FAQ:Can you run a digital decoder equipped locomotive with a conventional 12-volt DC power pack?
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This is an optional feature of multifunction decoders provided for by the standard. If a multifunction decoder supports analog operation, and it does not see a digital signal on the track, it reverts to analog operation and can be controlled as if no digital decoder were present. Decoders can be confused by some forms of very narrow pulsed power and extreme care must be taken to ensure that the packs maximum output is less than the decoder’s 24 volt maximum.
If the multifunction decoder was configured for NMRA DCC Only, it will not work on a DC layout.
For most multifunction decoders, the minimum voltage required is 7 Volts. The decoder will power up. but motor control is not possible at this voltage. The decoder can operate low power devices such as the lights at this voltage.
Some manufacturers caution against using an analog pulse power throttle with their decoders, as these may damage the multifunction decoder.