Have learned (at 80 that digital trains co-exist with older analogue. Am real beginner and answer to suit a 10 year old would be appreciaed. Are there other terms relating to HO that I should know?
DCC is Digital Command Control: its a method for controlling the trains speed and direction where digital signals are sent to a decoder in the LOCOMOTIVE that determine speed, direction and other options. EACH locomotive has it’s own decoder with a unique “address” which allows the operator(s) to run multiple trains (2-99) at the same time without the complex wiring on old DC systems. Here is a link to a “professional” explanation: http://www.ncedcc.com/whatisdcc.pdf
Model trains of Yore were DC: Direct Current… the track carried the power with NO signals, and if you wanted to run multiple trains, you had to wire the track into BLOCKS, with only one train on a block at a time.
NCE (North Coast Engineering) is a BRAND of DCC: http://www.ncedcc.com/
I built my layout with DCC two years ago and am just amazed and amused at the simplicity and the ease of realistic operations. I can run 4 trains on my mainlines, 4 helpers, and 3 yard engines… my only limitation is the SPACE.
GOOD LUCK with the HOBBY !!