how does running track power leads every6 to 8 feet work any better?

Discussion in 'G / O / S Scale Model Trains' started by ozzy, Dec 30, 2007.

  1. ozzy

    ozzy Active Member

    ok, i know it does work, but how? if you have power to one spot on say 100' track. that power is got to run 100 feet, and there will be less power at the farthest point away from the wire,

    so my question is ..... how is running that same power threw a 100' (or more) of wire any different then running it threw a 100' of track?

    i think of it like this.... i have an electric staple gun, when i plug the 5 foot cord into the wall it will counter sink a 1/2 staple into the siding on the house, almost go to far. but when i plug the staple gun into 200 feet of extension cord it dont have enough power to drive a staple 1/2 way in, and i got to drive it in the rest of the way with an hammer.

    if you have bad track connections having power every so many feet will help, as you got power wires on both sides of the bad connection . but whats the difference between a 100' of wire, and a 100' of track with perfect track connections?
  2. Chief Eagles

    Chief Eagles Active Member

    Its called resistance. Think of water flowing through a 1/2 inch hose 200 feet long. Pressure and volume at the end will be less than at 50 feet. 3/4 inch hose will do better. Ever had several hoses coupled together. First open the nozzle and water shoots our strong but then gets weaker. Idle, track voltage will show the same [unless there is very poor connections]. Add the load and see what happens. Smaller wire will not carry the load that a larger wire will at the same distance.
  3. N Gauger

    N Gauger 1:20.3 Train Addict

    ......... and the material copper vs whatever metal tracks are made from (Steel??) conducts better!!!

    The copper wire can carry a LOT more volt/amps than the steel track can.. Also, the joiners/pins add resistance to the flow...

    Therefore, if you have feeders made of 12 or 14 gauge copper.. and the main wires as 12 or 10 gauge... they will work better than the same length of steel.

    btw - the correct way to run the mains is one unbroken wire from each transformer terminal... then strip the cover off where you want the feeders to join - then wrap the ends of the feeders around the "main" then solder... the main should never be broken or spliced.... If you run short on a main wire.. you have to get another "appropriate length"... Especially in DCC applications..

    Also remember that you can short together both outside rails. otherwise stagger the leads L R L R L R etc... to give both outer rails some fresh power. The center rail should be fed as much as possible...
  4. ozzy

    ozzy Active Member

    so the wire carry the juice better then the track rails?
  5. N Gauger

    N Gauger 1:20.3 Train Addict

    yup!! Absolutely!! :D
  6. rogerw

    rogerw Active Member

    ozzy if you would look at the end of a piece of 12 gauge wire and look at the end of a piece of track the area across the wire is much bigger hence the bigger hose.
  7. Dave Farquhar

    Dave Farquhar Member

    Plus electricity will always want to follow the path of least resistance. If you have leads every few feet, then the electricity can pick the wire that's closest to your locomotive, and there's less chance of losing any voltage along the way.

    I did an experiment as a kid with a battery and a light bulb to watch resistance. I'd hook a light bulb up to one lead and use different things to complete the circuit. A copper penny made the bulb shine brighter than a steel paper clip did. And the paper clip got a lot hotter while it was doing it. So the more copper there is in the electrical path, the better.

    If you want to see why you absolutely need those feeders every 6-8 feet (every 3 track joints is another rule I've heard), come over to my house and watch trains operate on my layout. They speed up, then slow down. Makes you wonder what the engineer's been drinking.

    Good thing it takes me about 15 minutes to run feeder wires. Any time I can't think of another way to spend my 15 minutes a day on the layout, I'll be running feeders.
  8. Renovo PPR

    Renovo PPR Just a Farmer

    Here is a great tought it might take more than 15 mins if you have a finished layout. :mrgreen::mrgreen::mrgreen:

    Put your extra wire feeds in place prior to securing the track and doing the ballasting or landscaping.wall1wall1
  9. Dave Farquhar

    Dave Farquhar Member

    True enough. I'm using tubular track with no ballast, which helps. If you've ballasted your track already, this'll be a really big, bad project.

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