Jump to content
If you are seeing any suspect adverts please go to the bottom of the page and click on Themes and select IPS Default. ×
 

Research request on easy access to underside of layout for wiring


Damo666
 Share

Recommended Posts

I saw a few YouTube videos some months ago on wiring baseboards and designing in easy access.

 

I’m planning ahead for a new layout build, and one thing which I want to avoid is crawling on my back or working upside down on the underside of the layout, so am considering having the baseboards hinged at the back so I can tilt the front up 40, 50 or 60 degrees and work on it (adding signals / lighting or fault-finding). I know that this will introduce joints between the boards, but I’m sure I’ll be able to disguise this to my satisfaction.

 

The other variation to facilitate easy access was a small panel under the front of the baseboard which hinges down and exposes for easy access any circuit boards or components. (Other solutions had this slide out on runners, but I liked the hinged solution as it had less wiring looms compared to a sliding drawer). The problem is, I cannot find these videos again, even after looking at my YT history. I’d have to watch most of the videos again as it wasn’t the central topic of the presentation.

 

I watch a lot of Charlie at Chadwick, Larry Puckett @Cofga, Everard Jct, Dean Park, Little Wicket etc picking up great tips or knowledge (and watch too much politics and other rubbish to cancel out what I’ve learned), so trawling through YT videos going back to Spring isn’t going to happen.

 

If I’ve explained myself clearly, I’m hoping this might trigger somebody who can give me a link.

Link to post
Share on other sites

  • RMweb Premium

You should not need to redo electrics if they are done correctly in the first place.  So this ought to be a once only operation.  Sod's law has been known to intervene however.

 

I have always done mine with the board stood on its side and stood on a table - so working at a comfortable height.  Once complete, the board can then be lowered and put into its place on the layout.

 

I do not advise using hinges for the simple reason that you need to ensure that any scenics, buildings, signals and so on, will not be damaged when the board is hinged into its upright position.   I can foresee quite a bit of grief.

  • Agree 2
  • Thanks 1
Link to post
Share on other sites

If you do have to work under the baseboard, I have found a mechanics creeper as used for car maintenance makes access easier especially if mobility is limitef because of knee replacement etc.  Doesn't stop you getting stiff arms working upside down or make it any easier to solder uphill though.

9 hours ago, Andy Hayter said:

You should not need to redo electrics if they are done correctly in the first place.  So this ought to be a once only operation.  Sod's law has been known to intervene however.

 

 

That's true, but it's not unusual to want to make modifications to the layout in light of experience.

  • Agree 1
Link to post
Share on other sites

  • RMweb Gold

I too would advise against hinges.  I tried it once and it wasn’t a great success. 
I use separate boards so that I can stand the on their sides and work at the vertically in front of me.  This linked post shows two boards after I’ve done just that.

They are off scene storage so don’t have backscenes to worry about but the principle is the same.  I’ve made separate boards for access on their sides for 30+ years with different styles of construction, all sitting on subframes, shelving or Spur style wall brackets.   As long as the backscene is no higher than the width of the support then I just slide I’d forward and tip onto its back and away I go.

 

I recommend alignment dowels (plug for DCC Concepts version as a very happy user) to make it easy to put together after working on a board.  Also, you need min 1/2” to separate the dowels, but I would allow more spare than that if going to the edges of the room as they are never as square as you think.

 

Hope that is useful.

 

As regards food down flaps for electrics, I have seen that on RMWeb too but can’t readily recall which layout or find it by searching.  Sorry.

 

Paul.

 

 

 

  • Thanks 1
  • Informative/Useful 1
Link to post
Share on other sites

11 hours ago, Michael Hodgson said:

If you do have to work under the baseboard, I have found a mechanics creeper as used for car maintenance makes access easier especially if mobility is limitef because of knee replacement etc.  Doesn't stop you getting stiff arms working upside down or make it any easier to solder uphill though.

