Trains.com

Wiring Track Power - Large Scale

9651 views
16 replies
1 rating 2 rating 3 rating 4 rating 5 rating
  • Member since
    July 2003
  • From: Farmington, CT, USA
  • 40 posts
Wiring Track Power - Large Scale
Posted by majnnj on Monday, July 14, 2003 1:40 PM
I have about 120 ft mainline track and 40 ft of seperate line
How far apart should I connect power to track, And whats the general feeling
anout CREST Elite Dual Voltage Power Supply
Thanks Mike
  • Member since
    July 2003
  • From: Farmington, CT, USA
  • 40 posts
Wiring Track Power - Large Scale
Posted by majnnj on Monday, July 14, 2003 1:40 PM
I have about 120 ft mainline track and 40 ft of seperate line
How far apart should I connect power to track, And whats the general feeling
anout CREST Elite Dual Voltage Power Supply
Thanks Mike
  • Member since
    April 2003
  • 305,206 posts
Posted by Anonymous on Monday, July 14, 2003 3:58 PM
I am told that every 100' is adequate, but I attach about every 50'. No knowledge about Crest's power supply.
  • Member since
    April 2003
  • 305,206 posts
Posted by Anonymous on Monday, July 14, 2003 3:58 PM
I am told that every 100' is adequate, but I attach about every 50'. No knowledge about Crest's power supply.
  • Member since
    April 2003
  • 305,206 posts
Posted by Anonymous on Saturday, August 9, 2003 8:50 AM
do you plan on setting up any signal block's? if so give yourself about 15- 20 feet . Use a good 10guage wire like romex and then use feeders to the tracks 12 or 14 guage. works good for me :)
  • Member since
    April 2003
  • 305,206 posts
Posted by Anonymous on Saturday, August 9, 2003 8:50 AM
do you plan on setting up any signal block's? if so give yourself about 15- 20 feet . Use a good 10guage wire like romex and then use feeders to the tracks 12 or 14 guage. works good for me :)
  • Member since
    July 2003
  • From: Farmington, CT, USA
  • 40 posts
Posted by majnnj on Monday, August 11, 2003 7:21 AM
are you sure about 10 guage, I powered my shed with 10 gauge from the house
10 gauge is rated for 30amps, I could see feeding 12 to track
then maybe 14 for feeders, and I'm still a little new to train terms, Is a signal
block a seperate line of track of which would be powered seperately
thanks for reply, my wife and myself just installed a 18'x10' pond in backyard
which this train will run around and over.


  • Member since
    July 2003
  • From: Farmington, CT, USA
  • 40 posts
Posted by majnnj on Monday, August 11, 2003 7:21 AM
are you sure about 10 guage, I powered my shed with 10 gauge from the house
10 gauge is rated for 30amps, I could see feeding 12 to track
then maybe 14 for feeders, and I'm still a little new to train terms, Is a signal
block a seperate line of track of which would be powered seperately
thanks for reply, my wife and myself just installed a 18'x10' pond in backyard
which this train will run around and over.


  • Member since
    April 2003
  • 305,206 posts
Posted by Anonymous on Sunday, August 17, 2003 5:16 AM
The more track feeders you use the better off you are. You will have less electrical problems in the long run. I set up a Christmas Display every year here in Flodida. We have about 240 ft on the main line and I drop at least 6 feeders on the main line.
  • Member since
    April 2003
  • 305,206 posts
Posted by Anonymous on Sunday, August 17, 2003 5:16 AM
The more track feeders you use the better off you are. You will have less electrical problems in the long run. I set up a Christmas Display every year here in Flodida. We have about 240 ft on the main line and I drop at least 6 feeders on the main line.
  • Member since
    April 2003
  • 305,206 posts
Posted by Anonymous on Thursday, August 21, 2003 3:18 AM
QUOTE: Originally posted by majnnj

are you sure about 10 guage, I powered my shed with 10 gauge from the house
10 gauge is rated for 30amps, I could see feeding 12 to track
then maybe 14 for feeders




I'm no expert, but amps is not so much a concern as voltage drop. the bigger the wire, the lower the voltage drop over distance.
  • Member since
    April 2003
  • 305,206 posts
Posted by Anonymous on Thursday, August 21, 2003 3:18 AM
QUOTE: Originally posted by majnnj

are you sure about 10 guage, I powered my shed with 10 gauge from the house
10 gauge is rated for 30amps, I could see feeding 12 to track
then maybe 14 for feeders




