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Track Power across a dropdown gate

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  • Member since
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  • 518 posts
Track Power across a dropdown gate
Posted by mreagant on Sunday, September 01, 2019 5:02 PM

I am looking for the best way to get rail power across the gaps where a swinging dropdown  completes the circular route on my layout. It's DCC so I'm especially concerned about even very small breaks in the rails at the dropdown entrance and exit. There is also a reverse loop issue, but I think I have that managed. Any ideas?

Mike Thomasson

Austin, TX

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Posted by floridaflyer on Sunday, September 01, 2019 5:16 PM

Given the multiple pickup points on locomotives, a small gap in the track shouldn't be a problem. Atlas turnouts have a much bigger dead section at the frog and while some short wheel base locos may experience some difficulty, the relatively short gap at your dropdown should not cause issues.

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Posted by doctorwayne on Sunday, September 01, 2019 9:58 PM

mreagant
I am looking for the best way to get rail power across the gaps where a swinging dropdown completes the circular route on my layout. It's DCC so I'm especially concerned about even very small breaks in the rails at the dropdown entrance and exit....

Unless I'm misunderstanding your situation, it sounds to me that you want reliable power on the drop-down segment, not merely a way to bridge the small gaps at the ends of the drop-down.

I don't have drop-down sections at the layout room's entranceway, but instead used very simple lift-outs for both levels....

A simple plug takes power from the rails on one side of the gap, and feeds it to the rails on the lift-out...

I used a four-prong plug to facilitate creating a length of dead rails on either side of the gap when the lift-out is not in place....

The plug can be inserted into the receptacle in only one way...

If you want the "kill" feature for the approach tracks, it would likely be best done with a plug arrangement as shown, as removing the plug from the receptacle is what kills the approach rails.  

If all you want is power for the track on the drop-down, simply hardwire it from the track on the hinged side of the drop-down, leaving a bit of slack in the wire so they don't fatigue from repeated drops and lifts over time.

Wayne

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Posted by rrinker on Sunday, September 01, 2019 10:37 PM

 For a dropdown - just run a bus line over to the drop down and connect feeders. When you drop it down, there will be plenty of slack in the wire as the section drops down. 

                                 --Randy

 


Modeling the Reading Railroad in the 1950's

 

Visit my web site at www.readingeastpenn.com for construction updates, DCC Info, and more.

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Posted by UNCLEBUTCH on Monday, September 02, 2019 9:37 AM

I have a liftout. I have feeders on both ends of opening, and a short piece of an extension cord on the end of liftout. With enough slack to allow lifting out and hanging lifout on the side.

Kinda like Randy said

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Posted by MisterBeasley on Monday, September 02, 2019 10:21 AM

I have a liftout disguised as a trestle bridge.  It doesn't come out very often, as I can limbo under if necessary, but if I'm doing work on the other side sometimes I take it out.

I don't have a full around-the-room layout, so my DCC track power must cross the bridge.  I use small automotive trailer plugs for durability.  I have separate power for structure lighting on either side.

 

It takes an iron man to play with a toy iron horse. 

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Posted by SPSOT fan on Monday, September 02, 2019 10:45 AM

My grandfather has a swing bridge on his layout that is still under construction. One of his friends had a few of these switches that closed when pressure was applied to them. I think one of his friends took it out of some old appliance or something (for some reason I want to say coffe machine). Any way something like I just described would be a bit more automatic than a plug or something, and may be preferable if the OP intend to open and close the gate often while running trains.

As for the small gap between the rails of the layout and the bridge Keep Alives would be an option, though if the OP has a large fleet of locomotives that may be somewhat cumbersome to install Keep Alives in the whole fleet.

Hope this was helpful!

Regards, Isaac

I model my railroad and you model yours! I model my way and you model yours!

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Posted by floridaflyer on Monday, September 02, 2019 11:46 AM

OP states he is concerned about the gaps in the track at the entrance and exit of the liftout. The gaps should not be a problem regardless of how he powers the liftout.

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Posted by rrinker on Monday, September 02, 2019 1:40 PM

 Indeed, the gaps are a non-issue. Lights don;t even flicker when lcoso cross the gaps to the lift bridge on the club layout. It's double-tracked, all the power comes in via a continuation of the track bus on the hinge side, so there's nothing to remember (or forget) to plug and unplug when lifting the bridge to get inside. The whole thing is a little different since we are a modular club, the bridge has a continuous threshold as well to keep things together, and there are track bus wires hidden under there to connect to the next sectioon beyond, but the bridge itself would be the same even if the hing support and and the other end were attached to the adjoing benchwork instead of being part of the entire bridge assembly.

                                  --Randy

 


Modeling the Reading Railroad in the 1950's

 

Visit my web site at www.readingeastpenn.com for construction updates, DCC Info, and more.

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    January, 2008
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Posted by mreagant on Tuesday, September 03, 2019 4:48 PM

Thanks for all the replies. I have started to put together a wiring system that follows the suggestions regarding power from the bus to the dropdown, but thaven't tested it yet. Maybe in the next coouple of days. I'm concerned about the gaps, but may turn out to be a non-problem. I have a few locos with KAs so IO'l try them first and then see how thw others do.

Thanks again. WE shall see what happens.

Mike Thomasson

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    July, 2006
  • From: Sebring FL
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Posted by floridaflyer on Tuesday, September 03, 2019 5:22 PM

Mike, there are three things certain in life, death, taxes, and the gaps are not a problem.

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Posted by Medina1128 on Sunday, September 08, 2019 12:15 PM

When I created my dropdown, I ran the power to the dropdown section, then, using connectors, sent power back to the approaches. With this setup, when the connectors are disconnected, the power to the approaches is cut off, preventing that fall into Concrete Canyon.

I also have a swing-up section that's powered the same way. The only reason I have a drop-down section is that the overhead room was limited by the HVAC ductwork.

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