lot o questions

Discussion in 'HO Scale Model Trains' started by taylor_up_bnsf, Feb 26, 2008.

  1. taylor_up_bnsf

    taylor_up_bnsf taylor_up_bnsf

    Dec 9, 2007
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    Is there a certain amperage all the track needs to be at?
    Should I use a tailight bulb for short detection?
    Do I need a dpdt toggle switch for my programming track even if it isn't connected to the rest of the layout?
    What type of solder is needed for wiring and soldering track?
    Would it be better to have an additional booster for a somewhat larger layout?
    Where do I get a 12v DC power supply?
    Can I daisy chain all of my wiring with phone cords(the bungee type) if part of my layout is modular or has to be taken apart sometimes?
  2. steamhead

    steamhead Active Member

    Apr 17, 2005
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    Hi....The track is not at any amperage...Amperage is the "power" that a power source can deliver to do whatever work is being done. If you've got a low amperage power source (something around 2 amps), and you load up your trackage with several locos working at the same time, either the locos won't perform adequately, or the pack will shut down. If you plan operating several locos at the same time, it is advisable to go for a higher rated supply, or divide the layout into "power districts" with a booster for each district. A booster will provide the "punch" (amperage) to the section it is wired to.

    You don't need any kind of switch if your programming track is TOTALLY isolated from the rest of the layout.

    What do you intend to do with the 12v. supply..?
    You can purchase wall plug-ins at Radio Shack, WalMart, and other sources. These are generally lower rated (amperage) packs.

    Phone wire is not really suitable for powering a layout, if you mean to distribute the power to your modules, you need a higher gauge (lower number) of wire than phone wire.

    I've never really understood how the tail lightbulb works....

    Good luck..!!
  3. MasonJar

    MasonJar It's not rocket surgery

    Oct 31, 2002
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    See steamhead's answer above.

    If you are running DCC (which I think you are), the DCC unit will detect any shorts for you. You do not need a separate light to come on indicating a fault.

    It is useful to do this so you can use both modes ("isolated" progamming and "programming on the main") without actually being on the main. It is also useful to be able to flip to "main" to check if your changes have taken effect.

    Good quality lead-free solder with a fairly small diameter. Also, liquid rosin flux is extremely helpful. Rosin-core solder does not typically carry enough rosin to help much.

    This depends on the load (i.e. number of locos) you plan to run. Dividing a larger layout into blocks for troubleshooting is also helpful, but does not require an additional booster to do so.

    See above.

    Again, as steamhead notes, this is not a good idea. If you are going to be taking the modules/sections apart on a regular basis, you can use trailer plugs. If your bus consists of two wires, you can get 10AWG two conductor trailer plugs that will carry the power no problem.

    You can use telephone components for the LocoNet (if, for example, you are using Digitrax DCC).

    Hope that helps.

  4. tetters

    tetters Rail Spiking Fool!

    Jan 22, 2005
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    The only thing I can add is if you are running DCC it might be a good idea to test your track work for shorts as you lay it down. As a single short can shut down the entire layout. You don't want to laydown a ton of trackwork, only to find out that there is short somewhere.
  5. Squidbait

    Squidbait Recovering ALCO-holic

    Jan 27, 2007
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    Yes - enough to run all the locos you want at the same time. Figure each loco draws ~.25-.5 A, and go from there.

    Depends on what you're using for a power supply. Most modern ones have one built in, especially if it's above the train-set level.

    If yours doesn't - go for it.

    Only if you don't have separate main/programming track leads - you might wind up reprogramming everything.

    60:40 rosin-core solder - basically any electronics solder. Don't get the lead-free stuff!

    It couldn't hurt.

    Depends on how many amps you want. You can convert an old PC power supply, and they'll deliver 4-5A at 12v. Surplus stores. Electronics stores. Google. Ebay.

    Not sure what you're asking here. Basically, the phone-cord wire is small gauge, and can carry a signal at most 50' before you start to have significant degradation. If you're using it for your bus, you're sunk - you need larger-gauge wire than phone cord to carry your bus around the layout.