Solid vs Strand Wire for Feeders and Main Bus ??


bernard steinbacher <b55go@...>
 

Which Type of Wire actually works best for DCC signal ??
Strand Wire or Solid Wire, My layout  will be About 20 feet in length
Thank You Bernard


Don Russell
 

It’s personal preference.. I use solid for feeders because 18-20 gage.  For main bus I use 12 gauge stranded. I have large layout. I also used stranded for sub bus.  So under the layout because of the flexibility of stranded it is much easer to maneuver into place. 

Don Russell

On Sep 21, 2022, at 7:28 AM, bernard steinbacher via groups.io <b55go@...> wrote:

Which Type of Wire actually works best for DCC signal ??
Strand Wire or Solid Wire, My layout  will be About 20 feet in length
Thank You Bernard


Tim
 

I'll second what Don said. I use 22 gage solid for feeders because it stays bent while I'm putting it in. 12 gage stranded for bus wires because it's much easier to put it where I want it to be. 

Tim Rumph
Lancaster, SC


David Heine
 

I also agree with Don. I use solid #22 AWG for feeder drops to the Code 70 and 55. The solid is easier to form against the rail. I use stranded for buses and subbuses because it is more flexible and easier for me to install.

Dave Heine
Coopersburg, PA




Rick Jones
 

At All Points North we use solid wire for the bus and feeders throughout the layout.


Rick Jones

A backwards poet writes inverse.

On 9/21/2022 6:28 AM, bernard steinbacher via groups.io wrote:
Which Type of Wire actually works best for DCC signal ??
Strand Wire or Solid Wire, My layout  will be About 20 feet in length
Thank You Bernard


PennsyNut
 

And I use all stranded. I tried all different kinds, including old wire, new wire, copper, aluminum/not soldered. And came to the conclusion that the only truly reliable wire for me was new copper stranded. Easy to work with. As for feeders, I didn't see any advantage to solid, so I did use stranded. No troubles with any of my wiring.
Morgan Bilbo, DCC since 8/18. Model PRR 1952.


Alexander Wood
 

Minimum 22 gauge solid for feeders, minimum 14 gauge stranded pure copper wire for the bus.

Alex

On Wed, Sep 21, 2022 at 11:13 AM PennsyNut <fan4pennsy@...> wrote:
And I use all stranded. I tried all different kinds, including old wire, new wire, copper, aluminum/not soldered. And came to the conclusion that the only truly reliable wire for me was new copper stranded. Easy to work with. As for feeders, I didn't see any advantage to solid, so I did use stranded. No troubles with any of my wiring.
Morgan Bilbo, DCC since 8/18. Model PRR 1952.



--

Alexander Wood

Hartford-New Haven, CT

Modeling the modern era freelanced G&W Connecticut Northern in HO

Digikeijs DR5000 - JMRI - ProtoThrottle - TCS UWT-100 - TCS UWT-50p - Digitrax Simplex


Steve Haas
 

 

Bernard inquires:

 

>>>>> Which Type of Wire actually works best for DCC signal ?? Strand Wire or Solid Wire, <<<<<

 

There’s no difference in performance between stranded and solid wire at the voltages and frequencies used with DCC.  

 

It boils down to personal preference and convenience.

 

Like many others who have responded I use stranded for busses, sub busses, and track busses,  12, 14, 16 AWG as needed based on distances.

 

          Having to rework large portions of an existing layout, the flexibility of stranded wire made all the difference in the world.

 

          There are others who prefer solid buss wire as they find it easier to strip and then solder feeders to.

 

For track feeders off those busses we’ve used solid wire stripped from phone cable (we had a lot of it).  As others have said, its great for bending into shape to lay down against the web of the rail.  This worked well for us as most track feeders were less than 16” in length (most were 3 – 4”), and every piece of rail was connected to the local track buss.

 

That worked well on a layout (28’ x 42’) for almost 30 years until the owner died and the layout was dismantled. 

 

Best regards,

 

Steve

 

Steve Haas

Snoqualmie, WA

 

 

 

 

 

 

My layout  will be About 20 feet in length
Thank You Bernard


Daniel Brewer
 

Hi Bernard,

Most runs on my layout are 30' or slightly less (5 industrial districts per deck).

I used 12 AWG stranded Audiopipe wire for the run from the NCE PowerPro (deck 1) and SB5 (deck2) to a terminal block for each deck, and then to each industrial district to an EB1 circuit breaker, and to local terminal block.

From the local terminal block, I run a common ground (black) and individual 14 AWG stranded Audiopipe wire to the approach (east & west) and to the main and siding for each industrial district. From the positive (red) I run 22 AWG solid copper (red in front, black in back) to the rails. I solder a feeder to the bottom of each rail before installation. If you aren't wiring for signaling, you could just use a red/black pair for each local area and then attach your feeders to that.

