Feeder Lines

Discussion in 'N / Z Scale Model Trains' started by nolink5750, Oct 30, 2007.

  1. nolink5750

    nolink5750 Member

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    O.K. starting the hook up. I got 20/2 for the feeders and was thinking about 16 qauge for the main wiring. This will be 78' around the room with 2 main lines. Feeders will be every 3 -5'. Does any one have pics or suggestions for the best way to wire all this?
  2. PWRR-2207

    PWRR-2207 Rogue Islander

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    Wired for wiring...

    I have tried a few ways but strongly recommend 'tinning' the wires no matter how you go about doing the feeder wires. Here are some ways I have tried the feeders:

    - Every piece gets feeders. Pre-solder the wires to the track. Put the piece of track in place but not glued. Mark spots for holes. Drill two holes, feed wires and glue the track down. Works OK except on flex, especially flex that needs to bend some because the rail needs to be able to move.

    - Track already in place. Every piece or every other piece of track gets a feeder. Locate spot for wire and holes. Drill a hole just inside the rail. Solder wire to inside of the rails and feed wires through holes. Works OK but that is a lot of holes.

    - Track already in place. Every piece or every other piece of track gets a feeder. Locate spot for wire and hole. Drill a hole large enough to feed the two wires through, preferably near the center line of the track (ballast covers up the wires and hole). Solder wire to rails on the inside of the rail and feed wires through hole. Works the best for me but try to stay consistent with your wire colors. I use red and green like running lights on ships. (Yep, Red -> Right -> Returning for any sailors reading this :mrgreen:)

    As for a picture, here is a picture link from my product review of "Liquid Nails for Small Projects (LNSP)" adhesive using the two hole scheme (the white stuff under and around the ties is what happens when you get too much LNSP involved while gluing :cry: but the ballast covers it :mrgreen:) :

    [​IMG]

    I have also used "wiring blocks" (link picture of a couple types -
    [​IMG])
    and connectors like they use on modules for getting the feeders back to the main power wires. I prefer the blocks.
  3. baldwinjl

    baldwinjl Member

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    I think most advice with that long a run would be to go with #14, maybe even #12 for the bus. Run it in both directions, so you only have 39' to the far end. Don't connect coplete the loop at the far end. (You'll get lots of debate on that, and for practical purposes it doesn't really matter, but, in theory, it should not be a complete loop.)

    Jeff
  4. Gary S.

    Gary S. Senior Member

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    I'm with Jeff on all points. For that long of a run, I would use minimum #14 and would be more comfortable with #12
  5. woodone

    woodone Member

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    All good advise. I have one question?? Why solder on the inside of the rail?
    I would perfer to solder the feeder wires to the rails on the outside of the rail rather than the inside. If you get too much solder on the inside it will cause the wheels to hit the solder and could cause derailments.
    I use telephone wire (solid wire) for my feeders. Solder at the web of the rail and after you put on the ballast you can not see them.
  6. doctorwayne

    doctorwayne Active Member

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    Sorry, but if you're going to go to the trouble of using feeders, 3' should be your maximum run between them. Otherwise, you're relying on rail joiners somewhere to do the same job that you're purportedly installing feeders to do.
    My railroad, DC-powered HO scale, currently has a mainline of 142' when run as a loop, although normal operation is point-to-point. A lift-out at the entrance to the room completes the loop, but there is a wire connection over the doorway that completes the loop electrically at all times, whether the lift-out is in place or not. In addition, there is a stub-ended mainline leading from the mid-point of the current line to an as-yet-unbuilt second level of the layout. This is about 45' long, and when the upper end is completed, an additional 65' of mainline trackage will be added. I have just 2 feeders connected from the power source to the track. There is no noticeable slowing of locos at any point along the current line, and have run, on occasion, over a dozen locos at a time with no apparent loss of power. The only other feeders are from the mainline, through off/on switches, to passing tracks or some sidings. All rail joints are soldered.

    Wayne
  7. nolink5750

    nolink5750 Member

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    Thanks for all the great tips so far. Wayne, the reason for the feeders every 3- 5' is because the track I'm laying right now cannot be soldered once it is layed down. So what I have done is on the 19" radius corners I have soldered them completely together, and put a feeder wire right in the center and at each end. Then I want to solder (2) 30" flex tracks together. One end connecting to the corner where there is a feeder and then have a feeder at the other end (5'). Then (2) more flex track Ect. Ect. to the next corner. So basicly all joints will be soldered or have feeders at joints where not soldered.
  8. PWRR-2207

    PWRR-2207 Rogue Islander

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    More ideas...

    Another possibility is to solder the feeders to the connectors. We did that with my brother's Toporama Geländematte when we finally set it up permanently on a 2' x 4' layout. We put the wire solder points of the connectors on the insides of the track where they joined pieces because it was easier to cover them (sic 'cheaper') with ballast.
  9. nolink5750

    nolink5750 Member

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    PWRR-2207, that's what I was talking about. The feeders get soldered to the rail joiners (on the bottom) never seen. Every place the the rail joiners are not soldered. I think also from his thread, I am going to go with 14/2 for the main bus line. I called around but it's like $20 bucks for 25' and I need 100'......ouch.
  10. Gary S.

    Gary S. Senior Member

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    Twenty bucks for 25' of #14 is cRaZy.

    Look around some other places, it should be WAY WAY cheaper than that.
  11. PWRR-2207

    PWRR-2207 Rogue Islander

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    Connecting...

    Ah, understood nolink5750... I think we tried that but got some connectors that caused bumps in the tracks because we had too much solder. In retrospect, we probably could have countersunk the holes so the ones with too much solder would fit underneath without causing bumps... Hindsight is 20/20 :rolleyes:
  12. doctorwayne

    doctorwayne Active Member

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    You should also be able to buy insulated solid core wire in various sizes such as 12 or 14 as single wires, by the foot, in white, black, red, and possibly green too. That way you're not paying for the outer sheathing, and it's also easier to get at when you want to add the feeders. ;)

    Wayne
  13. baldwinjl

    baldwinjl Member

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    And the 14/2 probably had a ground in it to, another wire you don't need to buy.
  14. nolink5750

    nolink5750 Member

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    O.K. I'm not sure what that guy was trying to sell me when I called. I just went to the local hardware store and it was .21 a foot for single wire 14 gauge. But, they had 100' rolls for $13.99. The guy wanted to charge me .21 per ft. but I told him the sign said 13.99 so that's what he charged me. So $27.98 is a whole lot better than I was expecting. That was for 1 roll of red and 1 roll of white. :thumb:
  15. nolink5750

    nolink5750 Member

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    Started hooking up the wire. Found out the 14 guage wire was stranded wire not solid wire. Will there be a difference using it?
  16. Gary S.

    Gary S. Senior Member

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    Stranded #12 is what I used for my bus wire. There is not much difference between the electrical characteristics of solid or stranded wire for model railroad bus wire, so your stranded #14 will be just fine. As was mentioned above, instead of going the full 78 feet with the wire, branch out in each direction for 39 feet.

    Now, for the feeders up to the track, probably best to go with smaller solid wire for that, simply because it is easier to work with in my opinion.
  17. baldwinjl

    baldwinjl Member

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    No problems. In some ways it will be easier to handle.

    Jeff
  18. nolink5750

    nolink5750 Member

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    Cool, I think I just found my problem. I was making a test run after some wiring. My multitester said I was getting good current. But, my loco didn't want to start after reversing and try to go forward again. I think the wheels are gunked up. I'll clean them and then see what happens.