DCC Conversion

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DCC Conversion

Postby SilverFox » Sat Apr 27, 2019 12:34 pm

Hello All Modellers
As can been seen I have just joined the forum and this is my first post so if I screw up along the way please bear with me.

May I ask for some expert advice and guidance relating to converting to DCC.
I currently have a 26ft OO gauge analogue (DC) code 75 layout all electrofrog points with PL10 point motors fitted. The complete railway is ballasted with in excess of 60 points in operation and subsequently I don't want to have to start lifting points etc to convert.
At this point I am doing the ground work and trying to understand what the implications are in converting other than a big bill in relation of cost.
Everyone I speak to seems to give different views ~ Dealers have told me if your railway operates well the changeover is straight forward and just to hook a DCC controller ~ others have told me I will need to fit frog juices to all my points (following isolation of Frogs) etc
My intention if I go ahead is to purchase the NCE Cab, divide my railway into three power districts, fit circuit breakers and wire accordingly Bus wires with plenty of feeds). Must stress I am not good with electric's so any advice please keep it simple.
May I ask your views on the following:

Advised to use 1.5mm lighting cable for Bus Wires?
NCE ~ Should I buy the Powercab with SB5 Booster unit or purchase the Procab Pro system?
Do I need to fit Frog Juices to all my point work including sidings

Obviously each modellers views are going to differ but could you please give me any expert advice to give me the confidence to bite the bullet.

Thank You

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Roger (RJ)
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Location: Nottingham, UK.

Re: DCC Conversion

Postby Roger (RJ) » Sat Apr 27, 2019 1:02 pm

How many locos are you expecting to be running at the same time? (Not just standing on the track)
Are your locos modern or older models?
Will you be operating your points via DCC or with separate switches?
Have your existing electrofrog points been modified and fitted with frog switching?
What is your reason for dividing the layout into three power districts?

The more information you can provide, the better the advice you will be given.

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Joined: Fri Apr 26, 2019 3:33 pm

Re: DCC Conversion

Postby SilverFox » Sat Apr 27, 2019 1:37 pm

Hi Roger
Probably 6+
Most are DCC ready except for odd few older engines e.g Bachmann Austerity
Separate switches
Electrofrog points have not been modified in anyway other than the normal practice associated in isolation (isolators)
Power Districts ~ thought it would help easy identification in the event of short circuits


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Location: Dorset - A mile from West Bay.

Re: DCC Conversion

Postby Dad-1 » Sat Apr 27, 2019 3:02 pm

You're hoping to operate 6+ locomotives at one time ?
I struggle to keep an eye on 2 when running on a 21.5 ft
long (45 ft + route) layout. Oh yes up to 8 sitting on the
track 'live' so to speak.
Getting all those points set correctly while somethings on
the way can all too often lead to accidents !!

If you've fitted isolating rail joiner at the V then you're
halfway there. In fact depending on adequate track feeds
it should work O.K. However you are relying on switch blades
to power the 'V', much better to have direct wired power through
a frog juicer, or switch. Having had loads of trouble with the stick
on Peco switch I'd go for frog juicers.

You can cut the Peco wires under track breaks (on newer Peco points)
and then link switch rails to stock rails but exactly where and how easy
your points are to access will depend on if this makes logistical sense.
On older points you'd need a disc cutter, so perhaps leave this ?

Everyone has their own 'pet' DCC system and nobody I know has them all
so every view is very subjective.

Geoff T.
Remember ... I know nothing about railways.
viewtopic.php?f=22&t=32187 and Another on viewtopic.php?f=22&t=28436&start=60&st=0&sk=t&sd=a

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Re: DCC Conversion

Postby SilverFox » Sat Apr 27, 2019 3:06 pm

Hi Roger
Just an observation ~ I noted your link to the Model Rail Forum .
I joined this forum the other day and was supposed received validation from the administrator which I never received. Tried logging in today and manged to get in but the main forum page is just flashing and I am unable to place the cursor to contact anyone hence I have to log out.
Any suggestions how I can contact the administrator for some help?


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Roger (RJ)
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Location: Nottingham, UK.

Re: DCC Conversion

Postby Roger (RJ) » Sat Apr 27, 2019 3:29 pm

PM (Private Message) sent.

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Re: DCC Conversion

Postby gppsoftware » Sun Jun 23, 2019 6:43 am


The first thing I would say is forget 'frog juicers'. They are not necessary and the only really valid use for them is probably a return loop.
They are designed to part the lazy with their money!

When we build a new layout, we should always wire electrofrog turnouts the proper way (http://www.mrol.com.au/Pages/Vu/LiveFrogWiring), however, the reality is that layouts do exist which haven't had this done.
If you haven't done this, it generally only becomes a problem if you have course scale wheels (wide treads) or wheels with under-gauge back-to-back measurements. If you fix these, you could probably 'get away' with not seeing shorting issues which can occur on electrofrog turnouts if they are not wired correctly.

I have been using the NCE Power Pro system for about 10 years, having previously used a Lenz 100 system. Unfortunately, the Lenz system hasn't really kept up with the competition in recent years, particularly in the area of throttle 'User Interface' (usability) and radio throttles, that latter which is what I wanted and NCE was able to deliver. I use the Lenz on my workbench now.

I think your approach of power districts is sensible, likewise, proper electronic circuit breakers, not the dreaded 'light bulb' solution.

I use 10A solid copper core mains cable for my bus. Just make sure you use cable which is rated at least a bit more than your chosen DCC system will output.


Graham Plowman

Mike Parkes
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Re: DCC Conversion

Postby Mike Parkes » Mon Jun 24, 2019 9:06 pm

Frog juicers do have a use with regard to live frog crossings - the Gaugemaster DCC80 for example.

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Re: DCC Conversion

Postby Peterm » Tue Jun 25, 2019 12:15 am

No frog juicers on my layout, just properly wired point's, crossings and slips, and no shorts or dead spots. It's quite easy once you get used to it and if you've got 60 odd points, you'll be flying through them after the first one or two. The problem is how you've fixed them down. If you can slide the rail joiners on to the rails of the plain track by cutting a couple of chairs off you should be able to lift them out if you've used track pins. I use electrofrog code 75 track and points throughout, along with Tortoise motors which are a lot easier on points than solenoids. These have two built in change over switches which make it a breeze for frog wiring. I also wire the the stock rails of the points from the bus wires. Belt and braces man here :)

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