Basic Wiring Question

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jetmech

New Member
I am completely new to model railroading. I have been reading and learnig from this forum for a few weeks. I decided it was time to join.
I am currently building a small 32" x 72" N scale layout. It is a basic loop with a passing track. The passing track starts in the back 9 " in from the curve and travels across the back, and around the right curve to half way across the front main line.
I want to wire my layout for DCC.
My question is.
How many and where would be the best place to install power wires.
I know this is a very basic layout and wiring question, but any help you could provide will be appreciated.
I am planning on adding 2 spurs coming from the passing track, so I will also have to wire them.
I was thinking I would have to have power somwhere before and after ech switch.
Thank you to all who can help.
 

SpaceMouse

Fun Lover
Howdy and welcome,

If you are using flex track then I would say every piece of flex should have a drop down. If you are using sectional track then I would put a buss line under your loop and have a drop down every 12-18." I believe in lots of paths for current.

I model HO and the distances may be off a little for N scale.
 

NickB

Wannabe Engineer
I would say personally that you could space it out more, I have finished wiring my track and have a drop about every 3-5 ft. It's HO and I have yet to have any kind of power problem even when I'm running multiple large engines.
 

SpaceMouse

Fun Lover
I would say personally that you could space it out more, I have finished wiring my track and have a drop about every 3-5 ft. It's HO and I have yet to have any kind of power problem even when I'm running multiple large engines.
N sectional track will have a joint every 6" or so so there is a higher probability of loss of continuity. Also, time is a factor. The longer a layout lasts the more like there is that something might happen to break or weaken a connection.

My tracks are wired redundantly wired by the Department of redundancy Department.
 

NickB

Wannabe Engineer
That's fine if you do it redundantly but it's not necessary, you would be surprised at how little voltage drops along an average size layout. I did have the specs of mine but that's on my home computer. The probability of loss of continuity is not as hight as you would think. I doubt the op is planning on doing a whole layout sectionally anyways, your just assuming the worst and assuming is a bad thing :D We should first find out more specs from the op before making assumptions on what he needs. Part of engineering design is getting all requirements before even designing and planning.
 

jetmech

New Member
Thanks for all the responce.
If I am understanding, I should be ok with 2 to 4 bus lines around the loop and passing.
Would it hurt anything to drop a bus line from each of the 2 spurs?
I am using KATO unitrack at this point. This small track is being used for me to learn on. I do plan on building a larger lay out in a spare bedroom later on. On the bedroom layout, I will be using flex track.
 

NickB

Wannabe Engineer
It would be beneficial to have a drop on each spur, and really on a layout your length you could probably get away with 3 drops per side, as long as your connections are good and solid between your rail and your feeder wire, between your feeder wire and your buss wire. IF you have good connections I don't think you'll have any problems. Check out the website it's a good source of info.
http://www.wiringfordcc.com/
 

jetmech

New Member
Thanks NickB, I added this to my favorets and I can see how this is going to answer alot of my questions.
 

SpaceMouse

Fun Lover
So Nick. Just hypothetically, if you are running a layout with sectional joints every 6" you would think that over the course of say 3 years there would be very little likelihood of a spill of solvent or water (or Pepsi) or a bump that might slightly dislodge a track that could cause a person to have to track down the source of a break in continuity under ballast etc. so that an extra half-hour of soldering feeders wouldn't be worth it?
 

NickB

Wannabe Engineer
If you have the track nailed down appropriately, but you also have to do maintence on your track as far as cleaning. Your statement is really not relevant, not trying to be rude. But think about it this way your going to have natural corosion no matter what so your going to have to do some sort of maintence cleaning anyways. True clean rooms are the only way where you won't have to worry about an environment affecting it. Also if a slight bump affects your track to cause a loose connection between to pieces wiring should be the least of your concerns next to proper constuction methods.
 

SpaceMouse

Fun Lover
Unless your solder your connectors, electricity is conducted through a friction joint. Theoretically, stuff, corrosives, etc can get into those joints and cause a lack of conductivity. A common occurrence is glue combined with wet-water penetrating the connector joint during ballasting. Nailing down does not protect against, say a screw driver dropping on a joint.

I'm not saying that things like this happen frequently, but on the other hand, the longer your layout exists, the more likely it becomes an issue. And the more joints between power, the more likely it will effect operation. And it only takes one time of searching for a problem and solving it through scenery and ballast to make a few extra feeders worthwhile.
 

NickB

Wannabe Engineer
Yea I kinda know a little bit about electricity and what and how it's affected by the environement. I helped build naval radar systems that are suppose to withstand the most detrimental conditions. I was saying that if a layout was properly built and the size he's wanting he only needs 3 feeders per side realistically. I just think that's better than what you proposed of having a feeder every ft in N scale on this layout which come out to be 6 for each long side of the 72" and 2 for each end for the 32". That sounds like an awful lot for a simple layout.
 
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jetmech

New Member
Thanks NickB and Spacemaouse.
From what I am gathering there is no formula for feeders. You need to take in consideration joints, age and corrsion and proper construction methods.
Is it safe to say, with in limits, adding to many feeders will not hurt the train or track?
I also think that adding to many feeders could cause problems also.
My plan is to have 3 feeders on the long sides of the layout, 2 feeders on the passing loop, and one feeder on each spur finger.
Does anyone see a problem with this setup.
Thanks
 

NickB

Wannabe Engineer
I personally don't see a problem with what you are planning for feeder wires.. You cannot have too many feeder wires just make sure they are of good quality connection, I solder all my wire joints. My only advice is to practice on some scrap pieces of track to make sure you get the wires to lay just right on the outside of the rail so as they do not exceed the height of the rail cause derailments.
 

SpaceMouse

Fun Lover
I'll concede the point in this case since 1) he's using Kato track and 2) He plans to expand it anyway, which means he probably won't be ballasting it down any time soon.

By the way it is not the distance between the feeders that is important to me, but rather the number of joints between the feeders. If two pieces of flex were soldered together 5 ft between feeders would be sufficient.
 
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DaytonPiquaRR

Freelance
Hey Jet! I am new too so I don't have any info about your question, but noticed you are from Tipp City. Just a hello from a neighbor here in Dayton. Are you going to this weekends train show or the one in December at Hara?
 

jetmech

New Member
Hi DaytonPiquaRR,

I did go to the show on Sunday 11/4/2007 and I will be going to the December show.
Thanks for saying hello.
 




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