Date   

Re: Newbie

Steve Haas
 

<<I have some very general questions that I would like some input on:>>

Hi Tom,


<<1. What gauge wire should I use for the wiring bus? (Keep in mind that
I will be enlarging the pike over time)>>

Recommended wire size for wiring buses is a function of bus length, not
layout size, though there is an indirect relationship (larger layouts
usually result in longer bus lengths).


See WWW.wiringfordcc.com and https://sites.google.com/site/markgurries/
For background information. Your DCC system manufacturer should also have
recommendations for bus wire size based on length of runs, too. While
visiting those sites, also note the recommendations for twisting bus wires
(3-5 turns/foot), and R/C terminators.

Personally, I use 12 AWG stranded for main buses, occasionally 14 AWG for
sub buses.

<<2. Should I use solid or stranded wire?>>

There's no electrical/electronic benefit one way or the other. For buses, I
prefer stranded for of use and flexibility. Others prefer solid for their
own reasons, among them, ease of stripping the bus in order to solder
feeders.

I use solid for feeders.

<<3. Gauge for feeder wires?>>

Opinions vary on this; some folks use 20 AWG, I use 24 - 26 for its smaller
size. The wiring for DCC web site has tables that recommend feeder wire
size based on feeder length - one can go quite small on size as long as the
length is short. I should note that I attach a feeder to every piece of
rail. I also (yes it's a bit belt and suspenders<Grin>) solder a loop of
wire from one section of track to the next, bypassing the rail joiner.

Perhaps more important than feeder size is attaching a feeder to each and
every piece of rail.

Rail joiners work well to provide mechanical connections, but soldered or
not, the long term potential for electrical failure is high. Better to
expect them to keep track in alignment, letting them shift back and forth as
needed to adapt to environmental changes in the layout room.

<<4. Should I consider splitting the layout with insulated joiners?>>

Breaking the layout down into logical electrical sections can have benefits,
including but not limited to:

a) Limiting the impact of a short circuit to a localized area, ie, a town or
yard, so that only the immediate operator is affected while other areas of
the layout continue on un-interrupted (note however, that this requires
circuit breakers to shut off the power to the affected area of the layout).
On a small, single operator layout this is not an issue, but does become a
problem as layout size and the number of operators increases.

b) Decreasing the amount of track and wiring that needs to be checked out
and debugged when a short occurs.


I cut my teeth on Cab Control wiring far too many years ago. My first
inclination when designing wiring for a DCC layout is to gap track as if I
was still installing a Cab Control system, with each "block" having its own
wiring. In retrospect, that's quite a bit of over kill. For my next
layout, I'll probably put the yard ladder track on one circuit breaker, and
all the body tracks on a second, with a single track bus running the length
of the yard serving all the body tracks. On a larger layout with both
eastward and westward yards, each ladder and lead would be one breaker with
the east and west body tracks each being on a separate breaker.

<<5. How is the best way to connect the feeders to the bus? I have seen
the 'suitcase' connectors but it there anything better, neater? What about
soldering?>>


Suitcase connectors, soldering, crimp connections all have their place, and
all non is better or worse that the other. Use the best tools you can
afford for the type of connection you are using, and master the tools and
techniques appropriate for the products you are using. Once you've picked
your connector(s) of choice, be consistent in your use - just don't use "any
old thing"(tm) because you ran out of the right tools and supplies; odds are
that if you do, you'll never fix it until you have to crawl under the layout
during an Ops session to make an emergency repair, only to find out you've
got the wrong tools and supplies!


<<6. Any other considerations?>>


One thing I would avoid is the practice of running buses through purpose
drilled holes in the bench work. Once you've run a bus through those holes
and attached feeders to them it becomes much more difficult to reroute
wiring in support of changes on the layout.


Food for thought.


Best regards,

Steve


Steve Haas
Snoqualmie, WA


Re: Newbie

dvollrath@...
 

Tom, Read through the beginners guide on the wiringfordcc.com website.

Sounds like a relatively small and probably one man operation layout. Use #18 for DCC mains and #22 for track drops as these are more than adequate for N scale of this size. solid wire is easier to solder to rails. Soldering always works for other connections too but you might find suitcase connectors of the proper size easier to work with under the layout. Train occupancy detection blocks and signaling seems somewhat out of reach on a layout of this size. I wouldn't bother with insulated joiners and separate isolated power districts unless there is a reversing section or a need to isolate sidings with a power cut-off switch. But be sure to look carefully at your turnouts to determine if they need isolating joiners at frog rails to avoid causing shorts when thrown the 'wrong' way. Use DCC friendly switches and/or add frog juicers to avoid/assist carrying track power through power routing turnout points.


