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track feeders

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  • Member since
    April 2003
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track feeders
Posted by Anonymous on Friday, December 6, 2002 6:45 PM
just to clear up from an earlier question. I should attach feeders every 6 feet or so and wire the feeders to a bus for each rail and then to my dcc without adding any insulators between the sections of track where the feeders are connected? I was concerned about all these wires together in a series. Or since the loco completes the circuit only the section the loco is in is drawing the power?
  • Member since
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Posted by Anonymous on Saturday, December 7, 2002 9:11 AM
Hello cbroyles,

I don't see a great potential for trouble by isolating track sections between feeders, but it's really not necessary. I have yet to see it recommended by a DCC manufacturer. One of the benefits of DCC is not having to cut gaps or add insulated rail joiners as is necessary for DC cab control.

The exceptions are if you're wiring the layout for power districts or wiring a progamming track on the layout.

A power district has DCC command station powering an electrically isolated section of the layout. In this case, both rails would be insulated or gapped between power districts. Don't confuse this with DC cab control wiring. Power districts are used for power distribution, not train control, and almost always on larger layouts with DCC where one command station can't handle the amperage demands of several trains. Most of us need only one DCC command station for the entire layout.

Manufacturers cover programming tracks in their literature.

As for feeders I solder them every six feet or so. I attach the other ends to a barrier/terminal strip (either four-, six-, or eight-position dual row, depending on the number of parallel tracks in the area). There's one barrier/terminal strip under the layout every six or so feet for the "north" rail and another for the "south" rail, with one track feeder per terminal position.

Barrier/terminal strips keep the wiring neater, and if there's an open or a short circuit in the track I can unscrew feeders to isolate the problem area more easily than by unsoldering or clipping connections. Make sure to use color-coded feeders. I prefer red and black.

As for wiring from the bus line to the barrier/terminal strips, I attach a jumper strip to one row of terminals on each barrier/terminal strip opposite from the track feeders. Then to this side I attach a short feeder from the appropriate bus line of the same wire gauge. I'm using 14-gauge solid strand and make the connection from the bus line using insulation displacement connectors (sometimes called "tap splices.") On the other end of the bus feeder I crimp on a ring terminal.

Bottom line: it's nice and tidy, and easy to maintain.

Hope this helps,

Paul Schmidt
Contributing Editor
Trains.com
  • Member since
    April 2003
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Posted by Anonymous on Saturday, December 7, 2002 1:29 PM
Paul:

Your description almost matches to a tee what I have done on my layout. I have found that the barrier/terminal strips are vey nice to work with and if there is a problem, it's easy to find.

I am using 12 gauge wire for the bus and 14 gauge for the feeders. So far the reliability of DCC on my layout has been superior to that of other layouts where the owner did not go through the slightly greater effort on the front end.

Good luck!

Jim
  • Member since
    April 2003
  • 302,278 posts
Posted by Anonymous on Saturday, December 7, 2002 1:29 PM
Paul:

Your description almost matches to a tee what I have done on my layout. I have found that the barrier/terminal strips are vey nice to work with and if there is a problem, it's easy to find.

I am using 12 gauge wire for the bus and 14 gauge for the feeders. So far the reliability of DCC on my layout has been superior to that of other layouts where the owner did not go through the slightly greater effort on the front end.

Good luck!

Jim
  • Member since
    January 2001
  • From: Guelph, Ont.
  • 1,476 posts
Posted by BR60103 on Saturday, December 7, 2002 10:00 PM
Really, the wires in parallel do not create a problem. What you are doing is making a larger wire from the bus plus the rail (more copper).
--David

--David

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