First Layout Need Help With Block Wiring

Discussion in 'FAQs' started by yard3875, Sep 21, 2006.

  1. yard3875

    yard3875 New Member

    I am new here and very confused. I need help sectioning and wiring my layout. I am building the layout below. I have the sections where the x's are.
    Could someone also tell me how in fact to wire this set-up. I am interested in DC not DCC.
    I want to run just one train, but store other locomotives on the track.
    Thank you. Chris
  2. King Bonk

    King Bonk New Member

    hi chris. im new here too, and tho everyone here is very helpful, it might be a while before you get someone to find time to help you wire your track love to help, but i have no idea where to begin... other than ...

    i have found a whole bunch of "beginner" webpages at NRMA and one of the pages is a very nice intro to wiring, among other things. I hope that helps for starters.
  3. ezdays

    ezdays Out AZ way

    Welcome to the Gauge Chris. For starters, is there any way you can make your picture a bit bigger? You are allowed to post up to a 640 x 480 image here and it would be a bit easier if we could see it better. I tried to blow it up for you, but it's too blurry at a higher resolution so you need to go back to the original and see if you can't keep it bigger.

    But, if you want to block off your tracks so you can run a train and park others you need to put insulated joiners where you want to isolate the track, probably where you have the "X's". You will then need to wire each isolated section (or block) to a switch, preferably a DPDT (center off) switch so you can reverse the polarity. Or you can have a second power pack that is set in reverse of the other one and switch between the two. That is the basics, we can give you more details as you go along, but I'd also advise you to go to the NMRA site and look at some of the tutorials they have there.

    Good luck,
  4. Relic

    Relic Member

    I was in the dark when I started about three years ago and as yet hadn't found this site so i just made up sections a bit longer than the trains I was planning to run and isolated them with plastic joiners ,hooking up power by soldering wire (diferent colours) to metal joiners. Power is from two cheap swap meet power packs through some dpdt switches.
    I hate to contradict ezdays but I don't think you have to reverse polarity through the switches , you do that through the power pack.
    hope this helps
  5. pgandw

    pgandw Active Member


    Some rules of thumb for creating blocks:

    - a loop needs a minimum of 4 blocks to support 2 trains so that each train has a free block to move into

    - where there are passing tracks, usually both tracks are made separate blocks, with the gaps or insulated rail joiners being placed at the frog end of the turnouts

    - a group of spurs or branchline are usually left as one block UNLESS you intend to have more than one loco in the spurs or on the branch at a time. This includes "parked" locos. If you do, then every place a loco might park (within reason) needs to be made a separate block. Places like switchback tails are not places where locos will be pariked.

    The above assumes you do NOT have "power routing" turnouts such as Peco Electrofrog, older Walters/Shinohara, and older Micro Engineering. If you do use power routing turnouts, the turnouts themselves can be used to isolate dead end spurs without gaps or insulated rail joiners. However, additional gaps or insulated rail joiners will be needed to avoid feeding a power routing turnout frog from the frog end. This rather difficult to explain in a short answer, so let us know if this applies.

    See my other post about actually wiring blocks in the N scale sub-forum.

    hope this helps
  6. ezdays

    ezdays Out AZ way

    You're correct, if you're only running one train the simplest way is one power pack and just a bunch of single-pole switches. But I was assuming that you might be making up one train while you had a second train running in the loop. That is a possiblility with that layout and something I would plan for.
  7. yard3875

    yard3875 New Member

    So I use the plastic joiners to isolate the sections. I then give each section power through leads attached to metal joiners.
    Do I need a switch on both positive and negative leads? Or can the negative be common among the sections? All track is atlas 80 series and yes I can post a bigger picture. Thanks you so much for the help, I remeber this being alot easier as a kid.

  8. pgandw

    pgandw Active Member

    You can make one side continuous and common. I usually do that. By using common rail/return, you can also use SPDT center off toggles instead of DPDT. Atlas uses common rail/return with their Selector switches. Either rail can be common (you swap polarities when you change the direction switch anyway), but you must stay consistent.

    The limitations of common rail/return:

    - the 2 (or more) power packs must have independent transformers. MRC dual control power packs usually have this (Tech 2 2800 for example), others do not necessarily.

    - reverse loops must have dual rail isolation at both ends regardless of common rail use/non-use

    - if you want to install signaling and detection or DCC systems at a later date, you will end up breaking both rails at all block boundaries anyway.

    - some folks use the extra pole on a DPDT toggle for indicator lights or similar

    Hope this answers your questions.
  9. yard3875

    yard3875 New Member

    Thanks for your help, but I think this is alittle above my head. I think I may just let it go. I don't have alot of money and it seems like everyday I spend money on the layout. Maybe one day, but not right now. Thanks again.
  10. ezdays

    ezdays Out AZ way

    I wouldn't give up right now if you're really sincere about doing the layout. Get started, go as fast as you can afford, money and time-wise. There's always trade-offs, do as little or as much as you can, but do something. You learn as you go, there is nothing that is "above your head" that you can't get help here with, and there are many less rewarding ways that you can spend your resources on. The sense of accomplisment in modeling is enormous, every step of the way.:thumb: :thumb:

    Good luck, and I hope you stick with it.:wave:

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