Summer Evening and the ML401

Summer Evening and the ML401
Conrail ML401 rolls west through Central New York farm country in Onondaga County, September 1994.

Friday, October 22, 2010

Digital Command Control

Last night, I pulled the trigger, and finally ordered the new control system for the Onondaga Cutoff:  a North Coast Engineering (NCE) PowerPro 5-amp radio-control system, with an additional 5-amp booster unit, and the associated hardware.  I also ordered 6 breakers designed for this system, one for each of my power districts.

Main Unit:       Visible Main Line
                       Short Line (not yet installed)                  
Booster Unit:   Onondaga Yards/Engine Facility
                       Staging and hidden mainlines

This arrangement should keep my current draw below the 5-amp maximum, even with up to 4 or 5 units pulling long trains.  Both mainline tracks are wired to the same bus.  A basic 'blue box' Athearn unit that is in good shape draws about 0.6 to 0.7 amps at full throttle, and most other motors (Atlas, Kato, newer Athearn) are lower, so I can run about 6-8 units at full throttle at once on any power district - even with two big trains on the main line, I should have some spare capacity.

Spending hundreds on a one-shot deal with this hobby is unsettling, but Kristen supports it and at the least this should be the last time I do this for quite a while.  My first task will be to install a decoder in a few engines, then make the big switch and hook up the new control system - and a new era will begin!


  1. I bought a NCE Power Cab for my Small N scale layout. It was a bit frustrating getting a few of the kinks worked out, but after a few days of trouble free operation, Ill never go back to DC.

  2. Thanks for the support! I hope to be able to say the same in just a few more weeks!