Terms List

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DCC Terminology
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 Term Definition
Accessory DecoderA decoder normally mounted under the benchwork or alongside the track for control of accessories, such as turnout motors .
Address PartitioningThe range of addresses available on a Digital Command Control system.
AmmeterDevice to measure current flow
Analog Control of Model RailroadsControl based on magnitude of voltage applied to the track.
Analog ConversionAllows a locomotive with DCC multifunction decoder to run on non-DCC powered tracks.
Automatic Phase InversionAn Auto Reverser automatically corrects phase mismatches between track sections such as cross overs and reverse loops.
Back EMFBack Electro-motive Force is a voltage appearing across a coil due the rotation of the coil in a magnetic field. The BEMF is proportional to the speed of rotation. Decoders can monitor this voltage for control purposes.
BusA specific group of electrical wires that carries a particular group of voltages or signals.
CV ReadbackReading back a CV from a decoder.
CabA DCC term for the controller used to operate a train. It has the throttle, plus other controls needed.
Can MotorA Direct Current motor in the shape of a can.
Command ControlA method of controlling multiple trains independent of track voltage
Command stationThe heart of any Digital Command Control system. Listens for commands from throttles and other devices, processes them, and sends the resulting digital data to the booster.
Computer InterfaceA device to facilitate communications between a computer and a Digital Command Control system.
Consist AddressThe unique address by which a consist can be accessed. See MU consist.
ConsistsTwo or more Diesel locomotives acting as one unit.
Continuous LoadThe maximum current that a multifunction decoder can supply to a particular output for an extended period of time without causing damage to the decoder.
Coreless Motors and DCCA type of Direct Current Motor
DCCDigital Command Control
DCC BoosterThe Booster is an electronic device that takes instructions from the Command Station, and creates the digital signal supplied to the track.
DCC ReadyEasy conversion to DCC
DCC in a BoxA self contained Digital Command Control system, often used in modular setups.
DMMDigital Multimeter, a multipurpose electrical measuring device.
DecoderDecoders receive commands from throttles or other devices and are responsible for controlling the vehicles and/or performing certain functions around a layout.
Decoder Connection MethodDecoder connection method
Decoder Programming
Digital PacketThe data packet containing the information needed to control a decoder
Digitrax TranspondingTransponding is a system where a decoder can report back to the system, or command station.
Distributed PowerAnother form of Consisting
Ditch LightsLow mounted headlights which illuminate the ditches on the sides of the ROW.
DitherHelps model locomotives run better at very slow speeds.
Driver QuarteringAlignment process for steam locomotive drivers
Energy StorageDecoder accessory to store backup energy
FREDFlashing Rear End Device
FX LightingAdditional functions available from some decoders, such as lighting effects. This is also a Digitrax trademark for additional features
Frog JuicerAn electronic device which provides correctly phased DCC power to the frog
FunctionsAdditional features availble on a decoder, such as lighting circuits and effects. They are controlled from the throttle using the function buttons.
Heat Shrink TubingA polymer tube which shrinks when exposed to heat. Used to insulate and protect connections.
High-Frequency DecodersDecoders with this feature allow better slow speed operation without a distracting buzz from the motor.
How Digital Command Control WorksCommands are sent digitally to decoders
Installing Your First MultiFunction Decoder
Jump PortMethod of using analog throttle to control DCC command station
Kick StartDecoder function to help overcome motor and drivetrain stiction when a locomotive starts to move from standstill.
LCCNew layout control bus from NMRA/OpenLCB.
Layout Command ControlAn NMRA Standard for a Layout Control Bus. Doing for accessories what Digital Command Control does for the track.
Lenz USPUninterruptible Signal Processing
Lighting EffectsLighting Effects Available
LocomotiveMotive power to a train - the train's engine.
Locomotive InterfaceMethod of connecting a mobile decoder to a locomotive
Magic SmokeBelief that electronic devices contain 'magic smoke' that escapes when the device is overloaded (ie burned out).
MomentumDecoder feature which attempts to replicate the mass of a real train, that is, real trains just don't stop and start suddenly.
MotorA mechanical device which converts energy into a force that can do work.
Multifunction DecoderA decoder typically installed in vehicles such as locomotives, which controls motor and lighting functions.
Multifunction Decoder Assisted ConsistingPlaces the burden of MU consisting on the decoder instead of the command station.
Multifunction Decoder Programming LockA method of locking multifunction decoders to prevent/facilitate programming.
Multiple Unit ConsistingRunning more than one locomotive (double heading) on a train.
NMRA ConnectorA plug and socket system used to connect decoders to the motor and light circuits
NMRA DCC Plug for Multifunction DecodersInterface between the decoder and the locomotive's wiring
OpenLCBThe People, Idea, and Technology powering the NMRA's Layout Command Control(TM) (LCC).
Original Equipment ManufacturerShort for Original Equipment Manufacturer.
PhasePhase is the relationship of the voltage levels on the rails.
Power BusThe bus that connects the outputs of a booster to the track or accessory decoders.
Power ConversionAbility of a DCC decoder to operate on a non-DCC layout
Power SupplySupplies power to the booster and is used to power model railroad trains and layout accessories.
Programming TrackA track set aside for programming locomotives using Service Mode. It may or may not be part of the layout.
Pulse Width ModulationPulse width is modulated in a square wave for better control of energy.
RJ12/RJ25 ConnectorThe connector was originally used for telephone equipment. The RJ means Registered Jack.
Rail SizeVarious sizes of rail are available to represent main lines, branches, and sidings, as usage/tonnage would require.
Rule 17Rule 17 is a prototype railroad rule specifying conditions for dimming lights on locomotives.
Serial User System Interface - SUSISUSI is an interface between DCC Multifunction Decoders and additional devices.
Series ResistorA resistor installed in series with a load.
Silent DriveA method of driving the motor in a vehicle
Silent HFMethod used to drive the motor in a vehicle.
SlotsA Digitrax term to refer to an address management for locomotives under control by a Digitrax DCC system.
SnoodA small plastic cap used to retain a wire. Often found in new locomotives, as it eliminates the need to solder the wires to the decoder/light board
Speed StepsSpeed steps can be thought of as how many steps or notches there are between idle (stopped) and full throttle. Can be 14, 28, or 128 steps.
Stall CurrentThe current that an electrical motor draws when its shaft if prevented from moving.
Standard DimensionsDimensions that determine clearances between tracks, structures, platforms, etc.
ThrottleA Throttle (or Cab) is a way to control the locomotives and other aspects of the layout (turnouts, animation, lighted passenger cars, etc).
Turnout MotorsA motor (or switch machine) that is usually connected to an accessory decoder to control a turnout.
TurnoutsArrangement of rails to allow a train to be switched between the main route and a diverging route
Voltage DropLower voltages at the electrical load than power source, due to resistance in the wire.
Worm gear
XORLogical function used for error checking.
XPressNetLenz's Throttle Network
Zero StretchingMethod of running a DC powered locomotive on DCC powered rails.