The DCC Workshop - For the Layout:

Tools, materials and techniques that will make layout wiring and the creation of your layout control systems faster, easier, less stressful and more reliable



If you would like to skip the information below on our approach to wiring the layout, and get right to the items you need to make life easier while wiring….

please click here


Text Box: Making layout wiring easy, reliable and right first time
Many approach the wiring or creation of the control interfaces for the layout with trepidation, but in reality, it is a simple process if taken one step at a time.
Like any potentially complex task, it is best approached by reducing it from a mountain of work to a series of simpler and smaller steps, making the whole thing far less of a chore and giving you both a series of checkpoints and the added satisfaction of having completed each step and being able to “tick it off the list”.
As you make progress, skill will grow, and confidence will come with each small success. We’ve given lots of wiring advice throughout the website, but here is a detailed look at how breaking it down can make it easier (and if you look at the links, you will also discover how YOU can reduce the hassles of working under the layout AND solder droppers to rails perfectly in 2 seconds EVERY SINGLE TIME
We think the best order for this process is:
Prepare the Turnouts ahead of time for LIVE frogs, properly switched!
We get more questions about this issue than anything else. 
The simple answer to the “Live frogs” (electro frog) or “Dead frogs” (Insulfrog) is, every single time, go for live frogs which are polarity switched at the frog.
We Guarantee the layout will run better and be more reliable if you do!
This preparation of the points/turnouts includes bonding point closure rails to stock rails, and adding droppers to the left rail, right rail and frog of every turnout/Point on the layout!  It looks like a big job but it is NOT, and will take only about 30 minutes each if you approach it carefully (if you don’t do it you will spend forever fixing faults in a year or two)
You will find more detail Here! 
Install plenty of Droppers before the track is laid! 
Droppers can actually be planned in advance and added to the rails BEFORE the track is laid. This is a nice place to start because it is often the one thing modellers fear - soldering Wire to rails! Add LOTS of them - It will be easy to do if you follow this simple set of instructions. (In fact we guarantee you will become a “dropper soldering expert” in no time at all if you follow our instructions)
You will find more detail Here! 
Now, before you add ANY bus wires, plan the Power Bus logically:
Whilst its not necessary running-wise to break the layout into sections, it does make good sense to be able to break it electrically for power districts if it is a big layout, and if it’s a smaller one, to plan so you can isolate individual areas for troubleshooting later - Imagine if you have a short and no way to localize it so you can fix it!
You will find more detail Here! 
Start bus wiring by giving each defined area its OWN smaller power bus….
And finish and test it before moving on to the next one! This will keep the “under board” work in short bursts, and also give you the positive motivation of connecting your controller to THAT section and running a loco or two over it!
DO consider using our bus terminals for connecting bus and droppers—it really does make the job much easier
We have defined wire sizes for layouts Here!
We show how to link droppers to the bus Here!
Plan how you will link these “sub-busses
Now, before linking each of these sections, plan how and where they will come together. We recommend that they each lead to a heavy solid “Bus” which is close to the layout front and where you will mount your boosters, circuit breakers and isolating switches. 
Whats a Bus bar? Well in real world terms, its usually a solid brass or copper bar which many heavy wires are attached to. However such things aren’t easy to find for the average modeller, but don’t worry, a solution is under your very nose!
Use a length of track secured under the baseboard - A 12” / 300mm off-cut will be plenty big enough to use for connecting your booster to many “power districts” or “isolated areas”.  
Here is a quick diagramme to show you what we mean. 


There are many categories of DCC Workshop aids for the layout:

To make it easier to search, we have provided direct access to some items directly below: Just “Click on the heading” to be taken there.

Connectors & Terminals       Error protection       Wire

Special Hand Tools       Lighting      Solder & Flux     

Soldering  Irons     Test Equipment     Troubleshooting    



There are many connectors available, and you may have your own favourites… Often you will be able to find connectors locally however some are harder to get than others. Here are a couple of items we choose to stock and we think that you will find them as helpful for wiring the DCC layout as we do!

Tag Strips to make Bus & live frog wiring dead easy!

Text Box: Packed in 20’s, these will really make the job of joining rail droppers to power bus dead easy, no matter which wire sizes you use. Even better, the power bus can remain in one continuous length if you use the techniques we recommend.
The Third terminal is there for the turnout frog wire, so your wiring will stay tidy and logical!

