Wire Gauge

Discussion in 'DCC & Electronics' started by TN_Trainman, Apr 8, 2007.

  1. TN_Trainman

    TN_Trainman Member

    Hello all, well I need to ask a question on wire gauge for the Tenn & Western, I have a HUGE spool of #10 AWG, and I plan on using it for my feeder lins (bus lines) but as I am on a tight budget and I have soooooooooooo much of it will it hurt to run my feeder wires in #10 as well?

    I know for current flow it woundt make a diffrence, but I just wanted to make sure there isnt some deep dark DCC secret that would forbid me doing feeders in #10:thumb:
  2. Gary S.

    Gary S. Senior Member

    The electrons from the DCC would love #10 feeders, they would have all kinds of room to run and play as they see fit. No problem there.

    Where the problem would arise is in the mechanical execution. Would you be able to hide the #10 feeders so they wouldn't be seen? And how much solder would you need, and how much heat would it take to solder them on? I would say spend a bit of money to buy some #18 or smaller wire for the feeders, just to ease the installation.
  3. Gary S.

    Gary S. Senior Member

    If you are on a really tight budget, maybe you can stop by a company that does security systems, or fire alarms, or even an electrical contractor, tell them what you are doing, maybe have a few pics with you, and maybe they would give you some scrap wire of smaller diameter? It will most likely be in two-conductor or three-conductor cable, or even more, but that would be fine, you could pull the individual wires out of the jacket.
  4. Gary S.

    Gary S. Senior Member

    Hmmm... may as well bump my post count....:oops:

    One thing we forget is that with multiple feeeders to the track, we are creating huge parallel circuits, which lowers the overall resistance considerably. So the use of fairly small wire for the short feeders is not a problem. Each section of track is not just being fed from the single feeder to it. It is also being fed through the rail joiners from other feeders through other sections of track.
  5. rogerw

    rogerw Active Member

    I agree with gary , the cost would be low and so would the head aches. And gary I like that happy electron example lol.
  6. nachoman

    nachoman Guest

    when the phone company does work on their connection boxes along the side of the road, the ~1ft pieces of wire they cut off are usually left behind lying on the ground as litter. it works well for feeder wires. Careless phone company employees, I guess. Another suggestion is a thrift store. Sometimes you can fiind some kind of electronic gizmo you can buy for a buck and salvage bits of wire, switches, motors, etc. from it.

  7. YmeBP

    YmeBP Member

    Another suggestion is to sell it. You can sell it as scrap copper or sell sections of it on feebay and buy 18awg wire w/ the money. Copper is a commodity and worth something no matter where you are.
  8. 60103

    60103 Pooh Bah

    Isn't 10 gauge wire about the same size as model rail. or even bigger? You'll need a little excess heat to solder that on.
    You may be able to get some surplus small wire from a telephone or computer installer. If you're really desperate, radio Shack sells little packages of wire about 16 or 18 gauge, or old computer cables can be stripped out (somebody near you has a broken mouse).
  9. Gary S.

    Gary S. Senior Member

    Is the #10 wire solid or stranded? If stranded, you could unravel it and use one or two of the small strands to solder to the track. It wouldn't matter that it was uninsulated where it passes through the benchwork. Then tie it to the #10 bus. If you had to run it a ways to the bus, you could wrap it with tape.
  10. cidchase

    cidchase Active Member

    That #10 would make good trees. :thumb: Probably wouldn't make good feeders.
  11. TN_Trainman

    TN_Trainman Member

    Thanks guys for your input, well it didnt take long to figure out that the #10 was way to big to use as feeder wire, so I will use the #10 as Bus wire and use #20 as my feeder wire. There is a local company that priced me 100 ft roll of #20 for 9.98 so that is the way I will go.

    Again thanks for all the input and advice......:thumb: I am sooooooooooooooooooooooo glad I found the gauge:D
  12. BigJim

    BigJim Member

    Ace hardwaare site shows 50' of "Bell Wire" at $7.95. I am sure you could find more for the same price or the same amount for less at other stores.

    It is solid 20 gauge. This is 100 feet total as it is two conductor (Red & White). I have found that this works great for feeders.

    Push up through the hole, strip, fold and CRUSH, clip very small "L" shape, pull down to the bottom flange & solder.

  13. MasonJar

    MasonJar It's not rocket surgery


    The only problem you have to look out for with solid wire is when you "fold and crush"... ;) Just be careful that you do not create a weak spot in the wire that will invite it to break at the most inopportune time (i.e. after all the trackwork and ballasting is done... :rolleyes: ).


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