I am getting close to trying to hook up my DCS system, and I am concerned about two things right off the bat. During my reading, one comment is that you should avoid a buss system. I am using the buss system for my layout, which is also in TMCC.  What can I do, as I am not going to tear out all my wiring that I have done to provide a good feed to the tracks. Also, how much of a problem is the black center rail using Gargraves track? I am not about to defeat the purpose of a "hidden" center rail, by cleaning off the black. Thanks for the insights.

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I have a small around-the-walls layout (12'6" X 13'6") with a pair of #12 wires as a buss the whole way around. I run under DCS and have no problem with signal propagation. IMO give it a try if you already have the equipment. If you haven't spent the big $$ yet you could buy a DCS Remote Commander for 50$-60$ to test the feasibility of your current wiring.



Operator of the Plywood Empire Route in the Beautiful Berkshires

Growing old is so much more fun than the only alternative.

It’s best to have a star wiring pattern with each point of the star feeding a center rail isolated block, but as a few have already said, try it with your existing wiring.  You have nothing to lose.


My layout has star pattern wiring (more or less), but not all of the blocks are isolated.  Once in a while I get duplicate signals.  EG: I press the crossing soft key and get two longs, a short and a long followed by another two longs, a short and a long. But overall operation is fine.


Black center rail on Gargraves or Ross track is no problem.


My layout is kinda a hybrid. The layout is divided into 16 blocks. The power wire to each block goes to a toggle switch and then to the block, so the power wires are in a star pattern. The ground wires for each block are just connected to a bus. With my Revision L TIU I get 10s everywhere on my layout and PS2 & PS3 locomotives run fine without issue. 

Santa Fe, All the Way

I do not subscribe to the start concept.  When I added DCS when it first came out, I simply inserted the TIU into the wires from transformer to control panel.  My layout was built for conventional, with some 75 toggled blocks on 6 "handles."  14 gauge wire goes from each toggle switch to each isolated block.  Ground is by a 12 gauge buss that goes all around the layout.  It works.

I strongly recommend you don't get chintzy on wire gauge.  On an 8x4 16 gauge is fine, but on a larger layout, my experience is use 14-gauge.

Which leads to the question, What is star pattern?  To me, that's a wire going out to some central point, from which, wires go to each block.  My control panel is right near the tius, and the wire from tiu outputs goes from one toggle switvh to another and then another and so on.  I don't think that's star.

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