter-connecting spiral from the base level around the turntable peninsular board and the red high level branch.
Example 2
This design for a DCC layout was required to represent Hawes station but altered to fit the space available whilst retaining the theme. The layout uses Peco OO Gauge code 75 finescale track. The straight track feeding the turntable is the location of a traverser. 
        
Example 3
A freelance track design to fit a railway room giving access to a boiler. The plan is for DCC control of finescale Marcway turnouts and SMP track on two levels representing a main line with fiddle yard and a lower industrial area with fiddle yard. 
        

 

 

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