Wiring a reverse loop

Discussion in 'DCC & Electronics' started by Kevinkrey, Nov 18, 2007.

  1. Kevinkrey

    Kevinkrey Member

    I need to wire my DCC layouts reverse loop. I have Bachmans reverse loop module. I have a main line running parallel to the reverse loop, both tracks have feeder wires going to the bus wire. Do I need a seperate bus wire for the reverse loop that connects to the primary bus at one point. :confused: In better words, if the reverse loop needs to be insulated from the rest of the layout, can I have feeder wires running from the loop to the bus wire serving the rest of thr layout? Hopefully someone can understand me and offer some help.
  2. Kevinkrey

    Kevinkrey Member

    After googling the subject I realized that I can not have the reverse loop and the rest of the layout on the same bus wire, so how do I power the 16+ feet of reverse loop that is 4 feet from the nearest bus wire?:confused:
  3. PWRR-2207

    PWRR-2207 Rogue Islander


    Did that thing come with a manual? I looked on Google too but no manual, no how to, etc... The reason I ask (other than not having a E-Z Command® Automatic Reversing Loop Module) is that I saw it comes with 2 wire sets which leads me to suspect that you power the module and use the two wire sets to power the track...
  4. Kevinkrey

    Kevinkrey Member

    The manual is two pages and only covers E-Z track, the instuctions for non E-Z track are short, it the module say output, (wire to reverse loop) and input, (wire to rest of layout), but my reverse loop is big and I need to feed it at multiple locations. should I splice a second bus into the first that goes to the reverse loop? But doing that electrically connects the reverse loop to the rest of the layout which I am trying to avoid according to instructions. The reverse loop is about the size of a 4X8 oval, and I like to put a feeder to every piece of track.
  5. TrainNut

    TrainNut Ditat Deus

    Your reverse loop should be just a tad longer than your longest train. If you don't run very long trains, perhaps you could isolate the portion of the reverse loop (with cut gaps or insul joiners) that you need to power with the reverse loop modulator to a smaller section thus reducing the need to power such a large section with just one set of feeds. I would think that all power to the reverse loop should come through the RLM unit.
  6. baldwinjl

    baldwinjl Member

    If I understand yhe question correctly:
    Use the output of the reverse loop module as the bus for the reverse loop section. The input to the reverse loop module is the bus of the rest of the layout.

  7. Gary S.

    Gary S. Senior Member

    Exactly. The reverse loop and the rest of the track will need seperate buses. One is fed by the reverse loop module, one is fed normally.
  8. PWRR-2207

    PWRR-2207 Rogue Islander

    Power at the ends...

    Bachmann DCC RLM.jpg
  9. Kevinkrey

    Kevinkrey Member

    The wire supplied with the module is only like the size of doorbell wire, not big enough to become a bus. Could I do as trainnut said and keep half of the reverse loop under the sane bus a rest of layout and than cut gaps and only power a leg with the module?
  10. PWRR-2207

    PWRR-2207 Rogue Islander

    Considering a tight, undamaged 40 foot run of 20 awg wire through 10 junction boxes may lose 0.1 volts, I think you are safe building the second bus to feed the 16 feet of track off the power output of the Reversing Loop Module because the bus will have little or no resistance compared to track rails...
  11. Kevinkrey

    Kevinkrey Member

    The wire supplied is not long enough to go around the reverse loop, probably has about 5' of wire both ways, and I can only use the output side as a feeder, can I wrap a wire around it to make it longer?
  12. PWRR-2207

    PWRR-2207 Rogue Islander

    2nd bus

    Sorry I did not get back to you sooner as I discovered my vacuum cleaner nozzle makes a great 'foam dredger' for the harbor I am making...

    Can you connect the plastic block end to a connection block or another pair of wires?


    Is that connection on the provided wires a "clamp on to track" type connection?

    Can you take it apart without breaking it open?
  13. Kevinkrey

    Kevinkrey Member

    I pretty much have it figured out and am ready to install the module. But I would like to know how to but a gap in my flextrack. Could I just through the two rails with my very small Atlas track saw, or do I need a bigger gap?
  14. PWRR-2207

    PWRR-2207 Rogue Islander


    Couple methods using both the exiting joint or one you saw -

    1. Insulated plastic rail joiners: 25565293032459.gif as long as you are not counting on them for long term joiner strength.

    2. Epoxy - Need to be neat and get it filed down before it fully hardens or be prepared to spend a lot of time filing the permanently welded joint down so trains wheels do not hang or derail.
  15. baldwinjl

    baldwinjl Member

    Not good info here.

    At forty feet the voltage drop through 20 gauge at 2A is over .8V.

    Just solder a heavier wire onto the output within a foot or two of the module, and use it for the bus for the reversing section.

    Kevin, the tracksaw will work fine, or a small cutoff disk in a dremel. Gluing some styrene in the gap will prevent it from closing up on you when you least expect it!

  16. AmericanAirFan

    AmericanAirFan New Member

    Buy some little plastic insulators they act like regular rail connectors but are plastic and have a thin part of a plastic rail that fits between the two rails to keep them from conducting.
  17. baldwinjl

    baldwinjl Member

    The plastic insulators are not a good solution in flextrack on a curve. They will not hold anything in line, and you'll have a kink. Better to get the track held down, and then cut the gaps when the rails can't move.

  18. Kevinkrey

    Kevinkrey Member


    I am proud to say, I now have a operating reverse loop!balloon6balloon6balloon6

    Thanks, for all the info guys.
  19. PWRR-2207

    PWRR-2207 Rogue Islander

    Congrats! What did you use for the gaps? I also recall someone using PCB pieces glued in between the rails...

    Mathematically, maybe, but 10 tests with a multimeter on such a setup averaged around 21.8-22.1 volts at 3.5-3.8 amps. Despite those results, in anticipation of continued expansion, I replaced the wiring with 14 awg and depicted larger bus wires in my drawing for KevinKrey. (The 20 awg wire was free but the guys I was working with kept adding stuff. I did the tests to prove it was a bad idea. Once they saw larger drops appear, they conceded and we upgraded the wiring.)
  20. baldwinjl

    baldwinjl Member

    The thing that makes all the numbers a bit dubious is that we always have multiple paths, yet we do the calculations assuming only the bus is conducting. It's a conservative way of doing it, but costs very little more, and makes things pretty bulletproof.


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