Re: DCC Programming Track

Hi Matt
1) Maybe a couple of meters is good for length just so you can test speed etc without running off the end.
2) The ideal location will be at the front of the layout or better still first track of a staging yard that is easy to get at Make it so the loco can run off it onto the layout should you want to make a longer running test.
3) Yes it should be completly isolated but use a 2 pole double throw center off switch so you can switch the programming track back over to the layout once you have programmed the loco. The reason it needs to be isolated is so you can program a loco (I use the Digitrax PR1 programer with an old Pentium 100 PC) while there are trains running on the layout.
4) The actual purpose is so you can program a loco separate from the rest of the layout. Or have trains running (maybe other people are running you layout) while you are programing a locos CV's on the programing track. I very rarely use my hand held throttle for programing since I use computer connected to the programing track.
5) Specila wiring is as I have mention with a 2 pole double throw centre off switch. This switch has 6 solder terminals. The two middle terms go to the programing track. One side goes to the programer and the other side goes to the layout main feed.
Reply to
Nigel Nichols
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I've taken a little different approach. I purchased a "test track" that has rollers, allowing the loco to pick up power and run in a stationary position. This is on my workbench. I generally use a decoder tester to set the engine number before installing it in the engine (I also test the decoder first for some basic functions). Then install and test the loco on the rollers, and set the various CVs to optimize performance there. Once on the layout I can use Ops mode to "fine tune".
This is partly because I had a finished layout. However, I've had the DCC system for about 9 months now and I really value the test track approach. I don't think I'd run locos around the layout to a programming track if I had one connected to the layout. Aside from setting the decoder number, most programming can be done ini Ops mode on the mainline anyway.
Even if you have a programming track on the layout, you might consider getting some rollers to use for testing. I saw in one of the magazines recently you can get them "loose" without the test fixture.
Hey Folks,
As I draw a layout, I am realizing the need to include a DCC programming track.
Could some of you share some advice on this specific addition to my drawing.
1) how long should it be? 2) is there an ideal location? 3) should it be completely isolated [plastic rail joiners on both rails], yet be connected to the layout track? 4) what is its actual purpose and why must it be a special and separate track? 5) what, if any, special wiring does it require?
Many Thanks! Matt
Reply to
Rick Stern
This is another possiblity, however my programming track is part of my layout trackage. I might only want to do a minor tweak to the locos programming so I can run the loco onto the track, make the change and send her out again. Therefore I want to be able to switch the programming track over to the main layout control.
Reply to
Nigel Nichols

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