wiring???

Discussion in 'FAQs' started by Virginian, Feb 5, 2001.

  1. Virginian

    Virginian Member

    Hey Shamus, George,Catt, Railery and all you other Masters of The Craft: How about some basic pointers on wiring?
    To start,I was working on a simple oval/S Loop with a couple of turn outsoff the loops.. then I had to modify the track plan 'cause I've never wired a layout before and I have to figure it out first. [​IMG] I know there are books, but they tend to be pretty hard to follow...written as if the reader has taken "wiring 101"...I can fix a lamp, install a light switch or an outlet in the house, but I'm kinda slow with this DC and polarity etc..(never done any before) I was told at the store today that my layout won't work without 'track connectors, wiring , cross overs," and a bunch of other stuff I did'nt understand..I'll be getting a basic wiring book as soon as I find one basic enough for my feeble comprehension...or there are online articles available from ModelRailroading Mag.
    Any imput? This is the first step..I said from the top this was a long 'delayed' dream..now I'm awake and want the little Trainmaster to go around the track!! Thanks for any help.
    Virginian
  2. shamus

    shamus Registered Member

    Hi Virginian,
    Okay friend, here we go. First of all here are two pictures of a simple track plan, but the basic wiring is the same for any model railroad.
    RED circles are the power supply to the tracks 12v dc. also needed would be a double pole double throw switch for every power supply, each switch would be daisy chained, I will go into that later on with you. When you get to that stage.
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]

    The top diagram shows a simple loop and spurs off. The white parts are where you should put in Plastic rail joiners, to avoid a feed back. All points shown are LIVE FROGS.
    The bottom diagram shows a double loop with passing tracks, again white to show where to put Plastic Rail joiners once again.

    If you have already drawn up your track plan, Scan it in and show it in here, and I will copy it and draw on it where every railbreak and power point should be, in order for you to have block train control.Using double pole double throw switches.
    It is impossible for me to add anything further without look at your plan.

    If you cannot post it here, email it to me at
    shamus@the-gauge.com

    cheers
    shamus

    [This message has been edited by shamus (edited 02-05-2001).]
  3. Virginian

    Virginian Member

    Thanks for your prompt reply,Shamus.
    We don't have a scanner yet, but I will try to find a way to get my first stage simple layout plan to you..envision an oval (N scale)on a 4x4 board, 1 foot for controls with the long side of the oval facing the control 'terminal',
    2 right switches(alas,1 manuel, 1 remote,AC)at both short sides of the oval . The connecting track of the'branch forms an 's' in the center of the oval..hence, reversing the polarity.(Later I might have a siding off of the top of each branch curve,just inside of the main switches, forming a straight siding ending at a bumper, running parallel to the 'main line at top and bottom.)
    For the oval, imagine an elongated yin-yang symbol(if you know anything about Taoist esoterica, if not check out the flag of South Korea) with the ends flattened slightly(switches), and the long sides straight. I left 3" on three sides for safety and terrain/buildings. the short dimension is 2'9"..(I have the 1 foot 'terminal'
    space on one side.)
    Well, until I can transmit a drawing, that's the best I can do.
    Your diagrams have already been helpfull..I'm off to find plastic joiners(maybe thats what they meant by"track connectors" at the shop yesterday)..some more manuel switches and some track..I've already revised my plan to avoid the loop and have it pinned ..will multiple sidings and spurs, not connecting back to the main line or each other require joiners or addidional wiring ???(I don't think so, if I understand your intruction so far.)
    Thanks so much for your time and thoughtfulness...I hope this dialogue will be usefull to other brginners as well.
    [​IMG]
    Virginian
  4. shamus

    shamus Registered Member

    Hi Virginian
    (Quote)
    will multiple sidings and spurs, not connecting back to the main line or each other require joiners or addidional wiring ???(I don't think so, if I understand your intruction so far.)
    ----------------------------------
    The only joiners required would be metal joiners.
    What are you using for your roadbed? I use 1/2" chipboard and 1/2" insulation board, to allow for quiet running and ease of putting in track pins.
    By the way, always pin your track on the outside, never mind those holes in the middle of some tracks. If you pin too tightly, sometimes you can reduce the track width.
    Lets have the plan soon

