DCC turnout control question

Discussion in 'DCC & Electronics' started by Papa, Jan 30, 2010.

  1. Papa

    Papa TrainBoard Member

    Now that my trackwork is pretty much laid I am considering using my NCE PowerCab system to control my turnouts. I have been also considering just wiring them to a control panel and using switches for control. Would appreciate any suggestions and the pros and cons of both. I have at this time 10 Kato Unitrack #6 turnouts and one double crossover. Also what guage wire are the leads to the Kato turnouts? I have so far looked at the Digitrax stationary decoders and wonder if the one that will control up to four turnouts vs the one to control one had advantages or disadvantages to the other as seems the cost would be about the same. Thanks, Papa
  2. BedfordRob

    BedfordRob TrainBoard Supporter

    I use a mix of Digitrax DS64s and DS52s to control my turnouts and have found them very simple to work with. The DS52s are only powered from the track, the Ds64s have the option of powering them from a separate DC supply, which I've done.

    They're very easy to program with my Digitrax system and I imagine the same process will apply to your NCE system though hopefully someone else here can confirm. The key advantage of the DS64 model over smaller models is that they can connect to Digitrax's loconet system but as you're on NCE I don't think you'll gain any benefit, may probably just boil down to what works out as most convenient for you.

    Also the DS64 circuit boards are encased in a neat plastic shell whereas the 52s are vulnerable to damage, depending on where you mount them of course.

  3. RBrodzinsky

    RBrodzinsky Staff Member TrainBoard Supporter

    You can also hook up push-buttons to the DS64, for panel control. I have 8 DS-64s controlling the turnouts and crossovers on the JACALAR. I went with the DS-64s for Loconet capability and the non-track powering. I also have 4 SRC16s in my control panels, so that I can press the buttons on the control panel, or select the switch number to operate each one. The SRC16s can also directly control the turnouts

    Another choice is the NCE Switch-Kat. That is a single controller, works from track power, but also provides pushbutton control plus output pads to connect signals. All work equally well, and are roughly the same per unit cost. The Switch-Kat cannot, though, control a Kato double-crossover (the DS-52 and DS-64 can).

    I believe the Kato wires are stranded 20 AWG. When I've needed to extend them, that's what I used.
  4. Papa

    Papa TrainBoard Member

    Thanks for the information. I'm thinking that I'm going to go the DCC control route rather than just a control panel as it more fully utilizes the DCC system and also I don't really have a space I want to use for a control panel at this time. Papa
  5. DCESharkman

    DCESharkman TrainBoard Supporter

    Do you plan on setting up signaling? If you do, you can use Loconet enabled switch controllers and run just a few Loconet cables between the components. That will allow them to communicate on a private network essentially. So if you are planning on using Digitrax stationary decoders, this may also help because the devices will "talk" or message over Loconet rather than the track.

    You could have a pretty sweet system using DS64's for turnout control, BDL168 for Occupancy Detection and the SEC8 for Signals. You just have to set it up and all of the signals will be automatic, your command to the stationary decoder will also automatically change the signals. And the best part, all of this can be used with your NCE controller.

    Loconet is nothing magical, it is just a communication protocol. And as such, can work with any other Loconet capable components regardless of the controller. Each device is still connected to the track rails as well. So you can direct command or have the components communicate and take over some of the commands to themselves.

    With a Loconet presence, you can also use the Team Digital, and RR-Circuits devices as well as others, so you can custom tailor your command control system.

    It may sound ominous, but once you roll up the sleeves, it all starts to make a lot more sense.
  6. Powersteamguy1790

    Powersteamguy1790 Permanently dispatched


    I used NCE Switch-Kat stationary decoders to control all Unitrack turnouts except for the double crossovers. For the double crossovers I used Digitrax DS-52 and DS 54 stationary decoders. Using the NCE Switch-Kat allows you to install dwarf signals to each turnout.

    Here is a photo of the dwarf signals attached to Unitrack turnouts at night. The Switching Yard of the JJJ&E has 32 dwarf signals attached to 32 Unitrack turnouts.

  7. Gats

    Gats Staff Member TrainBoard Supporter

    For what you want to do, I would suggest the DS64 as well. It has the ability to integrate a panel at a later date.
    I'm using stall type machines and plan on using local panels as well as the controller (using macros) to operate the turnouts, using NCE Switch-its. I have a few unused Switch-its still and when I use them I will be considering a DS64 or two for the main yard.
  8. Westfalen

    Westfalen TrainBoard Member

    I have a switchkat operating a Kato double crossover with no problems.

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