 

That's true, but it's not unusual to want to make modifications to the layout in light of experience.

Thank you all for your replies.

 

Yes Michael, this is exactly the scenario I'm thinking of. I'd like to get a layout up and have some locos running so that I'm not spending a year in the fabrication / construction and having no fun. If this happens (all the electrics completed at the beginning) I can see a lot of motivation seeping away.

 

My plan therefore is to get the main track laid with points. I can then alternate between running trains, scenery, more trains, structures, and adding more track. Easy access to the underside will allow signals to be added, feeders and point motors for new track and, if I decide, block detection or similar.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Agree with Andy, putting the boards on their side makes wiring as easy as possible.  I just basically rewired my layout to neaten things up and get rid of solid core wire which has caused problems.  I also use copious amounts of "choc blocks".  These make it easy to make wiring runs modular and provide test points.  Wiring repairs are easier too.  I also installed "ferrules" into which the twisted wire is inserted and the end crimped.  This improves the grip in the screw terminal of the choc block.

 

image0.jpeg.c74f82e93cb9d9e6151a92893a44c6b9.jpeg

 

image0(002).jpeg.8c58d508739d5f948a4e723181557e30.jpeg

 

Don't know what layout shape is, mine is BLT.  Anyway, better to make the layout modular so boards can be removed if needed.  I also advocate the use of dowels.

 

This is one of my simpler boards:

 

ANMP0001-002.jpg.dff51a95a02cdce7c9123e016a4a1c1c.jpg

 

DCC control, bus is copper coloured wire.  Droppers can be seen coming out of holes in the board.  A lot of the wiring is for lights, red/black pairs.  Tortoise motor in the middle.

 

I hit on the idea of mounting two boards side by side so I can do the interboard wiring without getting confused and ensuring the wires are long enough.

 

Nevertheless, there will come a time when something happens and you have get on the floor under the layout, the law of Sod.

 

John

  • Like 2
  • Thanks 1
Link to post
Share on other sites

A hinged lid which folds down under the baseboard and both hides and supports the wiring is a good idea  I use trunking both in runs and short off cuts to support wires I used to use screwed eyes but trunking seems to work and I also use modules built on their own small boards.    Keeping the wiring neat pays dividends as does chunking it up into small sections which can be isolated, this can be invaluable while fault finding.     A battery loco or two, ideally  R/C or IR/C even if its from the Hornby Pre School range can be invaluable for track layout and de bugging before the wiring is installed.

  • Like 1
Link to post
Share on other sites

On 14/09/2023 at 00:18, Andy Hayter said:

You should not need to redo electrics if they are done correctly in the first place.  So this ought to be a once only operation.  Sod's law has been known to intervene however.

 

 

Repairing badly done wiring is not the only reason to access the undersides of the boards.

A point motor can fail or you may want to change something.

You also need to fix the wiring there in the first place.

 

What happens if you are forced to move house? If you build the layout in sections (each of which can be flipped up), you can break up the layout into its parts for transportation.

If you build it without any secitons, you will have to destroy it.

  • Like 2
  • Agree 1
Link to post
Share on other sites

  • RMweb Premium

Fully agree @Pete the Elaner about making sure the layout is portable from the get-go.  

 

I was comfortably secure in my UK job when I started my French modern layout. and then the business was then sold to a German concern.  The layout is now in its third country (let alone house) but because it was built so that it could be knocked down and transported no issues have been encountered - except that it is still not finished!!

 

In no way do I regret the moves, but I hope it serves as a warning that no matter how stable things seems, life can bite you on the bum.  Being prepared is a big advantage and I would always advise that a layout should be built to be portable.  

  • Like 1
  • Agree 1
  • Friendly/supportive 2
Link to post
Share on other sites

The OP refers to a hinged bracket on which the wiring is mounted - I seem to remember this is the method used bty Charlie on Chadwick Model Railway - I am pretty sure it is an episode entitled "Wiring..." or similar

Link to post
Share on other sites

  • RMweb Gold
On 14/09/2023 at 00:06, Damo666 said:

Charlie at Chadwick

FYI Charlie’s no.44 wiring problems happens to show one of his folded down flaps at the start.

