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Author Topic: Lower cost alternative to the DCC booster?  (Read 1046 times)
Flare

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« on: November 18, 2016, 12:14:01 AM »

I'm planning an upgrade to my double reverse loop layout that will include a total of 5 locomotives and extend the far loop even further away from the feeder, which will doubtlessly exceed the single amp power supply included with my E-Z Command controller.

Rather than spend $200 on the DCC booster module, is there any reason I can't simply use a 5 amp 16v AC power source for the E-Z Command controller I already have?
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Len

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« Reply #1 on: November 18, 2016, 08:48:27 AM »

Extending the loop just means adding additional power feeders, not adding a booster.

And increasing the input amperage to the EZ-Command unit is not a good idea. You could exceed the current handling capacity of the units output circuitry.

Will all five locos be operating at the same time? If not, set up a couple of spurs you can turn the power off too, and park the idle locos there. That way they're not pulling power just sitting around.

Len
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If at first you don't succeed, throw it in the spare parts box.
Flare

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« Reply #2 on: November 18, 2016, 02:42:53 PM »

The layout goes between two rooms of my house.  I'm not keen on drilling holes in my walls for another feeder.

I was already planning to have side tracks for the trains that aren't active, but I want to keep operation simple and just let them idle.

How many amps do idle locomotives draw?
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Jerrys HO
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« Reply #3 on: November 18, 2016, 08:07:43 PM »

How does the track get to the other room? Hole or around the doorway? In any case most run a buss feed under the layout and tap into the buss feed. You could possibly put it under the track and follow into the other room.
Most basic decoders draw 1 amp at minimum but have seen some with sound draw as much as 5amps. It is best to check with the manufacturer or if any paper work accompanying the loco.
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jward


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« Reply #4 on: November 18, 2016, 10:09:16 PM »

honestly, it sounds like you have outgrown your ez command. Why not take the money you would have spent on a booster and buy another, upgradeable dcc system. most manufacturers entry level systems feature 2.5-3 amps capacity plus full programming capability. plus, they can be used as part of an upgraded system later on.
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Jeffery S Ward Sr
Pittsburgh, PA
Flare

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« Reply #5 on: November 19, 2016, 01:59:01 AM »

How does the track get to the other room? Hole or around the doorway? In any case most run a buss feed under the layout and tap into the buss feed. You could possibly put it under the track and follow into the other room.
Most basic decoders draw 1 amp at minimum but have seen some with sound draw as much as 5amps. It is best to check with the manufacturer or if any paper work accompanying the loco.
It goes around the doorway.  Would I really gain anything by having wires run the length of the track when I could just let the rails carry the current?

honestly, it sounds like you have outgrown your ez command. Why not take the money you would have spent on a booster and buy another, upgradeable dcc system. most manufacturers entry level systems feature 2.5-3 amps capacity plus full programming capability. plus, they can be used as part of an upgraded system later on.
Can you advise a system that's a good balance of cost and ease of operation?
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Jhanecker2

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« Reply #6 on: November 19, 2016, 07:53:15 AM »

To Flare :   DCC   is  highly susceptible  to  loss of  continuity  .   Rail joiners have a habit of loosening  and  rails are  not the best way to conduct current over long distances , that is why  most operators have multiple feeders  to overcome the effects of  resistance of the rails themselves .  Copper wires have much less resistance than nickel -silver  or steel .   Having your decoder constantly  reset because of loss of power is the consequence of not insuring that your track is capable of reliable function .    

Jward  is correct .   If you are running  5 trains you have to be close to the limit of available output of your entry level system . Idling  engines  suck up a lot of power as they are drawing power continually .  Every operating system has a learning curve  and  cost is dependent  upon your future expectation of  the complexity of your layout .  Good Luck on your endeavors  . john2.
« Last Edit: November 19, 2016, 07:01:45 PM by Jhanecker2 » Logged
Jerrys HO
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« Reply #7 on: November 19, 2016, 08:28:29 AM »

Quote
It goes around the doorway.  Would I really gain anything by having wires run the length of the track when I could just let the rails carry the current?

Yes you would gain a lot. John explained it perfectly

Quote
Can you advise a system that's a good balance of cost and ease of operation?

There are many to choose from, best to visit the websites of the manufacturer's and find one with the options you would want. Many as I would will suggest NCE. Nice and expandable.
The one thing I know I can share if money is tight is that I used and sometimes still do use the EZ Command. My layout is fairly large, all EZ track and at least 15 locos. With the advice of feeders and parking unused loco's on dead sidings helped me till I decided to go with a nicer system.
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Joe323

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« Reply #8 on: November 21, 2016, 07:16:04 PM »

One of the nice features of a better system like the NCE and other more advanced systems is the ability to use four digit addresses so that as your locomotive fleet goes you can program the address to the number of the locomotive.  No more which button controls which loco: If you are like most operators of MRs your fleet will out strip your actual day to day operations. Thus you will find yourself swapping motive power.

Once you have upgraded your system if you still need power you can add a booster.

I gave my EZ Command to the temple rummage sale but I suppose you could sell it up on EBay or use it for the round the tree train.
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