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Wiring a Center Off DPDT Toggle Switch to a PowerPax Booster

Posted by on Jun 2, 2016 in Tips DCC Components, Tips DCC Systems, Tony's Tips |

I recently purchased a PowerPax to program my BLI locos. It works great!

All of the red text warns me about using a DPDT switch to toggle between programming and normal DCC. It does mention the exception of using a DPDT with a center off. I do have a switch with the center off. Can I safely use it?

All of the warnings have made me very cautious. I am manually switching the two sets of wires between programming and DCC operation and would like to clean it up a bit with switch. I am using a Digitrax Zephyr DCS51 system on HO scale with an isolated programming track in a switching yard. Thank you! Michael in Pennsylvania


Michael: The issue is that you ABSOLUTELY NEVER connect the Program Track output or the PowerPax output to the main DCC. Doing so will cause instant damage. With a normal DPDT switch, one set of contacts may or may not open before the other set closes. Hence, you can generate damage. The center off DPDT switch (also called ON-OFF-ON) ensures that one set of contacts is open before the other set closes. If you want to double check your switch, place the toggle in the center position. Now verify that the center contacts are open to both the left and right contacts. This should be the case, which means you can use your switch safely.