The only soldering I do is from the feeder to the rail. All other attachments are at terminal blocks or using 3M IDC T-Taps or Wago Connectors. No soldering under the layout for me. For fine signal wiring, I used 4 conductor lever connectors.

My way isn't perfect, I'm sure, but just one guy's method/opinion.

Have fun (most importantly),
Dan

 


Vincent P. Chianese
 

One thing to consider is stranded wire over time will corrode and turn black if exposed to any type of dampness.  If I were using stranded wire I would consider “tinned”.  Never corrodes and way easier to solder. Cost a bit more but a onetime expense.

 

Vinny

919.368.2659

 

From: w4dccqa@groups.io <w4dccqa@groups.io> On Behalf Of Steve Haas
Sent: Wednesday, September 21, 2022 9:34 PM
To: w4dccqa@groups.io
Subject: Re: [w4dccqa] Solid vs Strand Wire for Feeders and Main Bus ??

 

 

Bernard inquires:

 

>>>>> Which Type of Wire actually works best for DCC signal ?? Strand Wire or Solid Wire, <<<<<

 

There’s no difference in performance between stranded and solid wire at the voltages and frequencies used with DCC.  

 

It boils down to personal preference and convenience.

 

Like many others who have responded I use stranded for busses, sub busses, and track busses,  12, 14, 16 AWG as needed based on distances.

 

          Having to rework large portions of an existing layout, the flexibility of stranded wire made all the difference in the world.

 

          There are others who prefer solid buss wire as they find it easier to strip and then solder feeders to.

 

For track feeders off those busses we’ve used solid wire stripped from phone cable (we had a lot of it).  As others have said, its great for bending into shape to lay down against the web of the rail.  This worked well for us as most track feeders were less than 16” in length (most were 3 – 4”), and every piece of rail was connected to the local track buss.

 

That worked well on a layout (28’ x 42’) for almost 30 years until the owner died and the layout was dismantled. 

 

Best regards,

 

Steve

 

Steve Haas

Snoqualmie, WA

 

 

 

 

 

 

My layout  will be About 20 feet in length
Thank You Bernard


PennsyNut
 

My comment here, Vinny: Is that I always "tin" or coat with solder any connection that is soldered. But to tin the wire tip for just inserting in a WAGO? It might just boil down to "how often is the wire exposed to moisture?" And as has been said many times. How do you handle 12 AWG solid wire? Answer: With difficulty.
If I were to need to solder any wire to a 12 AWG bus, I would absolutely tin the entire connection. So that there would be no exposed wire.
Another question: Would you tin the wire and bus when using a suitcase connector?
Something just don't sound right here.
Morgan Bilbo, DCC since 8/18. Model PRR 1952.


Vincent P. Chianese
 

Pennsy

 

Tinned wire is already tinned, all of it before the rubber cover is in place yet it is flexible or at least more so than solid wire..  I don’t see it being any issue with the suitcase connector at all.  In fact it might be better as the connector cuts into the rubber casing exposing the stranded wire to the atmosphere.  It is used in boats as their environment is in water and the bilges in boats are without fail damp most of the time.

 

I’m new to railroading and was just seeing if anyone uses it.  Here in Florida it might be a smart move.  Maybe not.

 

Vinny

919.368.2659

 

From: w4dccqa@groups.io <w4dccqa@groups.io> On Behalf Of PennsyNut
Sent: Thursday, September 22, 2022 9:37 AM
To: w4dccqa@groups.io
Subject: Re: [w4dccqa] Solid vs Strand Wire for Feeders and Main Bus ??

 

My comment here, Vinny: Is that I always "tin" or coat with solder any connection that is soldered. But to tin the wire tip for just inserting in a WAGO? It might just boil down to "how often is the wire exposed to moisture?" And as has been said many times. How do you handle 12 AWG solid wire? Answer: With difficulty.
If I were to need to solder any wire to a 12 AWG bus, I would absolutely tin the entire connection. So that there would be no exposed wire.
Another question: Would you tin the wire and bus when using a suitcase connector?
Something just don't sound right here.
Morgan Bilbo, DCC since 8/18. Model PRR 1952.


 

I use solid because it stays put and is easy to solder to the rail.

If you connect to your bus with suitcase connectors or any other insulation displacement type of connector than in my opinion you should use sold wires.

With thirty years designing electronic products I have never seen an insulation displacement style connector that was reliable when more than one Ampere was flowing through the circuit and the wires were stranded.  I have probably seen five designs where this style of connector was used and currents were above one Ampere and in every case there were inordinate numbers of field failures.  Of course there were thousands of these products in the field and I have no idea what the percent of failure was.  So the IDC might work fine for a number of connections on your railroad.  Since there are usually multiple feeds for a given block the actual current through a single feed will divide for the most part the current will likely be well below one Ampere.  But of course you might never know that a feed failed because the other feeds will likely be able to provide sufficient current.

