All DCC systems are made up of various components that are connected by a command bus. Generally, DCC decoders and boosters are interoperable and DCC command stations are not interoperable. This is because each DCC manufacturer uses its own command bus structure.
The way communications are handled by any given system are very important to overall system performance and to system expandability. When you are making your decision about which system to choose we recommend that you look carefully at what each manufacturer of bus structure has to offer. Some factors to consider are ease of hook-up, ability to run multiple devices without slower response times, future expansion capabilities and overall system architecture.
Digitrax’s LocoNet is a collision sense multiple access bus with carrier detect. Lenz’s X-bus and Xpress Net are “polled” buses. Wangrow/NorthCoast bus is similar to X-bus. As other manufacturers enter the market they are adopting their own communications structures.
To create a DCC system you will need each of the following:
- One or more Power Supplies to convert 120 VAC to power your DCC components
- One Command Station to generate the command signal
- One or more Boosters to combine the signal with the power and put them on the track
- One or more Throttles to send your commands to the system
- One or more Mobile Decoders to decode the signal and control the locomotives
Most DCC manufacturers provide everything you need (except for the input power supply) in starter sets. Optional equipment:
- Automatic Reversing Devices and Power District Circuit Breakers
- Accessory Decoders for turnout and other accessory control
- Programming Devices
- Transponding and Detection Devices
- Sound and other specialty decoders