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Source for 12-Gauge Stranded Wire

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JPD
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  • From: Berkley, MI
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Source for 12-Gauge Stranded Wire
Posted by JPD on Friday, October 16, 2020 10:34 AM
I need to acquire 12-gauge stranded wire for my layout. The problem I am having is finding a source for it in 100-foot rolls. I can get all the colors I needed at Lowes in 500-foot rolls, but this is far more than I will ever need and costs about $59.00 per roll.
 
I can get black and red wire in 100-foot rolls at Lowes, but I also need blue and yellow for my Tortoise bus line, and orange and brown for my DC bus line.
 
I have ordered wiring in the past from All Electronics, but they only go to 14-gauge.
 
Would any of you please recommend a good online source for ordering this kind of wire. Thanks. 
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Posted by rrinker on Friday, October 16, 2020 12:56 PM

 There's no need for a Tortoise bus to use #12, if Lowes has #14, use that. Even 20 tortoises only draw what one modern loco will draw, so the voltage drop is practically nothing. Not to mention they are quieter with less than 12V anyway.

It depends on how much you need - I've needed something like 2-300 feet in the past, and at the prices then, it was cheaper to buy the 500 foot spool than 2x 100 foot spools.

                          --Randy


Modeling the Reading Railroad in the 1950's

 

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

JPD
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Posted by JPD on Friday, October 16, 2020 2:03 PM

Thanks for the tip Randy. Do you think 14 AWG would be sufficient for lights and other DC accessories? If so, then I can readily get my hands on enought 14 AWG and Lowes sells 12 AWG in Red and Black for my track bus.

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Posted by rrinker on Friday, October 16, 2020 2:16 PM

 More than likely - how much stuff do you plan to connect? 

DO they still have #12 white? I think I got mine at Home Depot, but I went with red and white because in the shadows udner the layout, red and black tend to look alike. It also matches the #20 wire I used for feeders, which is a loosely twisted stuff marked as alarm wiring - it untwists easily enough, especially when cut to length (a 1 foot section is only like one twist). Colors matched the bus, which made things easy to get right, and the #20 solid made for easy soldering to track. I soldered the feeders to the bus, the sizes are too different for any of the usual suitcase connectors. My Ideal Stripemaster (or the Klein equivalent) makes quick work of paring back a section of insulation on the #12 strnaded, a tight wrap of the #20 feeder around the bus, and it actually worked fine as I worked along for a whiel before going back to solder them. A slight offset to one side or the other between the red and white bus and where I stripped it for the feeders prevented shorts. Afterwards it can be covered with liquid electrical tape, or just taped.

                                                  --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 Lastspikemike on Friday, October 16, 2020 2:29 PM

Since you only power one or two switch motors at the same time do you really need a heavy gauge bus pair to power those?

Even if you power several motors at once only the common wire needs to be heavier. The control wires are all acting as parallel circuits anyway so need not be heavier than the  normal gauge used to power only one motor. 

Alyth Yard

Canada

JPD
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Posted by JPD on Friday, October 16, 2020 3:20 PM

I really do not know at this point what DC lights and accessories I will be doing, but I want to pull bus wires for them now before I put the plywood base down. It is just easier to pull wire standing up.

I imagine in the future that I would like to light some buildings and do signal lighting.

My layout room is only 29' by 12' so 14 AWG might even work for the track bus, but as it is easy to get 12 AWG in black and red, I plan on using it.

I am also running convention 120 house wire around the layout benchwork for outlets. They will all be on a switch that kills all power to the layout.

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Posted by richhotrain on Friday, October 16, 2020 5:05 PM

If you want 12 gauge stranded wire in a variety of colors, check out Remington on eBay. I use Remington for all my layout wiring needs.

Rich

Alton Junction

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Posted by riogrande5761 on Friday, October 16, 2020 5:16 PM

JPD
My layout room is only 29' by 12' so 14 AWG might even work for the track bus, but as it is easy to get 12 AWG in black and red, I plan on using it.

My layout is in a 33x15 foot room.  I'm using 14 AWG wire for my track buss in a DCC format.   Depending on the chart you reference, you can run 40 to 50 feet from the booster.  Since I already have 14 AWG house wire, I'm going to use it rather than spend more on higher cost 12 AWG.  No need.

I'm breaking up the layout into power districts using DCC Specialties PSX1 breakers so I can limit the bus to 50' or less.

Rio Grande.  The Action Road  - Focus 1977-1983

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Posted by MisterBeasley on Friday, October 16, 2020 5:32 PM

I'm a bit of a heretic, even on the track bus issue.  My previous train room was 24x24.  I used #18 wire for my track bus, and thinner wire for everything else.  I had no problems.

Really, thick bus recommendations are really based on much larger basement-filling layouts or club layouts.  Sure, your technical numbers may be better, but I would imagine that available power and voltage on most of our home layouts is substantially above typical needs, and we would never notice the effect of thinner bus wires.

