PC&N Mini Layout Wiring


Dead Rail Commitment

Because I will be bringing up my garden railroad this summer as a radio control battery power railroad, I am going to attempt to do the same indoors.  I will use the Mini Layout to test whether I can manage a satisfactory battery control operation.  Most of the engines in the ON30 locomotive roster are DCC engines.  I had planned to use DCC with conventional track wiring so I am somewhat committed to using a battery powered approach to DCC.  What follows is a brief description of what i am going to attempt to do.

DCC, & Control Panel

DCC will be provided by a NCE PowerCab purchased as a starter set.  One of the primary reasons the PowerCab was chosen is that it can be used as a second cab unit in controlling the large layout.  I expect the large layout to be powered at least partially by a NCE ProCab.

NCE PowerCab

The heart of the PowerCab is the PCP (power control panel).  Note that the power to the track is provided by a terminal in the lower right corner of this image.


As the following diagram shows, the NCE PCP interconnects the cab, the track wiring, the power supply, and additional cabs or UTP (Universal Telco Panel) units.

PCP Wiring

The following is a UTP.  I plan to place one on the right side of the layout so a second operator can participate in switching fun.  In that case a second cab would be necessary,


With battery power, the terminals on the PCP are hooked to a transmitter that sends the DCC commands out via radio waves rather than over the track.  I have a Tam Valley Depot TRS1 MarkIII on order.  The two terminals on the transmitter are hooked to the two terminals on the PCP.  In a larger layout setting like the PC&N multiple transmitters wired in parallel may be needed.

The Tam Valley Depot receiver is small enough to fit in most of my engines.  It communicates with the DCC board already installed in the engines.

DRS1MkII Receiver

Some of the engines in the PC&N roster are not DCC engines.  Rather than convert them to DCC, I plan to support a second radio system.  It is likely I will use this system on my garden railroad as none of those engines are DCC engines.

The DelTang systems uses a hand held speed control and transmitter to send signals directly to a receiver in the engine.  The DelTang transmitter I’ll use will address up to 12 locomotives.


The DelTank receiver and control unit is very small and controls only a few basic functions.  I can fit this unit in engines as small as the critters I will be running.



Assuming this experiment goes well, I will not need to  wire any track.  There may be a few stationary decoders to control hard to reach switches and other devices.  As this experiment evolves, links to appropriate posts will appear just below.


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