If the layout is a walk-around arrangement with access on all sides be sure to provide convenient plug in places for your throttle on each side or go for radio/wireless.


DonV


Re: Newbie

David Klemm
 

Tom,


I think most of these questions are asked and answered on the wiringfordcc website.  Have you read it?


David




From: WiringForDCC@... on behalf of Tom Anderson tanderson@... [WiringForDCC]
Sent: Monday, November 7, 2016 7:15 PM
To: WiringForDCC@...
Subject: [WiringForDCC] Newbie
 
 

Hi all,

After a 15 year absence, I am diving back in to this great hobby. Needless to say, a few things have changed particularly with the evolution of DCC.

So I am starting with a small N gauge layout - basically a 4x4 size with a 2x2 extension.

I have just purchased a new Digitrax system and am ready to get started.

I have some very general questions that I would like some input on:

1. What gauge wire should I use for the wiring bus? (Keep in mind that I will enlarging the pike over time)
2. Should I use solid or stranded wire?
3. Gauge for feeder wires?
4. Should I consider splitting the layout with insulated joiners?
5. How is the best way to connect the feeders to the bus? I have seen the 'suitcase' connectors but it there anything better, neater? What about soldering?
6. Any other considerations?

Any input/advice would be greatly appreciated!!

Thanks!

Tom Anderson


Business Information Systems, Inc.
P.O. Box 160396
Boiling Springs, SC 29316

(864) 599-1266
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[Non-text portions of this message have been removed]


Newbie

Tom Anderson
 

Hi all,

 

          After a 15 year absence, I am diving back in to this great hobby. Needless to say, a few things have changed particularly with the evolution of DCC.

 

          So I am starting with a small N gauge layout – basically a 4x4 size with a 2x2 extension.

 

          I have just purchased a new Digitrax system and am ready to get started.

 

          I have some very general questions that I would like some input on:

 

1.    What gauge wire should I use for the wiring bus? (Keep in mind that I will enlarging the pike over time)

2.    Should I use solid or stranded wire?

3.    Gauge for feeder wires?

4.    Should I consider splitting the layout with insulated joiners?

5.    How is the best way to connect the feeders to the bus? I have seen the ‘suitcase’ connectors but it there anything better, neater? What about soldering?

6.    Any other considerations?

 

Any input/advice would be greatly appreciated!!

 

Thanks!

 

Tom Anderson



Newbie

Tom Anderson
 

Hi all,

After a 15 year absence, I am diving back in to this great hobby. Needless to say, a few things have changed particularly with the evolution of DCC.

So I am starting with a small N gauge layout - basically a 4x4 size with a 2x2 extension.

I have just purchased a new Digitrax system and am ready to get started.

I have some very general questions that I would like some input on:

1. What gauge wire should I use for the wiring bus? (Keep in mind that I will enlarging the pike over time)
2. Should I use solid or stranded wire?
3. Gauge for feeder wires?
4. Should I consider splitting the layout with insulated joiners?
5. How is the best way to connect the feeders to the bus? I have seen the 'suitcase' connectors but it there anything better, neater? What about soldering?
6. Any other considerations?

Any input/advice would be greatly appreciated!!

Thanks!

Tom Anderson


Business Information Systems, Inc.
P.O. Box 160396
Boiling Springs, SC 29316

(864) 599-1266
--
ExchangeDefender Message Security: Click below to verify authenticity
https://admin.exchangedefender.com/verify.php?id=uA81GDk4024242&from=tanderson@bisinc.info


Re: Tortouise switch machines and how I made it easier to install

Digitrax Dad (Lancashire Fusilier)
 

Hello group, I seem to have had a seemless run with my tortoise installs. I pre lay all the track with a 1/4" hole drilled through 1/2" baseboard and install per the following video. I love seeing what everyone else does. By the way I installed ten tortoise motors just this week! Hope this is useful to someone.


Paul Hamilton
Perth, Western Australia 


Re: Can you power the frog on a turnout that controls an autoreverser

John Sawaska
 

Dale i too am using the Hare to control the turn out and frog for my reverse loop, actually the loop has two separate entries, the loop is controlled by a PSX-AR. It has worked flawlessly for nearly 15 years.
John Sawaska, Wisconsin Rapids, Wi


Installing Soundtraxx Soundcar Decoder

trains@...
 

Greetings,

First time inquiry. Has anyone had experience installing the Soundcar decoder in a coal hopper? My cars are 3 & 4 hopper units.  I have installed several of the decoders in boxcars, which is simple. Placement of the decoder is not my concern. One concern is where to mount the speaker? I realize it should go in the bottom, but how and where. The other concern is how to wire the pick-up wheels. I know I can drill through the screw hole, and secure the trucks with bolts into the car, but their location, and the slant to the hopper, doesn't give you much length to the bolt.

