DCC - Understanding Digital Command Control
Why DCC is Being Used By More Model Railroaders Than Ever...
Back in the 1980's DCC (Digital Command Control) was the big break-through for
operating model trains. It was revolutionary! Today, DCC is considered "standard"
for most model railroaders, and they probably wonder how they got by before it was
Fact is; DC (the older style of operating trains) worked very well for decades.
However, now that the cost of DCC has fallen and the benefits are becoming more
widely appreciated, DCC is fast increasing in popularity.
The big advantages of DCC include simpler wiring and the ability to control
several trains at once on the same track. The initial outlay for DCC is sometimes
more expensive, but DC increases in cost as the layout gets more complex. Basically
whether you choose to run DC or DCC is a matter of personal preference as there are
advantages and disadvantages with both systems. If you are starting off and don't
operate DC, then starting off with DCC from scratch is the best way to learn.
DCC stands for Digital Command Control. DCC is a system that allows model
railroad layouts to independently operate multiple locomotives, functions
(speed, sound, lighting, direction, movement) and accessories rather than
control of sections of track. This is achieved by locating a decoder in the
locomotive that listens to information in the track.
Command Control On Model Train
The command station on a model train layout is the brains of any DCC system
(besides the engineer!). The command station is basically a dedicated
computer that communicates with all other parts of the DCC system. The
command station processes the signals from one or more throttles, and
transmits them to the track via a 'booster'. The throttles connect to the
station either directly via the socket on the unit or via a 'network' for more
Take care when selecting the brand and model of command station for your
model train layout, because it is the key to selecting the type of throttle
as well as system features that can be expanded on.
How To Know If A Locomotive Has A Decoder
When purchasing a locomotive with a decoder installed, look for the wording
"DCC equipped", or "Factory installed decoder", or "W/DCC", or wording like
Be careful though, because the words "DCC Ready" usually means that the
locomotive is capable of having a decoder installed and that one is NOT already
installed. I repeat, "DCC ready" usually means there is NO decoder fitted, but
the wiring inside the locomotive is terminated with a socket, ready for addition
a "Plug and Play" decoder. This is an easy installation, no soldering.
If you are still unsure whether or not a locomotive has DCC status, you can
this test. Place the locomotive on the program track of a DCC system. See if
command station can read CVs... and if it can't... then no decoder is fitted.
without a decoder fitted, the loco would “hum” with the throttle set at "0".
If the locomotive responds to the throttle on a DC system, then either there
NO decoder, or the locomotive may have a decoder that has analog operation
If in doubt, it is always best to get clarification from the hobby
store staff, or from
the manufacturer or person supplying the locomotive.
Eastern Maine Model Railroad Club Inc. East Orland, Great Falls Model Railroad Club
Lewiston, Maine Track N-Scale modular group in Southern Maine, Portland Terminal
Modular Model Railroad Club Scarborough.
Baltimore Society of Model Engineers Baltimore, Baltimore Area N-Trak Club
(BANTRAK) Baltimore, Chesapeake & Allegheny Live Steamers Baltimore, Four
County Society of Engineers, Frederick County Society of Model Engineers Frederick,
Gaithersburg Model Railroad Society Gaithersburg, Hagerstown Model Railroad Museum
Hagerstown, Maryland Central Model Railroad Club Rockville, Mason-Dixon Large Scale
Railroad Society, Inc. Bel Air, Severna Park Model Railroad Club, Sykesville and
Patapsco Railway, Inc. Sykesville, Triangle & Western Model RR Club
Amherst Railway Society Inc. Warren, Bay State Society of Model Engineers
Roslindale, Nashua Valley Railroad Association, Middlesex Central Railroad Club
Westford, Northeast NTRAK Wilmington, North Shore Model Railroad Club Wakefield,
Pepperell Siding Model RR Club Pepperell, South Shore Model Railroad Club Hingham,
Tech Model Railroad Club of MIT, Waushakum Live Steamers, Worcester Model
Ann Arbor Model Railroad Club, Ford Model Railroad Club Dearborn, Glancy Trains
Modular Club Birmingham, Grand Rapids Model Railroad Historical Society, Gratiot
Valley Railroad Club Mt. Clemens, Kalamazoo Model Railroad Historical Society
Kalamazoo, Lansing Model Railroad Club Lansing, LanNTrak Lansing & Livingston
County Michigan NTrak Model Railroad Club, Michigan Small Scale Live Steamers Lake
Orion. Northern Michigan Railroad Club, Peninsular Modular Railroad Club (PMRC)
Battle Creek - Kalamazoo, Rails On Wheels HO Modular Model Railroad Club Ann
Arbor/Washtenaw County, Raisin Valley Model Railroad Club Blissfield, Riverbend
Model Railroad Club Hudsonville, Society Of N-Scalers Royal Oak, South Oakland
County Model Railroad Club Hazel Park, Stoney Creek Model Railroad Club Rochester,
Tri county model railroad club Saginaw, West Michigan Chapter of the Train
Collectors Association Grand Rapids, Western Michigan Railroad Club Grand
Crow River Junction Model Railroad Club Monticello, The G Whiz Gang The G Whiz Gang
of Minnesota, Luce Line RR Club Inc. Hutchinson, Minnesota Central Model Railway
Club, Minnesota Free-Mo Modellers Twin Cities, St. James Model Railroad Club, Twin
City Model Railroad Museum, Railroad Club at the University of Minnesota
Minneapolis, West Side Lumber Co Rochester, Winona Railroad Club Winona.