I'm no expert, but amps is not so much a concern as voltage drop. the bigger the wire, the lower the voltage drop over distance.
  • Member since
    July 2003
  • From: Sierra Vista, Arizona
  • 13,757 posts
Posted by cacole on Tuesday, August 26, 2003 9:27 AM
Climatic conditions and type of rail is going to have an effect, too. If you use aluminum rail, it is not as good an electrical conductor as brass, and you will need more power feeds for reliable operation. In a hot, dry climate like Arizona corrosion is not as big a problem as it would be in a humid environment, but I use stainless steel track anyway to avoid as much corrosion as possible. Power feeds every 6 to 10 feet will alleviate some of the problems associated with track corrosion and dirty locomotive wheels, but not all. Eventually, I intend to switch to on-board battery power to avoid dirty track and power feed problems altogether.
  • Member since
    July 2003
  • From: Sierra Vista, Arizona
  • 13,757 posts
Posted by cacole on Tuesday, August 26, 2003 9:27 AM
Climatic conditions and type of rail is going to have an effect, too. If you use aluminum rail, it is not as good an electrical conductor as brass, and you will need more power feeds for reliable operation. In a hot, dry climate like Arizona corrosion is not as big a problem as it would be in a humid environment, but I use stainless steel track anyway to avoid as much corrosion as possible. Power feeds every 6 to 10 feet will alleviate some of the problems associated with track corrosion and dirty locomotive wheels, but not all. Eventually, I intend to switch to on-board battery power to avoid dirty track and power feed problems altogether.
  • Member since
    April 2003
  • 305,206 posts
Posted by Anonymous on Friday, August 29, 2003 8:47 PM
I've had 400' of mainline (brass with split rail clamps) with only 14 ga feeders at 2 locations for two years (outside in florida) never had a problem.
  • Member since
    April 2003
  • 305,206 posts
Posted by Anonymous on Friday, August 29, 2003 8:47 PM
I've had 400' of mainline (brass with split rail clamps) with only 14 ga feeders at 2 locations for two years (outside in florida) never had a problem.
  • Member since
    April 2003
  • 305,206 posts
Posted by Anonymous on Tuesday, September 2, 2003 5:31 PM
I have only one connection on 250 feet of track and I have no problems as long as the track is kept clean.
  • Member since
    April 2003
  • 305,206 posts
Posted by Anonymous on Tuesday, September 2, 2003 5:31 PM
I have only one connection on 250 feet of track and I have no problems as long as the track is kept clean.
  • Member since
    April 2003
  • 305,206 posts
Posted by Anonymous on Tuesday, September 2, 2003 9:33 PM
In the Pacific NW, there seems to be a lot more variables. I'm runing tests on my deck after experiencing acid soil, heavy rain and flooding; and slugs shorting out rails.

Idea: You can use the cheapo Bachmann rail with good results, in a small area. Let them go ahead and rust, then scrub the top of the rail with an abrasive, followed by a light conductive paste.

Looks really authentic, and operates well as long as wires are soldered inside/beneath the rails and you have piece-to-piece wires as well. For a little demo layout this is good looking. Unless you view this as a career, I don't recomment it for overall layout construction.

Follow traditional 2-rail gapping (find plans similar to yours which include rail gaps.

The biggest problem I've ever found on my own was a reverse loop disguised by distance. I had to take two colored pencils around the track diagram to solve it.

If you take track polarity and switching constaints into your plans, you will almost automatically solve your concerns: eash "branch" is autonimously powered and can have multiple feeders along it.

The bigger the wire, the better. Further, if you can get it in cable (surplus) form, you've got the ability to expand in an orderly fashion; rather than ripping wires out and cussing <grin.>

BTW, my "garden Rway" varies between 200 (base) and about 2000 linear feet, depending on seasons. I'm ripping it all out, since we're moving; and I'm seriously considering weatherproof modules for indoor/outdoor use.

This approach might address your concerns as well.

-D

  • Member since
    April 2003
  • 305,206 posts
Posted by Anonymous on Tuesday, September 2, 2003 9:33 PM
In the Pacific NW, there seems to be a lot more variables. I'm runing tests on my deck after experiencing acid soil, heavy rain and flooding; and slugs shorting out rails.

Idea: You can use the cheapo Bachmann rail with good results, in a small area. Let them go ahead and rust, then scrub the top of the rail with an abrasive, followed by a light conductive paste.

