E-Z Command ® Digital Command Control FAQ


DCC Basics

E-Z Command System Features

Configuring locomotives to operate on E-Z Command

Bachmann Decoder Equipped locomotives

Bachmann non decoder equipped locomotives and DCC



DCC Basics

What is NMRA DCC Digital Command Control?

DCC represents the next generation of model railroad control.

In 1994 the National Model Railroad Association established a set of standards for the digital control of model railroads. These standards define a standard method for the digital signals that are sent over the rails for the purpose of controlling model railroads. The Bachmann E-Z Command® set of products have been built to follow these specifications.

Because DCC is a standard you can use products from a growing set of model railroad manufacturers.  Currently over 30 manufacturers support these standards providing a wealth of product across the industry that the modeler can select from. 

DCC is E-Z to use and a lot of fun to operate. With DCC you can easily operate multiple trains on your railroad without the need to install complicated wiring.  And with DCC you can also control multiple functions on your trains such as lights and sound.

What is an NMRA C&I Warrant and why is this important to me?

Being able to mix and match a wide variety of products from multiple manufacturers is one of the great advantages of DCC. With so many manufacturers providing product it is impossible for any manufacturer to ensure that their products interchange with all other products on the market. 

 To address this issue the NMRA established a testing service.  Manufacturers of any model railroad equipment can submit their products to the NMRA and they test these products to all of their Standards and Recommended Practices.  E-Z Command®  and Bachmann Digital on Board locomotives have been extensively tested by the NMRA and is certified to meet and conform with all of it's standards and recommended practices for digital command control.  This means that your Bachmann products will work with any other manufacturers products that are built to these NMRA DCC specifications.

Bachmann is very pleased that all E-Z Command®  products have earned this prestigious seal.  It is just one more measure of the quality and attention to detail that we have undertaken to provide a high quality control product.


E-Z Command System Features

E-Z Command®  has lots of features but is it expandable?

Yes!  In 2005 Bachmann will release several new components that will plug into the I/O port on the back of E-Z Command.  These include a walk around Companion unit that an additional operator can use to control trains anywhere on the layout.  We have also announced a control unit for turnouts and a 5 amp booster.  As your needs expand expect our DCC offerings for DCC to expand as well.

Can I operate my existing non DCC locomotives on my E-Z Command System?

Absolutely.  Bachmann E-Z Command®  supports the operation of one non decoder locomotive at a time.  When button 10 is pressed the speed control and direction buttons control the non decoder equipped locomotive.  Alternatively you can plug the AC power pack into a Bachmann analog throttle and plug the throttle into the E-Z command using the supplied cable into the E-Z Command.  When this is done the analog throttle controls the non decoder equipped locomotive and Button 10 controls a digital locomotive with the address of 10.

Can E-Z Command control  DCC light and sound functions?

Yes. E-Z Command®  can control up to nine DCC functions (F1-F8 plus headlight).  Controlling a sound equipped locomotive is very easy.  The functions are all on/off. For a short whistle you have to press the button twice quickly.

Does E-Z Command support electric momentum?

Yes. When you slow down or speed up your train quickly the decoder in the locomotive will use its built in momentum to control the speed change of the locomotive.  Acceleration and Deceleration are a function of parameters stored in the decoder.  Bachmann decoder equipped locomotives come with these parameters preset for best operations.

Can I operate multiple locomotive in a consist?

Yes.  E-Z Command® supports what is referred to as basic consisting.  Using Bachmann decoder equipped locomotives or any other manufacturers locomotives that implement service mode decoder lock you can easily assign multiple locomotives to the same address while the locomotives are anywhere on the layout. Since you can also set the locomotives direction on the main line you can set up both head to head or head to tail consists.

How many trains can run at once?

E-Z Command®  comes with a 1 amp power supply which can supply 1 amp of DCC power to the track continuously and up to 1.5 amps peak power. The number of locomotives that can be operated at once depends on the current draw of the locomotives chosen.  Modern locomotives require less then 1/4 of an amp while older locomotives can draw much more. You can typically operate 5 or more Bachmann decoder equipped locomotives at a time.

Can I use 2 or more E-Z Command®  units to have more than 10 trains on the layout at once?

Not at this time.  E-Z Command®  can currently control only 10 DCC addresses.  Several locomotives can be assigned to the same address and thus be controlled as a consist.  You can of course also select up to 10 locomotives from your larger fleet to have on the layout at once, reprogramming the locomotive decoders for each session to suit the address numbers available.

What happens when I overload my system?

If you overload your E-Z Command® system or a short occurs the 'stop' led and address '1' led will flash rapidly.  This tells you that a short has occurred.  After a short period of time a built in protection circuit will cut power to the unit.  For additional safety it is best to remove power from the system.  When the short is removed and the unit cools down the system will resume operation.

If I use a bigger power pack can I get more current out of the unit (>1.5A) or do I need to use another brand power booster between the E-Z Command Control System and the layout?

The E-Z Command Control System is rated at 1.5 amps. You should use the transformer supplied with the unit.  If you need additional power then you should connect your E-Z Command to a more powerful DCC booster  for more power.

