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Old 08-06-2018, 07:04 PM   #1
Paul Palmer
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my layout is DCC,i have just bought a dc virgin hst dummy power car,with directional lighting,my question is although it has no motor can I damage the lights by having it resting on my dcc layout?,sorry if this question is/sounds stupid to you guys,i will eventually add a DCC chip to it
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Old 08-06-2018, 08:12 PM   #2
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I'm not sure as with my DCC system it automatically classes the non DCC locos as address 0 and I can't say I've noticed with the HST dummy car as apart from fitting decoders into the powercars I've not actually run them with the dummies since. (My 00 gauge collection is not being used at the moment and the last time most of them were out the boxes were to convert them to DCC about 15 years ago).
Maybe someone else knows more. In theory the bulbs are 12 volt and the DCC current is around 18 volt. The DCC signal itself should be no different then running a bulb off AC current. It is more that the higher voltage would be the main issue here. You could just disconnect the bulb in the dummy power car if you are concerned.
My common practice which I've done with my DMU's is to have a DCC decoder in the power and dummy cars (If they have lights fitted like the Bachmann class 108) and program them both to the same address. If the dummy decoder shows the lights in the wrong direction, I'd separately program this to change it without the loco part being on the rails. The two decoders programmed to the same address work well together. I use standard loco decoders to do this.

Last edited by Mountain Goat; 08-06-2018 at 08:15 PM.
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Old 08-06-2018, 08:40 PM   #3
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I'm not sure if you are considering having the lights operational via the DCC controller or simply 'on'. Also when you say 'directional' whether the lights incorpoarate electronic controls which operate from DC. If they do then I wouldn't chance it without expert input.

Assuming there are simply lights fitted with no form of control or switching, most DCC systems run at around 14V AC so should turn on the lights OK, which were designed for up to 12V DC. I have put my own Pullman coaches onto the DCC track and the lighting works fine. If you want to control them then obviously you will need a decoder and a hard wiring job.

Certain decoders such as some of the Zimo ones incorporate a lighting switching function, usually on F1, so you can use your loco decoder to control the lights if you connect the lights on the dummy to the decoder. When I say control I only mean switch on and off!

Last edited by Bunkerbarge; 08-06-2018 at 08:43 PM.
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Old 08-06-2018, 08:58 PM   #4
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I run driving trailers in push/pull formation on my HO layout and they seem fine, remaining in there red or white form when stopped , changing direction of the train changes the light colour. No problems so far leaving them on, and they are parked up in the fiddle yard, lights on, when not in service.
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Old 08-06-2018, 09:00 PM   #5
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Thanks for the replys,a big help
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Old 08-06-2018, 10:10 PM   #6
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It should be ok, but both lights will be on, as they used to work via a simple Diode to provide the switching from forward to reverse when you reversed the track supply, as DCC is constantly switching and faster than the eye can see both lights will appear on (assuming original set up)
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Old 10-06-2018, 02:26 PM   #7
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It depends which one it is.

If it is the new Virgin Trains East Coast (VTEC) then it will have an 8 pin socket inside you can plug a decoder into to have the lights or to be on the safe side if you haven't a decoder just pull the blanking plug out.

The older West coast / Cross country sets from 1997 to ~2003 I think only had forward lighting, but given they've been around a while someone could have changed that in between. I think they were a little grain of wheat bulb with a diode so it should be fine, but you could take a bogie out and pull the connection off if you wanted.
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