Underground Wiring.

Discussion in 'G / O / S Scale Model Trains' started by Malcolm G. Stewart, May 21, 2007.

  1. Malcolm G. Stewart

    Malcolm G. Stewart New Member

    Fellow G-Scale Folks,

    I'm a neophyte who aspires to build the G-Scale "Penobscot and Pee Dee Railway" in my back yard. The ultimate dream/goal will have 800' or so of roadbed, a tunnel, a waterfall and suspension bridge, DCC radio control, a dozen (or more) automated turnouts (I used to call them "switches"), and assorted other bells and whistles. I spent the winter reading books and articles to the point where my head is full of disassociated facts--and a multitude of questions. I concluded that I could either return to MIT for a PhD--or "just do it", as Nike advises, and ask questions of those who've "been there, done that". I chose the latter and here's my first tap of your experience:

    From my reading, I've concluded that I must have several power blocks as well as several polarity reversing sections. I believe that I should feed the associated aux power stations and polarity reversing modules with an UF 10/2 w/gnd cable. The ground is a tough dig (roots and clay) so I plan to overdig the roadway and chase this cable in the bottom. Where it makes connection with a module, I plan to lay a concrete base for the module (in the floor plan of a future scale structure) and pass the cable thru PVC conduit into a weatherproof junction box. So far, so good, methinks--unless you have a caution or alternative to pass on.

    But I'm not as sanguine about the power buses from the modules to the rails. UF cable (as above) would be almost impossible to use: I'd have to violate the insulation every 3' to 4' to tap it for jumpers to connect the rails. Instead, I plan to use two single insulated wires (I'm confused as to the gauge--one pamphlet has 8 gauge! while another has 18). I'm reasonably handy and patient, so believe that I can make the taps waterproof. Logically (if I get the correct gauge), this will work; the question is for how long? Can anyone recommend a better sheath than normal PVC that would have better longevity? Can anyone recommend a better approach?

    Pleasent weather here. But, since November when I arrived, we've had three real soakers of several inches each. The proposed roadway is on a bit of a rise, so it drains. But when she's wet, she' wet.

    Thank you for your time,

    Malcolm Stewart

    PS "Penobscot" is a Maine river that I grew up beside; "Pee Dee" is the name of a South Carolina river that runs by Florence, where I now live.
  2. Jim Krause

    Jim Krause Active Member

    You might want to transfer your post to the G/O/S scale forum for more response.
  3. MasonJar

    MasonJar It's not rocket surgery


    Welcome to The Gauge!

    The large scale guys I know have completely forgone track power in favour of on board batteries combined with radio control. The "newer" NiMH batteries, and potentially rechargeable lithium ion batteries make this much more feasible than the old NiCad.

    For more information about packing batteries and a radio receiver into your garden locos, try www.ovgrs.org

  4. Malcolm G. Stewart

    Malcolm G. Stewart New Member


    Thanks for your response. Your suggestion is most attractive: rather than fret about nearly a mile of wiring in the occasionally damp/soaking ground, why not battery powered prime movers?

    My answer is enthusiastically YES, conditioned by the answers to two questions:

    1. Can the battery powered prime movers be controlled by radio with all the functional capabilities (sound, lights, etc.) afforded by DCC?

    2. If prime movers are battery powered, what is the power/control mechanism for remotely operated aux modules (turnouts, signal lights, etc.)?

  5. MasonJar

    MasonJar It's not rocket surgery


    I don't know for sure, but my (somewhat educated) guesses would be:

    1. Yes (?). But given the slight differences between DCC and straight DC power, I am not sure.

    2. Most of the guys I know who do this are "old school" - i.e. the turnouts are thrown by hand as would have been done by the train crew (headend brakeman, etc). The advantage of the radio control is that you follow the train around, so do not have to sit at a control panel to throw turnouts, etc.

    But to be sure, contact the guys through OVGRS. A very friendly bunch, they will answer your questions I'm sure. They all have slightly different ways of doing things, although their "main" layout requires on-board power since the track is not.

  6. Malcolm G. Stewart

    Malcolm G. Stewart New Member


    I've been trying to contact the OVGRS folks. Can get to theit site, but can find no way to communicate with them. Any advice?



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