Author Topic: First post! Questions on layout wiring  (Read 1379 times)

DaneG

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First post! Questions on layout wiring
« on: May 31, 2017, 12:04:47 PM »
Hello! First time post on this forum so I am excited to be here!

My father and I are hard at work on our dream layout. It's a big layout - 2 levels, helix, approx. 400-ft of double track main and we're using RailPro.

I've got a handful of newbie-caliber questions relating to layout wiring, which I was hoping the forum could guide us on...

1) In general, for RailPro, should we follow basic DC wiring principles? If anyone could point me to a relevant layout wiring guide, I'm sure the rest of these questions would be answered.
2) How should crossovers be wired? Do they need to have insulated rail joiners?
3) We have two reversing loops. How should these be wired?
4) We have two 10-track staging yards on the layout. Is it necessary to provide a bus wire for each and every track? Or could consolidate multiple tracks per bus wire?

G8B4Life

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Re: First post! Questions on layout wiring
« Reply #1 on: May 31, 2017, 12:32:57 PM »
Welcome Dane (?)

Some quick answers.

1. Yes, basic DC principles is ok, but your better off bullet proofing it by going just that little bit further than "basic (see below)".
2. Yes, insulated joiners would be required in most circumstances. In fact I can't think of when they wouldn't be.
3. You will need a a way to "reverse" the polarity of the rails. For this you'll need to isolate the loop (4 insulated joiners) and if you are game switch the polarity with a toggle switch that can handle the current, or, even better Ring Engineering make an auto reverser for just this purpose.
4. You can make do with one or two buses for all 10 tracks. You will need droppers to all the tracks as usual.

I'd suggest taking a look our resident go-to-person-for-just-about-all-things-electrical's blog and study what he's done with wiring on his layout (RailPro controlled). www.lkorailroad.com. While you may not end up with the same  level of sophistication if you follow his very sound principles with the wiring your layout will electrically thank you by giving you (hopefully) no problems long into the future when your operating.

Alan, our resident go-to person will likely chime in and either confirm, or correct what I have said.

- Tim
« Last Edit: May 31, 2017, 12:40:50 PM by G8B4Life »

DaneG

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Re: First post! Questions on layout wiring
« Reply #2 on: May 31, 2017, 02:54:30 PM »
G8B4Life:

Thanks for the response. All of that makes sense to me. We went ahead and bought the AR-1 Auto Reverse Unit in anticipation of using it at our lower reversing loop.

Good to know about the yard tracks. I had it in my head that I needed a bus wire for each track, so I'm relieved to hear otherwise.

Alan

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Re: First post! Questions on layout wiring
« Reply #3 on: May 31, 2017, 04:26:04 PM »
Hello Dane. Welcome to RPUG.

As Tim speculated, here I am chiming in.  ;D
Just so you know, I am an electronics hobbyist not an electronics engineer. Basically that means I may know a little more about the subject than some but certainly do not consider me an expert. Fortunately, wiring up a model railroad is not an overly complex subject.

Tim, thanks for the LK&O web site plug. Knowing this sounds shameless... Dane you really should read the blog. It will save much duplicate typing here on RPUG. Your questions #1 and #4 are extensively covered on the blog. Afterwards, you can ask your application specific questions and we will do our best to answer them.

Tim gives good advice. The only response I take exception to is regarding 2) How should crossovers be wired? Do they need to have insulated rail joiners?. If your crossovers are DCC friendly (as all your switches, crossovers, diamonds, etc. should be) then there is no need for insulated joiners.
Alan

LK&O Railroad website

When I was a kid... no wait, I still do that. HO, 28x32, double deck, 1969, RailPro

DaneG

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Re: First post! Questions on layout wiring
« Reply #4 on: June 01, 2017, 06:58:31 AM »
Hello Alan and thank you for the reply.
I've done a little browsing through the blog, but will go back and read it more thoroughly. Glad to be a part of the community! I'll post some photos of our layout progress too, if anyone would be interested in taking a look.

Alan

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Re: First post! Questions on layout wiring
« Reply #5 on: June 01, 2017, 07:11:14 AM »
I suggest you read the 3 posts labeled "Powering the LK&O" and then the series labeled "Laying Track" which is a detailed look at construction and wiring of a module.

Keep in mind it is a blog so there is evolution as it progresses. Things change. For instance, the Laying Track post #1 says I planned to use CAT5 cable wires for feeders but by Laying Track post #3 I had discovered 24 AWG stranded worked much better so I made the switch. Stuff like this is why it is important to read all the way through in the sequence the posts were written. Nature of a blog.
Alan

LK&O Railroad website

When I was a kid... no wait, I still do that. HO, 28x32, double deck, 1969, RailPro