Digital Command Control (DCC) is widely used on NTRAK layouts. Its use can present a challenge to those who design, setup and operate NTRAK layouts. Based on experience from many NTRAK layouts at train shows, a set of rules for DCC operations on NTRAK layouts evolved, tried in other shows, modified and modified again as necessary. Special information and rules are included throughout this document for large NTRAK layouts in excess of 100 modules; these are clearly marked.
Digital Command Control (DCC) equipment does not come in fully self-contained packages which either plug into something or something plugs into them. Power supplies are separate from Command Stations and/or Boosters so there is always a requirement for at least two "boxes" with connections between them. Then there are connections required between the Booster(s) and the layout, and between the Command Station and the throttle, radio receivers, stationery decoders, power managers, etc.
More than 75% of NTRAK Clubs have adopted Digital Command Control (DCC) for control of at least one track on their NTRAK layouts. Some of these clubs use DCC extensively, and some of these have gone DCC all the way. Many clubs still provide for combined DC/DCC operations since some members may not have DCC-equipped locomotives, and others may wish to operate locomotives that have not yet been converted for DCC.
Since Rail Sync signals are not needed for Digitrax throttles and radio receivers/transceivers it is possible to use wires 1 and 6 in the LocoNet cable for other purposes when connecting to such devices. One such very useful purpose is to provide additional power to devices connected to the LocoNet that do not require Rail Sync signals, so those devices do not otherwise load down the Rail Sync signals.
Originally designed for DC (analog) control, T-TRAK layouts have evolved to wireless Digital Command Control (DCC). Trains are operated today on T-TRAK layouts with both DC and DCC active on the same layout, with only DC or with only DCC control. Control of NRMRC T-TRAK layouts are 100% DCC.
The intent of this document is to specify in detail the design and operational considerations that are required for an NTRAK layout using Digital Command Control (DCC) such that railroad operations are successful, continuous and reliable throughout the show.