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Routes, Presets & Macros
Most DCC operating systems offer the facility to program complex switching operations by pressing one button. This is usually associated with setting track routes via accessory decoders but this can also involve signals and other accessories. Manufacturers use different terms for this process including Routes, Presets and Macros. The maximum number of routes and settings within a route varies depending on the system memory. For example Prodigy Advance2 offer 32 routes with a maximum of eight switches per route, whereas the ZTC511 offers around ten routes as supplied (number of routes depends on the number of settings per route) but can be upgraded to a maximum of 256. PLS Layouts offer a full route program service which can be included in the setup of your DCC system, or as a separate service.
To help illustrate this process we have used a layout based on Newton Abbott to show the stages involved in route setting.
The track plan must be drawn as a schematic to show all the turnouts on the layout. The plan can be similar to those often seen on schematic control panels (like a signal box panel) or more artistic as shown below by our CAD drawing.
Allocated unique numbers to each turnout. These number should be the same as their accessory decoder address.
Decide upon the status of each turnout - which direction from the turnout toe is normal, and which is reversed (left or right). This again needs to be the same status that you set your accessory decoder for each turnout. Usually the main route is stated as normal.
Mark each route through the schematic. The diagram below shows route 1 through Newton Abbott shown in red.
Set up a logic chart for each route. Shown below is the logic chart for Newton Abbott route 1.
Carefully program your DCC system using the logic diagram. Once programming has been completed if your system allows review each route to check you have entered each setting correctly. Test your route on the layout.
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