Digitrax Zephyr Basic Set
Launched in 2002, the DSC50 Zephyr is Digitrax's all-in-one entry level Digital Command Control system. Digitrax upgraded this set to the Zephyr Xtra in 2011. The Xtra has extra keys and additional functions. The older Zephyr/DCS50 is not upgradeable to this model (DCS51).
- Product description: http://www.digitrax.com/prd_zep_basic_set.php
- Manual: http://www.digitrax.com/ftp/zephyrmanual.pdf
- Zephyr is a 2.5 amp booster.
- 2 and 4 digit loco addressing
- Separate programming track connections
- CV read back from programming track
- OPS mode programming on the main track for on-the-fly programming
- MU consisting
- Keypad controls functions F0-F8
- Operate up to 999 stationary decoders
- Operate up to 10 locomotive addresses at the same time
- Run up to 10 throttles at the same time
The Zephyr starter set includes a DCS50 Command Station/Booster, a PS315 Power Supply and the LT 1 LocoNet Cable and Decoder Tester. It also comes with a 56 page Zephyr Manual and a Digitrax Decoder Manual, however no decoders are supplied with this starter set. The Command Station/booster also acts like a stationary throttle. It has a large speed control knob, reversing switch, a four digit half inch display with four status indicators, track power, program, and brake LEDs.
The PS315 power supply (rated at 15volts AC at 3 Amps) is a plug-in-the-wall transformer with a cord that plugs into the back of the Command Station. Also on the back, there are two ports for LocoNet, connectors for the running track, programming track, connections for analog power packs (discussed further below) and ground. The connections are easily made by putting a stripped wire into a connector then tighten a screw.
A second Zephyr can be easily programmed as a booster-only to expand the power. When the Zephyr is used as a booster it can also be set for auto reversing for use in reversing loops. (A reverse loop adapter may be a less expensive way to connect reversing loops.)
You can connect any Digitrax or LocoNet compatible device into the LocoNet connectors - such as throttles and stationary decoders. Please see the LocoNet article on how easy it is to run LocoNet cables using low cost phone type wire.
The DCS 50 console is small: It's only 7 inches wide by 1.75 inches high by 5 inches deep. You will need to allow an inch or two at the back for the power connector and wiring. The console is made of plastic with silver painted knobs. The 20 buttons protrude about 1/8th of an inch from the front panel and are spaced a little on the close side but no problem for even my big fingers.
The direction switch is convenient for yard use. It has three positions, FORWARD, BRAKE and REVERSE. With this you can leave the throttle knob at a maximum speed and then do all the controlling with the direction switch.
The two analog power ports on the back of the Zephyr is an interesting feature that allows you to use analog power packs as a Jump throttle that can run DCC locomotives. With the two ports and the Zephyr's built-in throttle you can run three independent locomotive addresses. You can still control more trains using LocoNet connections.
The Zephyr can also perform what is known as zero stretching, that is, it allows you to run a locomotive that does have not a DCC decoder installed.
There is a power push button on the keypad that controls the power to the track. When track power is on it lights an led marked "track status". You can also use this an emergency power-off switch, but only works on power going to the tracks. To completely turn off the power, you'll need to unplug the power supply.
The Zephyr is an ideal starter system for a small layout or a branch line of a larger layout. The cost of decoders continues to fall, so you shouldn't have much problem converting a few locomotives to get you started. Also, should you outgrow the power capabilities of the Zephyr, you can still connect additional boosters and throttles to your layout using the LocoNet connections and an additional power supply.
The following data augments what is published on the Web.
- Power input socket
- the input requires 15V (rms) AC 50/60Hz (must not exceed 16V rms)
- alternatively, 18V DC may be used (must not exceed 22V DC)
- the power supply requires at least 2.5A to meet the full capability of the Zephyr.
- the connector is 5.5mm dia. (outer), 2.0mm dia. (inner)
- for a DC supply, the centre pin is positive, the outer conductor is negative.
Digitrax Zephyr Xtra Additional Features
- DCS51 is a 3.0 amp booster.
- Keypad controls functions F0-F28
- Run up to 20 locomotive addresses at the same time
- Run up to 20 throttles at the same time
- RECALL key to recall last 2, 4 or 8 locomotive addresses
- Dedicated MUTE key to mute sound decoders
- Digitrax - Main Digitrax article
Also Click on the categories found at the bottom of the page.
- Zephyr Cab - Build a simple cab for the Zephyr.