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Digital and Analogue layout possible?

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Simple question from an absolute beginner when it comes to Digital - Can a layout be operated as both a digital and analogue layout?

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Yes. If you want to have more than one train running in analogue you need to include sections for isolating some tracks. In dcc mode just select all sections. If you go for cab control you can have one cab dcc and the other analogue but be very careful as running one train on the wrong control could cause damage so best not.

Look up how to wire a layout for details, if you wire for analogue you should be ok for dcc.

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DO NOT mix the two at the same time...unless you wish to throw out money.

 

You "can" run a single analog loco on some DCC systems, but it is undoubtly hard on the motor to do so.

 

Now, if you have a 100% seperate loop, you can do it.  It needs to be 100% electrically seperate, and NEVER the two shall meet.

 

IMO, once you have started playing running trains on DCC, you will likely not want to go back to analog.  I know that I am going to be stripping most of the wiring off our club layout to make it a pure DCC layout, because it's way easier to fault find that way...

 

Exceptions:  One loco in steam ever branch lines.  So say, a 1x4' layout...that it doesn't matter, dcc/dc/string, all work about the same :)  But once you get to having 2 locos running at once, then block sections become annoying.  

 

James  

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Posted (edited)
3 hours ago, signalnorth said:

Simple question from an absolute beginner when it comes to Digital - Can a layout be operated as both a digital and analogue layout?

 

Yes, but not at the same time.

You can switch from DCC to DC control and v.v. , but the DCC system and DC controller, mustn't be connected to the layout (i.e.  effectively electrically connected  to each other) at the same time.

It's best to disconnect the control system/controller before plugging in the other type of controller.

Some people use an electrical switching arrangement, which is fine, but there are potential dangers with this and if you don't know what you're doing...avoid !

 

DCC decoder fitted locos can run on a DC powered layout (if DC operation is enabled in the decoder settings i.e. CV's),

......but an analogue loco (i.e. no decoder fitted), cannot be run, or even placed on tracks powered by DCC.

 

There is an exception with regard to running a DC loco on a DCC powered layout, because a small number of (older design) DCC systems have a facility that claims a DC loco can be run on address 0 or 00.

This isn't DC power, but a modification to the DCC power going to the track that coaxes DC locos to operate. The downside is that it's bad for the loco's motor and can even burn the motor out.

So, follow the advice of 99% of DCC users and don't use this feature if your DCC system happens have it. Thankfully not many do.

 

If you want to operate DCC and DC locos at the same time, run them on completely isolated or independent sections of tracks.

Two separate layouts in one, without either being connecting to the other.

 

Ron

 

 

.

Edited by Ron Ron Ron
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3 hours ago, signalnorth said:

Simple question from an absolute beginner when it comes to Digital - Can a layout be operated as both a digital and analogue layout?

Other side of the same question - why would you want to?

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2 hours ago, H2O said:

Yes. If you want to have more than one train running in analogue you need to include sections for isolating some tracks. In dcc mode just select all sections. If you go for cab control you can have one cab dcc and the other analogue but be very careful as running one train on the wrong control could cause damage so best not.

Look up how to wire a layout for details, if you wire for analogue you should be ok for dcc.

 

What I have done with my shunting plank, I wired it for DC with lots of sections which also gives the droppers for DCC. For DCC running just turn on all the sections.

 

What I also added is a DPDT slider switch so that although I could accidentally have both my Gaugemaster W controller and my NCE Powercab plugged  in together (they both attach via wander leads) there is no-way I could accidentally have them both connected to the track simultaneously.

 

I am sure there are other ways of doing it but if you think DC first, and then connect in the DCC, you will have the sections in the correct place.

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6 minutes ago, JimFin said:

Other side of the same question - why would you want to?

 

I can think of several reasons - a couple off the top of my head.

 

1) If it's a club layout, maybe some members have analogue locos and some have DCC - on my club's layout, we have (had) one running session a month on analogue then two weeks later we'd disconnect the controllers, plug in a DCC console and turn all the switches on so that the DCC boys could run their locos.

 

2) Maybe the OP has a large fleet of locos and it will take time (and money) to convert them all. Maybe some are older models which won't convert easily, or doing so would adversely affect their value.

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2 hours ago, peach james said:

But once you get to having 2 locos running at once, then block sections become annoying.  

 

James  

 

Personally having operated both, I find flicking switches on a control panel much easier than having to read the number off a loco (which may be some distance away), then scroll through a list of locos on the keypad before you find the right one (although the analogue control system I'm experimenting with at the moment also works that way!). I've noticed at exhibitions (particularly Warley last year), there seems to be a lot less time between train movements on analogue layouts than DCC.

 

Block sections are also prototypical - one of the early advertised "advantages" of DCC was the ability to run two trains on the same track, but apart from in loco yards and certain other situations like station pilot work, banking and double heading (the last two of which need big layouts to handle trains long enough to justify them), the railway companies went to a lot of expense to prevent two trains being on the same track!