The full story on how best to use these tag strips can be found HERE


Buying the 20 pack of Tag Strips

Text Box: DCC-Tags
 Text Box: Pack of 20 x 3 terminal wiring tag strips
 Text Box: $12.00 pk


Top quality High Current 12 way Terminal Strips for cross-baseboard joint wiring that’s totally reliable & easily maintained with a screwdriver

Text Box: Sold in matching pairs, these tough (450 volt rated) high current connectors are super strong and very easy to use. 
Wire connection is via screw terminals and the connectors mate very securely with solid brass 2.5mm diameter pins.
They can easily be cut into smaller connector sets with a sharp blade or fine saw.
Their grip is very, very positive - We recommend that you separate a couple of times before wiring to relax it a little!


Buying Terminal Strip pairs

Text Box: DCC-Strip
 Text Box:  1 pr of 12 way high current connectors
 Text Box: $6.00 ea


The best Soldering Irons & the perfect Solder, Flux & tools for connecting wire to rails, soldering droppers to the power bus and all electronics work

The right Iron, solder flux & tools will make an absolutely huge difference to every task involved in the building and wiring of your layout - Whether it is soldering rail to rail, wire to rail, dropper wire to bus wires or connecting layout electronics, it will all become an easier and more enjoyable task with these products - we absolutely guarantee it!

Just in case you missed it, we have a massive section on how to solder, covering the how to of soldering almost anything to anything!

Click HERE to read more about how to solder.



Hakko Mach-1 model 921 lightweight 55w Soldering Iron

Text Box: This is a highly efficient lightweight 55watt soldering Iron that is a delight to hold. It has very quick initial heating (You can start soldering in as little as ten seconds!) and it has a very fast recovery, long-life ceramic heater and the tip structure totally surrounds the element for excellent heat transfer.
The 921 has both the delicacy for fine work and the sheer power for tougher jobs, all in an Iron 200mm long and only just over 50 grams in weight! It is supplied with both a standard fine electronics tip AND a chisel tip for modelling work. An exceptionally nice Iron to use anywhere!
The tip temperature is ideal for modellers at 370 degrees

Text Box: NOTE: We stock and guarantee availability of spare elements & spare tips for this Iron.

Buying the Hakko Mach 1 model 921 mains powered iron

Text Box: HAK-921
Text Box: Hakko Mach 1/921 40w Iron with two tips
Text Box: $79.95 ea

Please note:

This page only includes irons we use around the layout. We reserve our temperature controlled Irons for the workbench so…..




DCCconcepts Sapphire 179 Solder:

Text Box: quality solder makes a huge difference! Sapphire 179 is 0.6mm diameter solder which flows absolutely brilliantly. Sapphire 179 has a very narrow melt range which makes dry joints a thing of the past. It has a multiple flux core to assist wetting and flow. 
Its is a little more expensive than hardware store solder but we make no apology for that, as this specially formulated solder is simply the very best available anywhere!
This is the VERY BEST solder to use for any Layout work!

Buying Sapphire 179 Solder

Text Box: DCS-S179
 Text Box: 3 metre pack of Sapphire 179 solder
 Text Box: $7.95 ea

DCCconcepts very own formula Sapphire Fluxes:

Text Box: We are by nature curious, and as we are all aging faster than we’d like we developed this flux to overcome what we saw as many of the possible health problems from frequent use of  traditional acid based fluxes: DCCconcepts Sapphire Flux is heat activated and it is also totally environmentally safe, it gives off no harmful fumes and it works wonderfully well on your layout wiring, Brass, nickel silver, copper, steel, spring steel etc., etc….  There is no acid in this flux so it is not corrosive but it may stain if excess is left on some metals. 
We therefore recommend a quick and easy clean-up after soldering: 
Use either Methylated spirits or a 50:50 mix of alcohol and water applied with a cheap brush. This is quick to do and it also evaporates away quickly leaving a perfectly clean reliable joint.