Thanks for any help. I simply love my Soundcar decoders.

Ted



Re: Can you power the frog on a turnout that controls an autoreverser

Dale Gloer
 

Ed,

I'm not sure what you are using for an autoreverser or how you plan to use it to control the Tortoise but I thought I would share my experience .  At our club we are using a DCC Specialties Hare to automatically change the Tortoise position.  The Hare uses short detection sections for control and properly routes frog power as well as control the Tortoise. In out installation it controls entry to a reversing loop but is independent of the autoreverser for the loop.  It has been a very successful installation for us and is easy to implement.  In addition it plug directly onto the Tortoise machine.  There are a couple of versions depending on whether you want feedback from the Hare for switch position etc.

I have no commercial interest in these devices, just a satisfied user.

Dale Gloer


Re: Can you power the frog on a turnout that controls an autoreverser

Vollrath, Don <don.vollrath@...>
 

Rob, see my answer to Ed. Look up the links I put in there.

DonV

On Nov 3, 2016, at 8:16 PM, roblmclear@yahoo.com<mailto:roblmclear@yahoo.com> [WiringForDCC] <WiringForDCC@yahoogroups.com<mailto:WiringForDCC@yahoogroups.com>> wrote:



I am having a similar problem with a wye and a Tortoise and auto reverser, is a diagram available as to how you should wire the auto reverser to control the tortoise.

Rob McLear.


Re: Can you power the frog on a turnout that controls an autoreverser

roblmclear@...
 

I am having a similar problem with a wye and a Tortoise and auto reverser, is a diagram available as to how you should wire the auto reverser to control the tortoise.

Rob McLear.


Re: Can you power the frog on a turnout that controls an autoreverser

Vollrath, Don <don.vollrath@...>
 

Ed,

For automatic operation it should be the other way around in that the auto-reverser should control the Tortoise. Then you simply need to wire up an internal SPDT switch of the tortoise to power the frog from the proper track rail as selected by the path position of the throw bar. How to control the Tortoise motor or somehow trigger it to change the throw bar position in time as needed to prevent a derailment is the better question.

 

But Yes… If you are using an auto-reverser connection to somehow control the Tortoise, you may need to move the location of the gaps needed to make the auto-reverser function further away from the turnout… depending how fast your trains will run. Also be aware that by definition the ‘frog’ is a relatively small object of the middle of the turnout. Some power routing electro-frog type turnouts run the electrical service tied to the frog and frog exit rails all the way to the end of the turnout. This can be problematic as the sliding switch contacts inside the Tortoise are not intended to carry the pulse of current necessary to trigger the A-R unit and the rails can become dead during movement of the throw bar. In that case you need to either make the turnout DCC friendly by isolating the frog, etc. or somehow establish a fixed polarity zone approaching the turnout that triggers the A-R unit and causes the Tortoise to start flipping the throw bar to suit… before any power pick-up trucks will reach turnout rails.

 

DonV

 

From: WiringForDCC@... [mailto:WiringForDCC@...]
Sent: Wednesday, November 02, 2016 3:39 PM
To: WiringForDCC@...
Subject: [WiringForDCC] Can you power the frog on a turnout that controls an autoreverser

 



How does one power the frog on a turnout that controls an autoreverser?  I am using tortoise switches and controlling the frog using the tortoise internal contacts. It appears that I must place the gaps well downstream of the return leg (prior to re-entering the turnout) in order to have the autoreverser trip before any of the train (let's say I have a lighted caboose) reaches the frog.  Is this correct?  If I cannot gap it well enough in advance, it seems I should go with an unpowered frog...

Ed Robinson

 





Can you power the frog on a turnout that controls an autoreverser

Ed
 

How does one power the frog on a turnout that controls an autoreverser?  I am using tortoise switches and controlling the frog using the tortoise internal contacts. It appears that I must place the gaps well downstream of the return leg (prior to re-entering the turnout) in order to have the autoreverser trip before any of the train (let's say I have a lighted caboose) reaches the frog.  Is this correct?  If I cannot gap it well enough in advance, it seems I should go with an unpowered frog...

Ed Robinson



Wiring a Digitrax BDL168 video

Digitrax Dad (Lancashire Fusilier)
 

Hello group, I am sharing a video I did for a buddy wiring up a BDL168 block detector using bootlace crimps and terminal strips on a DCC install in case anyone is interested. Also I wired up a CML SIGM20 signal control board using ribbon cable and an IDC connector for a DCC control drawer. Hope some one finds it useful.

https://youtu.be/ei--8gl1U8U

https://youtu.be/C6cVF6GEVpo

Cheers,


Paul Hamilton

Perth, Western Australia 


Re: WIRING TWO LEDS FOR INDICATION

dvollrath@...
 

