My permanent layout is TMCC using PW transformers and PM-1 powermasters. Last year I added a couple DCS engines but went with Remote Commander so I didn't have to change the wiring or have redundant powermasters. 

I picked up a TIU and DCS remote and will use it seasonally for Christmas. Finally getting around to setting it up, a very simple, carpet central layout with 3 concentric loops using 60", 48" and 36" curve. Biggest is 5' x 15'.

Using a PW ZW.  Anything wrong with these wiring plans:

1.  Connect fixed output 1 to the 60" outer loop.  Plan to run 2-3 pairs of wires from the output terminals to the tracks to balance out the power, more if necessary.  Same plan for fixed output 2 but to the middle 48" loop and variable output 1 to the 36" inner loop. 

2.  Connect the red fixed input 1 terminal, red fixed input 2, and red variable input 1 to the 3 A terminals on the ZW. Matching black terminals to the U on the ZW.

3.  Insert a fuse between the TIU and the track on each of the "hot" wires.

4.  Put TVS across the three A-U terminals used on the ZW.

Last step is to power the TIU.  I have a couple of options:

1.  Hope is to use the 18V "wall wart" that came with my daughter's Thomas Lionchief engine as auxiliary power Can I?

2.  Use the 4th throttle on the ZW. Not sure how to do this. 

3.  Use a 12V power source for my extra TMCC Command Base. This is my last choice because I'd like to have the option of connecting the extra Command Base to the TIU to run my TMCC engines. 

Any concerns, cautions, or words of wisdom for a first-timer with DCS (and, yes, I do have Barry's book).

 

 

Original Post

I won't try to comment on most of this as I don't consider myself either an electrical or DCS expert.  However, issue #1 caught my attention.  I am running 6 DCS loops on my Christmas layout.  The largest is 10 feet by 18 feet.  So it's big.  I started by using only one power feed to each loop.  I used a multimeter to check the voltage around each loop.  I got lucky.  I had good connectivity on all six loops (some FasTrack, some traditional tubular).  So my advice is start with one lock-on or power drop and see if you get lucky.  No sense making more work for yourself than is necessary.  Good luck.

MikeH

raising4daughters posted:

My permanent layout is TMCC using PW transformers and PM-1 powermasters. Last year I added a couple DCS engines but went with Remote Commander so I didn't have to change the wiring or have redundant powermasters. 

I picked up a TIU and DCS remote and will use it seasonally for Christmas. Finally getting around to setting it up, a very simple, carpet central layout with 3 concentric loops using 60", 48" and 36" curve. Biggest is 5' x 15'.

Using a PW ZW.  Anything wrong with these wiring plans:

1.  Connect fixed output 1 to the 60" outer loop.  Plan to run 2-3 pairs of wires from the output terminals to the tracks to balance out the power, more if necessary.  Same plan for fixed output 2 but to the middle 48" loop and variable output 1 to the 36" inner loop. 

I would recommend one insulated joint in the center rail for each loop. The loops are a little long for the recommended DCS block length. I would guess that you can get away with this. The DCS signal does not carry long distances well and definitely does not do well bumping into itself in a loop.

2.  Connect the red fixed input 1 terminal, red fixed input 2, and red variable input 1 to the 3 A terminals on the ZW. Matching black terminals to the U on the ZW.

3.  Insert a fuse between the TIU and the track on each of the "hot" wires. Use the recommended FastBlow fuse in the DCS manual. Get plenty of extras and make the holder easy to reach

4.  Put TVS across the three A-U terminals used on the ZW.

Last step is to power the TIU.  I have a couple of options:

1.  Hope is to use the 18V "wall wart" that came with my daughter's Thomas Lionchief engine as auxiliary power Can I? No, the wall wart is DC output

The DCS manual mentions only an AC input for Auxiliary power for the TIU. To keep things simple to start this season use Fixed 1 input as the default TIU power source.

