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Bus Wire with Block Control

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Bus Wire with Block Control
Posted by Anonymous on Saturday, March 9, 2002 6:03 PM
I'm ready to wire my layout and want to use a bus wire with feeders to allow for better power along the track. My question is how do you use bus wires with block or section control? Do you use only one bus wire for the common and run long feeders from the control panel to the track? Wouldn't this defeat the purpose of using the bus wire since the feeders are smaller and will run a longer distance? I'm not yet ready for DCC, so any assistance on how to wire the blocks with a bus would be appreciated.

Thanks,

Joe
Rockaway Beach, MO
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Posted by Anonymous on Saturday, March 9, 2002 7:06 PM
Hi Joe, Just thought I'd throw in my 2 cents worth. I agree that the idea is self defeating but for a different reason...by wiring back to the contol panel from the block one is just duplicating the wiring. #20 or #22 hookup wire will provide more than adequate current/voltage to the blocks with out any appreciable loss. There's just not enough resistance there to worry about in HO or N scales. So if you are having a centrally located control panel I don't see any problem with just feeding the panel and then wiring out to the blocks from the panel. The buss idea is great where you have the block toggles on the facia of the layout at each block but that's just for convenience anyway. The trick is to have an adequate power supply to begin with. Any good power pack/controller with 2AMPS or better output will be more than adequate for most home layouts....Hope this helped....Vic
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Posted by Anonymous on Monday, March 11, 2002 5:21 PM
Joe,

The answer to your question depends on two conditions: How big is your layout and are you wiring it for multi-cab operation with blocks of track or just running one locomotive?

Either way, you should use a larger size wire under the table to decrease the voltage loss in the power system. You can use smaller wires to attach the bus wire under the table to the track.

If you are wiring for multi-cab operation then you will need one 'common' bus wire attached to one rail of the track in several locations along the layout. You will also need several other bus wires under the table to power the other rail in each block. One bus wire will be needed for each block. The size of the wire is dependent on the size of your layout.

If you are wiring for only one cab, then you will need only one bus wire under the table for each rail. The bus wire should still be connected to the rail at several locations.

The modelers I know use either black or green colored wire for the common bus wire. Red or white colored wire is frequently used for the other rail.

If you are still confused, I recommend that you read Andy Sperandeo's book Easy Model Railroad Wiring. Good Luck - Ed
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Posted by Anonymous on Monday, March 11, 2002 9:38 PM
Thanks for your responses,

I guess I should have been a little more specific. My layout is made up of 1 mainline on a 5 x 8 table extended onto a 2 x 12 shelf (L shape). There are 3 industrial sidings on the table and 2 branches on the shelf. This layout is really meant for 1 cab, however I want to add on/off switches to the sidings and branches. This way I can store my locos at the sidings and run my routes along the mainline to the various industries choosing from no more than one of 3 locos. I guess the wiring is no different than multi cab except for using spst instead of dpdt switches.

My last layout was on a 4 x 8 and had about 5 blocks. My problem was with voltage drops at the furthest point from the power source. This is why I wanted to go to a bus with feeders. I guess the 1 common bus should help, but can I run the higher type wire through the spst switch or will it "burn" it out? OR do I run a bus from the pack to the panel, use 20 - 22 at the switch and pick up with a bus again?

Just looking for alternatives I guess. Maybe experimentation is on the horizon.

Again thanks

Joe
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Posted by Anonymous on Monday, March 11, 2002 9:45 PM
Thanks Ed,

See my reply to Vic for a description of what I'm doing. Do I go power pack to spst switch then connect a continuation of the bus from the spst to the block or use a feeder to the switch? Or do I burn up the switch?

Thanks again,

Joe
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Posted by Anonymous on Tuesday, March 12, 2002 10:53 AM
HI Fellows, Just a point of clarification...I did not mean to inferr that a buss system of wiring was inferior. I don't wire anything "common rail" and now that Joe explained what he wants to do I see that a buss system would work nicely with his layout since he has single cab control.

My layout is wired for dual cab control using dp/dt/co toggles to control the blocks. Each toggle is fed on ends by the two cabs and the center terminals feed the individual blocks. Everything is wired on the back on a centrally located contol panel and revesing and reversing loops are handled by a pair of dp/dt/co toggles for each cab wired as revesing switches feeding the block toggles. Consequently I have no common return (execpt at the control panel)and do not experience any significant voltage drops as each block is fed independently of any other block. In other words the layout is wired in paralell rather that series as would be with a common rail system. Hope this clarifies my thinking and my apologies for "clouding up" Joe's question...Take care and Have Fun....Vic

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Posted by Anonymous on Tuesday, March 12, 2002 9:57 PM
Joe,

Assuming you have no reversing sections on the layout (post me again if you do), you just need to have one common rail attached to the common bus wire at several locations along the main and one bus wire for the other rail which would be connected at many points along the main to the other rail. But you want to be able to turn off some parts of the track from time to time. Each of these sections will have to have their own power wire on the other rail (opposite the common rail that is) and a switch to turn them on and off.

My recommendation is this based on the size of your layout you run a 16 or 18 gage wire from the power pack to the switches and from the switches to under the table (these are the bus wires). Then attach a 22 gage wire to the rail and connect it to the larger wire under the table. It is unlikely that you will need to be concerned with the size of the switches you use (only a tiny PC board switch would burn out under this load) because almost any toggle switch sold will handle one amp of current.

Good Luck - Ed
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Posted by Anonymous on Wednesday, March 13, 2002 5:34 PM
Thanks Ed,

I'll go ahead and give this a try. I just wasn't sure if going from say 16 gauge to 22 then back to 16 would have any effect on the current to the track. I'll go ahead and start on my 5 x 9 section and see what happens. I've read the book Wiring your Model RR and saw the common wire bus, but they did not show any higher guage wire from the pack to switch and later to the rail.

I'll let you know how it turns out.

Again thanks to both you and Vic for clearing my mind a little on this.An electrical genius I am not.

Joe
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Posted by Anonymous on Wednesday, March 13, 2002 7:46 PM
Joe,

Just to clear something up: A 16 gage wire from the power pack to the (electrical) switch then a 16 gage wire from the switch to the track but this wire runs under the table; then the last wire in the chain is a 22 gage (solid) from the wire under the table to the track. Many modelers solder the wire to the rail. I use a special rail joiner and solder the wire to the rail joiner. Also, for a 5 x 9 you could probably use 18 gage wire instead of 16 gage wire.

Good Luck - Ed

P.S. I was involved in another similar thread called Wiring and Thanks which you may like to read.

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