• ballastlamp

    Ballast Lamps

    Ballast lamps have been in use in model railroading for decades to protect against shorts. The basic concept is to place an automobile taillight bulb in one wire runing to […]

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    Rechargeable Batteries

    There is one undeniable fact of life–wireless throttles need batteries but they also eat batteries. Now if you are flush in cash or Duracell stock you might go out and […]

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  • Interfaces

    Programming–What Works?

    Although I have periodically written about various kinds of programming equipment I still all too often get questions from folks asking why they can’t program decoder X using command station […]

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    Decoder Connections

    I’ve been asked why I promote adding 8-pin plugs to decoders instead of telling folks to go buy a JST to 8-pin plug. So here are my reasons. First, there […]

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    LED polarity

    One thing I didn’t mention about LEDs is unlike bulbs they are polarity sensitive–hook them up the wrong way and you may get a flash of light and a puff […]

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  • leds1

    Working with SMDs Part II

    Ok, now let’s talk tools. As I mentioned in Part I a good soldering iron is essential, along with thin solder. You also need some small tip tweezers to pick […]

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  • led2

    Working with SMDs Part 1

    In several posts and articles I have mentioned using surface mount devices (SMDs) from companies such as Ngineering. These are those tiny flyspecs that you see on circuit boards in […]

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  • Consist

    Typos

    In the September 2016 DCC Corner column there was a sidebar listing various CVs used in advanced consisting. There is a typo in the description of CV66. In the description […]

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    Coreless Motors

    Every once in a while I get a question about using coreless motors with DCC so let’s take a look at that one. First what is a coreless motor? Most […]

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  • Panel3

    The New Book

    Early this year I mentioned in a post that I was planning a new book for Kalmbach. Well the proposal slowly worked its way through the various layers of the […]

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    Lighting with LEDs

    Well, Nick asked about powering LEDs so I guess I need to provide an answer now instead of waiting. With incandescent bulbs we usually are focused on voltage whereas with […]

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    The book is back

    Actually it really never went away since there is a digital version of my “Wiring Your Model Railroad” book available at the Kalmbach Books website (click here). However the first […]

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    Using Ohm’s Law

    I wish I had a dollar for every time I have been asked “what size resistor do I need for installing this light bulb in this locomotive or circuit”.  The […]

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    Silencing LokSound Select decoders

    LokSound Select decdoers come in two different configurations: (1) off the shelf decoders, and (2) OEM factory installed decoders, and there can be differences among them. One important feature is […]

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    Adding a Plug to a Decoder

    Today I want to show you how to attach an NMRA 8-pin plug to a decoder as I promised in my DCC Corner column. One reason for doing this is that […]

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  • ALCO

    Time for a Factory Reset?

    Lately I’ve been getting emails from folks asking how to fix their decoder equipped locomotive and I’ve also run into my own problems as well. With this new generation of […]

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  • Accessory-decoders

    Why use accessory decoders?

    Obviously if you want computer control for your turnouts with DCC then you will need to install accessary decoders. But why install them if you aren’t interested in computer control? […]

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    Do you really want computer control?

    As I mentiond in my recent post on the Switch8 accessory decoder, although I am installing a number of accessory decoders on my Piedmont Southern layout, I don’t plan to […]

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    Tricks with the Switch8

    One of the great things about DCC is you can use decoders from any manufacturers on your layout, including accessory decoders. On my last layout I had accessory decoders from […]

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  • Interfaces

    Programming problems?

    In 2015 I did a series of tests, programming some of the newest decoders using various devices and systems. Since then I have  heard from several folks trying to get […]

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