A Guide TO Dcc Page 3 A Guide to DCC

3 Three Major Components of a DCC System 3 Putting It All Together As was previously mentioned, these components may or may not all be in the same physical enclosure. Some of the smaller systems can have all the components literally in a single hand-held unit. Others provide all the functionality in a base station that looks much like the traditional DC power pack. More flexible systems tend to have individual components and it is up to the layout owner to find suitable locations for each part. The boosters and command station generally will not need regular access and can be located out of the way. Many times, owners will provide a shelf under the layout for these electronics. Cables that lead to the controllers, or wireless transceiving components can be attached to the command station to connect the controllers to the DCC system. Track bus wiring can be easily routed to the booster as well. This also keeps the electronics out of the way and protected. While not all systems come with handhelds, those that do are either tethered or wireless. If tethered, the handheld units will need to be easily accessible by the operators. In some cases, it may be preferable to provide multiple jack locations around the layout to allow tethered units to be relocated depending on where the action is. Of course, wireless controllers are wonderful since they do not need any cabling back to the controller while in use. Some systems do require the wireless unit to capture and release the DCC address, but will probably not require as many jacks as a tethered system. It is nice for the layout to be equipped with throttle holders which are pockets or shelves to store both tethered and wireless controllers when not in use. SELECTING A SYSTEM Defining Your Needs Possibly the hardest part of going from DC to DCC is selecting a system. A brief web search on DCC systems will yield a massive number of options. There are several manufacturers of DCC systems, and most manufacturers offer several systems. Making a selection can be daunting! This section is intended to provide some fuidance in choosing a DCC system. When reading through this section, keep in mind that DCC manufacturers are, in general, providing good products to meet a specific need. There is no right answer for everyone, and most manufacturers are reputable and provide good products. The question comes down to matching the DCC system you choose to your needs. Defining your needs will help make the selection process easier and give you more confidence in your purchase. Points to Consider When Selecting a System There are many aspects to a DCC system. Some of the features may or may not be important to you. Sometimes only a few systems have the features you want. Developing a matrix to identifying these features is a good way to clarify your needs and develop a means of making a trustworthy selection. Some key decision drivers that should be considered in purchasing a DCC system are listed below. Of course, some of these elements may not be important to you. And there may be criteria not listed below that you may want to add. Ease of Use - Does the basic functionality of the system allow you to work on it yourself? Some systems require a fair amount of understanding to get the full potential out of the equipment. However, these systems often provide the option of more customization of functions. If that is something you want, are you willing to learn what it takes to do that? Before buying a system, look at the online manuals. You'll find some, while being user friendly, also deliver all the most-wanted, sophisticated features.

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