G Scale Model Train Forum banner

MRC black box

2742 Views 7 Replies 4 Participants Last post by  Greg Elmassian
I picked up one of these, a LGB 20380 -

I run a mix of track and battery power so I'm a bit of a DCC idiot. The streetcar comes equipped with a MTS chip that will supposedly make the lights do "special" things. I thought it would be fun to use the MTS features if it could be done so without spending lots of dough.
I came across this, the MRC black box - http://www.ares-server.com/Ares/Ares.asp?MerchantID=RET01229&Action=Catalog&Type=Product&ID=83670. It says its rated 1.5 amps which should be plenty for just the trolley and I could hook it up easily when I'm running the trolley.
Do any of you guys have experience with it?

See less See more
1 - 8 of 8 Posts
Go here & see if it does all the things you want..
Looks to me like a mini DCC command station.. Will probably not work with a reverser circuit.. But you can always try, if you break it you can always send it in to be fixed..

PS I would e-mail MRC about the voltage it will work with, the add talks about HO Loco's..

Here is more from MRC's site..

The BlackBox is not DCC so does not address any locomotive.

It can be used in analog DC with any NMRA compatible dual mode decoder, eg: BLI/QSI, Atlas, Life-Like, Athearn, MTH, Precision Craft, etc.

Instead of having to buy a control box from every company to operate only their locomotive, this can operate them all. so all you need is just one box.

It operates all the sound functions that the particular loco has inside of it, but can not operate functions that are not there; for instance, it will access up to F28 on the MTH K-4, but a normal BLI/QSI loco may only have up to F12, so there is no F28 to access in that loco.

It is a very simple 4-wire hook-up - two wires to your DC powerpack's variable output, and two wires to the track.

If you use non-decoder equipped locos the BlackBox must be removed from the powerpack to run them.

The BlackBox can be used in a layout with block control, [cab A/cab B], as one of the cabs so you can run sound loco's on one cab, and normal DCC locos on the other.

See less See more
Sure would like to hear from someone that has used one of these. It sounds like it has a way to send the function commands to a DC compatible DCC decoder in DC mode. Almost unbelievable that this mode of operation would be universal among DCC decoders.

It also sounds like it bypasses the normal addressing of locos. Again, sounds unbelievable that decoders are designed that way.

Lastly, one caution: older LGB stuff normally does a sort of bastardized DCC function commands, called serial functions. To get function 7, you press the f0 key 7 times on a "normal" DCC throttle.

So, I will be VERY interested when someone buys one of these and we see what it really does.

Regards, Greg

This is a guess.. When the decoder is in DC mode it is always looking for a DCC signal.. May be they fool it by sending direction & speed & functions only when a button or knob is turned.. You would not need a address because it is in DC mode.. If you had more than 1 loco on the track they would all respond.. Still guessing!!

Yep, I was thinking the same way, most DCC decoders are "always looking" for a DCC signal. What does not compute is how it would work without the proper address being included too...

Well, I hope someone buys one and tries it out!

Regards, Greg

Yes! You can use MRC Black Box on large scale DCC locos! You have to use a Power Station to boost up the amps required.

MRC Black Box emulates F0 to F28 of DCC System to a loco at Address 3. I use MRC BB to run my USAT GG-1

South Philly
Ahh... so it IS DCC and it puts out DCC function commands to address 3... that makes a lot more sense.

It also jives with "
If you use non-decoder equipped locos the BlackBox must be removed from the powerpack to run them. "

Thanks Johnny!

Regards, Greg
1 - 8 of 8 Posts
This is an older thread, you may not receive a response, and could be reviving an old thread. Please consider creating a new thread.