Paul.

  • Thanks 1
Link to post
Share on other sites

13 hours ago, 5BarVT said:

FYI Charlie’s no.44 wiring problems happens to show one of his folded down flaps at the start.

Paul.

Thank you Paul,

 

I see that I've already seen that video, so maybe that's the one I was looking for again, thank you.

 

Strange how memory works, as my recollection is of a different board. Maybe it's a later board of Charlie's from his new layout, or just my memory playing games. Either way, that's just the thiing I was looking for.

 

Edited by Damo666
  • Like 1
Link to post
Share on other sites

On 14/09/2023 at 21:07, brossard said:

 I also installed "ferrules" into which the twisted wire is inserted and the end crimped.  This improves the grip in the screw terminal of the choc block.

@brossardWhat size ferrules did you use for the terminal block connections please?

Edited by Graham108
Link to post
Share on other sites

Hi Graham.  The ferrule size depends on the gauge of wire you are using.  In my case I use mostly 22 gauge with 18 gauge for bus.

 

The ferrules come in assorted sizes:

 

image2(002).jpeg.d51da79e47a6fe46a6ced74e94863719.jpeg

 

I bought this selection box initially and you can see the array of ferrules.  The larger ones I will never use so a bit of a waste.  Note the crimper which really is required.  Mine was $35 but I have seen cheaper.  You can get bags of ferrules in quantities of 500 or even 1000.  All from Amazon.

 

https://www.amazon.ca/Uxcell-Crimp-Insulated-Ferrule-Terminal/dp/B00W8UBJDM/ref=sr_1_67?crid=DDAKCSUWEDNI&keywords=wire+ferrules&qid=1694868420&sprefix=wire+ferrules%2Caps%2C103&sr=8-67

 

HTH

 

John

Link to post
Share on other sites

  • RMweb Premium
On 14/09/2023 at 00:06, Damo666 said:

I saw a few YouTube videos some months ago on wiring baseboards and designing in easy access.

 

I’m planning ahead for a new layout build, and one thing which I want to avoid is crawling on my back or working upside down on the underside of the layout, so am considering having the baseboards hinged at the back so I can tilt the front up 40, 50 or 60 degrees and work on it (adding signals / lighting or fault-finding). I know that this will introduce joints between the boards, but I’m sure I’ll be able to disguise this to my satisfaction.

 

The other variation to facilitate easy access was a small panel under the front of the baseboard which hinges down and exposes for easy access any circuit boards or components. (Other solutions had this slide out on runners, but I liked the hinged solution as it had less wiring looms compared to a sliding drawer). The problem is, I cannot find these videos again, even after looking at my YT history. I’d have to watch most of the videos again as it wasn’t the central topic of the presentation.

 

I watch a lot of Charlie at Chadwick, Larry Puckett @Cofga, Everard Jct, Dean Park, Little Wicket etc picking up great tips or knowledge (and watch too much politics and other rubbish to cancel out what I’ve learned), so trawling through YT videos going back to Spring isn’t going to happen.

 

If I’ve explained myself clearly, I’m hoping this might trigger somebody who can give me a link.

 

A year or so ago, I built exactly such a layout.

 

Baseboards hinged to a broad batten fixed to the wall, so as to allow clearance for track, etc. when hinged up vertically; (yacht cabin catches to hold the boards vertically).

 

Continous linear control panel from electrical trunking, screwed to the baseboard front edge, accommodating manual point operation / frog switching; section switching; and controller selection.

 

Works a treat, and you get some exercise moving around the layout!

 

Don't forget the heavy duty ring main wires, with EVERY rail length having individual droppers - don't rely on rail joiners for continuity.

 

CJI.

  • Like 1
Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
 Share

×
×
  • Create New...