Track power question

Discussion in 'HO Scale Model Trains' started by foulrift, Jun 29, 2008.

  1. foulrift

    foulrift Bob

    I finally started laying track on my switching layout.I only have a small section down but deceided to test my engine.It ran good but I found that I had to apply power to the track that I had the engine on in order for it to run.
    On my last layout which was also a switching layout and smaller than this one,all I had to do was apply power to one track and the engine would run everywhere.
    Is this due to the fact that all the track is not installed yet?Will I have to run feeder wires in order to get power to all rails? I am using Peco insulfrog switches and noticed that if I run on one track with the switch set for that track there is no problem but if I move the points to the another track the engine won't move. I something causing a short? This makes no sense.Any help will be appreciated. Bob

  2. Xiong

    Xiong Member

    Different types of turnout may or may not connect power, through the rail switch points themselves, from straight to diverging. We could go into greater detail on this but bottom line, this is not a real good idea.

    Every reference I have seen has recommended feeder wires to every segment or section of track -- multiple feeders to longer rails. Nickel-silver is not really a good conductor of electricity, so a feeder every few feet, even on continuous rail, is wise. It's probably unwise to look for your switch to pass power -- indeed, you may need to modify it so that it's DCC friendly.
  3. 60103

    60103 Pooh Bah

    Foulrift: I think what you have is not a short but an open circuit. Peco Insulfrogs do not pass current to the leg of the turnout that they're not set for. Anytime you have 2 turnouts set frog to frog you need another feed from the point end. In your case, the track on the right needs feeds to both rails, down on the near end of the siding.
    You may want to put insulating rail joiners between the turnouts making up the crossover -- sending power this way can create little shorts at the frogs where the 2 rails are exposed. (May not happen, though).
    You will also find that sidings are dead when turnouts are set against them. Train-set turnouts (e.g. Atlas Snap Track) have all routes powered. This may or may not be desirable.
    With Electrofrogs the insulated joiners would be mandatory.
  4. foulrift

    foulrift Bob

    Thanks for the replies but this is getting to be more work than I figured on.My last layout was a switching layout using Atlas switches and all I had to do was put power to it and everything was good to go.
    Had I known (funny how it is never mentioned in threads about track/switches) that Peco switches were such a pain in the butt to work with I never would have gotten them but now I'm stuck with them.Could have saved a lot of $$$$.
    Not sure what I'm going to do now.Don't know if I'm going to try and fix it based on forum replies or just pack it away and say the heck with it.As far a feeder wires are concerned,right now I don't have the funds for a soldering gun and never used one but if there is another way of attaching feeder wires I'd be interested in hearing about it-Bob
  5. 60103

    60103 Pooh Bah

    I spent years just spiking feeders to the rails -- cigar box nails will work as well. You bend the end of the wire so it sits in the groove in the outside of the rail and use 1 or 2 small spikes to hold it in place. Push the spikes far enough down that thy don't hit the wheels.
  6. jeffrey-wimberl

    jeffrey-wimberl Active Member

    For a more permanent (and reliable) connection, solder the wire to the rail. Welcome to the world of power routing turnouts.
  7. foulrift

    foulrift Bob

    Thanks everyone for the replies.I appreciate it and will post new progress photos after the rest of the track is down and soldering is done.Thanks again-Bob
  8. Santa Fe Jack

    Santa Fe Jack Member

    Soldering irons are not all that expensive. Certainly under $20. It's a basic tool for the model railroader.

    I sympathize with your turnout power woes. I am in the midst of tearing up every turnout on my layout (about 24 of them) and rewiring it, with crossover wires, wires to the points, and switched frog wiring. The wiring of switched frogs to the switch machines has essentially doubled the complexity of wiring underneath the layout. Yes, it's a real pain, and will set me back several weeks, but in the long run I am convinced it will be worth it in reliability of operation.

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