Subscriber & Member Login

Login, or register today to interact in our online community, comment on articles, receive our newsletter, manage your account online and more!

Securing buss wires under layout

2486 views
34 replies
1 rating 2 rating 3 rating 4 rating 5 rating
  • Member since
    February, 2008
  • 773 posts
Securing buss wires under layout
Posted by kasskaboose on Tuesday, May 08, 2018 9:59 PM

Can you pls offer really cheap and effective ways to keep the buss wires from hanging low under the layout?  The buss wires are underneath a foam layout that's resting on 1x4's spaced every 16" apart.  Using cargo tape is somewhat effective; duct tape is not working.  One thought I had was buying "u-shaped"  cable staples. I fear that the below might cut into the 14AWG buss wires.  Something like this:

https://www.homedepot.com/p/Gardner-Bender-1-2-in-White-Plastic-Staples-For-NM-Cable-50-Pack-PS-50/100204230

If that's a suitable idea, should I get 3/4" wide ones instead?

 

Thanks.

  • Member since
    March, 2015
  • 1,203 posts
Posted by SouthPenn on Tuesday, May 08, 2018 10:22 PM

Here some samplesMore samples. More samples.

A lot of these can be found at your local hardware store or big box store.

South Penn
  • Member since
    December, 2015
  • 3,046 posts
Posted by BigDaddy on Tuesday, May 08, 2018 10:40 PM

I guess I am glad I used a thin sheet of plywood under my foam.  A wire staple gun works fine for me but I wouldn't think it would hold at all in foam. 

I'm not sure that what you linked to, will hold securely into just foam.  It should not cut the wire though unless you drive a nail into the wire.

 

Henry

COB Potomac & Northern

By the Chesapeake Bay

  • Member since
    July, 2006
  • From: west coast
  • 4,181 posts
Posted by rrebell on Tuesday, May 08, 2018 10:56 PM

I just drilled holes in the 1x4's

  • Member since
    July, 2006
  • From: Bradford, Ontario
  • 8,278 posts
Posted by hon30critter on Tuesday, May 08, 2018 10:59 PM

I'm not sure that the plastic staples would stay in the foam if the wires were pulled on.

How about using industrial strength self adhesive Velcro strips? This is a Canadian listing. You should be able to get it for much less:

https://www.amazon.com/VELCRO-Brand-Industrial-Strength-Profile/dp/B000VR8B3K/ref=sr_1_8?ie=UTF8&qid=1525838452&sr=8-8&keywords=velcro+tape

Cut a piece about 1" long, stick one side on the foam, place the wire on the Velcro, and then put the other side of the velcro over the wire. Don't peel the backing on the second strip.

Dave

  • Member since
    June, 2014
  • From: East Central Florida
  • 339 posts
Posted by Onewolf on Wednesday, May 09, 2018 4:14 AM

In areas with 1x4 open grid I drill holes through the 1x4s.  In areas with shelf brackets and no 1x4 I use 1/2" cable clamps.

 

http://www.amazon.com/100-Pack-R-type-Cable-Clamp/dp/B01DEX6J4U/ref=sr_1_8?ie=UTF8&qid=1525857214&sr=8-8

 

Modeling an HO gauge freelance version of the Union Pacific Oregon Short Line and the Utah Railway around 1957 in a world where Pirates from the Great Salt Lake founded Ogden, UT.

- Photo album of layout construction -

  • Member since
    September, 2007
  • From: Charlotte, NC
  • 6,070 posts
Posted by Phoebe Vet on Wednesday, May 09, 2018 5:45 AM

I use a stand off stapler with a cable strap (tie wrap) run under it.

Dave

Lackawanna Route of the Phoebe Snow

  • Member since
    July, 2009
  • From: somerset, nj
  • 1,878 posts
Posted by gregc on Wednesday, May 09, 2018 6:16 AM

i agree with the suggestions that you drill a hole "in the middle" of a 1x4" support

otherwise I suggest a cable staple.   can always be removed.

greg - Philadelphia & Reading / Reading

  • Member since
    February, 2002
  • From: Reading, PA
  • 24,273 posts
Posted by rrinker on Wednesday, May 09, 2018 6:35 AM

 I drill hooles through the cross braces. In between, I bought a bag of those plastic clips for tie wraps (they have adhesive on them, but that only serves to hold it in place while I run a screw up the middle), and then use cable ties through them. Both the attachments and cable ties are cheap, in bulk packs. I don;t cinch the cable ties up tight so I can string other wires through if need be, and they are easier to move around to attach feeders. I probably was going to pull them tight after everything was done.

