Large Scale Central

Digital Command Control… does anyone use it anymore?

I’m not quite in the position to ask intelligent questions, but 10-15 years ago I invested in a massoth D-max and will finally be able to get serious about installing it. I know it has lost its lustre to battery installation, but I want to give it a go. Many books are out of print as they were printed 20 years ago.

Here are my questions.

  1. Which out of print book should I try to source?
  2. I see references to Greg Elmassian, but his profile looks inactive. Did he pass away?
  3. Before I place my road bed, any tips for wiring?
  4. I’ve seen reference to wiring LED lighting to buildings off the TRACKS. Is that a good idea?
  5. I once tried running analog on the DCC, the motor howled, but manufacturer said no harm is associated with this noise. Can the howling motor be overcome?

Greg is alive and kicking, just not on this forum these days. He knows a little about DCC.
There’s also a bunch of guys doing DCC conversions, like Thomas White of Old Dominion.

Our own @Stan_Ames runs his amazing layout via DCC.

Greg is still part of the three musketeers (Colin, ted, Greg). He’s got a lot going on right now. While DCC isn’t popular in the garden, i do know a few that have it.

I’ve kicked around the idea of lighting structures and what not, using the track as the power source. Thats how i power my RailPro thingee that operates the electric switch machines within my access hampered “wye” that is far superior to using hand throws or choke cables.

My buddy Cody turned me onto these cheap voltage regulators off Amazon, they were 3 for nine bucks.

Hopefully, the battery only folks dont start pounding on your door Saturday mornings, handing out the battery watchtower.

do you have any rodents over there? we have. so any cables or pipes in the earth need to be at least 2"/5cm in diameter.

why not? easiest way: use the innards of solar gardenlights.

why does that make you wonder?
the DCC systems all work at about 20 volt. that means full speed for your analogue motors.
and (if i remember right) they say, they work with AC(?).

try replacing the motor by the inner parts of a mecanical alarm clock :innocent:

I use DCC, fwiw. ----------------------------

I use DCC in a non traditional way…

DCC, battery power and Iowa Scaled Engineering Protothrottle thanks to @martan for developing a interface.

My decoders are ESU V5 LokSound.
So yes and no…

I use DCC/battery power.
Airwire on the big stuff (LGB-Accucraft, etc)
Looking into RailPro as a replacement for Airwire.

Zimo on the 7/8 stuff with an Airwire controller.

The older I get, the more complicated this stuff gets.
I have a few LGB engines equipped with factory DCC and sound, but I just drive them with an
Airwire board in a trailing car. So I can’t blow the whistle, etc when I want to.

There is a friend of mine that uses Zimo on all his stuff with battery and track power. He can run on any layout. I don’t know how he does it, but it works for him.

Yes our layout does indeed use DCC but I guess I cheat a little as many of my locomotives use battery backup power while the locomotive is on dirty track. This is possible using the Lenz patented capatence pickup. Fortunately the patent is expiring so more manufacturers can integrate this technology.

The size of our layout makes it difficult to use the current battery/RC options due to the lack of power where the locomotives spend time between sessions. I am not a fan of the current battery technology but that is changing as welll.


You might want to wait a couple months before changing. Technology is moving forward. LCC is begining to come of age and DCC/LCC decoders are the next inovation coming along. The advantage is that you get multi manufacturer support with standard wireless. The next couple of years should be very interesting.


I co authored the reference book on DCC which is still valid except the discussion on various systems as it is out of date for that section. However you really do not need to read it unless you really want to understand how it all works.

When running a locomotive without a decoder on DCC you will hear noise, especially when stopped. The noise is the motor running full speed forward and backward at 9600 times a second. This does heat up a motor and should not be used with coreless motors. We tested an LGB motor for several weeks hooked up to a running DCC system. The motor got hot but was not damaged. I recommend not leaving a non decoder locomotive stopped on DCC power track for long periods.

I tend to over design things. We use 8 guage wire from the house or shed to major junction boxes. 10 gauge wire under the tracks as bus wire and 12 gauge feeder wires. We currently have around 5000 ft of track over a large distance and I hate maintence so overkill works for us.

Hope that helps



At one time I was considering DCC and bought this book. It’s just gathering dust, so it’s available for the cost of shipping.

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I use dcc in the garden. I have about 300 feet of track. I run dcc and sound decoders in Bachmann Connie’s, Forney, ten wheelers and Climax. USA diesels as well. I was fortunate to get stainless steel track when it was available, so that helps. I use a NEC 10 amp system. I do run separate 18VAC for building lights. I am also using the Raspberry Pi running Steve Tods JMRI image with wireless control using Engine driver. This year’s winter project has been building up the DCC-EX Command station for a less expensive backup dcc setup. I really like its modular construction and relatively low cost. It is also very well document. It’s only issue is some boards are out of stock right now. I like the technology of dcc. I have found that most books on the subject tend to be a bit out dated. Like most things, more info is online. I also run the Blunami decoder in my Lionel Christmas tree train.
Good luck with you quest.
Have fun


I’m in that place as well. I’ve had 3 Titans sitting in a box for years, and recently got a factory DCC Climax. That was the kick I needed to get something working. I managed to stand up a DCC-EX Command station for less than $100 with JMRI as the programming interface - more than happy. Next step is battery / DCC installs in another 3 locos.

Doesn’t really help you Bill, but I guess DCC isn’t dead. :grin: Yet.



My well worn copy arrived today!

Much less to purchase from Amazon USA despite the exchange rate and shipping.

In a month I should have no excuses to not start track preparation. Hopefully my questions will sound more intelligent after I get through my reading.

Who’s this “John” fellow lurking on “Bills” Amazon account… hum we might have another MIK on our hands…

Maybe Mr. Allen aka Mik just went into deep dark Witnesses Protection and emerged in the land down under.

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Ha! Always been called by my nickname.

Clearly if I was Mik, I’d be deep undercover, as I don’t have Mik’s skills.

Yeah John, not a great time to have Amazon Australia or generally buying anything from the USA due to USPS dropping ground shipping, inflation, and the exchange rate.

Last year shipping for a $5vthumb drive was somewhere in the range of $70 USD even with specialty shippers like comgateway.

I think there must be a book rate though. Got the used book through Amazon USA for 7 and shipping $11 plus tax . Still not your prices though.

Bill, you didn’t actually pay that, right?
Of course not, stupid me for asking. But you had me worried… I guess you got me.
$6.93 US here: Digital Command Control - the comprehensive guide to DCC by Ames, Stan; Friberg, Rutger; Loizeaux. Edward: Good Paperback (1998) | ThriftBooks-Dallas

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