wire size

Discussion in 'FAQs' started by joeg0109, Oct 9, 2007.

  1. joeg0109

    joeg0109 New Member

    hi all i am new to the hobby so bare with me. im wanting to know what gauge wire to use, and if it matters the braided kind or solid wire. i will also be using two hollow core doors for my layout. ill be using the pink or blue foam over them. need input on the best way run the wireing.

  2. Gary S.

    Gary S. Senior Member

    For the area you have, #14 bus wire underneath and #22 feeders to several locations around the layout should be fine. Now, me, I prefer to not solder the rail joiners and put a feeder to every piece of track (I am assuming you are using flextrack).

    As for attaching the wires under the layout... how do you plan on supporting the doors? Legs? Shelf brackets?
  3. joeg0109

    joeg0109 New Member

    thanks for the quick reply. yes flextrack will be used and legs will be used. i have been toying with useing a tiolet flang and pvc for the legs. i saw at a bar for a table once. the layout will be suspended in my garage thats the only place i have to be able to move it so hoisting it up in the garage is th only way for me.
  4. Gary S.

    Gary S. Senior Member

    Before you lock yourself in, let's examine more possibilities. Is there any possibility of a "shelf" type layout against the walls? Put it up fairly high, say, 50" or even higher, and use the space underneath just like you are using it now. With a shelf, there is no need for legs, and you may get a much longer mainline run. The shelves don't have to be much wider than 12 inches, and could go as big as 24" deep.

    Now, one thing to consider is your wants in running trains. Are you content to sit back and watch them go in circles with continuous running, or do you want more prototypical operations with picking up and setting out cars at industries? A complete loop is not an absolute must. "Point-to-point" operations can be just as satisfying, if not more than, a continuous loop.
  5. Gary S.

    Gary S. Senior Member

    Oh... about stranded versus solid. #22 feeders should be solid only because it is easier to work with when soldering to the track. The bus wire can be either solid or stranded, whatever you have laying around... and you could probably go as small as #16, but #12 or even as big as #10 is okay too. Again, whatever you can get your hands on at a good price. Man, have you seen the price of copper lately?
  6. joeg0109

    joeg0109 New Member

    up is the only way for me no room on the walls in my garage. this layout is to get my feet wet and for my kids. i do plan on doing something a little more challenging at a later date. thanks for the info i need all the help i can get.
  7. 60103

    60103 Pooh Bah

    Solid vs Stranded: for the same gauge of wire, the electrical characteristics are the same. Physically, stranded is the same diameter as the solid wire 2 bigger (note when using the wire stripper!)
    Stranded is more tolerant of being flexed than solid; lamp and appliance cords are stranded while the wiring inside the wall is solid. Pickup wires in locos and cars should be stranded,especially if they go to moving trucks. Wire to rails should be solid because you don't get all those wire ends sticking out where you don't want them.
    Otherwise, I use what is easiest to get or cheapest. The wire between my controllers and the control panels (block switches, etc.) is lamp cord in 4 colours as it's the commonest wire in stores.
  8. Floyd

    Floyd Member

    Talking about wire, Can a person use telephone wire to hookup HO accessories such as street lights and lights inside model buildings? I came across some of this wire which is color coded. It is inclosed in a gray plastic outer cover and has about 30 or more wires inside.
  9. 60103

    60103 Pooh Bah

    Telephone wire and the smaller computer wires are OK for light loads (horrible pun) -- just look at the size the leads are. However, you probably shouldn't hand too many lights on them or run it for a great distance. (Not very specific -- will all depend on load and distance.)
    I use double telephone wire for track wiring if there's likely to be a load of 2 locomotives, single wires for sidings and station tracks.
    I remember my first Lionel train as having a coil of wire that was about the size of telephone cable; can anyone confirm?
  10. Russ Bellinis

    Russ Bellinis Active Member

    What you might consider for legs for your layout is a set of plastic saw horses from your local Lowes or Home Depot. I have a couple of sets that I use as the manufacturer intended, that is as saw horses. They are light, fold flat for storage, and should easily support a hollow core door train table. In addition the 31 inch height is probably perfect for the youngsters.
  11. rogerw

    rogerw Active Member

    I dont believe stranded and solid wire are the same. A stranded wire has less overall surface than a solid wire.
  12. baldwinjl

    baldwinjl Member

    Stranded and solid wire of the same gauge are rated to carry the same current. That does not mean they are the same size. Note that 60103 stated that stranded is physically the size of solid two sizes bigger.

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