First Steps into Digital Command Control

My layout will be operated using a Digital Command Control (DCC) system. While to many of my my modeller friends, this seems an obvious statement, to those who are my friends that aren’t railroaders, they don’t really understand how model railroads operate. A very small layout may literally just be a single locomotive and a power pack (like the ones that come in simple train sets), and need no complicated wiring. for my layout, while it’s simple, there is the chance that multiple locomotives will be working and there will always be a number of locomotives in staging. DCC is effectively a computer control system, the locomotives and track are always receiving power, but the decoder, a mini computer inside the locomotive ignores the power unless it receives a computer signal sent with the power through the rail that tells it to pay attention to the command and react. It is a powerful system for running trains, and with new controllers like the ProtoThrottle, you can operate a model railroad with controls that are almost like those in a real locomotive.

IMG_8371ESU LokProgrammer. Its a lot of box for the size of the stuff in it. The environmentalist in me says they really need to work on their packaging.

The LokProgrammer is a tool for updating and adjusting settings on locomotives with ESU decoders. I really have been impressed with the ESU decoders and control system from visiting friends with it, and I see me buying an ESU control system in the near future when they are back in stock. This is a vital tool as it will let me customize sounds and how locomotives behave on the layout. I recently did a full setup at a friends using his after he’d helped me install the DCC decoder into my 7020 model for the layout, now I can use that to help me program my locomotives myself in the future.


CPR 7020 on the test track connected to the LokProgrammer, and a couple of screenshots, the top showing the throttle test screen, and one showing the adjustments of all the Control Values (CV’s) on the decoder to change settings.

If i’m being completely honest, I still don’t understand most of what I’m doing with the DCC and the setup, but I’m getting there, step by step, and having the LokProgrammer means I can now look at how things are configured, and learn what changes when I adjust different settings. Another day, another step on the road to having a working layout.

2 thoughts on “First Steps into Digital Command Control

    • Thanks Chris, its an interesting adventure. All the time I’ve read articles and operated on others layouts, I haven’t had to understand the nuts and bolts. Now I’m getting the understanding and its pretty eye opening!


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