If you must use AUX power for the TIU, use a Z-500 or Z-750 by MTH and plug the barrel into the AUX port.

2.  Use the 4th throttle on the ZW. Not sure how to do this. 

3.  Use a 12V power source for my extra TMCC Command Base. This is my last choice because I'd like to have the option of connecting the extra Command Base to the TIU to run my TMCC engines. I don't recall the voltage for the TMCC base power supply - I do know that it is AC

Any concerns, cautions, or words of wisdom for a first-timer with DCS (and, yes, I do have Barry's book).

I prefer the outside rails tied together with both acting as common, especially if you are going to operate TMCC engines that use the outside rails as signal carriers.

 

 

 

Carl

Arctic Railroad

Moonman, just read your advice and humbly (honestly) disagree with comment #1 about insulation pins.  The general rule, as I understand it, is to isolate each power connection to the track from all others. 

If only 1 'lockon' is used then no insulation pins are needed.

Assuming more than one, one would need at least 2 per 'loop'.  The theory is, again as I understand it, an engine should NOT receive a command from more than one source.  So if 2 lockons (for simplicity sake of conversing) are used in one loop, say one on the left side and one on the right side, an insulation pin should be put in the center rail on the north side and another one in the center rail on the south side thus isolating the left and right sides from each other guaranteeing that the engine only receives its command from the connection where it is running in.

At least that's how I have always interpretted 'the rules'.  My apologies if I am misspeaking.

- walt

I probably should've re-read Barry's book (what a great resource for a guy familiar with TMCC but new to DCS).  On p. 95, it states that "Any power supply that provides between 12 and 22 volts AC or DC at 1.5 amps or greater equipped with a compatible barrel plug may be used."  I'll double-check the specs and fit of their connectors, but it appears my 18V DC wall wart or 12V TMCC power supply will work. 

Thanks to all above for the advice thus far. Think I'll try simplest first (one pair of wires to each loop). 

Any advice on how to connect a fuse in the wire from TIU to track? My TMCC layout uses powermaster wiring harnesses that have the fuses built right into the wires. It just dawned on me I won't have this luxury.  I picked up some 6 amp fast blow fuses from Ace Hardware but they didn't have any connectors to hold the fuses. I'll probably order some 10 amp fuses from Mouser to replace these.  I suppose I could tape splice a wire and tape the whole darn thing but I'd like something a bit better.

raising4daughters posted:

I probably should've re-read Barry's book (what a great resource for a guy familiar with TMCC but new to DCS).  On p. 95, it states that "Any power supply that provides between 12 and 22 volts AC or DC at 1.5 amps or greater equipped with a compatible barrel plug may be used."  I'll double-check the specs and fit of their connectors, but it appears my 18V DC wall wart or 12V TMCC power supply will work. 

Thanks to all above for the advice thus far. Think I'll try simplest first (one pair of wires to each loop). 

I use a 12 volt Dc power supply to power my TIU with no issues. 

Santa Fe, All the Way

Assuming they are glass fuses, any auto supply store should have a good selection of holders to fit your fuses. Bring a fuse with you  and they should be able to match it up to the right size holder. The holders simply have a wire at each end to splice into your existing wire.

raising4daughters posted:

Any advice on how to connect a fuse in the wire from TIU to track? My TMCC layout uses powermaster wiring harnesses that have the fuses built right into the wires. It just dawned on me I won't have this luxury.  I picked up some 6 amp fast blow fuses from Ace Hardware but they didn't have any connectors to hold the fuses. I'll probably order some 10 amp fuses from Mouser to replace these.  I suppose I could tape splice a wire and tape the whole darn thing but I'd like something a bit better.

I use ATO/ATC fast blow fuses. You can pick up a fuse holder for them with wires attached at any auto parts store (Advance, Autozone, etc.). The ATO/ATC fuses come in 5, 7.5, 10, 15, 20, and 30 amp ratings. 5 should be fine for your use.

Santa Fe, All the Way

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