DCC Wiring Experiences: September 2014 - January 2016.
Here are some photos of the track and trains running, including the sound equipped Kato Mikado.
This will be the entrance to Summit across a bridge.
This is a bigger view of Summit where there will be a gravel mine and loader. If you look closely there is some complicated track work behind the diesel, including a crossing - all switched successfully by the Tam Valley Frogjuicer.
Here is a mock up of the mountain area where I plan to install a Central Valley bridge over a large ravine.
This is the exit of Summit. Eventually the highway will cross the tracks here and head down to the gravel pits and mine in Summit.
After a few weeks one of my switches started faulting / shorting on one direction only. It worked perfectly before installing and for the first few weeks. I removed the switch and re tested it. The wire from the frog had become bare or was already bare and pressure on the switch from cleaning had forced the bare wire to touch one stock rail. This was rectified but alerted me to another issue to watch out for.
One lesson is to NOT solder the switches to the other track, so it is "easy" to remove a switch in the future if required.
Short Circuit Tester
- not have the bus wires connected to the booster at this stage or you will get a short signal.
- not have any locomotive on the track or that will also send a signal back.
- Not have the Frogjuicers connected at this stage.
Power District Isolation Circuits
The Gleeville and Summit area of the layout is the farthest from the Control Unit and Booster so there is a long (about 9 meter) bus running to the area which is then split off into three sub buses. Running the Isolation Circuit back at the Power Booster / Controller continued to give shorts. So I experimented with twisting the 9 meters of bus wires and connecting the 3 section isolation circuit near Summit. This worked so I have purchased another 3 isolation circuit protections.
The NCE EB1 and EB3 Circuit Protectors are programable. You can program the trip time from the NCE controller. You can also change the trip current from 2amp all the way up to 6-8 amps. It is not recommended to go beyond 4amps. On two sections I have set the circuit to trip at 4amps. This is done with "shunts" on the EB1, EB3 boards.
Currently I have everything working so do not plan to make any further tuning of the circuits. However - who knows? One of the issues with DCC is there are more things to change and hence more things to complicate the overall flow of electricity, and signals.
Bus and Sub Bus Wiring
The advantage of sub buses is the ability to isolate sections in the case of faults. It is advisable to make all connections between Boosters, Bus Isolation Circuits, and Sub Buses with screw terminals. Some folks recommend also adding switches in the circuit so you do not have to unscrew every time you are checking a circuit. I have done this and have 8 "on-off" switches on the fascia near each power district. If I get a short that does not reset immediately, I switch off just that district and turn it on again. This usually fixes the problem and I have not had to disconnect any leads. A good investment to install these on-off switches.
From the bus and sub bus to the track there are two proven ways to connect.
- Strip a section of the bus wire and wrap the track feeder to the bus. Once this works then solder that connection. I use a small motor mechanics gas lift stool on wheels to get under the layout shelves to solder.
- Insulated Isolation Connectors are another way of joining wires. You need to get the right size for the wire you use. The connection is simple and quick by placing the connector over the wires and crimping the connector. 3M is a major supplier and auto suppliers and electronic suppliers (like Jaycar) also sell them.
The Programming track:
|Summit from overpass road|
|Feather River bridge|
|Feather River Bridge|
|Overpass into Summit|