Looks really authentic, and operates well as long as wires are soldered inside/beneath the rails and you have piece-to-piece wires as well. For a little demo layout this is good looking. Unless you view this as a career, I don't recomment it for overall layout construction.

Follow traditional 2-rail gapping (find plans similar to yours which include rail gaps.

The biggest problem I've ever found on my own was a reverse loop disguised by distance. I had to take two colored pencils around the track diagram to solve it.

If you take track polarity and switching constaints into your plans, you will almost automatically solve your concerns: eash "branch" is autonimously powered and can have multiple feeders along it.

The bigger the wire, the better. Further, if you can get it in cable (surplus) form, you've got the ability to expand in an orderly fashion; rather than ripping wires out and cussing <grin.>

BTW, my "garden Rway" varies between 200 (base) and about 2000 linear feet, depending on seasons. I'm ripping it all out, since we're moving; and I'm seriously considering weatherproof modules for indoor/outdoor use.

This approach might address your concerns as well.

-D

  • Member since
    April 2003
  • 305,206 posts
Posted by Anonymous on Thursday, September 4, 2003 10:27 PM
We have a 180 ft mainline with a 120 ft mountain line and the main was put together with plastic tie wraps and LGB graphite grease on the track clips before assembly. That main line ran on only 1/3 amp with only one power feed without noticable slow down on the far end. Mountain line required a full amp minimum to pull the grade. This was running LGB Forney engines on the flat and mountain and a Bachman Shea on the mountain. Has run three years so far with no problems after two full winters with lots of snow. If it ever goes bad I will just go to split jaw connectors and be set for the life of the track, or so I am told by others who swear by them. It all depends on the weather where you operate, overall humidity levels etc, etc, etc. Brass track is fine for most any climate. LGB track will turn color and weather fast to look more prototypical I would guess . Aristo is next to change color. USA rail stays "brite" the longest if that is what you want.. No experience with stainless or aluminum so can't comment on those tracks.
  • Member since
    April 2003
  • 305,206 posts
Posted by Anonymous on Thursday, September 4, 2003 10:27 PM
We have a 180 ft mainline with a 120 ft mountain line and the main was put together with plastic tie wraps and LGB graphite grease on the track clips before assembly. That main line ran on only 1/3 amp with only one power feed without noticable slow down on the far end. Mountain line required a full amp minimum to pull the grade. This was running LGB Forney engines on the flat and mountain and a Bachman Shea on the mountain. Has run three years so far with no problems after two full winters with lots of snow. If it ever goes bad I will just go to split jaw connectors and be set for the life of the track, or so I am told by others who swear by them. It all depends on the weather where you operate, overall humidity levels etc, etc, etc. Brass track is fine for most any climate. LGB track will turn color and weather fast to look more prototypical I would guess . Aristo is next to change color. USA rail stays "brite" the longest if that is what you want.. No experience with stainless or aluminum so can't comment on those tracks.
  • Member since
    April 2003
  • 305,206 posts
Posted by Anonymous on Friday, September 5, 2003 4:21 PM
I got tired of constant 'jerking' by my little engine, so I sprung for split-jaw clamps. No problems since, and only one connection on the loop. (It is small though.)
  • Member since
    April 2003
  • 305,206 posts
Posted by Anonymous on Friday, September 5, 2003 4:21 PM
I got tired of constant 'jerking' by my little engine, so I sprung for split-jaw clamps. No problems since, and only one connection on the loop. (It is small though.)
  • Member since
    April 2003
  • 305,206 posts
Posted by Anonymous on Sunday, September 14, 2003 6:32 PM
This section has answered one wiring problem for me.
Question - If I use scale command inverters and they are buried in junction boxes underground, can they be left there through the winter in the Toronto, Ontario, Canada area?
  • Member since
    April 2003
  • 305,206 posts
Posted by Anonymous on Sunday, September 14, 2003 6:32 PM
This section has answered one wiring problem for me.
Question - If I use scale command inverters and they are buried in junction boxes underground, can they be left there through the winter in the Toronto, Ontario, Canada area?
  • Member since
    November 2003
  • From: woodstock, Georgia
  • 17 posts
Posted by JoeMascitti on Monday, January 19, 2004 8:41 PM
I have about 300 feet of mainline track, all powered by aristo 10amp power supply, w/train engineer...have 14 gauge connected every 20 feet. I crimped a connector on the wire and attached it under the track to one of the screws that holds the ties to the rails. Used a good rubber coated wire that is ok for burial. Person at Home Depot said it may break down over time? Have not found anyone else that agrees with that happening....

