Digitrax Zephyr Starter Set
Summary: Available from 2002 to 2011, the DCS50 Zephyr was Digitrax's all-in-one entry level Digital Command Control system. The DCS51 Zephyr Xtra replaced the DCS50 in 2011.
- This product has been discontinued.
Digitrax Zephyr (DCS50) Starter Set
- Product description: http://www.digitrax.com/prd_zep_basic_set.php
- Manual: http://www.digitrax.com/ftp/zephyrmanual.pdf
DCS50 Zephyr Specifications
- 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 comes with a 56 page Zephyr Manual and the Digitrax Decoder Manual, however no decoders are supplied with this starter set. The Command Station/booster also acts as a stationary throttle. It has a large speed control knob, reversing/brake 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 transformer with a cord that plugs into the back of the Command Station. Also on the back panel there are two LocoNet ports, connections for the track and programming track, analog power packs (discussed below) and DCC Ground. The connections are made by pushing a stripped wire into a connector then tightening a screw.
A second Zephyr can be easily programmed as a booster-only unit to expand the available power. When the Zephyr is used as a booster it can also be set for [[autoreversing|auto reversing for use in reversing loops.
You can connect any Digitrax or LocoNet compatible device to the LocoNet ports - 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 cables.
The DCS 50 console is small: 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 tight side.
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 desired speed then do all the controlling with the direction switch.
There is a Power push button on the keypad that controls the power to the track. When track power is on it an LED marked "track status" is lit. You can also use this an emergency power-off switch for power going to the track only. To completely turn off the power to the DCS50 requires unplugging the power supply.
The Digitrax Zephyr is an ideal starter system for a small layout or for 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 two analog power connections (Jump Ports) on the rear of the Zephyr are an interesting feature that allows use of 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.
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
- Main article: Digitrax Zephyr Xtra
- DCS51 has 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
- The DCS52 Express replaced the DCS51 Xtra in 2019.
- Digitrax - Main Digitrax article
- Digitrax Zephyr Xtra
- Digitrax Zephyr Express
- Programming QSI (and other sound decoders) using a Digitrax Zephyr
- Resetting a Multifunction Decoder using the Digitrax Zephyr
- Zephyr Cab - Build a simple cab for the Zephyr.