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I am new to DCC and I am building a helix from 5mm ply with 3/4" x 1/14" wood posts supporting the track base. So far it is looking good, my question is, can I use copper tape (as used on slot car tracks) for the bus risers up the insides of the wood posts to connect the track dropper wires to, or could it interfere with the command signals to the locos as the tape is not insulated and is approx 1" apart vertically. it just seems a neat way of installing the rising bus feeds. 

Appreciate any help you give me on this one thanks, Alan

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Yes I think you could use copper tape but my personal view would be it may be a bit fragile.

Could you not drill holes in the wood posts for the dropper.

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Self adhesive tape sounds like a good idea, better than having wires straggling all over the place.   Have you used power base and / or have you checked your locos can actually climb the helix with a reasonable load?   My DCC ready locos are absolutely hopeless hill climbers.

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The usual concern with copper tape is its resistance.   Over decent lengths (eg. bus wires along a layout) that gets significant, and the DCC system may not cut out for a short circuit.  For the same length of 1/4inch wide tape it is 4 times the resistance of 1inch wide tape.    Calculating the actual resistance is tricky as few suppliers will tell you the thickness of the copper foil (foil plus glue isn't useful as a thickness for the copper!), but various people have made reasonable estimates if you search the forum archives. 

 

For short runs, up the verticals of a helix, the tape probably doesn't cause issues.  Not long enough to be a significant resistance problem.    If the plan is to lay the tape along the path of the rails around a helix, then the length may be significant, and I suspect it may introduce problems. 

 

I'd use wire, I can't see what the difficulty is - wire is easy to fix in place (hot glue gun if no other options), and won't give concerns over joints and possible resistance paths. 

 

- Nigel

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Thanks to all of you, some interesting points raised, and Nigel, I will only be using the tape up the posts, the main bus wiring will come up in the centre of the helix at entry level, i have installed the tape up all 4 posts, and the bus wires will be soldered at the base level. tried to import a photo, but so far ti's the wrong format, i'll try again and post it . thanks again to everyone, it's great to get or give support to fellow modellers.

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As David C broad says, I have found out the copper tape is very fragile- I soldered some wires onto it okay, but then I pulled one accidentally, and .......Oh well, another bit of tape and the solder gun will fix it, i only wanted the solder where the wires connect to it, but problem solved, I've ordered some mini cable ties to fit round the posts as restraining clips, that should do it. I should add that the helix is 8 levels high, at around 350mm up from the main track level, so tape seemed a neater way of connecting the droppers, as I prefer solder joints to the scotch lock connectors as they are bulky as well. I will try to take some pics and post them as  it progresses.

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Alternatively: Try stripping the wires out of mains solid copper cable - 2.5mm² for example.  To connect to it, you can thread the terminals stripped out of chocolate blocks onto it.  If you use a larger type of block, you might be able to slide them over the insulation, so you'll only need to strip it back locally.

 

If you want to make it neat and protect it from damage, you can rout a slot into the wood.

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