Checking the feeder wires


Active Member
I have all of the Atlas feeder wire rail joiners drilled through and placed on the layout. Does anyone have a suggestion on how I can check the connection between the BUS and the feeder wires as I connect them together. My idea is to power up the NCE power cab after connecting each pair of Feeders and BUS wires as I work my way around the layout to check the connection I just made. I am thinking this can be done with a multimeter..but have never done this before.

Any advice or suggestions are greatly appreciated.
A multimeter will work. Set it to resistance testing (ohms) and touch the rail and the feeder. You should see very low resistance. How did you connect the drop wires to the feeder. I would have checked each feeder unless your sure of your soldering skills. A shiny solder joint is a good indicator of a good connection.

I am using Atlas rail joiners that come with the feeder wires attached. Forgive me if I am not describing it correctly. I plan on using "suitcase" connectors for connecting the feeder wires with the BUS. I was thinking of placing the probes from the multimeter where the BUS is connected to the NCE on my control panel. Then comparing that reading with the rail joiner/feeder wires as I attach them to the track. Again, I hope that I am describing this with the correct terms. I am thinking the two readings should be the same or pretty close. It is only a 4 X 8 layout.
Just checking the voltage without a load will only tell you that you have continuity.

A good, low resistance connection and a poor, high resistance connection will read the same voltage without a load drawing current.

With a load drawing current then poor, high resistance connection will exhibit a voltage drop that you could then detect.

A resistance measurement would be better if your meter is capable of reading very low resistances - less then 1 ohm - with a reasonable degree of accuracy.

Just FYI they make equipment for just this purpose - here is one such device.