Terms List

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DCC Terminology
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 Term Definition
Address RangeThe range of addresses available on a DCC system.
AmmeterDevice to measure current flow
AnalogControl based on magnitude of voltage applied to the track.
Analog ConversionAllows a locomotive with DCC decoder to run on non-DCC powered tracks.
Auto ReverseAutomatically corrects mismatches in phase between track sections such as cross overs and reverse loops.
Back EMFBack Electro-motive Force is voltage generated in a motor while in operation. Decoders can monitor this voltage for control purposes.
Boosters Send Data and Power to TrainsThe Booster is an electronic device that takes instructions from the Command Station, and creates the digital signal supplied to the track.
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 and brains of the Digital Command Control system, as it listens for commands from throttles and other devices, processes them, and sends the resulting digital data to the booster.
Computer InterfaceA device to connect a computer to a DCC 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 decoder can supply to a particular output for an extended period of time without causing damage to the decoder.
Coreless MotorA type of Direct Current Motor
DCCDigital Command Control
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.
Decoder Connection MethodDecoder connection method
Decoder Programming
Decoder-Assisted ConsistingPlaces the burden of MU consisting on the decoder instead of the command station.
Digital packetThe data packet containing the information needed to control a decoder
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.
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 will shrink when exposed to heat.
High-Frequency DecodersDecoders with this feature allow slow speed operation without a distracting buzz from the motor.
How DCC worksCommands are sent digitally to decoders
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.
LightingLighting Effects Available
Loco MomentumDecoder feature which attempts to replicate the mass of a real train, that is, real trains just don't stop and start suddenly.
LocomotiveMotive power to a train - the train's engine.
Locomotive InterfaceMethod of connecting a mobile decoder to a locomotive
MU consistingRunning more than one locomotive (double heading) on a train.
Magic SmokeBelief that electronic devices contain 'magic smoke' that escapes when the device is overloaded (ie burned out).
MotorA mechanical device which converts energy into a force that can do work.
Multifunction DecoderA decoder typically installed in locomotives, which offers control of the motor and lighting functions.
NMRA ConnectorA plug and socket system used to connect decoders to the motor and light circuits
NMRA DCC PlugInterface between the decoder and the locomotive's wiring
OEMShort for Original Equipment Manufacturer.
OpenLCBThe People, Idea, and Technology powering the NMRA's Layout Command Control(TM) (LCC).
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 LockA method of locking the decoders to prevent programming.
Programming ModesModes available for programming a decoder.
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 (watts).
QuarteringAlignment process for steam locomotive drivers
RJ12 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.
SUSISUSI is an interface between DCC Decoders and additional devices.
Series ResistorA resistor installed in series with a load.
Silent DriveSee High-Frequency Decoders.
Silent HFSee High-Frequency Decoders
SlotsA Digitrax term to refer to an address for locomotive under control by a Digitrax system.
Speed CurveSee Speed Table
Speed TableA list of settings of how fast or slow the decoder should run at a given throttle speed.
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.
Stationary DecoderA decoder normally mounted under the benchwork or alongside the track in a "stationary" position.
ThrottleA throttle (or Cab) is a way to control the locomotives and other aspects of the layout (turnouts, animation, lighted passenger cars, etc).
TranspondingTransponding is a system where a decoder can report back to the system, or command station.
TurnoutArrangement of rails to allow a train to be switched between the main route and a diverging route
Turnout MotorsA motor (or switch machine) that is usually connected to a stationary decoder to control a turnout.
USPUninterruptible Signal Processing
Voltage DropLower voltage at the electrical load than power source, due to resistance in the wire.
Worm gear
XORLogical function used for error checking
XPressNetLenz's network system
Zero StretchingMethod of running a DC powered locomotive on DCC powered rails.