DCC in the garden
Using DCC outdoors versus indoors is almost the same. The only exceptions are for larger boosters and larger power supplies due to the larger nature of the scale. Also, you'll need to protect your electronics from the outside elements.
Advantage of DCC in the garden
Putting DCC in the garden does make things easier. For instance, no more digging up your masterpiece to run a new wire for a block, rail turnout, or even building lighting. You can have signaling without an unsightly amount of wire. And let us not forget about the world of sounds that only DCC can control. In its simplest form you need only run the track bus and feeders - this is no more complicated than a simple traditional setup, yet sound and complex locomotive lighting can be controlled.
Distance between feeders
Here are some recommended quidelines for track feeders in the garden:
- 12' (4m) (or less) is a good rule. 14AWG feeders with railclaims for optimal performance. This helps with ensuring your trains don't slow down between feeders and helps ensure your DCC short circuit protection works incase of a short by not letting the magic smoke out. You do want this to be a trouble-free railroad, right?
- 18' (6m) should be your limit. At 18' (6m) distances, you will want to use at least 14 AWG feeders and stainless steel clamps. At the longer distance, the voltage drop across the rail might be noticeable to some. Also, the short circuit protections of your booster may fail.
- At longer distances you have to worry about the voltage drop, short circuit protection, and the quality of the joints. With a garden railroad, who wants to be digging up feeder buses to add more feeders? Or fix joints that have broken or corroded?