Text Box: DCCconcepts Liquid Sapphire flux (supplied in a 50ml jar)
We apply this flux with a cotton bud or a small low cost paintbrush. It is also excellent for cleaning up tarnished soldering iron tips - heat the Iron, dip in, wipe off and re-tin for efficient soldering!
This flux will help you make easy, fast, perfect joins between rail and power track power droppers every time!
In fact it is usable for almost anything you will need to solder – even some grades of stainless steel when used with our Sapphire 179 Solder!

Text Box: DCCconcepts Paste type Sapphire flux (supplied in a 50ml pot)
Paste flux is useful for soldering rail to rail or when you only want a tiny bit of solder precisely placed for an exacting job. We apply it with a syringe (the kind sold for printer cartridge refills) or a toothpick. You will only ever need a little for each soldered joint!
As with our liquid flux, clean joints after soldering with an alcohol or water alcohol mix. Please cover when not in use of it may dry out a little. If you forget and it dries, don’t worry - just add very little 50/50 alcohol/water mix and quick stirring will reconstitute it..

Text Box: DCCconcepts Sapphire “No-Clean” Flux liquid:  
DCCconcepts Sapphire No-Clean flux is an ideal companion that will make it possible for you to make perfect joints easily every time in electronics, soldering wires to track, working on or re-working brass, whitemetal or nickel silver kits… in fact anywhere that later clean might be difficult to do! 
The ONLY time you may want to clean this flux off post-soldering is if you wish to paint the area you have soldered… in that case, a simple wipe over with cloth or cotton bud dipped in Isopropyl alcohol or even methylated spirits is all that is needed.

Buying Sapphire Fluxes

Text Box: DCS-SFLL
 Text Box: 50 ml bottle of Sapphire Flux Liquid
 Text Box: $12.95 ea

Text Box: DCS-SFLP
 Text Box: 50 ml pot of Sapphire Flux Paste
 Text Box: $12.95 ea

Text Box: DCF-SNC
 Text Box: 50 ml pot of Sapphire No-Clean Flux
 Text Box: $12.95 ea

Note: Sapphire flux is safe for airmail and airfreight delivery worldwide.


Please note:

This page only includes Solder & fluxes for wiring the layout. 

(for our full solder & flux range  please click HERE)


Special Hand Tools

Wiring can be a pain to say the least, however its ONLY a pain if you make it hard for yourself. Here are some tools that we absolutely guarantee will make the task of wiring the layout easier…. Or even enjoyable!

We are so certain of this because every modeller who has bought them has been delighted and you too will number them among your favourites as soon as you have discovered just how much time and effort they will save you!

Fibreglass Cleaning Brush

Text Box: Things MUST be totally clean for a good, quick solder joint—flux can help but NOTHING can replace perfect cleanliness when its important to get the joint done quickly and reliably. This fibreglass pen will perfectly clean rail, circuit boards and bass kit parts equally well.

Buying The DCCconcepts Fibreglass Cleaning brush

Text Box: DCT-FBS
Text Box: Standard Fibreglass Cleaning brush
Text Box: $19.95 ea

Text Box: DCT-FBSR
Text Box: Fibreglass Cleaning brush + 5x REFILLS
Text Box: $29.95 ea



DCCconcepts Precision Wire Stripper & Cutters

Text Box: Exclusive to us! 
We had these strippers made for us based on a pair I’d used for over 20 years. 
Our manufacturer went one better, adding a second stripping groove and a razor sharp cutting edge between them that my original didn’t have! 
These are the ultimate stripper for fine OR larger wire, and the locking adjustment lets you lock them in any position so you are guaranteed to strip the insulation, not the core. The adjustment is so fine you can take the strip size as high as 3mm - or as small as 0.1mm. This is  perfect tool for layout wiring, droppers and that fine decoder wire!

Buying DCCconcepts Precision Strippers & Cutters

Text Box: DCT-FWS
 Text Box: DCCconcepts Wire Strippers & Cutters
 Text Box: $25.95 ea


Heavy Powerful Bus Wire Strippers. The best time saver ever!

Text Box: These will save you literally HOURS when installing the main power bus and what’s more they’ll let you do it with no breaks and no cut fingers as always happens with a utility knife.
This is a VERY high quality tool. 
Machined alloy steel jaws strip all types of cable from AWG 10-24 gauge (0.13 -6.0mm).

