How to add WCC (wireless digital command control for model railways) to your layout

How to add WCC (wireless digital command control for model railways) to your layout
Photo by Darren Bockman / Unsplash

Today I want to show you how easy to add Wireless Command Control to your layout (new one or with existing DCC decoders) and forget about any DCC complexity forever. If you don't know what is WCC - check this post.

When we designed how layout elements (trains, signals, switches, etc) communicate with a control panel (the application on a laptop/mobile device, remote control with buttons, etc) we wanted to keep this communication for users as simple as possible and of course, still, provide scalability because today you have 2 trains and next year you have 100 trains. Just imagine setting up DCC for 100 trains. With WCC it doesn't matter at all how many trains and layout elements you have because all messages are sent over the air. Let me show how it works in detail.

With WCC all trains and layout elements "live" and communicate with each other inside a mesh (or in a group). For example, train A can send a message to a level crossing that train A will cross it in a minute and signals on the level crossing should start blinking. The question here is how to set all this logic - what should be done if some event occurs? The traditional way is to use CVs on your DCC decoders to set how a decoder should react to different DCC messages. WCC fully changes it - now you don't need any more programming each decoder because the whole layout logic is dynamic. One of your WCC decoders is a main decoder that communicates with the web app or remote control from one side and forwards messages to other decoders from another side.  If you have just one WCC decoder on your layout - that decoder will be a main decoder as well.

There are a few options for how you can connect a main WCC decoder to the web app:

  • Over WiFi, in this case, you need a WiFi router. If you haven't a modem you can use your mobile phone. if your mobile cannot be a wifi router or you have very bad Internet, there is the second option
  • Over USB cable. In this case, you don't need a WiFi router but you need a WCC dongle (costs 20EUR) or any ESP32S3 development board with UART<->USB converter. The second option doesn't work with mobile devices
  • (Currently in development) You can install the WCC server on any single-board computer with Ubuntu, for example on Raspberry Pi. This option will work in the same way as the first with WiFi router but you don't need Internet all the time - only to set up.

After your main decoder is connected to WiFi or via a USB cable, it will be visible in the web app and you can start to control your layout and add automation.

Each time you want to add a new WCC decoder to your layout, steps will be

  • Power a decoder
  • Use Wi/Fi, Bluetooth, and USB (only for accessory decoders) to set the name/id of your layout
  • Wait until you see the online status for a new decoder in the web app

That's it, after you see that a decoder is connected in the web app you can start control/automate it in the web app.

WCC decoders will be available in January 2024. Don't forget to subscribe here to be notified when decoders are available. Estimated price - 50-60 EUR.