Mississippi: Jackson Society Of Model
Engineers, Mississippi Gulf Coast Model Railroad Club, NorthEast Mississippi Model
Missouri: Big Bend Rail Road Club St Louis,
Capital City Model Railroaders Jefferson City, Gulf, Midwest & Great Lakes
Railroad Sedalia, Heaven's Hostlers Model railroad Club, Kearney-Holt Model
Railroaders Club, Mexico Train Works Model Railroad Club Mexico, MidWest Valley
Modelers St. Louis, Mississippi Valley N Scalers, NorthEast MS Model Railroad Club
New Albany, St. Charles Model Railroad Club St. Charles County, Saint Louis HO
Gaugers Model Railroad Club, Wabash, Frisco and Pacific Association Glencoe,
Weekend"N"gineers Kansas City.
Montana: Headwaters HOTrak Group Dillon.
Bedford Boomers Bedford - New Hampshire, Concord Model Railroad Club Concord,
Connecticut Valley Model Railroad Club Lebanon, New Hampshire Garden Railway
Society Club, Nutfield Valley Railroad Club Derry, New Hampshire.
Central Jersey O-Scalers, Garden State Central Model Railroad Club Ashbury Park,
Garden State Model Railway Club Inc North Haledon, Gateway Model RR Club, Jersey
Central N-TRAK Tinton Falls, Jersey Valley Model Railroad Club, Model Engineers
Railroad Club of North Jersey North Haledon, The Model Railroad Club Union, New
Jersey Live Steamers Somerset County, New York Society of Model Engineers
Carlstadt, Northern New Jersey N-Trak Lyndhurst, Ocean County Society Of Model
Railroaders Lakewood, Packanack Train Club Wayne, Patcong Valley Society Of Model
Railroaders Egg Harbor, Ramapo Valley Railroad Club Ho-Ho-Kus,, South Jersey Garden
Railroad Society, South Jersey S Gaugers, Sussex County Railroad Club Hamburg,
New Mexico: Alamogordo N-Scale Train Society
Alamogordo, Mesilla Valley Model Railroad Club Las Cruces,New Mexico Rail RunNers
Albany NY N-Trak Albany, Brooklyn N-trak Brooklyn - New York, Buffalo Model
Railroad CLub Buffalo, The Catskill, Adirondack and Berkshire Railroad Albany,
Central New York Large-Scale Railway Society Camillus, Central New York Model
Railroad Club Syracuse, Central Operating Lines Model Railroad Club Ronkonkoma,
Flower City Tinplate Trackers Rochester - New York, Genesee & Ontario Model
N-Gineers Rochester - New York, Hopewell Junction Model Railroad Club - Hopewell
Junction, HOTrack of the Sunrise Trails Long Island, Hudson Valley Märklin Club,
Long Island Live Steamers, Long Island Model Railroad Engineers Farmingville - New
York, Nassau Lionel Operating Engineers Levittown, NEB&W's Rensselaer Railroad
Heritage Center, The Olde Newburgh Model RR Club, Ltd Walden - New York,
Philipstown Railroad Association Cold Spring, Queens County Model Railroad Club
Long Island City, RASG Modular Railroad Club Rochester, Rochester Institute of
Technology Model Railroad Club Rochester, Rochester Model Railroad Club Rochester,
SMRC Syracuse Model Railroad Club Syracuse, Trainmasters Of Babylon Long Island,
Upstate Model Railroaders Glens Falls - New York, West Island Model Railroad Club