Text Box: The excellent stripping action allows you to neatly pull back insulation for soldering at each dropper point without having to fiddle with blades or cut cable.  For a highly efficient approach, use “bus terminal strips” as per our instructions and  you can simply slot the cable into the terminal strips eye! The images below give an idea of stripping and use of the terminal strips….

Text Box: This is how well the cable will strip with ONE squeeze of the handles!


Buying DCCconcepts Strippers/Cutters

Text Box: DCT-BWS
Text Box: DCCconcepts Top Quality Bus Wire Stripper
Text Box: $29.95 ea



The Layout wiring Lifesaver

The exclusive DCCconcepts MT-1 Tester

We can skip over the interactive digital LED resistance tester and accurate voltage/current measurement built into this versatile and useful multi-tester here as it is the ability of the MT-1 to warn you of a potential short circuit or mis-wired track droppers well before you actually have time to reach for the soldering Iron that is important here!

Imagine just how much frustration this economical device will save you!

Note please:

This product is now in final development and is expected at the end of 2009.

We are now certain that the final “look” will change, as we have decided to use full microprocessor control for several added functions including DC and AC voltages and current and corrected DCC voltage and current, and selection will be via a full membrane keyboard, clearly labeled to make selection and use easy as it can be.

Connection will be via professional quality meter leads and probes

Are you interested in this product?

If so, please let us know, as the initial production run will be limited to 500.

To say “thank you” for your support, we’ll apply a discount of 10% to all backorders!

Text Box: Its all very well being organized and having a good idea of where the wires need to go, but when you are under the baseboard looking up everything is reversed, and even when try to work carefully, a little tiredness or a moment of lost concentration and a wire is in the wrong place!
Of course… You won’t know it until you have stood up, turned the layout on to test it… and by then, its too late. WHICH of the dozen or so wires you just connected is causing that short circuit?
The MT-1 is simply clipped to the rails using the alligator clip leads supplied, and the instant you make a wrong connection or just touch a dropper to the wrong bus wire, it will let you know in no uncertain terms to STOP
It will warn you with an impossible to miss very loud buzzer and a flashing Blue “Super Bright” LED you can’t help but notice…. So you will NEVER, EVER make a wrong connection ever again!

We will create a whole new web page for this exciting product as soon as final pre-production design illustrations and final costing is completed…

Buying The DCCconcepts MT-1 Multi-tester

Text Box: DCT-MT 1
Text Box: DCCconcepts MT-1 Multi-tester
Text Box: $TBC ea


Super Versatile Digital M-1324 Multi-meter

This meter is great value - As with all tools we sell, we only stock what WE will use and we have this meter at our workbench and in our “take anywhere” troubleshooting kit as well. It has all the features you will ever need and it is built to last!

Text Box: Specifications:
*DC voltage: 2V, 20V, 200V, 700V +/-1%
*AC voltage: 2V, 20V, 200V, 700V +/-1%
*DC current: 2mA, 20mA, 200mA, 10A +/-1.0%
*AC current: 20mA, 200mA, 10A +/-1.5%
*Resistance: 200, 2k, 20k, 200k, 2M, 20M Ohm +/-1%
*Capacitance: 2nF, 20nF, 2uF, 200uF +/-2.5%
*Frequency: 2k, 20k, 200, 2000, 20MHz +/-1.0%
*Inductance: 20mH, 200mH, 2H, 20H +/-2.5%
*Temperature: -20oC to +800oC +/-3%
*Input Impedance: 10MOhm (1MOhm on 2V Range)

Text Box: This great little Meter has a huge feature level including:
A Transistor Tester, Diode Tester, 10A AC & DC Current, Continuity Buzzer, Temperature, Capacitance, Inductance, Auto Power Off and it is supplied with a Carry Case, A temperature Probe and a holster. The meter is 194(H) x 91(W) x 44(D)mm
This feature packed DMM will also measure Inductance and Capacitance. This makes it ideal for those building larger layouts where bus length is increased, as it can show the effects of long cable runs on inductance reminding you about twisting the bus and adding bus filters as needed.. Features large 30-minute auto power off. Supplied with Carry case & K-type probe with curly cord.

Buying The DCCconcepts Recommended M1324 Digital Multi-meter

Text Box: DCT-M1324 
Text Box: Digital Multi-meter
Text Box: $49.95 ea




Layouts need light that reproduces real daylight!

