Layout Power

Discussion in 'FAQs' started by KDoggMU, Jan 27, 2003.

  1. KDoggMU

    KDoggMU New Member

    OK, things are beginning to take shape in my layout planning, but I have some questions concerning power.

    1) I've taken a gander at that new DCC technology but for the moment it is way out of my price range so for now I will be dealing with the ol' standard transformer that comes with most train sets. My question is, how much track can this thing power before another unit or a booster would need to be added?

    2) I want to run multiple trains (not necessarily at the same time) on my layout. For example, one consist travelling the circuit and maybe three or four others waiting at stations, the industrial yard, or whatever. How can I make it so that the main line has power while not affecting these other units until I want it to? I've given thought to having seperate transformers for these areas but not sure how it would work or how to seperate them from the main line while still allowing the train to enter the main line.

    Any ideas?
  2. Tyson Rayles

    Tyson Rayles Active Member

    If you are only going to run 1 train at a time, unless you have a ton of trackage, you should only need one transformer. What size is the layout? Can you post a pic or drawing of the track plan here so somebody can explain how to wire it?
  3. yellowlynn

    yellowlynn Member


    Many will disagree with me, but this is what works for me. One standard train set transformer power a track about 40' long with no problem. Use plastic connectors on each end of ONE rail of each siding. Have a switch for each siding, so the power for the dead rails run from the transformer thru the switch so you can "kill" the sidings while the main remains hot for running. Either this helps or will totally screw you up.

  4. Woodie

    Woodie Active Member


    You set up what is called "blocks". ie you wire sections of your track back to the central transformer/controller and place on/off switches for each section of track. You have a diagram of you layout on a board, and place a switch on the diagram, that will turn that section of track on/off. We were discussing this a week or so ago, and I put some info from a model railroad book I have on my website.

    the URL is

    Just replace the page number up to page 10. For each page, just "right click" and save as. Go to a photoeditor and print it.

    It tells you how to wire up a layout to allow what you want to do. When you move to DCC you just turn all the blocks "on".

    Read it all a few times to get the jist of it, then it will just fall into place as to the methodology used.

    Hope this helps.

    :D Any probs, let me know. :)
  5. KDoggMU

    KDoggMU New Member


    Tyson: I will post a layout plan in the near future - i.e. when it is completed. For the moment I've been toying around with a couple of ideas and needed these questions answered (or at least a general idea of what to do) before continuing with a plan that just might not work. But I do see your point of having a layout plan to get an idea of what's going on - I just don't have it down yet and they haven't invented the device for transfering brainwaves over the internet (at least not yet...)

    Lynn: I like your idea of having the power transfer via switch - I actually kicked this idea around a bit myself but wasn't sure it would work or how to isolate everything to make it work that way. I may incorporate this somewhere along the line...

    Woodie: Silly me, having taken an AC/DC electronics repair class in high school and not knowing how to do that :):kicks self in butt::) I do believe that might be incorporated into the plan as well for my larger switchings...

    Again, thanks -- and I'm still open to other options as well! I have a few pieces of rail coming via eBay next week so experimentation (i.e. play) isn't far behind!

  6. 60103

    60103 Pooh Bah

    can you tell us what scale you're working in? It does matter for some items, but not others.
  7. KDoggMU

    KDoggMU New Member

    HO Scale

    I will be modelling in HO scale - N is too small for me to handle (OK, I admit - I will probably break something) and I don't have room (in my apartment or my wallet) for the bigger stuff....


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