Wiring Layout for Legacy and DCC

After some researching and experimentation I have decided to wire my layout for TMCC/Legacy and DCC, but not to run both at the same time on the same track.  The layout is basically 2 loops and a switching yard.  Track is Atlas 3 rail, power is a Lionel ZW-C with 4 180W Powerhouses.  For DCC I am using NCE's 10 amp boosters.  It will be wired for common ground, which you can do with these NCE boosters.  There will be three power districts, each loop and the yard, so I only need 3 boosters.  I want to be able to select for each district how it gets power, either from one of the 4 handles on the ZW or the booster.  In this way I could power the whole layout off of one handle if I'm just running a conventional locomotive.  Here is a rough sketch of powering one district, each line is both power and common (Except the green one which is just common for the Legacy signal.).

Layout Wire Plan

Repeat this three times for each district.  Using the rotary switch (It is a high amp non-shorting switch.) I can pick which handle or a DCC booster will power the track.  I show a on/off switch (Probably a DPST switch, although a SPST on the power leg would be enough.) between the ZW and the booster so that if I'm not planning on running DCC I don't have to have the boosters powered, but it shouldn't be needed otherwise.

So my question is, does this make sense and are there any issues I am missing?

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Original Post

Can a "old dog be taught new tricks?"  Yesterday I ran my battery power O scale Atlas Diesel on my friends Lionel layout. He has two loops. Using his ZW for constant power for one loop and using his booster on the other loop for the Blue wireless throttle. Every time his ZW shut off from a short at a switch I kept running . We ran trains for about 2 hours. 

I am suggesting consider using battery power along with your current equipment. 

Like I said, I did do research and experimentation.  Legacy and DCC are what I have chosen are best for me, not battery (I find batteries too much of a nuisance.) nor DCS (With PS-3 being DCC equipped it doesn't make sense to limit to DCS.).  I ask that instead of veering off topic by suggesting other means of operation that we stay on topic and discus my question as I have stated it.

Looks like you have the Legacy base connected to the 'power' side of things. It needs to go to the common. Maybe where your common comes back to the ZWC? Not knowing how the Legacy base would like the DCC system I would probably install a switch to isolate the Legacy base while running DCC. DCC is in my future plans, but I currently have no experience with DCC. 

If I am interpreting your drawing correctly? Also, I am not a big fan of rotary switches either, for no particular reason though. Personal bias maybe?  

BOB WALKER posted:

I would be very wary of switching the Legacy and DCC track signal feeds via a rotary switch. Did this actually work?

This is the switch I have bought.  It is 12 amp at 125 VAC.  The layout is 10 amp at 18 VAC, so it is under.  It is also a non-shorting switch, so there shouldn't be momentary electrical contact between the positions of the switch, but it also can have up to 11 positions, so I was planning on using every other position to be doubly sure there would be no shorts, or at least put a space between the other 4 and the DCC option.  Being it is a solder lug switch I have not tested the actual switch, but past experience hasn't shown it to be an issue.  I also don't plan on doing live switching.  It'll be set the switches, then power up the layout.

rtr12 posted:

Looks like you have the Legacy base connected to the 'power' side of things. It needs to go to the common.  

It is a simplified drawing, every line represents both the power and common, except the line for the Legacy base.  I thought I mentioned it in the top post.  But it'll either be to the track or the ZW, I'm not sure which yet.  I know it'll work at the track as I have done that in a test setup.  I haven't tried it at the ZW yet to see if the Legacy signal will come through the DCC booster.

rtr12 posted:

Not knowing how the Legacy base would like the DCC system I would probably install a switch to isolate the Legacy base while running DCC. 

As alluded to above the quote I have run Legacy/TMCC and DCC on the same track.  You can read about my results in my long winded post on this thread.  The Legacy system does seem rather robust and doesn't seem to mind DCC.  Lionel even puts Legacy/DCC boards in S gauge locomotives (I really really wish they'd use the same setup in O.).  The base isn't going to care at all what else is going to the track as it's only the common that's connected, so it should never see any voltage from the track.

rtr12 posted:

DCC is in my future plans, but I currently have no experience with DCC.  

I didn't have any experience either until my brother got in it with N gauge.  After messing with it I decided that was the way to go when the whole ERR going away thing went down.  A quick summary is The DCC booster didn't care there was a Legacy signal, and Legacy didn't seem to care there was a DCC signal.  Legacy and TMCC locomotives don't seem to care there is a DCC signal, as long as there is a Legacy/TMCC signal they don't do anything when powered up (At least with the TMCC locomotives I had on hand.).  Legacy locomotives mostly work fine when DCC is present, TMCC are unpredictable once they receive TMCC commands.  I will be using ESU's LokSound L decoders as they have the most options for customizing sounds and can run in DCC and analog (DCC speak for conventionally.) DC and AC.  So any DCC locomotives I have will not get hurt if powered up without DCC (I just need to pay attention as once they realize there is no DCC signal they will start to take off.).

rtr12 posted:

Also, I am not a big fan of rotary switches either, for no particular reason though. Personal bias maybe?  

