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Installing a track bus: Early questions (Updated 2/18)

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  • Member since
    June 2003
  • From: Northeast OH
  • 16,131 posts
Posted by tstage on Wednesday, February 20, 2008 10:12 PM
bump...Any input?

Time...It marches on...without ever turning around to see if anyone is even keeping in step.

  • Member since
    February 2006
  • From: Gahanna, Ohio
  • 1,987 posts
Posted by jbinkley60 on Thursday, February 21, 2008 4:18 AM



I generally determine the number of blocks based upon two criteria:  the maximum number of running locomotives I will have in a block along with the amount of current they will draw and breaking up the layout into reasonable fault domains to troubleshoot abnormal conditions.  On my 11' x 12' layout I went with 9 blocks.  Probably overkill but it will allow me flexibility for the future in case new things come along that require additional power.  I won't have to rewire anything.  The other advantage of this method is that it reduces the need for the longer monolithic track buses where many folks suggest 12 ga bus wiring.   With 9 blocks I didn't use a lot of large wire because the runs were shorter because the blocks were smaller and the distance to get back to the protection circuits and boosters was greatly reduced.

Having said this, I have a yard on my layout that is a main yard and an engine servicing area.  I broke it up into two blocks, mainly because I might have 10-12 locomotives in the enginer servicing area and I wanted to provide more total power to the area.  Even with this I went with a minimum number of gaps.  I generally like to gap the entrance to the yard before the first switch.  I don't see an advantage of gapping each yard track on the yard side of the switches, especially if you are using power routing turnouts.  You'll already be gapping them.  For me I went with insulated frog and just ran a set of block feeders to each yard track and gapped before the main turnout.  I like to keep things simple.  Follwoing thism approach on your layout and using the top diagram I would gap just tp the right of the 3-1 turnout and gap 3-4 like you have it shown.  The only question is seperate blocks or wire them as one block ?  I am not sure one track necessitates spending the $40 or so for separate block protection.   

As for the question on the tail light issue with NCE, I can't comment on it.  It may be a timing  or trip current issue.  I have 3 Digitrax boosters and use Tony's Power Shields.  There was a little setup with this getting the trip current and timing adjusted but it works pretty flawless right now.



Engineer Jeff NS Nut
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  • Member since
    August 2006
  • From: New Hampshire
  • 459 posts
Posted by ChrisNH on Thursday, February 21, 2008 9:03 AM

I would be consider using white glue. It would be easy to pull up the terminal strip if you had to and would not attack the foam. If it was stubborn you could release it with a little water (after turning the booster OFF!). It might not grip as tight as some other adhesives, but I would rather have my terminal strip popoff the foam then have my wires torn out if it got pulled on for some reason.

I solderered rather then use terminal strips for my bus to my feeders, I only use a terminal strip as a barrier between the bus and the booster, so I can't really comment what effect your method would have. If I had sub-busses I would use terminal strips but only to make it easier to troubleshoot.


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