A number assigned by the user to a particular mobile or stationary decoder. The DCC system uses the decoder address to send commands to the appropriate loco or accessory.
Various DCC systems have a certain number of addresses that it can handle. Lower end DCC systems can be as low as 6 addresses. Average systems usually handle between 99 & over 9000 addresses, while advanced systems almost always go to 9000 or more addresses.
A combination of lights or positions on a railroad signal which has a predefined meaning.
A cab is the controller, fixed or handheld. Each cab can control multiple locos - either by switching between locos using pre-assigned buttons or by calling-up the loco in the normal way.
Consisting is when you use more than one locomotive at a time on a train.
CV/ Configuration Variable
Configuration variables or CVs are the means for controlling the performance of a DCC decoder. Decoders must be programmed by the user to reach their full potential. While they come with basic "default" programs, most users will want to customize the decoder address, motor control, lights, sound, and other functions to meet their specific needs.
The software that has been 'burned' into a chip, such as the software on a decoder, or the software the controls the command station. Firmware upgrades are sometimes available by vendors. Sometimes the new chip will need to be replaced by manufacturer or authorized dealer. In some cases, the fireware can be upgraded/replaced by the end user.
Functions are relays, or small switches on decoders that can control can control anything you can think of - lights, sounds, smoke, animation, uncoupling devices, etc. There are currently 13 functions, F0-F12, however there is a proposal to extend this to 19 functions F0-F18.
Digitrax developed LocoNet to handle the communications between throttles, some stationary decoders, and other devices that need to talk to the command station. This network allows faster communication between devices not related to running the actual train itself. The command station decides what signals to route to the train tracks, or what needs to stay in the LocoNet only.
This is a whimsical way to describe how a DCC decoder, or any electronic device, really works. The theory is that electronic devices work only because they are filled with a "Magic Smoke". If you let the "Magic Smoke" out of the device, it fails to work. Of course, there is no Magic Smoke. However, electronic devices tend to fail dramatically, often due to a short circuit or overload. When they do, the result is often a singed, acrid burning smell that is unique to electronic devices. Sometimes a puff of smoke may be noticed at the same time. This is the "Magic Smoke" of legend.
The power supply is just a transformer which supplies low-voltage AC or DC to the Command Station and Booster. Depending on the scale you are operating, you'll need a power supply with various voltages (covered later). For now, just think of the power supply as a transformer that brings down your house power to a level that can be handled by the booster.
Speed Steps are literally the number of steps between stop and fullspeed, there are 3 modes of speed steps 14, 28, and 128.