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

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Posted by SeeYou190 on Friday, October 16, 2020 5:41 PM

JPD
I need to acquire 12-gauge stranded wire for my layout. The problem I am having is finding a source for it in 100-foot rolls

I found it on eBay available in several colors in 100 foot rolls.

I usually buy (bought) all of my wire at electronic supply houses. My favorite is Skycraft in Orlando, Florida. You can usually find anything wire related by the foot in these places.

Lastspikemike
Since you only power one or two switch motors at the same time do you really need a heavy gauge bus pair to power those?

He stated he is using Tortoise switch machines.

All Tortoises remain powered all of the time. Every one on the layout is always powered at once.

-Kevin

Wink Happily modeling my STRATTON & GILLETTE RAILROAD. A Class A line located in a personal fantasy world of semi-plausible nonsense on Tuesday, August 3rd, 1954.

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Posted by Lastspikemike on Friday, October 16, 2020 6:01 PM

Sure but they aren't wired differently, surely. DC power with one common wire and two polarity change wires. The common wire will carry the total amps but the other two wires will form parallel connections. The multiple parallel connections all share their cross section. You add conductivity for each parallel circuit.  

Alyth Yard

Canada

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Posted by gmpullman on Friday, October 16, 2020 6:15 PM

Lastspikemike
Sure but they aren't wired differently, surely.

Surely, they are. The Tortoise is a stall motor drawing a slight amount of current, about 15 mA each, at stall. The polarity is reversed to move the motor and throw arm to the other direction.

I'll have to take a reading later. I have about seventy Tortoises all wired with 22 ga. POTS wire. I doubt the total current consumed is much over one amp.


 

Lastspikemike
The common wire will carry the total amps but the other two wires will form parallel connections. The multiple parallel connections all share their cross section.

Yes, the twin coil shares a common but each coil is independently energized (unless you mistakenly push both buttons at once) so you can't "multiple parallel" the normal and reverse wires thinking you're only using half the current.

Good Luck, Ed

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Posted by rrinker on Friday, October 16, 2020 7:59 PM

At 15 milliamps each, it takes 67 Tortoises to draw 1 amp. If all the Tortoises were at the end of 50 feet of #14 wire, not spread out along them - 50 feet of wire from the power supply, 67 Toroitse connected at one end, 50 feet back to the power supply, they would still get more than 11.3 volts. Inconsequential voltage loss. And the real layout wouldhave all the bus with the Tortoises at the far end, they would be distributed down the length of the bus. ANd if you put the power supply int he middle, that's a total of 100 feet of bus length, 50 feet one way fromt he power supply, and 50 feet the other way. If you actually have half that number of Tortoises,, and they are fairly evenly spread out along the bus, the voltage drop even for the farthest one would be neglibile. 

 Bottom line - don't worry so much, run some wire and then run some trains.

                                  --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 SeeYou190 on Friday, October 16, 2020 8:20 PM

rrinker
At the end of 50 feet of #14 wire, not spread out along them - 50 feet of wire from the power supply, 67 Toroitse connected at one end, 50 feet back to the power supply, they would still get more than 11.3 volts.<SNIP>  Bottom line - don't worry so much, run some wire and then run some trains.

Yes, and to make it even better, Tortoises function pretty much the same at voltages between 7 and 9 volts. I always set mine up for 9 volts, and if they drop even one whole volt, all is still OK!

-Kevin

Wink Happily modeling my STRATTON & GILLETTE RAILROAD. A Class A line located in a personal fantasy world of semi-plausible nonsense on Tuesday, August 3rd, 1954.

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Posted by riogrande5761 on Friday, October 16, 2020 8:47 PM

MisterBeasley

I'm a bit of a heretic, even on the track bus issue.  My previous train room was 24x24.  I used #18 wire for my track bus

Repent!

12 AWG does seem like overkill but the hobby is full of "Tim Allen's" where overkill is a part of the profile persona.  It probably won't cause and problems.  I'm trying to find a happy medium between "going large" and seeing how thin I can get away with.  

Rio Grande.  The Action Road  - Focus 1977-1983

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Posted by rrinker on Friday, October 16, 2020 11:28 PM

SeeYou190

 

 
rrinker
At the end of 50 feet of #14 wire, not spread out along them - 50 feet of wire from the power supply, 67 Toroitse connected at one end, 50 feet back to the power supply, they would still get more than 11.3 volts.<SNIP>  Bottom line - don't worry so much, run some wire and then run some trains.

 

Yes, and to make it even better, Tortoises function pretty much the same at voltages between 7 and 9 volts. I always set mine up for 9 volts, and if they drop even one whole volt, all is still OK!

-Kevin

 

 Back when I still used those jumbo green blocks, I ran them on 12 volts - but that was because I had 2 bicolor LEDs in series with the motor as panel indicators, reducing the actual voltage to around 8 volts. Slower and quieter than running them on a full 12V to the motor.

                                     --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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