    shamus
  5. Railery

    Railery Member

    ROFLMAO, couldn't help it. U stated exactly
    how i use to feel about wiring. I have lots
    of books. The easiest, maybe not the best,
    is The Atlas book on wiring for me. If your DC or DCC u have to isolate the S from the oval by installing plastic rail joiners on both rails after the switch. U will also have to power the S separately just like the oval.
    Also u will need a reversing loop switch or an atlas twin switch. This way u can change the polarity coming out of the S back onto the oval. The atlas twin switch will do it for u [​IMG]
    [​IMG]

    [This message has been edited by Railery (edited 02-06-2001).]

    [This message has been edited by Railery (edited 02-06-2001).]
  6. Virginian

    Virginian Member

    Thanks, Railery, I bought that book today..but she didn't sell me the twin switch...just about every thing else in the store, though...
    Thanks, Shamus.. I'm using cork (after I lay it out, pin it down and see if it runs) on birch plywood three quarters inch for stiffness, I couldn't find any half inch that wasn't bowed beyond use at the Home Depot. (I'll give chip board and insulation board a try later. Or maybe artist's foam core would work in place of insulation board??)...I'm doing a "portable " layout for this first one, so I can bring it in the house to run once I get the wiring done and the track laid... scenery and bulidings etc will come later. The main goal right now is to get my little grey Trainmaster (got a line on VGN decals today..thanks Don [​IMG]) pulling those pretty little cars around ..I've learned alot today...many thanks.:cool
  7. shamus

    shamus Registered Member

    If you are making a reverse loop, you will need plastic joiners on both rails at either end , so the piece of track in the oval is completly isolated.
    One double pole double throw switch is all thats needed for a reversing loop, when the loco is in the loop, you simply flick the switch and controller switch at the same time, and the loco just keeps on going around the loop and out. used one for years

    Here is the diagram and wired for two controllers, so you can bring a loco in on any controller. The same as above applies.
    [​IMG]




    [This message has been edited by shamus (edited 02-06-2001).]
  8. Something else that may help you with your wiring, is the new NMRA Beginners Pages. Basic wiring is covered as well as a number of other basic questions. You can find it linked to http://www.nmra.org or go directly there at http://www.nmra.org/beginner

    In any event, good luck with your dream. we all have one or we wouldn't be here. :)

    Roger

    Roger Hensley - rhensley@anderson.cioe.com
    == NMRA track gauge. "Don't do trains without it." ==
  9. George

    George Member

    Virginian,

    I discovered the joy of working with "European Barrier Strips", versus conventional, which are available in Radio Shack in a variety of lengths. You can colour code them and easily make a bus out of them for connecting multiple feed points and accessories. Try some.

    George.
  10. shamus

    shamus Registered Member

    Hi George,
    How the hell are you my friend, still deep in SNOW.?

    Wiring a layout is quite simple if you stick to two colour coded wires, for the track, not the turnouts if they have a motor attached. I always use RED for BLUE. for the track, and GREEN BLACK & YELLOW for the turnouts that have motors. BLACK being the common wire to every motor.
    No need to worry about a common return for the track, that takes care of itself if you stick to the colours. I always start a RED wire to the tracks nearest me, then add the BLUE opposite it. Tracing the inner rail as you go will automatically give you the place to add the next RED and so on.
  11. George

    George Member

    Hello Shamus! I hae so much snow with more on the way I can send you some!

    Shamus (as usual) is correct regarding colour coding everything. Don't just decide your own system, try and standardize so other's attempting to help you can quickly figure out what you have done.

    About ten years ago I worked with a technician who was playing job security games. He did a major wiring job in three racks using nothing but white wire! After he quit in a snit, we had to backhoe the entire job out and start from scratch. The point here for you is that one day in a few years you might have a short, and you will have to trace your work and get back into what you were thinking EXACTLY at the time of installation.

