Soldering wires: positive or negative?

Discussion in 'HO Scale Model Trains' started by prodigy2k7, Dec 23, 2006.

  1. prodigy2k7

    prodigy2k7 Member

    Eventually, when I do get to soldering my wires to the track, how do i figure out which side is neg and which is pos, and which wire is neg and which is positive?
  2. Ralph

    Ralph's for fun!

    It really doesn't matter which rails you choose as long as you are consistant throughout the layout. If for example you solder two wires from your power pack, one to each rail, things will work no matter which rail you chose. If you decide to get more complicated and divide the oval into blocks that are insulated from each other then you will need to be sure that you choose one rail to be the "common rail" while the other rail will be the one that gets the feeder wires for the individual block power. The common rail is left whole while the the other rail is cut or uses insulated rail joiners to create the "blocks".

  3. ezdays

    ezdays Out AZ way

    When I wire up my blocks, I isolate both rails and bring wires from both sides to terminal blocks. They will eventually get wired up to switches on a control panel that I can reverse the polarity on each block independently and power them from two different power sources (or cabs). I try to establish a color code where the inside rail is always a black wire and the outside wire is red. But even then you have to be careful, especially if you have any reverse loops. Like Ralph says, it doesn't matter since you are establishing the polarity with the output from your power pack.
  4. Alan B

    Alan B Member

    I use red wire for positive and black for negative. While it does not matter much as long as you are consistent, I solder black to the rail nearest the walls and red to the rail nearest the pit.

  5. Ralph

    Ralph's for fun!

    Color coding is an excellent idea! Glad Don and Alan mentioned it! Using Atlas components I don't need to isolate both rails and can reverse polarity and use different power packs for different blocks. I admit that wiring is my least favorite part of the hobby! :)
  6. prodigy2k7

    prodigy2k7 Member

    im sort of confused with one thing, if i wire up the outside oval, and I have like 2 switchtracks, maybe 3 that lead to the inner oval, would anything electrically happen when i switch the switch tracks back n forth, arent there insulated switch tracks or something, what im asking is how do i make both tracks live (for dcc) and not get a short when using the switch tracks.

    My soon to be layout:
  7. 60103

    60103 Pooh Bah

    there are 3 types of switches: "Snap" switches, Insulfrog and Electrofrog.
    Snap switches are basic ready-to-run track. All the rails are always live. If you have these, your layout will be 100% live.
    Insulfrog are the ones where the leg of a switch that isn't selected will be dead - one rail has no current. With these, if you power the outer loop only, there will be no current to the inner loop unless you set a crossover to run between loops. You can isolate sidings with these to park trains or locomotives.
    Electrofrog, also called all-rail turnouts: the leg not selected will be dead, but both rails will be the same polarity and it causes shorts if the tracks aren't insulated properly.
    Model railroads usually designate the rails North and South. If you use either of the first 2 types of switches, you need to wire to both loops for reliable operation.
  8. prodigy2k7

    prodigy2k7 Member

    okay sounds easy enough, use the first type of switch and just solder wires in a few spots around each oval, like 2 spots per oval, right?
  9. santafewillie

    santafewillie Member

    From what I've read here on The Gauge, it's best to have a feeder to each track section when using DCC. Your layout diagram appears to be sectional track. I hope you are going to use flex-track and just follow the diagram. I run DC but I attach a feeder to each piece as well. On my first layout I stretched it and had some poor running.
  10. prodigy2k7

    prodigy2k7 Member

    yes, im just going to follow it and use flex track, what is a feeder? a supply of pwoer to the tracks? (just a guess)
  11. santafewillie

    santafewillie Member

    A feeder supplies power to the track either from a buss wire (large gauge feeder under the layout) or directly from the power supply.

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