What is the Best Way to Control Your Model Train?

If you need to decide how you are going to control your model train, you nave two main options. You can either choose analog control or digital command control, often referred to as DCC. We are now going to discuss the differences between these two options, which are many, and which may be best suited for your needs.

To begin with, analog control means that a battery supplies the track itself with a variable voltage charge. All of the trains that you have on your track then move due to this electrical charge. All of the different functions of each train car, such as their motor, lights, etc. are powered by the electricity taken in by the wheels.

If you turn up the voltage, the speed of your train will increase. If you reverse the polarity, you can make your cars reverse and go the opposite way. A downside to analog control is that you can only control the charge you're sending to the tracks. This means that you can not have several different things happening at once.

The other option, DCC, not only supplies the track with electricity, but each separate engine can be operated by means of a control center which sends out various signals. This gives you many more options that analog control. Since each separate car receives its own commands, not merely the tracks, you can really be creative.

Some of the other advantages to DCC is that you can add many different lighting and sound effects to your track. Not only can you randomly program them in, you also have total control over everything that happens. Trains can also hitch, unhitch, and complete a variety of other functions without you laying a finger on the set. This will really make your train set come to life. All of the different trains can be going at different velocities and doing different things. All you have to do is sit back and punch a few buttons.

With Dcc control you also have the option of changing the velocity vs. acceleration level for each different train that is on the track. There are also other options that allow you to stabilize the velocity, with your decoder automatically detecting how fast the train is moving and adjusting the voltage accordingly.

Many of the most common DCC sets that are on the market today are composed of multiple parts, including the battery, decoder, accelerator, control station, and a booster. The speed control that is offered varies from 14, 28, even up to 128. Just think about what you could do with the latter. The possibilities are almost infinite. An added benefit to DCC control is that nearly all parts and setups are compatible.

Do not worry about what will happen to your train set if the company that sold you your DCC controls goes under. The wiring is quite basic. It is also possible to upgrade your analog set to DCC, which will greatly simplify matters since analog wiring is very difficult to work with.