Can I use E-Z Command® with a more powerful DCC Booster?

No Problem. Bachmann has announced a 5 amp booster for 2005.  E-Z Command can also be used with other boosters on the market.  E-Z Command is compatible with the NMRA  power stations built to conform to NMRA RP-9.1.2  Opto-isolated (Current) Interface.  These power stations are built  to handle input voltages of up to 22 volts.  Digital plus by Lenz power stations are built to this specification.

To connect to another booster connect the track output wires from E-Z Command and connect them to the booster control bus input.  For Lenz equipment this would be the C and D connections.

Configuring locomotives to operate on E-Z Command® 

What is a programming track?

A programming track is a low current section of track used to check out  new decoder installations.  A separate low current programming track is needed only for the first time programming of locomotives with user installed decoders.  The low current protects the decoder if the installation was performed incorrectly.
To install a programming track on your E-Z Command®  control system, connect a resistor in series with one track wire to an isolated section of track.
The recommended resistor is a 100 ohm 10W Wirewound Resistor, Radio Shack Catalog #: 271-135.

Do I need a programming track?

E-Z Command®  was designed to be "easy" to use.  While a separate programming track is useful for new decoder installations it is not needed for normal operations.  E-Z Command® implements a DCC feature called "Service Mode Decoder Lock".  This feature allows you to reprogram the address or direction of travel for any of your locomotives while on the main line which eliminates the need for an isolated programming track. You can still install a programming track if you desire but it is not an absolute necessity.

My decoders do not have the service mode decoder lock, can I still use them?

Absolutely!  Service Mode Decoder Lock is a great feature to help make DCC easier to use.  While this feature makes programming a lot easier, E-Z Command®  also allows you to easily use locomotives with decoders that do not have this feature.

To program locomotives that do not implement Service Mode Decoder Lock perform the following steps

  1. Turn the throttle knob counterclockwise to off.

  2. Remove all locomotives from the layout that do not implement Service Mode Decoder Lock. (all Bachmann US decoders and decoder equipped locomotives have this feature, if in doubt check the manual of decoders from other manufacturers).

  3. Press and hold the key for the new address you desire the locomotive to have.

  4. Now press and release the 'Stop' button.  Release the address button
    The 'Stop' LED will blink fast.

  5. Place the locomotive on the track that you desire to assign a new address.

  6. Press and release the button that corresponds to the new address you desire. This should be the same button you presses in step 3 above,  The 'Stop' LED will now blink slowly.  The programmed locomotive will make a series of small clicks indicating that the programming is successful. 

  7. Now press and release the 'Stop'  button again. The 'Stop' LED will change from slowly blinking to being on solidly.

  8. Replace all the locomotives that do not implement Service Mode Decoder Lock back on the track and resume operations.

If you forget to remove locomotives with decoders that do not implement Service Mode Decoder Lock they will all be programmed with the new address you select in step 5.  No problem just reprogram then back to the desired address one at a time.

 Can E-Z Command program decoder CVs?

Currently the E-Z Command®  Digital Control System can only reprogram the decoder's address and the direction of the decoder.  It cannot currently be used to program decoder CVs. There are more advanced systems and ‘stand alone’ programmers that can do this.

Once programmed, the settings in the decoder registers are stored permanently and will determine how the decoder controls the locomotive. You can tailor your locomotive using an advanced programming system and use it with those settings on E-Z Command®.

Bachmann Decoder Equipped locomotives

How do I take care of my DCC equipped locomotives?

Taking care of any locomotive requires that it be properly maintained including properly lubricating the moving components.  There is no difference between maintaining a DC or DCC equipped locomotive.

Can I operate my Bachmann DCC equipped locomotives on my DC power pack?

Absolutely.  Bachmann Decoder Equipped locomotives will operate safely  on standard DC power packs.

Are Bachmann DCC Equipped locomotives compatible with other DCC systems?

Yes Bachmann DCC equipped locomotives have earned an NMRA C&I Warrant which ensures that the decoders faithfully follow the NMRA DCC specifications.

Bachmann non decoder equipped locomotives and DCC

What does DCC Ready mean?

DCC ready means that the motor has been isolated and provisions have been made for the installation of a decoder.  In HO scale we also try to install an NMRA 8 pin plug to make decoder installation E-Z.

What decoders do you recommend for your locomotives?

We strongly recommend decoders that have earned NMRA Conformance and inspection warrants such as products from Bachmann, SoundTraxx and Digital plus by Lenz. 


Why does Bachmann put capacitors and chokes in its locomotives and must I remove them to use with DCC?

Bachmann sells its model railroad locomotives worldwide. Many countries require very strict electronic emission controls. In order to meet these controls we are required to install suppression capacitors and inductors on our locomotives. Most DCC decoders (including Bachmann E-Z Command decoders) can work properly with these components installed.  If you want to install a decoder that requires removal of these components, Bachmann will continue to warrant the locomotive so long as the locomotive is used in the US or Canada.

The capacitors can be removed without effecting operation.  If you remove the inductors you will have to install a wire in its place.


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