Decoders can be used on a model railroad layout to operate a wide variety of components, from switches and lights to signals and controls. But the most important piece of equipment you can control with a decoder is the locomotive. In order to properly operate a locomotive with an onboard decoder, you have to first program it to run correctly on your trackage. Doing so requires a bit of tinkering, some decision making and, of course, a programming track.
In this lesson, modeler and DCC expert Steve Barkley shows you how to make a simple programming track that is electrically isolated, so you can program a single locomotive without reprogramming all others on your layout. You’ll learn how to utilize a programming track to program your locomotive’s decoder and change aspects of the engine’s functionality, such as its address and lighting system. With a programming track, you can easily program the decoders on your locomotives and take total control over your direct command center!