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Posted By Michael Tollett on 04/15/2008 8:46 PM
...Could the Ultima be used as a power booster with the Digitrax system?
What would be good decoders to use in the Bachmann engines?
Is the setup, i.e. decoder installs difficult in the Bachmann equipment?
Anything else I'm not thinking about currently that anyone can add?

Well, let's first try to UN-CONFUSE things.
There are boosters for DCC, they are not normally called "POWER BOOSTERS"
The Ultima is definitely not a "BOOSTER"


For DCC the "POWER SUPPLY" provides power to the DCC "COMMAND STATION" and any throttles connected to it.

The "COMMAND STATION" supplies a DCC digital track signal to the rails. It controls AND powers the trains.

A BOOSTER takes a low current DCC signal and boosts the amperage it can deliver to the rails.
(A booster needs a power supply just like a command station. You can use a Ultima to power a command station, booster and perhaps other devices on the railroad that need a 22 volt DC supply.)

Your command station that came with the empire-builder set will deliver up to 5 amps to the rails. So the total number of trains you can run at one time will be determined by the grades, length of trains, speed, and number of additional lights (and smoke units) you run AT THE SAME TIME"

Just as a rough estimate, Your 5 amp system can run 2 or 3 typical Bachmann trains at the same time. (Or 3 to 5 LGB trains)

To run more trains at the same time, you will need a DCC booster. When buying Digitrax command stations and boosters (normally 5 amps) ALWAYS upgrade them at the time of purchase to the 8 amp versions. It usually only cost about 20 dollars extra to get the 8 amp versions.

You should already have a power supply for you HO layout, It should be able to put out 5 amps at 16 volts. It will need to be able to put out 5 amps at 22 volts if you want to use it for "G" scale. If it does, simply change the "N","HO","G" switch to the "G" position on your command station. If you existing supply can't provide 5 amps at 22 volts, then use the Ultima. It will supply up to 10 amps.

One thought here. Use the Ultma to power a new 8 amp booster (DB200) feed the output of the 8 amp booster to the garden railroad. Leave all the rest of the system connected to the HO layout. Connect a Loconet cable between the command station and the booster. Now, as long as you make sure you do not have both an HO loco and a "G" loco set to the same address, you will be able to run both layouts with a single walk-around throttle.

Have Fun.

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