|There are an increasing number of DCC systems on the market of varying quality and complexity. In 2004 members were using a variety of systems including Digitrax, Lenz, Fleischmann and ZTC; and having looked at the pros and cons it was decided to use the DIGITRAX system on the group layout. It made it's first group appearance on the Modular layout operating Tracks 3 and 4 at the Warley Show.|
Members using other sytems at home are not precluded from using the layout as spare Digitrax hand throttles are available to use on the layout. All equipment is owned by individual members none by the group.
The core of the equipment is the Digitrax Super Chief system. The layout has now been divided into a number of 'Power Districts' using PM42 boards. These allow different parts of the layout to be separately powered, and a problem like a short circuit on one part will not stop trains running on the other parts. So, the fiddle yards and endboards are divided into 2 districts (tracks 1 and 2, and tracks 3 and 4); each module has the same 2 districts and the points are also powered separately. At present with 2 x PM42s we have a maixmum of 8 power districts which will allow the inclusion of 3 sets of modules. We have the facility to expand this with additional PM42s in the future should the need arise. The basic Super Chief system (the DCS100 command station), power transformers, the PM42s and other hardware are contained within a purpose built power 'box' for ease of transport and setting up.
We now have the layout further sub-divided up into blocks using Digitrax BDL168 and BD4 block detectors. The fiddle yard and the endboards have now had all the points relaid, with all large radius points, and completely rewired. The board at each end of the fiddle yard has a BDL168 fitted to the underside, and these are wired to 32 sections on the fiddle yard and the end boards.The 2 main sets of scenic boards also have their own sections controlled by BDL168s along with BD4 boards operated via a SE8C signal control board. All of these now allow trains to be detected and tracked around the layout using Railroad & Co computer software, and we now have the ability to have computer control with automated running of trains on Tracks 1 and 2).
Trains are controlled mainly using DT400 hand throttles with some older DT300 throttles available for use. Now that the new Digitrax Duplex radio system is available fore use in the UK, we have converted to use the new DT402D throttles.