Skip to main content

  I am reaching out to those who have experience and knowledge with O gauge DCC systems.  I have  completed a 2 rail O gauge track plan for an around the basement wall layout. I am ready to start construction this winter.  This plan will be composed of a double upper level main line (80'+/- of track each) and will feature  6 turnouts and 1 yard.  The upper tracks will connect down to a lower level single branch offering a dozen turnouts for spurs within 3 seperate yards, ( 100'+/- trackage).  The theme is WWII period occupied France.  Muti train operation is required.  Choosing this era has lead me to seek European ( French and German) era  locomotives/cars to fit my theme.  Manufactures such as Lenz, Brawa, and DaPol, meet my Loco and rolling stock needs and are all DCC products.  My two MTH locos are a PS-2 0-8-0 and a PS-3 1-4-1.  My DaPol is a DCC 0-6-0 British Jinty,( 8 were sent to France post WWI)  and I have a DC conventional Pola 0-6-0.

  While I happily started out with DCS in mind ( I own and read "The Book") and purchased suitable power, controls, and 2 MTH locos to operate DCS,  I am severely limited in suitable period locos and cars.  Hence  I'm looking next to the logical choice of DCC for O gauge instead of DCS.  I believe this makes my MTH PS-2  useless unless operated conventionally along with the conventional Pola.

 Will someone point me in the proper direction wrt reference material for wiring track plans, manufactures models of equipment, ( power source and controls) and suitable DCC point motors.  Everything I find DCC related is for HO and smaller.  I have already researched the University of You-Tube and this forum extensively.  Ideas and suggestion are appreciated please.




Original Post

Replies sorted oldest to newest

Jim, this is the perfect time to look into the RailPro system by Ring Engineering. They have HO and O/G scale decoders with excellent sound. This system like AirWire is 100% radio control. Staying with DCC can get a lot more complex for radio control as it is not based in the engine. With these systems only two wires to the track for constant power. The signal is radio. RailPro incudes the sound so no additional sound decoder to purchase. 


ESU has decoders for large scale locomotives, the LokSound L and XL decoders.  As all modern O locomotives have DC can motors in them, converting them to DCC is as easy as HO, or easier as you have lots more room to work in.  For your PS-2 locomotive, you can convert it to DCC, or PS-3 (which has DCC built-in) or sell it and get a new PS-3 version if MTH has made it.  The other thing is you could convert all your locomotives to PS-3 and then still keep DCS.  As for wiring your track for DCC, because you are 2R it'll be no different then HO.  The only thing to keep in mind is to get DCC boosters with more then 5 amps output if you plan to run more then one locomotive per power block.  I will have NCE's 10 amp boosters on my layout.


Any DCC system will work.   And you need not change wiring if  your wiring works with DCS or DC, it will work with DCC.   Pretty much the same standards for gauge etc apply.

As for systems, I would recommend one of the Big 3, Digitrax, North Coast Engineering (NCE) or Lenz.    The only thing to consider is the amperage needed.    I recommend  the higher powered system from which ever you consider.   Digitrax has an 8 Amp rated version and NCE has a 10 Amp version, and I don't know what Lenz has.

There are not DCC switch motors per se or any other components.   However, if you want to use the DCC system to control the switches, you need to use stall motors to through the points such as Tortoise.   

the best advice on chosing a system is to chose one that someone you know - a friend hopefully - already has.   Or perhaps one that a club near y ou has.    That way you have someone local that can answer some basic questions as you get started.   I found I had some really simple questions to start with but once I got started it all came together very well.

As for decoders, I am familar with large scale sound decoders, but I think Soundtraxx has some now .    I use NCE D408 SR decoders for motor control and on a few locos have installed separate small sound decoders.   Most of my locos do not have sound.     My control system is Digitrax.     I also am  using some Digitrax and Lenz decoders.    but for large locos the NCE D408sr can be beat.   It has a rating of 4 amps continuous and 10 amps stall.   

If you have studied the HO descriptions for DCC, the same apply to O - it is 2 rail just higher amperage.

Another note, you mention a number of European models.    If you are in Europe, digitrax makes a European version of its radio control system.    I don't know if NCE does and as of last check by me, Lenz did not offer RAdio control

By the way, the radio control is all throttle/receiver based.    It is just the way signal gets sent to the command station.    The command station will be the same regardless.    With radio you just connect a receiver into your throttle buss.

To all respondees,  thanks for your quick and informative ideas.  Radio control is not a direction I have an interest in but will keep it in mind.  I'm not attached to my DCS system or the PS-2 loco to not sell them rather than modify.   I believe that moving to DCC is my best option at this point.  As a bonus  my Tortoise motors can now be used in a  DCC system as I learned to late that stall motors don't function well in DCS.  Is there a comparable reference book for DCC like my DCS Companion Book?  I found it useful and informative.  Is there a rule of thumb regarding installing boosters and power blocks like DCS had, given my 18' X 23' layout discription?


Any of the big 3 DCC systems PRRJIM listed above are great systems.  A few of us on the forums use the NCE PH10.  (You'll need the 10amp system for o gauge.)  The power supply you have for DCS will almost certainly work for these systems as well, especially the NCE system. In fact, I simply use a cheap $20 20amp switching power supply on my system. I went with the PH10, which has a PowerCab with a cord, but that was because the system allows me to interface my own system to it, so I can develop my own app or RF remote control device.  The PH10-R utilizes a wireless remote, and would be a better option if you didnt want to roll your own remote.   (Because the cord gets old really quickly)

As far as decoders, everyone has their preference, but Loksound has a large number of European sound files available for you to listen to at the below link.  (Almost 300 just for the European models)  For O gauge, you would be looking at the "L" version.  (Ie Loksound V4.0 L)  They have larger decoders as well for the garden trains, so they service the entire spectrum of gauges.

Actually, with RailPro radio control there is no command station or booster. All the processing is done in the loco module via the radio signal. It is much more reliable and simple to set up compared to DCC. RailPro supports 3 types of switch machines including tortoise motors. There are no programming or service tracks.  DCC can not offer this type of control because you need many additionally expensive items to send the signal thru the rails. 

DCC has been the only choice for years. It is a 1980 technology. What is wrong with exploring something newer, wireless and fun to use.  Just my thoughts. 



Add Reply


OGR Publishing, Inc., 1310 Eastside Centre Ct, Suite 6, Mountain Home, AR 72653
800-980-OGRR (6477)

Link copied to your clipboard.