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StanierBlack5

'Newbie' Needs Wiring Help!

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Hi Everyone, just joined the forum and getting desperate for some expert help.

After a lifetime of dreaming, I'm now in a position to build my first 00 gauge layout and have been laying track for the past few months but have now come to a grinding halt.

The next step for me is wiring for DCC and my question is, what size bus and dropper wires do I need?

The layout is thus; 9' x 8' using Peco Flexi track and 28 sets of Peco Electrofrog Points, I have 4 main lines (up main & down main plus up goods and down goods) as I would like to see 4 trains running concurrently whilst I'm 'playing' in the sidings. I have 2 sets of sidings and intend to use the 'iP Cobalt' point motors and also purchase the 'NCE Power Cab' system.

I have read way too many 'which size wires to use' on the 'net and am now totally confused. Would you please help and put this senior citizen out of his misery?

Many thanks in advance for your advice.

Roger

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I am able to run 5 trains with my Power Pro. You can upgrade a PowerCab to a Power Pro quite economically & you may not want all its features anyway, so I would advise starting with a PowerCab.

PowerCab also has the ability to display layout current, so if running 4 trains is pushing it near to its limit, you will see this & be able to make an informed decision on whether you need to buy an additional power booster.

 

Wire size: This can cause a lot of debate & many conflicting answers can be correct..

How may droppers do you plan to use? More is better but extra work & you will get a lot of satisfaction from running trains for the first time, so don't make things too complicated.

For 4 tracks, I would use 7/0.2 wire (7 strands of 0.2mm diameter) for the droppers. This has a max current of 1.4A. I then bought 15A mains cable for my bus wires. My layout is in small sections & using 15A cable for inter-board connections was impractical so I used 2 16/0.2 wires for each one.

 

Do you plan to control pointwork from DCC or from switches & transformers ('DC')? DC is cheaper & removes a layer of complexity. This does not necessarily make it any easier because it involves installing more wire back to the panel. With 28 points, that is a lot of wiring. You can make a panel which will send DCC commands to the PowerCab, so don't think that changing points from your handset is the only DCC option.

If you plan to use DCC for controlling points, then it is useful to have a separate bus for this because you will occasionally short out running rails by driving a loco the wrong way though a point & if the pointwork is on the same bus, you will not be able to throw the point it in order to clear the fault.

 

 

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Pete, many thanks for your answer and info regarding a separate 'bus' for point control, I'll now go ahead and source the wire you have suggested.

 

Thanks again,

Roger

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I also use the brown and blue wires from inside house mains cable for my bus wires. Although you waste all the outside insulation it's quite a cheap source for the wires. You may even be able to use the copper earth wire for something later. I also use 7/0.2 for the droppers which are attached to every individual piece of track. If you have already laid the track then it will not be easy to attach the droppers in a way that makes them almost invisible but perhaps it will look all right with ballasting.

 

In order to get something running quickly you could wire up only one of the circuits to start with. I have an NCE Power Cab and  although I don't normally run four trains at a time I was able to do so when my grandchildren came for a visit. This is because all of my locos are fairly recent (i.e. last 15 years) and so each one doesn't take much current. Locos which are much older do take more current.

 

Good luck with the project.

 

Edit. To avoid running a train through points set the wrong way, have about 50cm or so in front of the point frog isolated on one rail and connect it to power via the point motor or an accessory attached to the point motor. I use Tortoise slow action motors which have switched contacts for this purpose.

Edited by Robert Stokes
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13 hours ago, Robert Stokes said:

You may even be able to use the copper earth wire for something later.

 

I soldered up frames for Christmas wreaths. A bit soft, but perfectly useable. That earned me a few modelling hours credit :)

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Thank you all for taking the time to reply with good advice.

Robert, as my layout is already fixed to the baseboard (using screws instead of track pins), I have used a 'Sharpie" to draw around the tracks with the next move being the removal of the track to install a cork track bed onto the base, then to replace the track after soldering a dropper for each length of rail and drilling the appropriate holes in the baseboard. I'm feeling that I've dropped myself in the deep end as opposed to starting small but I'm up for a challenge and at this point in time, I've certainly got one! 

Once again, thanks for your help.  Roger  :)

 

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