We can do what we like to make the layout realistic but if we don’t use the correct lighting, then we really won’t ever get the right result.

These 240 volt incandescent colour correction bulbs are specifically designed for industries that need accurate lighting and so as specialised products they are NOT affected in any way by the 2010 ban (AU) on incandescent bulbs.

They have a standard bayonet cap base for easy and very economical installation in the layout room or under the layout valance. (of course, if you are not 100% confident or if your area of residence requires it, please ask a professional to install any 240 volt lighting!).

We’ve included them on this page as we feel that lighting is one of the key aspects of the layouts design and construction, and it should be done and in place WELL BEFORE scenery is started! Available in both 60 and 100 watt.

By the way - they are also truly excellent for use when painting models… and as illumination for photography of the layout or models of course.

The bulb in this image has a screw base, however those we supply are always standard bayonet cap types (as per standard AU and UK light fittings)
They are available in both 60 and 100 watt versions (We always use 100 watt on our own layout)

Text Box: NO - They are NOT Blue in use as you can see! The blue-ish tint offsets the yellow of the incandescent filament to give a totally neutral light! We use these on our own layout, in fact the early layout photo here is to show just a few of the 54 of them we have to provide a pleasant “neutral daylight” for our layout. We prefer the 100 watt versions, but if your lights are lower, 60w may do!
Every “Serious modeller” we show these to is impressed and all those who take one to try come back for more, as they are so much better than either fluorescent or halogen lighting in tint and effect. They are so useful in fact, we also use them in our model making room and in our spray-booth, so when we mix paint and spray models, we can really see what we are doing for the very first time! They are VERY economical...highly recommended to ALL who value realism in modelling!

Buying DCCconcepts Incandescent Colour Correction bulbs

Text Box: DCB-CC60
Text Box: 240v 60 watt Colour Correcting bulbs
Text Box: $4.49 ea

Text Box: DCB-CC100
Text Box: 240v 100 watt Colour Correcting bulbs
Text Box: $4.49 ea


Lightweight but bright headband lamp

Let there be light, whenever you need it...even under the Baseboard!
Text Box: Whether its when working under the layout or just when we need to read the colour code on a tiny resistor, good light is an absolute MUST, especially as modeller grow older!. This is a simple head torch that has two light level settings: 5 LEDs, 17 LEDs.
It has an adjustable head strap, is extremely efficient on batteries and will never require replacement globes… and won’t break if dropped or knocked against anything, unlike conventional bubs type lamps!
A  well priced and totally invaluable tool for anyone who has to work under and around the baseboard to install colour coded wiring.
- Requires 3 x AAA batteries (not included)

Buying The DCCconcepts 17 LED headband lamp

Text Box: DCT-ST3287
Text Box: 17 LED Super-bright headband Lamp
Text Box: $14.95 ea


Desk top magnifier

Even a skilled modeller can do with a little help sometimes, and while big enough to do the job, this very nice multi-angle adjustable lamp also has a small enough footprint to NOT get in the way when its not needed….
Text Box: Desk Top Magnifier Lamp 
The perfect tool for electronics, making sub assemblies for layout wiring and of course modelling in general. 
It features a 100mm glass lens that will provide you with a “perfect for modelling” 3x magnification. 
It has a heavy and stable solid base with a bright 12W energy-saving fluorescent lamp with electronic ballast. The lamp also  features a swivel joint enabling you  to position the lens to suit your needs.
• Base 160mm(dia.)
• Stands 225mm high
• Input: 240VAC

Buying The DCCconcepts 3x Desktop magnifier

Text Box: DCT-QM3529
Text Box: DCCconcepts 3x Desktop magnifier
Text Box: $49.95 ea




Without the right wire, nothing works well!

We can’t hope to stock every wire for every purpose, but we do try to hold in stock the ideal power bus wire for small, medium and largish layouts, plus convenient cable types for droppers, command bus wiring, multi-wire accessories & layout lighting.