 These are the mounts:

https://www.homedepot.com/p/Commercial-Electric-1-in-Mounting-Base-Natural-100-Pack-HW-4AC/203531920

                            --Randy

 


Modeling the Reading Railroad in the 1950's

 

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

  • Member since
    January, 2010
  • From: Chi-Town
  • 7,119 posts
Posted by zstripe on Wednesday, May 09, 2018 6:51 AM

I use a combination of holes drilled through braces and screw eyes which come in a variety of sizes. easy to use.....poke a hole with an awl/ice pick and screw in the eye, anywhere You want. The price with not break the bank. Available at any big box store:

https://express.google.com/product/766751129472242988_775663928851417384_102239280

If You already have Your bus set up and hanging....just screw in the eye where You want support and with needle nose pliers bend the eye out some to slip in the wire. Then you don't have to bend back the eye......leave it bent out, then you can remove any wire you want without having to unscrew any clamp  or staple. Been using them since the late 50's. They come in all sizes and wire thickness, very easy to bend out.

 

Blue Hawk 40-Pack Zinc Screw Eyes Hooks

Take Care!Big Smile

Frank

PED
  • Member since
    April, 2016
  • 250 posts
Posted by PED on Wednesday, May 09, 2018 8:06 AM

I have a similar arangement with foam and spaced 1x4s under my layout. I attached a lot of the plastic conduit clamps under the 1x4 and ran my wires thru them. If your wire is already in place, just use one screw to hold the clamp on then you can slide the wire into the clamp. When all wire is where you want it, add another screw to the other end of the clamp to keep it in place.

If all you wire is already in place, I dont see how drilling holes in your 1x4 will help since you cannot run the wires thru unless you disconnect one end of the wire.

An alternate way is to put some of the staples mentioned earlier on bottom of 1x4 and then use zip ties to secure your wire to the staples.

Paul

Washita and Santa Fe Railroad
Circa 1970's in south central Oklahoma

  • Member since
    May, 2010
  • 3,072 posts
Posted by mbinsewi on Wednesday, May 09, 2018 9:40 AM

GB (Gardner Bender), most hardware stores carry their products, makes different size cable clamps that you can put around the wires, and then scew the clamp to the 1x4s.

I used the stand-off staples, and in some places, cable zip ties, in some places I drill holes in the supports.  My bench started out as a heavy built work bench, with 2" foam on the top.

Mike.

  • Member since
    February, 2005
  • From: Vancouver Island, BC
  • 21,300 posts
Posted by selector on Wednesday, May 09, 2018 10:09 AM

rrebell

I just drilled holes in the 1x4's

 

Ditto.  It's the cheapest method before purchasing anything else, be it plastic or metal retainers, pipe strapping, conduit, etc.

  • Member since
    May, 2010
  • 3,072 posts
Posted by mbinsewi on Wednesday, May 09, 2018 11:41 AM

selector
Ditto. It's the cheapest method before purchasing anything else, be it plastic or metal retainers, pipe strapping, conduit, etc.

Agreed, unless, the wiring is already in place, which seems to be the situation with the OP.

Mike.

  • Member since
    January, 2015
  • From: Southern California
  • 1,229 posts
Posted by Lone Wolf and Santa Fe on Wednesday, May 09, 2018 12:21 PM

    Don’t ever use duct tape on wires. It’s just a sticky gooey mess. The proper tape to use on wires is gaffer’s tape but it is for temporary use only.
    The problem with drilling holes is that if you have to make a change you might have to pull all of the wire completely out and start all over again.
    The problem with the big Romex straps (staple) that someone posted above is that they tend to split 1x4s and damage them. And they don't really keep the wire tight unless you hammer them in all of the way. They are made for Romex and can easily damage single wires. Also you might not have space to hammer them in or want to disturb the layout with the banging.
    The cable clamps also require hammering. You might be able to replace the nail with a screw. So they might work out ok.
    I think one of the easiest and cheapest solutions like someone else suggested above is to use a staple gun to staple a twist tie (from a box of garbage bags) to the bottom of the 1x4s and use it to tie up the wires. These can easily be untwisted for future changes.

