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Electrical connections

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  • Member since
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Electrical connections
Posted by Semi4 on Tuesday, March 14, 2017 3:08 PM

I have three tables configured in a US shape. The tables are on Castors so that I can shuffle them around to access both sides for doing scenery and track laying. My setup will be dccwiki. My question is what is the best way to connect the buss wires from one table to the next so that it can be connected and disconnected when I need to do some work a a table. I was thinking maybe the modular guys could weigh in.

 

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Posted by rrinker on Tuesday, March 14, 2017 3:14 PM

Anderson Power-Pole connectors. That's what our modular layout uses. They are pretty beefy and can withstnad many connect/disconnect cycles, plus they come in multiple colors so you can color code everything.

                          --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 fwright on Tuesday, March 14, 2017 4:50 PM

Agreed on Anderson Power Pole connectors.  The 30 amp connector is used by most modular standards.  You do want the expesnive Anderson crimper - regular crimpers don't make a strong enough connection - our modular group learned the hard way.  You can probably sell your crimper when you are done They can also be stacked in vertical and horizontal configurations to form a custom unique plug so that you can't reverse the polarity or othe mistakes.

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Posted by SouthPenn on Tuesday, March 14, 2017 4:52 PM

Banana Plugs similar to these would work fine.

South Penn
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Posted by Semi4 on Wednesday, March 15, 2017 11:04 AM

Randy, I looked at the Anderson Power pole connectors and I think that is what I need. Do you have a part number. I need two (red and black) at each end of the center table with connectors at the ends of the adjacent tables.

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Posted by rrinker on Wednesday, March 15, 2017 11:43 AM

 Depends on the size of your wire, the PP15 series handles up to #16 wire, the PP30 series is for #14-#12. You can buy sets of 10 (10 red, 10 black, and 20 contacts). This is an example of the PP15 series (I have no connection to this company or web site, jsu tthe first one I found selling them)

https://powerwerx.com/anderson-powerpole-connectors-15amp-bonded

The set of 10 would leave you one leftover pair (a set is a red and black pair, to the set of 10 makes 5 pairs). There are no male/female with Powerpoles, yet because of the design when you put a red one and a black one together, anotehr red/black pair can only connect red to red and black to black, they won't go together backwards. Basically, every individual Powerpole is identical, yet can only mate with the matching color.

 The 15 and 30 amp ones are the same price. WPS15-10 is the 15 amp set of 10, WPS30-10 is the 30 amp set of 10. The conenctors are the same size, the only real difference is the crimp terminal on the contact, and what wire size it can hold.

                           --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 Semi4 on Wednesday, March 15, 2017 10:00 PM

Thanks Randy, exactly what I wanted to know.

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Posted by doctorwayne on Wednesday, March 15, 2017 11:15 PM

Probably a voice you don't want to hear (no need for bus wire in DC Smile, Wink & Grin ), but you could also accomplish this using common household wiring items: standard outlet receptacles in approved boxes, with double-ended three-prong jumper cables to connect them.  The ground prong would prevent polarity mix-ups.  This stuff is cheap, readily available, and very durable, and no special tools are required.

Wayne

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Posted by hon30critter on Wednesday, March 15, 2017 11:24 PM

doctorwayne
you could also accomplish this using common household wiring items

That's sort of how our club makes the connections between the modules on our portable layout. We don't have the electrical boxes but everything is connected through standard 120v extension cord plugs. Works great as long as the plugs aren't allowed to pull on the track feed wires.

Dave

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Posted by j. c. on Wednesday, March 15, 2017 11:31 PM

club i use to belong to used 4 wire trailer connectors .

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Posted by rrinker on Thursday, March 16, 2017 6:24 AM

 Using household plugs and outlets is a HUGE no-no. It's usually against code in most places. And it's just asking for trouble, when someone not as familiar goes to plug in an extension cord for power and instead plugs in to the outlet that feeds the rails, now you have 120VAC on the rails and I hope no one had set any locos on the rails, and no one is touching them.

Just - don't. Even in a one man band operation where you KNOW which are the low voltage ones and which are the actual house current ones. Don't tempt fate like that. It's not worth it when proper different plugs are also fairly cheap.

                 --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 bavrail on Thursday, March 16, 2017 8:04 AM

We are getting rid of the trailer connectors on our older modules because the pins break off. 

We are using the Anderson Power Poles on all new modules (which is what N-Trak recommends these days). 

