Electronics Digital Command Control
Items in this category: Digitrax, DCC, control panel, extra circuits, bussed power, occupancy detection, signalling, power supplies and conversion, computer controller software.
Main Power Control
Main Control Panel
When the door flips down, this is what is hanging on the back
This is behind the door.  Note big 24 V power suppy at bottom left
Pics 2 and 3 combined: inside and inside door
There are a number of different manufacturers to choose from for model train control.   I did lots of research, read reports and user reviews, and sent many emails before deciding on Digitrax as my supplier.  Digitrax provides all the hardware and software for DCC equipped layouts.   Inter-communication is via "Loconet", an Ethernet type of protocol.  Digitrax has good technical support.
A train layout using DCC doesn't have to be as complicated as I made it, shown in the photos below.  I wanted things organized, flexible and usable.  For example I have a switch (on the panel shown in photo 1) that turns on all the lights on the layout.  I have another for just the accessories (usually motors).  One switch applies proper voltage to a programming track for the locomotives.  I employed industrial components (terminal blocks, Panduit) to make the wiring easy to follow and troubleshoot.  It would have been easier to put various items closer to where they work but I wanted everything in one spot.  For example the servo controller board is mounted in this cabinet instead of being close to the motors it controls.  (It would be harder to troubleshoot if the board was buried in scenic material).

And besides, I made it complicated because I CAN!

Some detailed photos of electronics
 Rats Nest of wires for Occupancy Detector - Before photo
Rats Nest of wires for Occupancy Detector - Before photo
Occupancy Detector wiring, after...using terminal blocks
Occupancy Detector wiring, after...using terminal blocks
This wire goes back to the Occ. Detector for Zone 14
This wire goes back to the Occ. Detector for Zone 14
These are the tiny little LEDs I put in the vehicle models
These are the tiny little LEDs I put in the vehicle models
These lamps had incandescent grain of wheat bulbs.  I changed to LED
These lamps had incandescent grain of wheat bulbs. I changed to LED
110 volt relays for 110volt devices on the layout
110 volt relays for 110volt devices on the layout
Signalling board from Digitrax.  Each signal mast needed 8 wires
Signalling board from Digitrax. Each signal mast needed 8 wires
3 wire buses for lights, mechanical, and accessories, all 12 volt
3 wire buses for lights, mechanical, and accessories, all 12 volt
Wiring of the term blocks for the Occupancy Detector
Wiring of the term blocks for the Occupancy Detector
Close-up of ths switch panel and track power supply
Close-up of ths switch panel and track power supply
Using straw to get wires thtough wood base, thick Styrofoam
Using straw to get wires thtough wood base, thick Styrofoam
Plans stuck to wall while I was wiring everything up
Plans stuck to wall while I was wiring everything up
I made a board that would measure current, voltage and Speed of locomotive
I made a board that would measure current, voltage and Speed of locomotive
Relay that applies special voltage to programming tracks for locomotives
Relay that applies special voltage to programming tracks for locomotives
A circuit  board I made to interface to Digitrax board, never used
A circuit board I made to interface to Digitrax board, never used
Pololu servo controller with attached power converter
Pololu servo controller with attached power converter
Digitrax DCC
BDL168 Occupancy Detector
BDL168 Occupancy Detector
Indicates on computer screen if a zone (there are 18 zones) is occupied by a locomotive
DS64 Stationery Controller
DS64 Stationery Controller
Used to control switches (turnouts). I have 3 of these
PR3 Programmer
PR3 Programmer
Used to program locomotives and other stuff.
Also allows communication for computer control, via USB connection
RX4 Transponders
RX4 Transponders
Identifies the locomotive (or other) equipment to the computer.
.
SE8C Signal controller
SE8C Signal controller
Controls lighting of signal masts, used for directing rail traffic.
  RU-92 Communication Interface
RU-92 Communication Interface
Throttle plugs into this, or communicates to it via radio and
infra-red, 3 options.
DCS200 Booster Controller.
DCS200 Booster Controller.
Supplies power to the tracks which also carries the signals to manipulate the operation of the locomotives.
Accepts 24 volt input, supplies about 15 volts for HO, at 5 Amps.
Throttle or "Cab"
Throttle or "Cab"
Top of the line throttle controls trains and swiches via IR, radio, or hardwire
Click on an image to open up larger one, with caption
I use Digitrax DCC equipment throughout and use Train Controller for computer control.  (Do not click image, no larger one available)
See below for details on each block
The computer software I use is Friewald Train-Controller Gold, a full function, does-everything-you-can-think-of-package that allows me to run many trains, all under computer control.  Below is the Switchboard I created for my layout.  Only the Simulator (black steam locomotive at top right of figure) is NOT necessary to operate my layout.  The Simulator allows me to run my trains in simulation before I do it for real.   Soooooo cool....
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