Control Panel - 'Quick Electrical Connectors'

Discussion in 'FAQs' started by bigdonnie, Oct 22, 2004.

  1. bigdonnie

    bigdonnie Member

    OK guys, I really need some assistance on this one! :confused:

    I am building a 2' x 4' N scale coffee table layout and I've gotten to the point where I need to wire the small control panel to the layout. However, I want to be able to quickly disconnect the panel from the layout and store it out of the way when not in use --- the coffee table is actually a curio table with two drawers, but I will make the top drawer into a 'dummy' drawer with a hinged front that can pull down to temporarly support the panel and power pack.

    What could you specifically suggest to use as electrical connectors? Ideally, there would be a cable(s) running from the panel to the layout that would connect much like a printer cable to a computer. Is that the way to go, or are there other alternatives I should consider?

    FYI --- the panel has 12 turnout switches, main and reversing switches and two auxiliary switches for the lighting on the two halves of the layout --- in other words, a fair amount of wiring for a small layout!

    All guidance/assistance/suggestions gladly accepted! :)
  2. N Gauger

    N Gauger 1:20.3 Train Addict

    Is this going to be a permanant layout?? Is the drawer large enough to store the power pack & controls - you could mount the controls in the drawer & just plug it in when in use & when not using it, unplug it & slide the drawer closed :)

    If this won't work, you will have to find a connector with enough pins to support your wiring.

    Remember the voltage & amperage restrictions of the cables too!!

    Also... Welcome aboard The Gauge! :D :D :D
  3. bigdonnie

    bigdonnie Member

    Thanks Mike (or do you prefer Mikey?):

    I would say 'semi-permanent' --- I want to have the ability to take it out for detailing, track maintenance, repairs, etc.

    You're certainly right about using connectors with enough pins --- that's why I suspect I'll end up with at least two major connectors and cables.

    Thanks for the heads up about checking the voltage/amperage restrictions for the cables --- I hadn't considered that at all.
  4. N Gauger

    N Gauger 1:20.3 Train Addict

    Mikey's fine :)

    Yeah - I've cooked some wire in my time with switch machines - you have to use good wire ( 20 or 22 gauge at least) :D

    Do you have any pics of this Railroad??? -- If you do - post a few. We like pics!! :D
  5. theBear

    theBear Member

    Only cooked, was that medium rare, or fully melted?[​IMG][​IMG][​IMG][​IMG][​IMG]

    I always loved it when my wiring acted like a fuse protecting the already burned out switch coil.

    Info for all:
  6. bigdonnie

    bigdonnie Member

    I'll post some pics next week --- I still have more structures to add and the scenery to do, but its coming along nicely.

    Just to make sure I'm understanding correctly what you're saying about wire --- I do have either 20 or 22 gauge running to the switch machines under the layout, but I can't imagine that I would need that size of wire to run between the panel and the layout. For example, if I used a computer printer cable between panel/layout, if anything were to 'cook it would be one of the much finer wire. I'm using Peco switch motors with SPDT momentary toggle switches on the panel --- anybody have any idea what the amperage would be going to the switch machine? What I should probably do is (i) experiment with an old printer cable and the aux power from my power pack to see if there could be a frying issue or not and (ii) look at the typical specs for this type of cable.
  7. bigdonnie

    bigdonnie Member

    One other thing --- how DO I post pics to the forum? I've never done it before.
  8. Chessie6459

    Chessie6459 Gauge Oldtimer

    Your right NG we do like pictures LOL :D :D

    bigdonnie Below is a link on how to upload photo's to the website. :wave:

    Welcome To The-Gauge :wave: :wave:
  9. Tileguy

    Tileguy Member

    You would need 2 cables regardless.1 for all DC connections and 1 for all AC connections.You may want to consider 3 cables.1 for block power,1 for switches and 1 for misc lighting etc.
  10. N Gauger

    N Gauger 1:20.3 Train Addict

    Tileguy - you don't need different cables as long as you keep all the connections straight...

    wait a minute... (Mikey looks at his power supplys for the G gauge)

    Uhhhhhhhhh yeahhhhhhhh you need separate cables. :D :D :D
  11. N Gauger

    N Gauger 1:20.3 Train Addict

    Oh no!! It was "very Well Done!" :) :) You could smell "That Smell" all through my mom's house :) :) She came down asking us what we were spraying (paint) LOL

    Our Layout (N Gauge) was in the celler, she was in her bedroom watching TV - 2 floors above. It's one of her better stories about us doing stupid "layout" tricks.
  12. N Gauger

    N Gauger 1:20.3 Train Addict

    Just happened to think of The "Rule"!!!!!

    A $20.00 circuit will always melt, just in time, to protect the 5 Cent Fuse! :cry: :eek: :rolleyes: ..............AND Yes!! It's happend to me a few times :D :D :D
  13. theBear

    theBear Member

    A little slow there today Mikey ... it must be old age and those diesel fumes ;).
  14. N Gauger

    N Gauger 1:20.3 Train Addict

    LOL - no... it's just the old age :D :D
  15. siderod

    siderod Member

    And here i thought he was like that naturally... :p
  16. Fred_M

    Fred_M Guest

    If you use a simple CDU as a power supply for your switch machine coils you can get away with light wiring and no burnouts. An inexpensive method would be use surplus/salvage DB25 computer connectors connected with This cable should handle about 1/2 to 1 amp @ 16v, so limit the max power to that and it should be OK. If you need to know how to build a simple CDU power supply for coil switch machines ask and I'll post a link. Put 1 connector on you control box and another on the table. Use the cable to connect. Fred
  17. 60103

    60103 Pooh Bah

    If you can find them, I always think you should make it foolproof and use 2 different connectors (or 3 or how many you need) so that you don't go mixing them up. A 9 pin plug might handle the DC and then a 25 and 35 for the switch machines.
    It's always good to have extra protection on the switch machines (CDU plus momentary switches). we had a switch machine fire in a layout at our club show a few years ago.
  18. Russ Bellinis

    Russ Bellinis Active Member

    I model in ho, not n scale, but it would seem logical to me that an n scale locomotive with their typical tiny can motors would'nt draw more than 1/4 amp. The n scale modelers on this forum probably know. The next question is "How many units do you m.u. together at a time?" If you run four units only and each draws 1/4 amp, then you need connectors that will handle 1 amp. I didn't notice where you are from. Radio Shacks are everywhere. If there is an industrial electronic supply warehouse near you, the slelection might be bigger and the prices lower than Radio Shack. I would just browse through a Radio Shack or an electronic supply warehouse to see what they have available. If your power requirements to any one wire is only one locomotive max on that small layout, computer ribbon cable might be fine. If you have a lot of switch machines, one way to reduce the load is to install capacitor discharge controls for the turnouts. That way you build up the capacitor relatively slowly, but have plenty of power available to throw the switch/

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