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So many feeders for sectional track??

Ryan Hulsey <ryenpreston@...>
 

I have a small 4 x 6 layout that uses Atlas 83 sectional track. I want to solder a feeder to every piece of track so I don't have to worry about the joiners failing. How much soldering of track joiner joints can I get away with so I don't have to run so many feeders. I have a number of short pieces (3-4 inches and the longer at 9 inches).

Vollrath, Don <don.vollrath@...>
 

The practical answer is hidden in the quality of your soldering skills and mechanical stress put on solder joints from misalignment and humidity/temperature changes of the layout. With sectional track I wouldn't go past 2 soldered rail joiners in either direction with the feeder drop in the middle section of track. (ie- 5 pieces of track less than 45 inches long) Other rail joiners connecting soldered track sections together to remain unsoldered to allow for some physical movement.

DonV

-----Original Message-----
From: WiringForDCC@... [mailto:WiringForDCC@...]
Sent: Friday, November 11, 2016 9:49 AM
To: WiringForDCC@...
Subject: [WiringForDCC] So many feeders for sectional track??

I have a small 4 x 6 layout that uses Atlas 83 sectional track. I want to solder a feeder to every piece of track so I don't have to worry about the joiners failing. How much soldering of track joiner joints can I get away with so I don't have to run so many feeders. I have a number of short pieces (3-4 inches and the longer at 9 inches).
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Posted by: Ryan Hulsey <ryenpreston@...>
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http://www.WiringForDCC.com
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Verryl
 

Solder all the rail joiners except ones you want to leave for expansion and contraction due to heat or humidity. Solder every 3 to 5 feet of track, both rails.

My layout is a bit larger with 5,300 feet of code 83 flex track and hundreds of turnouts. We only soldered the rail joiners on curves, and no problems after 4 years with 25-35 operators on 7 hour sessions monthly. The layout is in Arizona in a climate controlled building, so the temperature and humidity vary little. We see little if any expansion/contraction.

We actually did not solder the feeders. They are spot welded with a jeweler's TIG spot welder every 5-6 feet. The 18 GA feeders are 8 to 14 inches max, up to 14 GA sub buses with 10 GA main buses. We have 15 -  5A boosters.

Verryl Fosnight
Wyoming Division
4,000 sq foot HO layout
http://wyodivision.org

Puckdropper
 

You can follow a "one feeder every X feet" rule if these conditions apply:
1. The track will not be painted.
2. The track will not be ballasted.
3. You do not plan on keeping the track in place for more than a couple years.
4. The layout is small, for the sake of discussion a layout with a capacity of 1-2 simultaneous operating trains is small.

This will reduce the number of feeders you have to run and attach to the bus, as well as make it easier to remove the track for rearranging later.  When a problem with a rail joiner does occur, you can solder it or jumper around it.  Problems like that are infrequent enough that on a small layout it's much easier to fix each problem as it arise than it is to prevent the problem from occurring in the first place.

When any of the conditions above becomes true, you'll need to follow the "one feeder per rail" rule.  I've seen painted track suddenly quit working, it's just because the paint got into the parts that were making contact and now they aren't.

Puckdropper




---In wiringfordcc@..., <ryenpreston@...> wrote :

I have a small 4 x 6 layout that uses Atlas 83 sectional track. I want to solder a feeder to every piece of track so I don't have to worry about the joiners failing. How much soldering of track joiner joints can I get away with so I don't have to run so many feeders. I have a number of short pieces (3-4 inches and the longer at 9 inches).


AD
 

I assume if you are wiring for dcc using a bdl168 that running two wires to each block which are a train length long and attaching to just one point is what's done or does that pair of wires have to be attached to multiple points

Tony


On Nov 12, 2016, at 6:12 AM, puckdropper@... [WiringForDCC] <WiringForDCC@...> wrote:

 

You can follow a "one feeder every X feet" rule if these conditions apply:
1. The track will not be painted.
2. The track will not be ballasted.
3. You do not plan on keeping the track in place for more than a couple years.
4. The layout is small, for the sake of discussion a layout with a capacity of 1-2 simultaneous operating trains is small.

This will reduce the number of feeders you have to run and attach to the bus, as well as make it easier to remove the track for rearranging later.  When a problem with a rail joiner does occur, you can solder it or jumper around it.  Problems like that are infrequent enough that on a small layout it's much easier to fix each problem as it arise than it is to prevent the problem from occurring in the first place.

When any of the conditions above becomes true, you'll need to follow the "one feeder per rail" rule.  I've seen painted track suddenly quit working, it's just because the paint got into the parts that were making contact and now they aren't.

Puckdropper




---In wiringfordcc@..., wrote :

I have a small 4 x 6 layout that uses Atlas 83 sectional track. I want to solder a feeder to every piece of track so I don't have to worry about the joiners failing. How much soldering of track joiner joints can I get away with so I don't have to run so many feeders. I have a number of short pieces (3-4 inches and the longer at 9 inches).


Puckdropper
 

Run a sub bus from the BDL168 and drop feeders from each rail.  Rail joiners will fail, and they don't always fail by going open circuit.  Sometimes they fail by going high resistance which can play havoc with block detection.

lPuckdropper


---In wiringfordcc@..., <bklyns_baseball_club@...> wrote :

I assume if you are wiring for dcc using a bdl168 that running two wires to each block which are a train length long and attaching to just one point is what's done or does that pair of wires have to be attached to multiple points

Tony


On Nov 12, 2016, at 6:12 AM, puckdropper@... [WiringForDCC] <WiringForDCC@...> wrote:

 

You can follow a "one feeder every X feet" rule if these conditions apply:
1. The track will not be painted.
2. The track will not be ballasted.
3. You do not plan on keeping the track in place for more than a couple years.
4. The layout is small, for the sake of discussion a layout with a capacity of 1-2 simultaneous operating trains is small.