    Get yourself a bag of cable ties. They come in all sizes right up to what law enforcement has substituted for handcuffs. Also, small plastic ducts which may be opened are commercially available. Keeps hanging wires from enticing the cat [​IMG]
  12. Virginian

    Virginian Member

    Hey, some good "helpful hints" here..think I'll print this page...I can figure out what the heck ya'll are talkin' about later! :d
    thanks
    I've skipped the S loop for now, opting for an oval mainline branching into a multiple turnout Yard in the center; curves ending in straight spurs with bumpers at end of track x 4. We'll see if it works in a few hours when I get it all nailed down. I've already started working on the next section in my mind...a gently curving main line heading off into the valley.....
    I'll post track plans for comments and suggestions as soon as I'm able to render them online. bye now,
    Virginian
  13. Virginian

    Virginian Member

    I'll get the hang of those dang smilies yet!!
    [​IMG]
    VGN
  14. johan

    johan New Member

    If I were you ,I would listen very carefully to Shamus, he has had many articles published World wide, I have read many articles in Continental Modeller regarding the wiring of a layout from start to finish.Shamus has had many features in Model Railroading magasine which I have read.When I was modelling the HO American scene I recall Shamus winning the NMRA Convention competition taking all three places in photography.For those who have not seen the web site for Shamus, here it is:-

    http://www.badger-creek.co.uk
  15. Virginian

    Virginian Member

    Hi George,
    Thanks for the advice. I didn't know the details, but I'd already figured shamus was the fella to listen to...you too George..your many years of 'frustraiton' will save me a few headaches,I'm sure!
    Unfortunately and very sadly, my favorite'master electrician'and mentor, my dad-in-love (father-in-law) passed away last month. He taught me a lot and I will be using some of his tools as I learn this craft...but I sure wish I could call him up and ask him about circuitry...he worked in industrial applications, megavoltage,in his career but he could fix anything, any size,including micro-circutry."it's all electricity".
    Any way, thanks everybody for the good advice.. now....THE TRAIN RUNS!!! ..and all the switches work, manually at any rate...I'll be wiring my one powered switch today, I hope. The under table ones will come later as this first layout is table top.
    Oh, ...shamus.,I'm sorry I didn't heed your advice to pin the outsides...in N, with the track nails I had, and with my regular glasses and sore fingers from fitting track together and leaving out the cork roadbed (I skipped it, temporarily, to find out if my design would work)....I used the tiny hole in the middle of the atlas track(the only unbedded or flex available to me) now I understand ..I'll find a way to nail to the outside of the rail with the next one. I do have some very tiny 'spikes'..now all I need is very tiny fingers.. I WILL use the cork for the next round; soon as I devise a method for pulling up the track without wrecking a bunch of track...I think I'll manage.....bye y'all.
    VGN
  16. shamus

    shamus Registered Member

    Hi Virginian
    If you had used the 1/2" insulation board, along with 1/2" chipboard for your roadbed, you would have been able to press the small track pins into it with your finger tips. [​IMG] [​IMG]
  17. Virginian

    Virginian Member

    Hi shamus.
    [​IMG] Yep, of course your right ..next time I'll spend a lot more time trying to find the right materials at the building supply, you can bet on that!!!! [​IMG]
    VGN

    [This message has been edited by Virginian (edited 02-07-2001).]
  18. George

    George Member

    Virginian,

    You might talk to someone in a local club for ideas and warnings for the pitfalls of wiring. Don't feel bad, wiring has been a nightmare for me since the year 1. I quit buying books on the subject years ago as I found Russian easier. Just keep it easy enough for you to keep track of, and get help for anything over your head.

    If you don't have an electrician up the street you can offer a 24 of beer to for a little help, Shamus is your best guru for now! [​IMG]

    George.
  19. shamus

    shamus Registered Member

    Hi George,
    Thanks for the remarks.


    Virginian
    If you are just doing an oval, then the above drawings are all you will need.


    Johan,
    Where the hell are you from my lad, HO American you said. I won the NMRA comps. way back in 1994, drop me an email from my website. We might just get together.

    cheers
    shamus

    [This message has been edited by shamus (edited 02-07-2001).]
  20. johan

    johan New Member

    Hi Shamus I have sent you an email telling you all about myself and where we met.

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