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Digital Command Control

The DCC Standard
Digital Command Control (DCC) is a standard defined by the NMRA (National Model Railroad Association)  and is a standard for manufacturers to allow the independent control of multiple locomotives and accessories on a model railway layout.

Essentially with DCC, we overcome the limitation of controlling multiple locomotives on the same track where, traditionally, the voltage on track was used to control the speed and direction of a train.

These days the term Digital Command Control is used to describe any digital model railway control system, strictly speaking it refers to the NMRA DCC standards for a system to operate model railways digitally.

Rather than re-invent the wheel, the NMRA studied all of the commercially available digital control systems and found that the best system to base the new standard on was a system invented by Lenz Elektronik and used by Marklin.

The NMRA in consultation with Lenz Elektronik expanded the design, allowing for control of thousands of locomotives, turnouts, and multiple-unit lash-ups, and formalised the DCC Standards.

Technically a DCC system consists of:

  • Control Hardware  (Compatible with DCC Protocols/Standards)
  • Control Software
  • Optional Feedback System

Typical Features supported by DCC Systems:

  • Accessories
  • Auto Reversing
  • Command Stations & Boosters
  • Computer Control
  • Detection & Signaling
  • Function Decoders
  • Mobile Decoders
  • Power Management
  • Power Supplies
  • Sound Decoders & Speakers
  • Stationary Decoders
  • Throttles
  • Transponding
  • Universal Panel, IR & Radio Receivers

I have taken great care to verify the correctness of information provided, and encourage you to learn more about this Great technology by also reading the rest of my DCC for Modellers Series articles.

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