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Instead of controlling the speed of your locomotives by increasing or decreasing the direct current (DC) voltage running through the track, or changing direction by changing its polarity, a small electronic circuit board inside the locomotive controls both the speed and direction of the motor. Track power and hence the power supplied to the decoder is a form of alternating current (AC). Because the input from the track is AC and the locomotive motor runs on DC, it is mandatory that the locomotive motor be electrically isolated from the wheels which are used to pick up power from the track. The last two items are often combined in a single unit, or if not, are usually purchased together when you buy your DCC system. If it's not included in the base package, you can purchase the proper power supply from the same manufacturer as the throttle and command station, or you can source your own. When you, via the throttle, issue the command for locomotive #1234 to move at, say, one quarter of full speed in a reverse direction, the command station writes a data packet that is addressed to, and only read by, the decoder in locomotive #1234.
Once the instructions have been received by the decoder it will blindly follow them until told to do otherwise. You can probably reckon on spending between $175 for a basic DCC system to over $500 for a top-of-the-line wireless system.

Tablets and smartphones are now ubiquitious and, thanks to inexpensive apps, can be programmed to operate as throttles. The signals change automatically depending on the position of the trains, and for some signals yet to be fitted, the setting of the points.
Most modellers use either the last two or last four digits of the locomotive in which it’s installed. This means that even if you unplug the throttle the locomotive will keep on obeying its last instruction. The Nottawasaga Model Railway uses both, and you may have noticed that some of us have to plug our throttles in to one of a number of communications ports situated around the layout while others don’t have to plug in at all. This is because not only is power being carried through the wires and track but also a high-frequency communications signal. Tablets are especially popular because their size allows you, if you have the dexterity of a one-armed paper hanger and the reactions of an F1 racing car driver, to run up to four locomotives at the same time from a switch list that's also being displayed.
It does this via a very high frequency square wave signal that travels through the track with, but independently of, the AC power supply.

It’s recommended that you solder the connectors to the rails at every second joint in the track, leaving alternate joints unsoldered to allow for expansion. It's also recommendation that the feeder wires from the bus be soldered to the track every six feet. Most, although not all, low end systems can be added to, to make them equal to their high-end brothers. These sections have 14ga solid wire soldered at each end and this wire fits snugly against the permanently fixed track on the module.

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