 

Peter Denny wired Buckingham up in such a way that releasing the signals switched the power to the track sections on - I may do that on my own layout in due course. 

 

You can build quite a large and complicated layout with very few electrical sections.

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15 minutes ago, RJS1977 said:

 

I can think of several reasons - a couple off the top of my head.

 

1) If it's a club layout, maybe some members have analogue locos and some have DCC - on my club's layout, we have (had) one running session a month on analogue then two weeks later we'd disconnect the controllers, plug in a DCC console and turn all the switches on so that the DCC boys could run their locos.

 

2) Maybe the OP has a large fleet of locos and it will take time (and money) to convert them all. Maybe some are older models which won't convert easily, or doing so would adversely affect their value.

 

Whilst I can't speak for the OP, in my case it is your number (2) above plus it is my first DCC enabled layout, I am still assessing  whether the cost is justified with better running etc. A number (3) for the why do it? options list.

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My main layout can be run in DC or DCC mode. I have a lot of vintage engines that are never going to get DCC chips due to both expense and time plus the fact that I don't want to hack about with them; but I also like sound and the various other 'toys' that DCC can enable. In order to avoid any risk of mixing the two power sources, the layout feed is though a DIN socket. The corresponding DIN plug attached to the DC analogue feed runs from the controller outputs to the seperately switched circuits. The matching DCC one simply feeds all the circuits simultaneously. Only one can be physically plugged in at a time...

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Posted (edited)

Our church exhibition layout is wired for both DCC and DC operation - it was originally built as a DC layout with 3 loops and a fourth outer loop which ran Hornby live steam, it’s 16’ x 12’.

 

As time has gone on the live steam became more and more erratic and the fourth loop migrated to DCC, then the third too.

 

Now we can run all or any of the loops as mix of DCC and DC which allows us the flexibility to put up a huge amount of shared stock at a show - standard format is the outer 2 DCC & the inner 2 DC including a lot of Thomas for the kids.
 

My advice if you wish to go down this route is to wire for DC and DCC running is simple.

 

 

 

Karl

Edited by corax67
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4 hours ago, RJS1977 said:

 

Personally having operated both, I find flicking switches on a control panel much easier than having to read the number off a loco (which may be some distance away), then scroll through a list of locos on the keypad before you find the right one (although the analogue control system I'm experimenting with at the moment also works that way!). I've noticed at exhibitions (particularly Warley last year), there seems to be a lot less time between train movements on analogue layouts than DCC.

 

 

 

All the layouts I operate on including my own, we do not look at a loco to get its number, we look at the written Train Order that has the loco number included.

Train Orders are the authority to run trains & on average on a 2 hour operating session on my layout  by 5 drivers/operators, we use  25 different orders & 16 locos. To get a new loco into a NCE DCC controller, takes anywhere from 4 to 6 buttons to press

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10 hours ago, RJS1977 said:

 

Personally having operated both, I find flicking switches on a control panel much easier than having to read the number off a loco (which may be some distance away), then scroll through a list of locos on the keypad before you find the right one (although the analogue control system I'm experimenting with at the moment also works that way!). I've noticed at exhibitions (particularly Warley last year), there seems to be a lot less time between train movements on analogue layouts than DCC.

 

That limitation of having to find loco numbers  comes from the choice of DCC handset and the manner in which you choose to operate, it is not a limitation of DCC. There are controllers which offer images of the loco and computer systems that support drag and drop.

 

The speed of operation is not DC or DCC related, it is generally down to unfamiliar operators and lack of practice in the timetable or schedule that has been created for the show.

 

10 hours ago, RJS1977 said:

 

Block sections are also prototypical - one of the early advertised "advantages" of DCC was the ability to run two trains on the same track, but apart from in loco yards and certain other situations like station pilot work, banking and double heading (the last two of which need big layouts to handle trains long enough to justify them), the railway companies went to a lot of expense to prevent two trains being on the same track!

 

I use full block control with DCC, all controlled automatically - just like the real railway ;)

 

10 hours ago, RJS1977 said:

 

Peter Denny wired Buckingham up in such a way that releasing the signals switched the power to the track sections on - I may do that on my own layout in due course. 

 

Effectively what I have, but without switching power off and on, simply starting and stopping trains using the capabilities of DCC

 

10 hours ago, RJS1977 said:

 

You can build quite a large and complicated layout with very few electrical sections.

 

you don't need any electrical sections at all with DCC, though it may help in fault diagnosis on a large layout.

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12 hours ago, RJS1977 said:

Block sections are also prototypical - one of the early advertised "advantages" of DCC was the ability to run two trains on the same track, but apart from in loco yards and certain other situations like station pilot work, banking and double heading (the last two of which need big layouts to handle trains long enough to justify them), the railway companies went to a lot of expense to prevent two trains being on the same track!

 

They didn't drop the fires and stop locos on a pinhead though, did they?

 

They had drivers who (on a good day) obeyed the signals.

 

In that respect DCC is more prototoypical than block section. If you don't drive to the signals bad things will happen.

 

:)

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