All wire is available by the reel or by the metre. (see below)
Text Box: Dropper wire: This is a good all round wire for droppers that are kept to 400mm or less in length, plus general low current wiring around the layout
Size: 1 x 14/0.20 , Diameter: 1.8mm, Area: 0.44mm2

Text Box: Light twin:  With the same copper area as above, this TWIN cable is great for droppers and general low current wiring around the layout. 
Size: 2 x 14/0.20 , Diameter: 1.8mm ea, Area: 0.44mm2

                 Text Box: Small to Medium layout Power Bus Wire (Twin):
Size: 2 x 32/0.20. We also use this wire for “sub busses” where layouts are  modular. Overall Cable size 6 x 5.1mm 
Conductor Area: 1mm2

Text Box: Small to Medium layout Power Bus Wire (Single): 
Size: 1 x 32/0.20. We also use this wire for “sub busses” where layouts are  modular. Overall Cable size 6 x 5.1mm 
Conductor Area: 1mm2

                             Text Box: Medium to Large layout Power Bus Wire (Twin): 
Size: 2 x 79/0.20. You really do need wire at least this large if your power bus exceeds 15 metres in any one stretch from the DCC system. Sold in convenient 30m rolls

Text Box: 6-wire flexible cable: We use this for detector and related control wiring, or any wiring job that needs light multiple wires that need to be kept tidy! Nice for keeping long runs neat and keeping the control panel tidy!
A very nice wire to use—and economical too!

 Text Box: 6 Wire Flat Telco type Control bus cable:
We stock high quality cable, the correct 6P-6C connectors AND a high quality crimper at a reasonable price so you can make your own control bus cables!

Text Box: An economical high quality crimper:
This crimper will help you make your own command bus cables to suit you layout. If you have more than one or two to make, you will save the cost of the tool just by making them yourself!


  Buying Wire from DCCconcepts

  Part number     Description                                        Per Metre        100mReelText Box: DCW-DSred
Text Box: Dropper wire, Single, Red
Text Box: $0.35 mtr
Text Box: $ 29.95
Text Box: DCW-DSblk
Text Box: Dropper wire, Single, Black
Text Box: $0.35 mtr
Text Box: $ 29.95
Text Box: DCW-DSgrn
Text Box: Dropper wire, Single, Green
Text Box: $0.35 mtr
Text Box: $ 29.95
Text Box: DCW-DSblu
Text Box: Dropper wire, Single, Blue
Text Box: $0.35 mtr
Text Box: $ 29.95
Text Box: DCW-DSwht
Text Box: Dropper wire, Single, White
Text Box: $0.35 mtr
Text Box: $ 29.95


Text Box: DCW-DTred
Text Box: Dropper wire, Twin, white/Red
Text Box: $0.55 mtr
Text Box: $ 79.95

Text Box: DCW-DTblk
Text Box: Dropper wire, Twin, white/Blk
Text Box: $0.55 mtr
Text Box: $ 79.95

Text Box: DCW-DTgrn
Text Box: Dropper wire, Twin, white/Grn
Text Box: $0.55 mtr
Text Box: $ 79.95


Text Box: DCW-MBT
Text Box: Medium Power Bus Twin 32/.2
Text Box: $1.10 mtr
Text Box: $ 79.95

Text Box: DCW-MBSred
Text Box: Med Power Bus 1x 32/.2 Red
Text Box: $0.60 mtr
Text Box: $ 49.95

Text Box: DCW-MBSblk
Text Box: Med Power Bus 1x 32/.2 Black
Text Box: $0.60 mtr
Text Box: $ 49.95


Text Box: DCW-HBS
Text Box: Heavy Power Bus Twin 79/.2
Text Box: $2.25 mtr
Text Box: $ 59.95


Text Box: DCW-6WC
Text Box: 6-wire sheathed flexible cable
Text Box: $1.25 mtr
Text Box: $ 99.95


Text Box: DCW-Cbus
Text Box: Command bus 6 wire flat cable
Text Box: $0.75 mtr
Text Box: $ 69.95

Text Box: DCW-6P6C
Text Box: Command bus 6 wire flat cable
Text Box: $0.55 ea

Text Box: Crimper - command bus 6P6C
Text Box: $ 19.95 ea




Quick Links to other places…..


  No-Nonsense advice and the best in tools and equipment from modelling experts

Showrooms & Office:

 3/13 Lionel St. Naval Base


Phone   +61 8 9437 2470

Fax        +61 8 9437 2471

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