This will reduce the number of feeders you have to run and attach to the bus, as well as make it easier to remove the track for rearranging later.  When a problem with a rail joiner does occur, you can solder it or jumper around it.  Problems like that are infrequent enough that on a small layout it's much easier to fix each problem as it arise than it is to prevent the problem from occurring in the first place.

When any of the conditions above becomes true, you'll need to follow the "one feeder per rail" rule.  I've seen painted track suddenly quit working, it's just because the paint got into the parts that were making contact and now they aren't.

Puckdropper




---In wiringfordcc@..., <ryenpreston@...> wrote :

I have a small 4 x 6 layout that uses Atlas 83 sectional track. I want to solder a feeder to every piece of track so I don't have to worry about the joiners failing. How much soldering of track joiner joints can I get away with so I don't have to run so many feeders. I have a number of short pieces (3-4 inches and the longer at 9 inches).


Glenn
 

Skip soldering the joiners and adding drops.

 

Instead solder a short jumper across the rail joint. Use stranded wire, 22ga should be OK for your layout. Put a small bow in the jumper to allow for expansion and contraction. And if you are really good at soldering, put the jumper on the side of the rail away from the viewer's eye. This means on the inside of the rail.

 

BTW: this is prototypical

 

Glenn

 

-----Original Message-----
From: WiringForDCC@... [mailto:WiringForDCC@...]
Sent: Friday, November 11, 2016 10:49
To: WiringForDCC@...
Subject: [WiringForDCC] So many feeders for sectional track??

 

I have a small 4 x 6 layout that uses Atlas 83 sectional track. I want to solder a feeder to every piece of track so I don't have to worry about the joiners failing. How much soldering of track joiner joints can I get away with so I don't have to run so many feeders. I have a number of short pieces (3-4 inches and the longer at 9 inches).

 

 

 

Steve Haas
 



<<Skip soldering the joiners and adding drops.>>

 

<<Instead solder a short jumper across the rail joint. Use stranded wire, 22ga should be OK for your layout. Put a small bow in the jumper to allow for expansion and contraction. And if you are really good at soldering, put the jumper on the side of the rail away from the viewer's eye. This means on the inside of the rail.>>

 

For the short sections of track, soldering a jumper across a gap as Glenn has suggested can work, and is preferable in the long run to soldering the rail joiners themselves.

 

Unless you have an environmentally stable layout room, and/or use only benchwork and roadbed materials not impacted by temperature and/or humidity, rail joiners will fail sooner or later (soldered or otherwise).  

 

<<BTW: this is prototypical>>

 

Yes, but usually far out of proportion in relation to the size of the track.  Far better to drill a hole through the roadbed on either side of the gap, drop a feeder down through one hold and up in the other, soldering both wires to their respective sections of track.

 

Best practice is to always run feeders direct to each section of rail; this is the most reliable, fool proof method of ensuring both voltage and DCC signal always make it to the engine you are operating. The odds of a wire to rail solder connection failing, while not zero, is much lower than the failure rate of rail joiners, soldered or otherwise.

 

The folks who provide input and support on the various DCC lists advocate the use of “best practices” for a reason; each layout and its wiring is unique and from a distance we can’t tell if a layout can get away with less than those “best practices”.  

 

There is a lot of anecdotal evidence that many a layout has performed well with wiring that doesn’t rise to these best practices.  While the experiences of those layout owners are real, the reality is that experience can change at any time as the passage of time corrodes the connections they are depending on.

 

Back in the early years, as early adapters converted to DCC, the question was often asked; “Do I need to rewire my layout before implementing DCC?”  The response at the time was “plug it in and give it a try, see what happens, then make updates to the wiring as needed”.  Depending on the specifics of the layout, the changes ranged from no changes needed, to a complete rewiring.

 

If one is going to skip on wiring/standards/quality, do it in areas where it will be easily accessible to come back and do it right later.  Keep in mind that “later” means sometime down the road when you and your layout helpers find it exponentially more difficult to crawl under a layout than it is today.  If you must take short cuts, take them in places that are easily reached for correction some time down the road.

 

 

Best regards,

 

Steve

 

 

Steve Haas

Snoqualmie, WA

Mark Cartwright
 

Verryl,
Thank you for your post....I had not considered using a Jewelry Tig Welder until you mentioned it.
Jewelry Welder from TheRingLord.com

 

I am strongly considering all that was said here.
:)) Mark

Glenn
 

While the jumper is below the roadbed, solder a feeder wire to it. Then you can skip every other rail joint.

 

Way back when I was just a young one I did track planning with sectional track. When I arrived at the desired route I pulled the track leaving the switches, then replaced the track with flex track.

 

I only had a little more than a large oval of sectional track to work with so the layout developed over a period of time.

 

Glenn

 

 


From: WiringForDCC@... [mailto:WiringForDCC@...]
Sent: Saturday, November 19, 2016 16:00
To: WiringForDCC@...
Subject: RE: [WiringForDCC] So many feeders for sectional track??

 

 

Far better to drill a hole through the roadbed on either side of the gap, drop a feeder down through one hold and up in the other, soldering both wires to their respective sections of track.