Modeling a fictional version of California set in the 1990s Lone Wolf and Santa Fe Railroad
  • Member since
    June, 2009
  • From: Dallas, TX
  • 2,994 posts
Posted by CMStPnP on Wednesday, May 09, 2018 1:13 PM

In the Electronics section of bothe Frye's Electronics and Home Depot they sell plastic wire guides that will form a closed loop when fastened to something.   Frye's actually has a pretty large selection of DPDT switches, resistors, and LED's.

  • Member since
    September, 2007
  • From: Charlotte, NC
  • 6,070 posts
Posted by Phoebe Vet on Wednesday, May 09, 2018 1:24 PM

Phoebe Vet

I use a stand off stapler with a cable strap (tie wrap) run under it.

 

To clarify my post.  My stapler has an attachment that stops the staple from being driven flush.  It is made for stapling a wire without  damaging it.  If I use that, then a cable strap slides easily under it.  I use cable straps but a twist tie or even a short piece of wire would work just as well.

Dave

Lackawanna Route of the Phoebe Snow

  • Member since
    December, 2004
  • From: Rimrock, Arizona
  • 10,739 posts
Posted by SpaceMouse on Wednesday, May 09, 2018 2:51 PM

I ran my bus along the inside of the outer edge of the layout. I attached the wires with cup hooks that held the wires fairly tight against the inside edge. That way when it comes time to attach the feeder wires, I can unhook them and work on them without crawling under the layout. They seem to be tightly secure in this configuration.  

Chip

Building the Rock Ridge Railroad with the slowest construction crew west of the Pecos.

  • Member since
    February, 2008
  • 773 posts
Posted by kasskaboose on Wednesday, May 09, 2018 4:32 PM

Great suggestions everyone!  The wires aren't in place so I can easily move them around.  I like the idea of using hooks drilled into the 1x4s underneath the layout.  The twist ties are another helpful suggestion. 

The "U" shaped staples are what I thought to use originally.  My concern is they would cut into the buss wires but probably not.  There's no reason to us something too heavy since the wires might get moved around as the layout grows.

  • Member since
    September, 2003
  • From: Southeast Texas
  • 4,865 posts
Posted by mobilman44 on Wednesday, May 09, 2018 4:51 PM

In building my current HO (10x15 two level) layout I drilled a plethora of 1/2 inch holes in the many, many 1x4 cross members.  This was done as the benchwork was built, anticipating how many holes would be needed (and adding some extra). 

The results (to me) are terrific.  Bus wiring has separate "holes", turnout wiring separate ones, and future signal wiring has separate ones as well.

ENJOY  !

 

Mobilman44

 

Living in southeast Texas, modeling the "postwar" Santa Fe and Illinois Central 

  • Member since
    May, 2016
  • 31 posts
Posted by Atchee on Thursday, May 10, 2018 2:24 PM

My favorites are zip ties with the screwhole tab and the whtle plastic Romex staples with the 2 nails (replaced with long small diameter sheet metal or wood screws.

I like wood framing that can support me if absolutely necessary and drilled 1 X 4s woud be highly suspect for failure

 

  • Member since
    July, 2006
  • From: 4610 Metre's North of the Fortyninth on the left coast of Canada
  • 5,024 posts
Posted by BATMAN on Thursday, May 10, 2018 3:25 PM

Atchee
I like wood framing that can support me if absolutely necessary and drilled 1 X 4s woud be highly suspect for failure

I doubt it would be an issue. If your weight is distributed over one board it shouldn't be a problem. If built properly your weight should be distributed over many boards.

You can get a lot of wire through a 1/4" hole.

  

 

Brent

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

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

  • Member since
    January, 2010
  • From: Chi-Town
  • 7,119 posts
Posted by zstripe on Thursday, May 10, 2018 9:08 PM

You can drill all the holes you want in the side of a support material, wood or steel, alum,etc. it's when you notch or cut on the top or bottom of the material when used as a horizontal support is when you weaken it.