I love them.  I so enjoy knobs and switches and toggles and other fiddly bits.  And these rotary switches have a very nice firm feeling detent, and make a very satisfying sound.

I must have missed something in your original post, probably got interrupted while reading it? I was looking at the red line to the tracks and thinking power I guess. Sounds like you have things pretty well figured out then and are way ahead of me.

Good to hear that Legacy works with DCC, also interesting. I plan to take a look at your other thread too. I have DCS and Legacy, so if I ever get to DCC was planning on a seperate loop/system for DCC. MTH also has DCC in their PS3 items, but I am not sure that DCC and DCS will work together? That might also be something worth me looking into someday. I have a lot more MTH than Legacy on my layout, only a couple of Legacy items. Started out with an MTH set and added DCS right after that.

I wonder why Lionel doesn't put DCC in their O gauge items? You would think it would be easier to use all the same boards across their product lines? I believe that is what MTH has done with their PS3 boards. I think they started that (and PS3) when they went into HO a few years ago. Maybe Lionel wants us to continue purchasing Legacy systems, or maybe they have other reasons? 

Like you, I have seen a few DCC items, only in HO, operate and have heard their sounds. I was quite impressed with some of the stuff they now have. I also like the fiddly bits like switches and things, maybe I have never used a 'good' rotary switch, but it has been many years since I have even been near one. The fiddly stuff is one reason I have always liked DCC since getting back into the hobby. I will probably stay with DCS/Legacy with DCC on the side, but you never know... Good luck with it all.

I wouldn't try running Legacy and DCC locomotives at the same time, as noted in my other thread there is an issue with Electrocouplers, and you wouldn't want to kill an engine by burning up the coupler.  My understanding is in the Lionel Legacy/DCC S gauge locomotives the locomotives will search for a command signal and respond to the one they find, there is no selection switch.  Where PS-3/DCC you have to flip a switch for which command they will follow, and you can't mix DCS and DCC on the track.  But with all PS-3 locomotives also being DCC that's why I picked DCC over DCS, as well as the many options for upgrading older locomotives.

I'll keep that in mind about burning things up! Definitely don't want to do that. I was planning to use a seperate loop of track for DCC anyway, if/when I ever get to that point so I can fiddle and keep my other things running as they are now. It is the MTH engines I was planning to use with the DCC system, at least at first. If I am bitten severely by the DCC bug then maybe some DCC installations of my own will be in order. I'll just have to decide what to convert and which decoders, parts etc. to use at that time. Who knows what will become available in the future, which to me looks bright for all the train control systems.

RTR12

I am sorry but I am confused, are you going to have both systems powered up on the layout at one time or will it be one at a time? Will it get to be a hassle to remember what engine used what system? I am looking forward to hearing of your progress.

Mike

DCC would be on a separate and isolated loop of track. I don't plan to mix DCC with anything else. I would probably only use a couple of MTH engines on the DCC loop at first, just to see how things work out. I have way more than will fit on my layout and all but are PS3, mostly Premier and I believe have the DCS/DCC switches. I would have to check them all to be sure, but I know some have it.

Also it will probably be a while before anything happens here with DCC. My layout isn't finished and I need to expand it some as well. I believe I have almost enough stuff for the expansion, except the addition to my Mianne benchwork. I want complete all that before getting into DCC. Then there is the $1k or so for the DCC system, then more track, switches, etc. So it will be a while for me. I am very interested in the DCC systems though, so a purchase or two could slip in a little sooner somewhere. 

It’s my understanding that Eric Siegel solves this problem by running Legacy trains through the MTH controller. He wires everything through the TIU. He has posted videos of his power sources. (I may have mis-understood, but I think he is happy with his results) Eric’s Trains on YouTube. 

Railroad modeling is therapeutic. 

C&Osteam posted:

It’s my understanding that Eric Siegel solves this problem by running Legacy trains through the MTH controller. He wires everything through the TIU. He has posted videos of his power sources. (I may have mis-understood, but I think he is happy with his results) Eric’s Trains on YouTube. 

That has nothing to do with this.  DCS is not DCC, and can not be run at the same time as DCC.  MTH has been very clear on that matter.  Eric's is just Legacy/TMCC and DCS, the same as most o gaugers.

What Sinclair said, no DCC on Eric's layout, except his On30 line which is totally separate from the rest of the layout. Eric runs track power through his TIU to the tracks. He controls Legacy/TMCC with Legacy and DCS with DCS. 

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