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Powering layout

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  • Member since
    February, 2018
  • 55 posts
Powering layout
Posted by nemesys on Wednesday, May 30, 2018 4:40 PM

I've got a layout about 12' x 8'. Quite a few tracks, not sure the total lenght. I have 3 terminal tracks in strategic locations on my layout but would like to add more power to more tracks. I have proper wire and soldering iron. My problem is, how do I connect all those wires coming from every part of my layout to my DCC base? What are you guys using?

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Posted by BigDaddy on Wednesday, May 30, 2018 5:16 PM

What are you using now?  It seems like an odd question from someone who has a layout up and running.  Be that as it may....

People use a bus wire, stranded is easier to work with, 12 -14 ga and either solder the feeders or use 3M suitcase connectors* or in some cases barrier strips.  The bus carries the power, like electric wires on the telephone poles.   It connects to the command station, or the circuit breakers if you have them and the feeders.  Feeders are what connects the rails and the bus, analogous to the wire from the pole to your house.

There are several places that discuss voltage drop off over distance using DCC.  That determines what size wire you need.  

*suitcase connectors come in sizes that are specific to what size feeder and what size bus you use.  There are Chinese knockoffs which are generally not recommended.   The official name is insulation displacement connectors, but they look like a suitcase.

Henry

COB Potomac & Northern

By the Chesapeake Bay

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Posted by BATMAN on Wednesday, May 30, 2018 6:43 PM

I have a 6' x 18' bench as part of my layout and I run 12G feeders down the length of it like fingers, from a terminal strip. It is on a flip down, hinged piece of ply that flips up when access is not needed. I use feeder wires that drop down from the track and attach to these bus wires.

I go by Allan Gartner's rule of "everything should be soldered to something" meaning if a piece of track does not have a feeder, then it must be soldered to one that does. In ten years I have not had one electrical issue ever.

  

  

http://www.wiringfordcc.com/ 

 

Brent

It's not the age honey, it's the mileage.

https://www.youtube.com/user/BATTRAIN1

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Posted by BigDaddy on Wednesday, May 30, 2018 6:56 PM

Why did you use the drop down instead of fastening the terminal strip to that joist?

Henry

COB Potomac & Northern

By the Chesapeake Bay

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Posted by nemesys on Wednesday, May 30, 2018 10:28 PM

BATMAN

I have a 6' x 18' bench as part of my layout and I run 12G feeders down the length of it like fingers, from a terminal strip. It is on a flip down, hinged piece of ply that flips up when access is not needed. I use feeder wires that drop down from the track and attach to these bus wires.

I go by Allan Gartner's rule of "everything should be soldered to something" meaning if a piece of track does not have a feeder, then it must be soldered to one that does. In ten years I have not had one electrical issue ever.

Very nice, Brent! That's what I was looking for. How do you call this strip where your wires connect? I'm guessing you have a pair that comes from your DCC or DC controller and the other wires go to different sections of your layout?

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Posted by dante on Wednesday, May 30, 2018 10:48 PM

My layout is almost exactly the size of yours powered by DCC. There is a main bus of twisted 16 awg wire and feeders of solid 22 awg connected by Scotchlock IDCs to the bus. No problems. Also, I do not solder the connections between flextrack pieces except on curves. I do use Walthers/Shinohara Code 83 track and turnouts and their rail joiners (tighter fit, I believe, than Atlas joiners). Before I joined track sections, I treated the ends of each rail with No-Ox. Try it-you can always solder the joint later if necessary. Another factor: the train room is climate-controlled.

Dante 

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Posted by nemesys on Thursday, May 31, 2018 8:46 AM

dante

My layout is almost exactly the size of yours powered by DCC. There is a main bus of twisted 16 awg wire and feeders of solid 22 awg connected by Scotchlock IDCs to the bus. No problems. Also, I do not solder the connections between flextrack pieces except on curves. I do use Walthers/Shinohara Code 83 track and turnouts and their rail joiners (tighter fit, I believe, than Atlas joiners). Before I joined track sections, I treated the ends of each rail with No-Ox. Try it-you can always solder the joint later if necessary. Another factor: the train room is climate-controlled.

Dante 

 

Thanks, I will check those Scotchlock IDCs you mention. 

  • Member since
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Posted by BATMAN on Thursday, May 31, 2018 11:28 AM

nemesys
Very nice, Brent! That's what I was looking for. How do you call this strip where your wires connect? I'm guessing you have a pair that comes from your DCC or DC controller and the other wires go to different sections of your layout?

Thanks, Nemesys.

  

My DCC unit is under the window, under the benchwork. and immediately goes into a terminal strip that allows the wiring to go off in the required directions. The two wires coming in from the left in the previous pic comes from that terminal strip. 

I do attach terminal strips to joist in some spots, however, the reason I made a flip down in that spot is, I will be adding other things such as circuit boards and control systems as I proceed and having it flip down allows easier access and a better view with good light when working on it. I will also tidy up that wiring when done.

Here is one on the joist.

  

 

Brent

It's not the age honey, it's the mileage.

https://www.youtube.com/user/BATTRAIN1

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Posted by nemesys on Thursday, May 31, 2018 12:01 PM

Very nice, Brent, thank you.

Sorry if that may sound dumb, but those terminal strips, how do they work? Can you just connect the wires from your controller to the strip and then each wire will instantly get power or do you have to do something to get them all wired together?

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Posted by BigDaddy on Thursday, May 31, 2018 12:10 PM

nemesys
Sorry if that may sound dumb, but those terminal strips, how do they work? Can you just connect the wires from your controller to the strip and then each wire will instantly get power or do you have to do something to get them all wired together?

Not dumb.  Look closely at Brents' last picture.  Each little segment is connected vertically.  On the top row, you can see that Brent has added loops of copper wire (jumpers) to connect them horizontally. 

The black and green are not electrically connected.  Everything to the left of the top black wire is jumpered (connected)  Everything to the right of the green is also connected to the green.  There are commercial jumpers if you don't want to make your own.

 

Henry

COB Potomac & Northern

By the Chesapeake Bay

  • Member since
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Posted by nemesys on Thursday, May 31, 2018 12:12 PM

BigDaddy

 

 
nemesys
Sorry if that may sound dumb, but those terminal strips, how do they work? Can you just connect the wires from your controller to the strip and then each wire will instantly get power or do you have to do something to get them all wired together?

 

Not dumb.  Look closely at Brents' last picture.  Each little segment is connected vertically.  On the top row, you can see that Brent has added loops of copper wire (jumpers) to connect them horizontally. 

The black and green are not electrically connected.  Everything to the left of the top black wire is jumpered (connected)  Everything to the right of the green is also connected to the green.  There are commercial jumpers if you don't want to make your own.

Oh, that's great, I will get those jumpers with a couple of terminal strips.

Thank you!

  • Member since
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  • From: 4610 Metre's North of the Fortyninth on the left coast of Canada
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Posted by BATMAN on Thursday, May 31, 2018 12:17 PM

Yes, Henry is correct. I made little "U"s out of the same 12G wire. I then plugged them in to work as connectors on the terminal strip. I stripped off the insulation and just twisted the end of the wire around with needle nose pliers and cut. Repeat as necessary. 

Brent

It's not the age honey, it's the mileage.

https://www.youtube.com/user/BATTRAIN1

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Posted by SouthPenn on Friday, June 01, 2018 10:00 AM

I use these.  If you don't need that many, look here ( scroll down ).

Right now I use them for rail power. I am planning on using them for building and street lighting.

South Penn

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