Best way to wire this layout

Discussion in 'FAQs' started by Connor, Jan 25, 2005.

  1. Connor

    Connor Member

    And you feed both sides of the joint? Got any pictures of the topside? :)
  2. CalFlash

    CalFlash Member

    The wires go up to a hole along each rail about 2 or 3 ties back from the end of the rail. I bend about 1/4" of the wire 90 degrees then bend that area over about 45 degrees to fit along the base of the rail. I don't know if this pic will be any help - my camera won't focus close enough.

  3. Connor

    Connor Member

    OKay, Another question with this layout.. It's got around 18 turnouts. I've built my bench work which is 2 x 2" thick foam on a 1x4 frame. I'm wondering which turnouts should be powered, and what's the best switch machine to use.. I like the idea of under the table, but that's going to be a big pain in the a$$ with 4" of Styrofoam + road bed.. I hate how the snap switches look, and tortoises are expensive.. I'm thinking of maybe just buying the turnouts and figuring out how to power them a little bit later. Anyone have any takes on this?

    Thanks, Connor
  4. CalFlash

    CalFlash Member

    I don't think I ever saw your plan but if the turnouts are close enough to the edge (say under 2' or so) you might consider some sort of hand throws. There have been numerous articles building various ones inc one that used a slide switch on its side and with something on top of it to look like a switch stand (non operational of course other than serving as the "handle" to throw it).
  5. Connor

    Connor Member

    My plan is at the begining of this thread. I don't have pictures of the bench work done to be able to show yet. Some of the switches are close to the edge, most aren't.. Most are on the other side of the bench or in the center.
  6. Kim Paynter

    Kim Paynter New Member

    I'm no pro but I think I would do away with that level 90 crossing on the reversing loop. Or it will shorten up the max. train lenght you can run by quite abit as you will have to have everything Isolated from it.

  7. CalFlash

    CalFlash Member

    After looking at the plan, I don't think I'd rely on manual above the ground switches. Almost any throw linkage that uses a rotating action should work even thru thick roadbed/foundation.
  8. Connor

    Connor Member

    What about the standard snap switches table top or under table? Tortoise machines are kinda pricy...
  9. CalFlash

    CalFlash Member

    Standard snap switches should work table top but don't lend themselves to under table mounting esp with such a thick roadbed/foundation. You might experiment with mounting them topside but away from the turnout itself so you can disguise them with scenery, a building over them or something.
  10. theBear

    theBear Member

    Kim, back on one of the prior pages you can find a colored track plan where Conner has indicated he is going to isolate track sections.

    I haven't used a crossing in a gazilion years but would expect that the tracks would be isolated. Since that was back in my 3 rail days it wouldn't matter. Anyway if you go by his blocks he has already done the required isolation.
  11. EngineerKyle

    EngineerKyle Member


    Sorry to resurrect an old thread, but.... Connor's q's run similar to mine. MY only question is.... If you use DPDT toggles for reversing loops with DCC... is a short and a sudden stop the worst that can happen? When that happens with DC, and it does, you just reverse the polarity after the fact and start running again. Same with DCC? COuld you smoke something? or could a loco lose it's address, etc.?

  12. theBear

    theBear Member

    Other than the fact that the decoder will recycle it should be fine. I haven't heard of any problems.
  13. EngineerKyle

    EngineerKyle Member

    thanks for the quick reply... what does recycle mean?

    I just read a few minutes ago that a guy on another forum tryed to reverse polarity on the DCC mainline while the engine was running and it just stopped.... and it would not run again... that sounds bad?

    More info? experiences? anyone.....
  14. baldwinjl

    baldwinjl Member

    Reversing the polarity on the track should not influence the operation of a DCC locomotive at all. It should just carry on as normal. If anything else happened, there is another problem. Where'd you see that? (One possibility os he only reversed the polarity on one track, or somehow creather a short by having a common rail.)
  15. theBear

    theBear Member

    Inside your DCC equipped locomotive there is a small limited function computer that goes through a power up/power down sequence.

    Powering down then back up is a recycle.

    I haven't a clue about what others have run into.

    It could have been a marginal decoder, like everything electronic there are ones that just fail.

    At the current time I run Lentz decoders in Atlas locos and haven't had a bit of (Where's that block o wood? There it is, thump up the side of the head) trouble. YMMV etc...
  16. MasonJar

    MasonJar It's not rocket surgery

    I don't know if that is really the preferred method of handling reversing loops in DCC... You can get reversing modules that take care of the power issues for you. May be better for the long-term health of your decoders to avoid the DPDT switches.

  17. Gary Pfeil

    Gary Pfeil Active Member

    The DPDT switch will serve the same purpose as the reversing module, it will switch the polarityof a reverse block. I assume you want to use the switch rather than a reverse module to save money. What you are giving up is automatic operation. You need to manually ensure that the polarities match entering and leaving the reverse block. Just flip the toggle while in the block, making sure it was set correctly when entering. As already stated, the polarity means nothing to the loco direction. The main drawback is that when you forget to match the polarity, the breaker in the booster will trip, shutting down the layout. I assume that if you are saving money by not buying a reverse module that you are also not going to buy power shields to section your layout. While the short will not cause damage to decoders normally, I think its a good idea to minimize how often they occur. I have had to reprogram an address in a loco on occasion. Rarely tho.

  18. 60103

    60103 Pooh Bah

    The momentary current interruption when you flip the DPDT switch will have the same effect as dirty track. On the locos I've seen, the chip will reset itself to 0 speed and accelerate up to the set speed.
    If you are just trying to save on the reverse loop module, wire it through the DPDT contacts on a switch machine. You still need to throw the track switch while the train is in the loop.
  19. EngineerKyle

    EngineerKyle Member

    Thanks for all the good info guys.... 1.) I think the person who had his loco stop when running on a track where he flipped the polarity used a switch with no "middle off" position. This may be a key to his problem... thoughts?

    2.) actually, I'm not trying to save money..... I have two reversing loop modules on order from MRC (about 25 bucks each from and I have heard they are a good product... I just wanna run until they get here... I think it will also be cool to have the option to use the DPDT's..... Do the modules work in DC mode?

    I was thinking of have a DC power pack and DPDT switches side by side with an EZ commander and the modules.... setting up a switch, possibly two, to change from one system to the other. SO that the whole layout could go DC or DCC... but NOT both at the same time.... Comments od Experiences with that?

  20. baldwinjl

    baldwinjl Member

    The reversing modules don't work with DC.


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