Wiring help needed for yard

Discussion in 'FAQs' started by spitfire, Sep 21, 2007.

  1. Gary S.

    Gary S. Senior Member

    Val, my layout consists of 75 feet of shelving. My Digitrax Empire Builder is about in the middle of the length of shelves. My bus wires run the length of the shelves, and yes, I teed off of the bus to the command station. In other words, I soldered a wire to each bus run and dropped that down to the command station. Everything works great. I hope I understand what you are saying.

    Attached Files:

  2. Gary S.

    Gary S. Senior Member

    Oops, somehow I did not see the other diagrams when I was reading the posts.
  3. spitfire

    spitfire Active Member

    Success!!! Thanks to everyone for all the great advice! :thumb:


    Attached Files:

  4. spitfire

    spitfire Active Member

    Gary S. - that's exactly what I was asking about. Thanks for the diagram.

  5. Gary S.

    Gary S. Senior Member

    You're welcome, Val. Keep posting pics of the layout, always interested in the progress!:thumb:
  6. Gary Pfeil

    Gary Pfeil Active Member

    Sorry, I had to go away for a bit, Gary's drawing is what I had in mind too.
  7. 60103

    60103 Pooh Bah

    Liquid Insulation is available at Canadian Tyre and Wal-Mart in the automotive department (usually).
  8. spitfire

    spitfire Active Member

    Thanks David - sounds like it should be pretty easy to get in that case. :thumb:

  9. Russ Bellinis

    Russ Bellinis Active Member

    Another option for insulation is a spray on insulation called "Glyptol" that should be available at any electrical supply warehouse. We used it on container refrigeration units to spray the terminal strips to keep any salt water from causing a bridge to short out adjacent wires, and it works well to insulate wires running 440 volt 3 phase power so it should handle our low voltage dc easily!
  10. spitfire

    spitfire Active Member

    Cool - thanks Russ. :thumb:

  11. Play-Doh

    Play-Doh Member

    Ok, this may be sorta off topic, but seeing how I am buiding my yard right now in DC, I wanna make sure im understanding everything.

    What are BUS and Feeder wires? What do those mean? Or are what you all referring too strictly DCC? If im doing my yard in DC, I shouldnt need to run seperate wires to each part of my ladder should I? Here is what my yard is


    (well, its slitely different now, but the idea is the same) I should be good with a one point connection right? (oh, the turntable and roundhouse are on different blocks)

    Sorry...didnt mean to hijack the thread with my question

  12. spitfire

    spitfire Active Member

    No problem Play-doh, although you might get more responses if you started a new thread - this one is pretty much done.

    To answer your question about wires. Feeder wires are thinner wires (18 - 20 AWG) that drop down from the tracks to the Bus wire. The bus wire is thicker (12 - 16 AWG) and connects directly to your power supply.

    I know nothing about DC so I can't help you there. It does kind of depend on the size and complexity of your layout. If it's a very small shelf layout or simple loop, there might only be one set of wires going directly to the power source.

    Power drops over distance, and also because of resistance. Thicker wire has less resistance, so it is used to carry power over a greater distance. That's why we use thicker wire as the bus which will carry wire to the far reaches of a medium sized layout. Bigger layouts need boosters and such, but that's another subject I'm pretty ignorant about.

  13. Gary Pfeil

    Gary Pfeil Active Member

    Play-doh, depending on what turnouts you use, you can get away with one connection, but with some possible long term problems. A lot of turnouts, and I have to admit I'm not terribly familiar with most current commercial turnouts, route power thru both branches regardless of which side of the turnout power is fed from. So, in theory, you can get by with one set of feeds. Assuming, with DC, that you intend to only run one loco, or consist, at a time. However, over time the rail joiner connections can oxidize and create resistance in the circuit. That is when you will see your loco slow down the further it gets away from the one feed. The solution is to add another feed, or several. People like myself, who add a feeder for each piece of rail, are just people who have decided that they would rather add the feeders up front and never deal with having to add some later. In my case, because I hate having to solder to track which is already laid. I solder my leads on my workbench. Lots of folk don't solder, they buy rail joiners with leads atached. My opinion is if you stay in the hobby long, you'll learn to solder. Because even with the rail joiners with leads, you are depending on rail joiners to transmit power. And that may work for longer than you need, before rebuilding a new layout. Or not. In general, I would think that if you are fairly new to the hobby, don't concern yourself too much with feeders, you will most likely rebuild before they become a problem. Most people build several layouts prior to building the one that may be around for decades, when you get to that point, add feeders, lots of them!
  14. pgandw

    pgandw Active Member


    At length of run, you may need terminations across the ends of the bus (and possibly Loconet, too). My understanding of Digitrax literature is that beyond about a 40ft run signal reflections from the unterminated (unmatched impedance) bus end can cause confusion for decoders. If you have no problems great; if you see wierd events, this might be something to look into.
  15. Gary S.

    Gary S. Senior Member

    Thanks Fred,

    The furthest track from my command station is about 50 feet of wire. I haven't had any decoder confusion / reflection problems so far. I did have a problem with the "quarter trick" at the far end, but I increased the bus size and solved that problem.
  16. doctorwayne

    doctorwayne Active Member

    For my medium-size layout, I soldered all of the railjoiners, then cut electrical gaps, where required, later. I don't use a bus wire for track power, although I do have one for my walkaround controllers.

  17. diesel

    diesel Member

    I know this is off topic, but could you take a pic of one of these and post it. I'm thinking I'd like to do this in a couple of trouble spots but without reinventing the wheel.

  18. Gary Pfeil

    Gary Pfeil Active Member

    Sorry Dan, I have no photos of the feeds to the points, as I solder them on the workbench prior to installing on the layout, and I have no turnouts on hand to demonstrate with. The feeds are on the underside of the points so are invisable once the turnout is laid.

    I can explain my process, but it won't help you with previously laid turnouts. With the turnout in place on the roadbed, I mark the side of the rails and the roadbed where I will add feeders. Removing the turnout, I drill holes in the roadbed for the wires to pass thru, and take the turnout to my workbench. For all rails except the points, I use a dremel drill press to drill clearance holes for 22 gauge wire, then solder wire in the holes. For the points, due to their nature, I do not attempt to drill holes in them. Up near the pivot point, where the amount of throw is less, I apply a drop of liquid flux and use a tweezer set attached to my resistance soldering set tin the underside of the point. I don't know how you would be able to do this with a soldering iron without melting ties. I then tin the 30 gauge wire and simply heat the joint to attach. I use 30 gauge to accomodate the movement of the points.

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