Power management is important for track operations. It's best to break up your layout into separate power districts so that a short circuit in one area of your layout doesn't bring the entire layout to a halt.
Power management is usually implemented using an electronic device connected between the track bus and the booster. This device can use either electronic or mechanical means to connect/disconnect the track from the bus. They operate as a circuit breaker, disconnecting the power from that power district when an event occurs to trigger operation. Some can be user configured for trip points and reaction speed.
What Is A Power District?
The track sections are isolated from other sections and fed electricity independently. Under direct current operations the term used is a block.
In Digital Command Control the same idea is implemented differently, and the term for a block is power district.
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- Digitrax PM42: Adjustable from 1.5 to 12A
- OnGuard OG-CB: 4A Max (Not adjustable.)
- NCE EB-1: 2.5 to 8A.
- Tam Valley DFJ Circuit Breaker: Two or Four Amp trip point selectable
- CVP Zone Share: Up to Four Amps
- DCC Specialties PSX Power Shield X: Up to 17A.
- Voltscooter Automatic Fuse: 0.8 to 3.8A (via jumpers).
- NCE does not recommend usage of the EB-1 with a PowerCab or Digitrax Zephyr Starter Set. NCE recommends using the CP-6 Circuit Protector.
To be effective, the circuit breaker must trip at a current below that of the booster's capability. Otherwise it will not be effective.
Timing can be an issue with power management devices. Ensure the trip current settings of the booster are at their maximum so the downstream device can act first. It defeats the purpose of power management when the booster trips first and disconnects all the power districts connect to it.
PSX-AR will not reliably operate when installed after a PSX circuit breaker. The PSX-AR has an auto reverser, so it should be powered directly by a booster for reliable operation.