Take Care! Big Smile

Frank

  • Member since
    July, 2006
  • From: Bradford, Ontario
  • 8,278 posts
Posted by hon30critter on Thursday, May 10, 2018 11:04 PM

Atchee
drilled 1 X 4s woud be highly suspect for failure

We have built the benchwork for our new club layout entirely out of 1 x 4s and we can climb on it as we wish. We have even drilled six or so 3/8" and 5/8" holes through most of the supporting structure. It is very solid.

The only difference in our case might be that we have screwed and glued 3/4" plywood to the top of the benchwork so the load is distributed over more than one or two boards.

Dave

  • Member since
    July, 2006
  • From: Phoenix, AZ
  • 1,453 posts
Posted by bearman on Friday, May 11, 2018 7:53 AM

Plastic cable clamps purchased at my local Ace Hardware.

Bear "It's all about having fun."

  • Member since
    March, 2015
  • 1,203 posts
Posted by SouthPenn on Friday, May 11, 2018 8:22 AM

kasskaboose

Great suggestions everyone!  The wires aren't in place so I can easily move them around.  I like the idea of using hooks drilled into the 1x4s underneath the layout.  The twist ties are another helpful suggestion. 

The "U" shaped staples are what I thought to use originally.  My concern is they would cut into the buss wires but probably not.  There's no reason to us something too heavy since the wires might get moved around as the layout grows. 

The 'U' shaped metal staples are meant to be snug against the wires to keep them from moving. I have installed tons of these mostly to hold romex in place. But romex is double insulated. I don't think you would ever have any problems with using these staples on your layout, but there are better solutions.

South Penn
  • Member since
    December, 2004
  • From: Bedford, MA, USA
  • 17,766 posts
Posted by MisterBeasley on Friday, May 11, 2018 1:30 PM

I drilled holes through 1x4 joists as I built the bench work, and ran bus lines through them.  For subsequent work, I bundle wires and wrap them with cable ties and then hang the bundles from cup hooks screwed into the joists.

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

  • Member since
    December, 2004
  • From: Pa.
  • 3,133 posts
Posted by DigitalGriffin on Friday, May 11, 2018 3:53 PM

kasskaboose

Can you pls offer really cheap and effective ways to keep the buss wires from hanging low under the layout?  The buss wires are underneath a foam layout that's resting on 1x4's spaced every 16" apart.  Using cargo tape is somewhat effective; duct tape is not working.  One thought I had was buying "u-shaped"  cable staples. I fear that the below might cut into the 14AWG buss wires.  Something like this:

https://www.homedepot.com/p/Gardner-Bender-1-2-in-White-Plastic-Staples-For-NM-Cable-50-Pack-PS-50/100204230

If that's a suitable idea, should I get 3/4" wide ones instead?

 

Thanks.

 

 

The nails won't hold in the foam.  Cut out a small square a plywood about 3"x3" and hot glue it to the foam.  Use that as your plastic staple surface.

 

BTW: Those plastic staple clips with nails on each side are what I use.  They work great.  It's easy to loosen then if you need too.  And they never once cut through my insulation.  I also use zip ties

 

 

Don - Specializing in layout DC->DCC conversions

Modeling C&O transition era and steel industries There's Nothing Like Big Steam!

  • Member since
    September, 2014
  • From: 10,578’ (3,224 m)
  • 808 posts
Posted by jjdamnit on Friday, May 11, 2018 3:55 PM

Hello all,

Have you thought of cup hooks and zip ties?

Some cup hooks are large enough accommodate a small wire bundle, depending on placement.

Other ones could be used to support wire bundles loosely zip tied together.

Remember you are not building a house, you will need access to the individual wires for maintenance and upgrade.

At this point you cannot code, mark and document your schematic enough. Trust me on this one, this will help immensely for future gremlin chasing. 

Hope this helps.

"Uhh...I didn’t know it was 'impossible' I just made it work...sorry"

  • Member since
    February, 2008
  • 773 posts
Posted by kasskaboose on Friday, May 11, 2018 7:20 PM

Thanks for your assistance.  It means a lot that you understand the need for having access to the wires.

I got 1/4" plastic hooks that work on nailing into the wood. 

Subscriber & Member Login

Login, or register today to interact in our online community, comment on articles, receive our newsletter, manage your account online and more!

Search the Community

ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT
Model Railroader Newsletter See all
Sign up for our FREE e-newsletter and get model railroad news in your inbox!