DCC Specialties Hare accessory decoder
Reviewed in the December 2005 issue of Model Railroader
Pulling rabbits out of a hat is child’s play compared to what the DCC Specialties Hare can do. The Hare is a very smart Digital Command Control accessory decoder designed specifically for use with Circuitron’s Tortoise slow-motion switch motors (Tortoise is a trademark of Circuitron).
The Hare has an eight-pin edge connecter that slips directly over the contacts on the bottom of the Tortoise. (A Tortoise switch machine is not included.) The decoder includes 10 screw terminals for wiring, making installation quick and easy. The Hare also has a jumper plug (that must be moved for programming) as well as soldering pads for making specialized control connections. The decoder comes with a 12-page instruction booklet with detailed examples and specific programming instructions.
Beyond ordinary turnout control, the Hare has a long list of optional features, most of which are accomplished with the addition of a few wires and some simple programming. The auto-throw feature is used to prevent short circuits from trains running through turnouts set against their route. When set for auto throw, the Hare senses when a train is approaching its turnout against the points and automatically changes the route.
The smart-route function allows you to link multiple Hares (one per turnout) to align the turnouts they control by simply entering one address. You can program as many as 13 different routes (enough for a mid-size staging yard or several small yards), which is especially useful for those using DCC systems that don’t support route control.
In addition to DCC control, the Hare decoder can be set up for push-button control using a panel-mounted momentary contact switch. It can also be wired with light-emitting diodes (LEDs) for turnout indication via signals, fascia panels, dispatcher track diagrams, or all three.
The Hare also includes an interesting interlock feature that allows a train dispatcher to lock out all other switch commands for a particular turnout.
Among its many other features, the Hare allows you to adjust the throw rate of the switch motor, so you can make your switch points creep into position if you wish. And each Hare can be programmed to return the switch points to their last-known position or to their predetermined normal position whenever the layout power is turned on.
Quick start. Our sample decoder was easy to connect, and thanks to the quick-start directions, I was able to get it set up and operating in about 10 minutes. The instruction booklet, printed in color, is easy to follow and included helpful illustrations, photos, and programming tables. The decoder connects to the DCC system track-power bus, though it’s strongly recommended that the Hares and the switch motors they control be on separate power supplies. (In the event of a short circuit on the rails caused by a misaligned turnout, you could still operate the turnout motors on their own power supply.)
The Hare offers an impressive array of features in one package.
– David Popp, associate editor
DCC accessory decoder
210 E. Front St.
Traverse City, MI 49684
Accessory decoder for use exclusively with Circuitron Tortoise slow-motion switch motors
Built-in route control for multiple turnouts
Detailed instruction booklet
Optional panel lights and push-button connections
Optional automatic control to align a turnout for an approaching train
Works with any NMRA standard DCC system