Good Luck

Joe
  • Member since
    November 2003
  • From: woodstock, Georgia
  • 17 posts
Posted by JoeMascitti on Monday, January 19, 2004 8:41 PM
I have about 300 feet of mainline track, all powered by aristo 10amp power supply, w/train engineer...have 14 gauge connected every 20 feet. I crimped a connector on the wire and attached it under the track to one of the screws that holds the ties to the rails. Used a good rubber coated wire that is ok for burial. Person at Home Depot said it may break down over time? Have not found anyone else that agrees with that happening....

Good Luck

Joe
  • Member since
    April 2003
  • 305,206 posts
Posted by Anonymous on Friday, January 23, 2004 7:19 PM
I have never subscribed to having several connections to my railway, in my opinion in the tropics and most situations its a waste of time. No matter what cable you use it will never be as good a conductor as the rails themselves, irrespective. Using track clips are also a waste of time; the special grease is just another way of getting you to spend more money.

I use our local club rail which we get in kit form for, you bend the rail to suit yourself and put the sleepers (ties) on youself, it works out for me about A$40.00 (multiply by 0.75 for US$) for 3.69 M (12') and that is the lengths they come in. This rail has a similar metalic makeup to Aristo but has a cross section more similar to LGB. I solder every joint with a small jewellers blowtorch, with discreet sections that can be easily handled by my wife and self. These section are joined together with Hillman Clamps which are just great, you can even get ones that handle expansion problems if you have worries in that direction. I have no trouble with bad joints at all, even though we have been hit by a monsoonal depression just recently.

I have done some tests and I cannot detect any serious voltage drop up to 40 M of track. Incidentally I use the LGB MTS which reticulates power at about 20 V AC and this is the way to go. The higher voltage reduces your I 2 R (eye squared R) losses and the AC ensures a much reduced effect of higher restance spots and when you are passing DC through dissimilar metals etc you will have trouble with electrolysis and this is reduced and/or eliminated using AC.

My railway is called the Kawana Island Tropical Railway and it is located on the Sunshine Coast which of course is on the Coral Sea only a few hours drive from the the Tropic of Capricorn. Kawana Island is located in the Mooloolah River. I have about 65M of track and another 70 M going down soon.

Incidentally would Bob Swiston contact me I think we may have a similar weather situation, I would contact, him but I don't know how, my e mail address is iandor@bigpond.com

Regards Ian J Brown.
  • Member since
    April 2003
  • 305,206 posts
Posted by Anonymous on Friday, January 23, 2004 7:19 PM
I have never subscribed to having several connections to my railway, in my opinion in the tropics and most situations its a waste of time. No matter what cable you use it will never be as good a conductor as the rails themselves, irrespective. Using track clips are also a waste of time; the special grease is just another way of getting you to spend more money.

I use our local club rail which we get in kit form for, you bend the rail to suit yourself and put the sleepers (ties) on youself, it works out for me about A$40.00 (multiply by 0.75 for US$) for 3.69 M (12') and that is the lengths they come in. This rail has a similar metalic makeup to Aristo but has a cross section more similar to LGB. I solder every joint with a small jewellers blowtorch, with discreet sections that can be easily handled by my wife and self. These section are joined together with Hillman Clamps which are just great, you can even get ones that handle expansion problems if you have worries in that direction. I have no trouble with bad joints at all, even though we have been hit by a monsoonal depression just recently.

I have done some tests and I cannot detect any serious voltage drop up to 40 M of track. Incidentally I use the LGB MTS which reticulates power at about 20 V AC and this is the way to go. The higher voltage reduces your I 2 R (eye squared R) losses and the AC ensures a much reduced effect of higher restance spots and when you are passing DC through dissimilar metals etc you will have trouble with electrolysis and this is reduced and/or eliminated using AC.

My railway is called the Kawana Island Tropical Railway and it is located on the Sunshine Coast which of course is on the Coral Sea only a few hours drive from the the Tropic of Capricorn. Kawana Island is located in the Mooloolah River. I have about 65M of track and another 70 M going down soon.

Incidentally would Bob Swiston contact me I think we may have a similar weather situation, I would contact, him but I don't know how, my e mail address is iandor@bigpond.com

Regards Ian J Brown.

Search the Community

FREE EMAIL NEWSLETTER

Get the Garden Railways newsletter delivered to your inbox twice a month

By signing up you may also receive occasional reader surveys and special offers from Garden Railways magazine. Please view our privacy policy