help with wiring

Discussion in 'HO Scale Model Trains' started by Lisap, Dec 25, 2005.

  1. Lisap

    Lisap New Member

    I just built a new table for my Ho set, I had 4x4 I now have 4x8, I would like to run two engines on the track I have separate transformers but I am having problems with the wiring. I have an atlas layouts book but it isn't very clear on the wiring or placement of insulated joints. problem 2 I unintentionally put in a reversing loop. I really need help on this, I know this is possible I just have never done this before.
  2. shaygetz

    shaygetz Active Member

    If you could, post a pic---even a sketch---of your trackplan, so we can see where to guide you. :thumb:
  3. Lisap

    Lisap New Member

    I would send a photo but I don't know how.:( :oops:
  4. shaygetz

    shaygetz Active Member

  5. 60103

    60103 Pooh Bah

    Do you have one track/loop or two? There is no rule about where the insulated joints go if you have one loop and the trains are following each other. A section should be about a train length and a minimum of 4 sections around a loop.
    The reverse loop is harder to explain, but search on this forum for reverse loop and you should find something. It needs two set of insulated gaps and an extra reversing switch.
    Atlas makes little switch boxes that can help you and publishes a wiring book.
  6. zedob

    zedob Member

    Yeah, I think the idea of sitting around in a lab jacket, an engineer's cap and smoking a pipe while working with basic electronics was out dated by the last ten editions.:D

    It is a good book. Mine finally disintigrated after years of reading and re-reading. I figured I'd replace it one day, guess not.

    I haven't checked lately, but what is Kalmbach's answer to discontinuing that book?
  7. shaygetz

    shaygetz Active Member

    Eeeeee, Gad! You mean I can wire my layout....without a lab coat, pipe and engineer's cap!!!!! The years of therapy I could have avoided....(sigh) :D ;) :p

    I'm afraid Kalmbach has turned its back on DC, choosing to court bigger advocates :p

    The original is the best still, the Atlas one can be used if you're not afraid to part with the necessary coin for their accessaries---the biggest drawback being limited flexability in designing a control panel. However, if you are familiar with simple circuits, it would be easy to replicate their plans using regular momentary contact, SPST, SPDT and DPDT switches.
  8. Relic

    Relic Member

    The first incarnation of my HO layout had a loop on each end that went arround a mountain to hide the loops.I had gotten two of those Atlas controler things and in my opinion a couple of dpdt switches work just as well and take up a lot less room on the controll board.Shaygetz is right about the big switch to DCC,but to me thats a good thin cause there should be a veritable flood DC gear at the next swap meet, and thats where I get all my stuff
  9. Lisap

    Lisap New Member

    Thank You one and all, can anyone explain how to post photos I have taken some of my track but I am clueless as to how to get them from my computer to the forumn.I have a wiring book coming but I was hoping to get the basic track going so the boys could try out their new rolling stock. Thanks again for the help.
  10. brakie

    brakie Active Member

    The best solution is to use Atlas selectors and a controller..The best parts is you need to use one wire per block and don't need a book of any kind.You see there are easy to follow instructions on the back of each package.
  11. jim currie

    jim currie Active Member

    there is a sticky in the photo forum.
  12. shaygetz

    shaygetz Active Member

    Great minds think alike. Nothing like paying $8 for an MRC Dual Loco Pack 4 amp throttle new in the box. :thumb:
  13. Ralph

    Ralph's for fun!

  14. Lisap

    Lisap New Member

    Here goes I will attempt to load my photos the quality isn't great but I think you'll get the idea.

    Attached Files:

  15. 60103

    60103 Pooh Bah

    Lisap: what brand of track and switches are you using? Do the switches have plastic frogs? (I suspect they do.) That could make a difference to what we suggest.
    On the reversing loop, a single reverse loop means that half the time you have to back the train through the loop and this creates problems. How commited are you to the track plan?
  16. Lisap

    Lisap New Member

    I am using atlas snap track(mostly used) and I am willing to start fresh with my layout if it would be easier( which I am thinking might be the case) My biggest problem is I have checked out various track plans but I don't have all the track pieces I need for them. The main thing I need is a place for my crossing(preferably in the middle). My boys would like their own "towns" on either end of the track but other than that I am flexable.
  17. Lisap

    Lisap New Member

    :D Ok here's where I'm at, I decieded to do away with the reversing loop and made two seperate loops one on each end. Only one "town has the crosssing but i gave up trying to fit the crossing for both, thus eliminating the need to reverse the track. :confused: The question I have now is how to isolate the two sections so that both trains can run on the main rail(the large outer track) but still be on separate controls (I have more than one transformer).
  18. Relic

    Relic Member

    Why would tou have to back arround the reverse loop half the time??
  19. pgandw

    pgandw Active Member


    You really don't want two isolated sections. The primary reason is that transitioning a train from one section to the other is very difficult because it's impossible to match speeds and voltages between the 2 power packs. The train will jerk when it intermittently spans the gap between the 2 sections and momentarily gets power from both power packs. This is also hard on the power packs because there is a temporary uncontrolled current through the train wheels between the 2 power packs.

    The better and traditional way is called "cab control" wiring. You isolate the track into a series of blocks, generally about a train length long, but at least 4 blocks per loop. The isolation is done by using insulated (plastic) rail joiners or no rail joiner or physically cutting a gap in the rail with a Dremel tool or track saw. If you use physical gaps (no rail joiner or cut the rail), most (and I) recommend gluing a small piece of thin plastic in the gap to make sure the gap doesn't close later. When the glue is dry, file the plastic so it is smooth and flush with the rail. If you are using traditional DC power packs, and have no reversing loops, only one rail needs to be gapped at each block junction (but same rail in every case!).

    You then use either Atlas Selector switches or SPDT (center off) toggle switches to control power to each track block. If using toggle switches, the center terminal goes to the track block, and the outside terminals to your 2 power packs. The rail that was not gapped is fed directly from both power packs. The Atlas Selector comes with wiring instructions.

    In use, you use the Selector or the toggle switch to control which power pack supplies power to a given block. You use the same power pack to control the train where ever it goes on the layout by giving that power pack control of each block as the train moves into it. The center position turns the block off - good for having an engine on the track and not powered, or for trouble-shooting and isolating any electrical problems.

    The alternative to the cab control wiring scheme is what is called DCC. A decoder is installed in each locomotive and set up with a specific address. The DCC throttle selects which locomotive it is talking to, and controls it. DCC eliminates the need for blocks, since each locomotive is addressed separately. The drawback to DCC is upfront cost - the throttle(s) and installing a decoder in every locomotive.

    If you decide to put the reversing loop back in the layout, please post again, and I will try to explain how to wire it.

    Hope this helps, and that you had a Merry Christmas.

    yours in wiring
  20. brakie

    brakie Active Member

    Lisa,By using a Atlas controller you could have kept your reverse loop.All it takes is a Atlas controller 4 plastic rail joiners and two wires to you reverse loop and you would be in business..

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