Power Loss on Large Switcher Layout

Discussion in 'FAQs' started by josh0351, Nov 16, 2006.

  1. josh0351

    josh0351 New Member

    Well, I finished laying all the track on my 8’ by 12” N-scale switcher layout (*it was tedious:curse: , but I got most of the straight runs as straight as humanly possible as a follow-on to my other recent post FYI).

    (DC/Analog one-piece and not a modular setup FYI – I have tried to provide a schematic below.) I have 8 total turnouts (represented by blue), and 6 runs (*6 spurs essentially) branching off of one mainline at the bottom of the schematic. I can run trains on the lower 4 lines, however the loco is not getting power past the 7th turnout on the upper 3 spurs (annotated in gray).

    I’ve soldered my power into one of the branch lines in the middle of the yard/layout, represented by the red * asterisk.

    I suppose that I need to solder power into the upper spurs as well, but my question is how do I do that (i.e. run a small wire from the hot track where my power is soldered under the spur lines and solder it to one of the dead branch lines, or just drill a hole between the ties of the dead branch line and run another power line [*spliced into my main power line to the transformer] to one of the spurs)?



  2. kitsune

    kitsune Member

    I'd run a separate wire to each place you are wanting to feed with power. It's way more foolproof to have a direct wire connection than to rely on rail to carry a charge that far.

    Interestingly, a club I once belonged to has a separate feeder wire soldered to EVERY independent piece of rail. I think that was overkill, but I can say that of the problems that layout did have, power distribution wasn't one of them.

    I have a situation similar to yours where a spur that would not see a locomotive often if ever had no juice. I went ahead and put feeders on it, as you never know when you might need to access it. However, I don't see anything wrong with leaving a spur dead if you truly think it won't be necessary to power it. Just make sure you can remember where the power drops off; a marker with a (highly prototypical!) scale sign reading "no locomotives beyond this point" might be a good idea.
  3. josh0351

    josh0351 New Member

    Yea, thanks for the feedback – good scoop. I busted out the layout this evening and tinkered with it a bit. After examining everything, I decided that there are a few options:

    • Do as you suggest and keep the spurs dead.
    • Solder in power wires for a separate power supply (*then I can run 2 separately powered loco’s on the same layout).
    • Solder in feeder wires.

    I decided to do a combination of the three. I soldered in feeder wires fishing and running the line under the layout. This way, if I ever want either make the spurs dead (*could see doing this to have a live loco staged in front of a load while running the slug to classify inbound/outbound loads), or feed them from a separate power supply, all I need to do is disconnect the feeder wire under the layout (and either leave it hang or affix it to another transformer).

    Needless to say, my soldering skills leave lots to be desired, but this is a hobby that takes practice. I’m just pretty excited about having an operational switcher/yard layout technically ready for work to accompany my smaller (1.5’ by 4’) oval mountain community layout.

    I still have lots of “finishing” work to do, and need to decide on a final home for this layout (am thinking the laundry room).

    Thanks again for the advice!
  4. shortliner

    shortliner Member


    Josh - try as above - feed at red stars, break both tracks at verticals. Suspect you have a problem at the turnout with the double X
    Shortliner(Jack)away up here in the Highlands

Share This Page