WS

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Posted by doctorwayne on Thursday, March 16, 2017 10:48 AM

I see your point, Randy, but it would be impossible to plug a standard extension cord into a wall outlet and into the receptacle on the layout, as such a cord has only one male end.  The modified cords would need to be only a foot long if the boxes were installed on adjacent legs of the layout sections, and nobody would mistake it for an extension cord.  Alternately, a similar short cord cord be hardwired into one of the boxes, with a plug on the other end. 
My thinking of course, is of my own layout, where I am the sole operator, but you're quite right:  where there are multiple operators or even only an occasional guest operator, better to defer to the safer options.
Lest you think me to be running an unsafe operation, I do have 120 volt outlets located right below the layout fascia, but my throttle plugs fit only into a standard 'phone jack, and I don't have to contend with a bus wire at all.

Wayne

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Posted by rrinker on Thursday, March 16, 2017 3:59 PM

 Right, but if you have female receptacles on the layout, you must have male plugs to go into them - and someone now knowing could plug that male end into an extension cord, thinking it is just a feed for the layout-mounted receptacles. Again, YOU probbaly won't make that mistake, but in a group effort - you never know what someone new to the group might do. And especially at a modular event, you almost ALWAYS need lots of extension cords to hook up to the venue's power. We have a plastic tote or two full of extension cords and power taps - when the layout can be over 140 feet long you NEED distributed power/ That's the nice thing about the powerpole connectors for the track buses, no matter which configuration we build, it's easy to attach the boooster for a given area. And you can always plug them together offset but not reversed - some modules have just the two main track so there are 4 sets of Powerpole connectors, others have an extra branch or seperately powered yard and may have 2 or 4 extra sets. But when a following section is left out due to space limitations, a preceeding module with just two sets of red and black can plug in to the 8 position connector of the bigger module, just connecting in to the red and black fo rthe main lines. The club layout would be more correctly identified as sectional rather than modular, not ever section is identical so they can't be connected in a random order, some need to go next to others in a set sequence, many of those to complete a specific scene like a yard or a set of towns in proper order.

I have no problem with 120VAC outlets run along the layout itself, that can come in very handy for plugging in tools without crawling under the layout and requiring an extension cord. I HAVE seen examples where the walkaround throttle plug was a regular house plug - that would be a very bad combination. Usually not practical anyway since a walkaround throttle most often need 4 or more wires anyway.

 Better safe than sorry - if everything is unique there is as close to 0 chance of a mistake as possible. I don't think a household AC plug will fit in a Powerpole connector, a Powerpole connector certainly can't plug in to a household outlet, and neither can a phone plug on a walkaround throttle.

                       --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 doctorwayne on Thursday, March 16, 2017 11:50 PM

rrinker
Right, but if you have female receptacles on the layout, you must have male plugs to go into them - and someone now knowing could plug that male end into an extension cord, thinking it is just a feed for the layout-mounted receptacles....

No, the layout-mounted receptacles are 120 volt, and are live once the power for the layout room is switched on. The only electrical cords in that room are either extension cords or cords attached to power tools, both the only available things that can plug into those receptacles.  The various types of walk-around throttles for the layout are on 30' spring-type 'phone cords, which plug into 'phone jacks on the layout fascia.  That set-up is simple enough that even my grandkids know where the throttle gets connected and that the big ones are just like those anywhere in their house - not to be touched.
This view shows a throttle plugged-in in the right foreground, and a 120 volt receptacle, on its side, at the far end of the aisle, set-back from and below the lower-level fascia:

There are six throttle jacks around the room, and four standard receptacle locations on the layout, with others, wall-mounted, below the layout.  Three circuits on the main house panel serve only the layout room, and wall switches at the room's entrance control all electrical circuits in the room.

Wayne

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Posted by rrinker on Friday, March 17, 2017 6:35 AM

 I was referring to your comments about using household plugs and sockets for sectional interconnects - if doing something like that, one end HAS to be a plug which could then be incorrectly plugged in to a live extension cord. Having outlets along the fascia acting as intended is fine, as long as there aren't small kids around.

                         --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 CARL HALGREN on Saturday, March 18, 2017 12:36 AM

I have a 5’ x 8’ portable layout with a removable control panel. It controls all of my turnouts. I use Molex connectors. They are polarized and are available in 2-wire, 3-wire, 4-wire, up to 15-wire plugs. They are designed to handle 18-22 gauge wires and rated for up to 250 volts. The pins are crimp style, but I crimp and solder. The price is quite acceptable. They are available on line at Parts Express. Also check Amazon and Walmart.

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