FAQ:Can One Command Station Control Multiple Layouts?
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|DCC Categories||Beginner, Command Station
Short answer: Yes. It's possible to control two (or more) separate layouts using a single command station. For instance, if you wanted to operate an N scale layout inside and a G scale outside. Most systems combine the command station and booster into a single unit. Either case, you connect one layout as normal, that is, connect the command station/booster to one layout. Then, you simply purchase a second power supply and booster for the other layout. The second layout will receive it's commands through the throttle network (LocoNet, XpressNet, etc). This allows you to have same, or different voltages for different layout sizes.
Assume we have an N scale layout in the garage. Since power requirements are low, we purchase a DCC system that outputs about 2 to 3 amps, and the voltage is set for N scale. We setup this layout as described in other parts of this website. A year later, we want to setup a G scale, or garden railroad in the backyard. To do this, all we do is purchase another power supply and booster for the second layout. Because the power is independent of the layout, we don't need to worry about the higher voltage from the garden railway making its way to the N Scale layout. To get the commands from the command station to the garden railroad booster, we simply connect the throttle network (such as ExpressNet, or LocoNet) to the booster. We now have two railroads being controlled from any throttle, at any location, with a cost savings by not having to purchase two command stations.