If you coat your rail joiners in No-Ox-ID A grease then I strongly suspect that you do not need multiple feeds in a block. The grease is designed to prevent oxidation in electrical connects by keeping air, water and any other contaminants away from the connector.  I am currently using the philosophy on my N scale basement layout, but it is much too early to be able to say from experience how this works.

Best Regards,

Ken Harstine


bernard steinbacher <b55go@...>
 

Thanks for your reply, so do you use insulation displacement connectors or do you solder your solid wire feeder to your solid wire Main Bus ??
Bernard


Jim Zarnick
 

FWIW, I use solid wire only for feeders (very short, typically 2-3”) and stranded wire for everything else.  100% IDCs, no issues.

 

From: w4dccqa@groups.io [mailto:w4dccqa@groups.io] On Behalf Of bernard steinbacher via groups.io
Sent: Thursday, September 22, 2022 12:53 PM
To: w4dccqa@groups.io
Subject: Re: [w4dccqa] Solid vs Strand Wire for Feeders and Main Bus ??

 

Thanks for your reply, so do you use insulation displacement connectors or do you solder your solid wire feeder to your solid wire Main Bus ??
Bernard


Jerry Michels
 

Ddan, I agree, go with what works. We have both terminal blocks for feeders and feeders soldered directly to the buss. The soldering was done years ago when our collective backs were better! Both terminal blocks and soldered feeders work very well. If we were to do it all over again, I would push very hard for terminal blocks. They make troubleshooting much easier. BTW, we use stranded wire everywhere. We use, seemingly unconventional, colored extension cords for busses (again easy troubleshooting, also low cost, and many colors available). The first item of business is to cut off the male and female plugs from the extension cords. The busses are 12 or 14 gauge wire and the feeders are 22 gauge.


Jerry Michels
Amarillo Railroad Musuem


 

I used a lot of insulation displacement connectors in low amperage circuits with stranded wire and no problems.

I do have a section where I used suitcase type connectors but I am in N and so never draw more than half an ampere of current.

My personal preference is for solder and Wago type splices.  The main advantage of Wago type splices is that then can be disconnected for troubleshooting purposes.  The other advantage is a very wide range of AWG wire.  You must us the recommended gauge when using IDC.  3M makes a suitcase connector that is ideal for our purposes in that the main wire is something like 14 AWG and small wire connection is something like 24 AWG (each with a narrow range above and below that AWG).

Best,

Ken Harstine


Nick Ostrosky
 

My two cents as someone that returned to the hobby five years ago and am in the midst of re-building my first layout.  First attempt I used solid 14 AWG bus with 3M IDCs (suitcase connectors), with stranded feeders (20 AWG, I think).  PIA to pull solid bus wire through multiple 90° turns, and the IDCs constantly sprung open even after I purchased the proper tool to close them.  Layout attempt #2 I'm using 14 AWG stranded zip wire (essentially a two-conductor wire like speaker wire) colored red/black so I can keep left/right rail consistent.  I'm using WAGO connectors on the bus and sub-buses where I cross dominoes for portability.  Feeders are 22 AWG stranded tinned copper, connected via T-Taps,  of which some brands are better (easier?) than others IMHO.  I tin my feeders where they are soldered underneath the rail and have never had an issue with them holding L-shape while soldering in place.  The T-Taps are performing as expected with no failures to date. 

I'm using an NCE Powercab/TVD 5 amp booster combo, so not super-high amperage.  Longest sub-bus is about 16 ft.

Nick


thomasmclae
 

Our club layout started in the 1980's.
No suitcase connectors at all.
We started as modular, And that saved us when we moved twice in the last 5 years!
Connections between tables are either Molex multipin connectors, or spade lugs crimped on the mainline buses with terminal strips.
22 gauge solid wires soldered to tracks, 6-8 inches under the layout to terminal strips. 18 gauge mainline bus. (4 mainlines) 
Solder is often over-rated and suitcase connectors are not reliable. 
And our layout has 44 sections (Module/tables) and 1900 square feet. No issues with power drop from one end to the other, even if shortest path has 10-15 sections to far end.

--
---
Thomas
DeSoto, TX


PennsyNut
 

Oh my gosh! Y'all built a layout with only 18 AWG for the bus?
From what I hear, that's a major no no. You should have had 14 AWG at the minimum or rather 12 AWG.
So, since I'm the frugal one and a total contrarian. What do all the gurus and geniuses have to say about that?
In theory, that layout is just an accident waiting to happen. A burn out at the least. ????
Phooey!
Morgan Bilbo, DCC since 8/18. Model PRR 1952.