Good call, Ed. Most diode testers / VOMs don't put out enough voltage to light up non-Red LEDs.


In the circuit you show the two common cathode R/G LED sets, each with protective diodes to accommodate reversing current flow to determine which color will light up. You have wired them in series with the tortoise motor to control and limit current. However you have wired the two LED sets in anti-parallel to yield Red on one circuit and Green in the other, and reversing their colors when voltage to the Tortoise is reversed. However, the voltage drop to illuminate the Green LED cells is greater than that of the Red. So in one case the Red LED plus the diode across its Green counterpart in the same package is conducting current with a certain combined voltage drop leaving less than desired voltage for an equal amount of current to flow through the other parallel wired set which has 1 diode plus a Green LED. Hence, the Green LEDs will have weaker current flow and may not even light up at all. [LEDs in parallel will not necessarily share current.] Yes, adding an experimental  low ohms resistor in series with the Red LED lead may resolve the brightness issue.


Additional ways to improve the usefulness:

1. You could try reconnecting the two LED sets, with their diodes, in series but opposite in polarity with each other and the Tortoise motor. But be aware that the Tortoise motor will slow down.

2. .You could use the LED connection of #1 but use an additional 1K resistor in series with the LEDs, etc. and wire that string in parallel with the Tortoise motor.

3. You could also rewire to connect each one of the LED sets separately, with its own 1K current limiting resistor in series, in parallel with the Tortoise motor.


DonV


 


Re: WIRING TWO LEDS FOR INDICATION

Ed
 

Don,

OK, I figured out the issue - the voltage from the diode tester on the multimeter was not enough to drive the green led when hooked up in my multi-LED setup.  When I used 12vdc it works fine.  The red LED is brighter but I can adjust that with a resistor in the red leg but that is adding a complication I am not ready to take on.  By the way, I have uploaded a picture of the circuit I am using in the files section entitled "Tortoise Indication".

Ed Robinson


New file uploaded to WiringForDCC

WiringForDCC@...
 

Hello,


This email message is a notification to let you know that
a file has been uploaded to the Files area of the WiringForDCC
group.


File : /Tortoise Indication.jpg
Uploaded by : esmileyrob <lehighman@gmail.com>
Description : Bi-color LEDs for turnout indication


You can access this file at the URL:
https://groups.yahoo.com/neo/groups/WiringForDCC/files/Tortoise%20Indication.jpg


To learn more about file sharing for your group, please visit:
https://help.yahoo.com/kb/index?page=content&y=PROD_GRPS&locale=en_US&id=SLN15398


Regards,


esmileyrob <lehighman@gmail.com>


Re: WIRING TWO LEDS FOR INDICATION

dvollrath@...
 

Ed, there is  way to put the LEDs and protective diodes in a series string all in series with the Tortoise motor, but the combined voltage drop might limit the Tortoise motor speed way too much. Take a look in the files section for a file called 3 wire LEDs to see how to hook 'em up in parallel across the tortoise motor. The second set of the LEDs (not shown) with its own resistor should be connected opposite in polarity as the first to get one signal showing Green while the other signal shows Red. If both signals show the same color, you have one of them connected backwards.


DonV


Re: WIRING TWO LEDS FOR INDICATION

Ed
 

Thanks Don.  I am using these in conjunction with a Tortoise to provide panel indication. I have used this method with success before but I used 5mm LEDs in the previous application. I thought about the difference in voltage drops and will try your solution.  I will report back.

Ed Robinson


Re: WIRING TWO LEDS FOR INDICATION

dvollrath@...
 

From your description, Ed I'm not sure what you did with the still 3-leaded device other than add a diode in anti-parallel with each Red and Green LED....Or how you are connecting what voltage to the sets... Or limiting current through the LEDs. If you ended up connecting the two sets directly in parallel the Red LED has a lower voltage drop than the Green LED, preventing the Green LEDs from lighting up. One way to fix that is to use a separate current limiting resistor at the cathode for each R/G LED, then connect the anode of a Red and Green LED from each set together and the other end of the current limiting resistors together. Now current will pass through both a Red and Green LED with the difference in voltage drops taken up by the resistors. You should not need the extra diodes if you are energizing the signal lights from an on/off switched DC source, but keep them in if you power source is DCC or other AC voltage. There is no way to connect the 3-leaded R/G parts in series to do what you want.


DonV

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