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Keeping underboard wiring tidy


tjf4375
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49 minutes ago, ColinK said:

Whatever you do, NEVER SOLDER ABOVE YOUR HEAD if working under your baseboards.  Doing that once (never again) a drop of solder missed an eye by milimetres.

You mean you weren't wearing your soldering goggles?🙂

 

I probably still have mine from work somewhere, we were issued with them and if you damaged your eyes when not wearing them hard luck.

They weren't very easy to work in, so most didn't use them. They had soft plastic lenses which scratched easily.

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1 hour ago, ColinK said:


I do something similar, but no so neat.  I have a solder tag strip on each board with all the terminals on each connected together with a bit of wire.  The bus feeds into one end of the tag strip while at the other end the bus gous to the next baseboard.  All the droppers are then soldered to the tag strip.  You can now buy blocks with screw terminals that do the same job.

 

I keep a note of where every wire goes from each tag strip to help fault finding.

 

Whatever you do, NEVER SOLDER ABOVE YOUR HEAD if working under your baseboards.  Doing that once (never again) a drop of solder missed an eye by milimetres.

 

 

Very good advice! Can't begin to imagine the pain of a drop of hot solder going into an eye, makes my eyes water just thinking about it 😥 I don't do any soldering below board, it's all dry connections.

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Another hot glue gun dabber here.  The key is to be organised and don't be afraid to redo joints or trim back overly long wires.  My work isn't pristine but it's neat enough to make problem solving and repairs easy.

 

Cheers

Dave

 

20211031_170022.jpg.5c7e446af9d41225a2386d40de3f8f6e.jpg

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7 hours ago, tjf4375 said:

Any suggestions or links to products would be greatly appreciated!

 

Many thanks,

Tim

Tim,

 

I've wired something like 20 baseboards on my 2-level model railway, always using the same methods / techniques / ideas. Here's some of my 'rules':

 

Use the same colour wire for each 'purpose' with one colour always to the 'back' of the baseboard. I used:

  • DCC Power: Black & Red. Back to black (very common rule ...)

  • Servos: Brown, Red, & Orange. Back to brown

  • Network: Blue, Green, & Yellow. Back to blue

  • Frog Power: Green 

 

Use 'modules' where you can, that can be built off-board. I made little veroboards for all cable connections (as below) and had practically no soldered connections under the baseboards:

20210125_213726-Veroboard_resize.jpg.61b02bdb68be66416ccad10e56ddfda7.jpg

 

I started out by actually 'drawing' the wiring before I built it (as below). This really helped 'get into the swing of things' on the first few baseboards. After that, I could work it out 'on' the baseboard as I went:

LowerLevel-BaseboardBWiring.jpg.59bf1a3a90f75457a98d7f39e6cc8eda.jpg

 

Keep things neat and tidy, and be logical in your wiring layout. This'll help immensely later on during troubleshooting or future maintenance. Here is the underside of one of my baseboards:

20210212_201651-BaseboardB_resize.jpg.9de54fce520328a368355d313f975ebf.jpg

 

Label everything. This can be tedious, but really essential later on:

20210125_154126-BaseboardH_resize.jpg.c83c851a1953f7e7085ae1b5fb406b97.jpg

 

In the photo above, you can also see my chosen method of attaching wires to the baseboard. I used cheap plastic cable clips (of various sizes), but removed all the nails and replaced them with little screws. It's much 'gentler' on the baseboard using a screwdriver than a hammer! And they can be easily relocated if necessary.

 

Finally, I'd say that it's best to plan, plan, and plan some more. You can solve many / most of the problems on the computer (or paper) before you even get to a baseboard. Here's my 'drawing' for the Power Districts of my Upper Level, showing all the Areas and where the wiring needed to go. As a result, the actual wiring was fairly simple; just follow the drawing ...

UpperLevel-PowerDistricts_resize.jpg.f55475a02aa8b32cb1aa81885392f5b6.jpg

 

Hope some of this helps.

 

If you want links to any of the products I used, let me know.

 

Ian

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On 04/01/2024 at 01:56, dasatcopthorne said:

 

Here is what I would call 'a very lightly wired board'.

 

This is a DCC board with the Bus in red & Grey wires. The motors are DC. Using solder tags gives you 'test points' in various locations to track and faults or prove your wiring before connection.

 

No much on it. However the principal is the same. Locate and decide what wires you will need. Make a list and number and name all your wires in a list. Start from one end/point on a board (a plug socket or terminal strip and run all the wires as you go, keeping to a 'map' of where you have decided they will run. Use cable ties (or if you can find some, lacing twine/waxed cotton thread) to keep the bundles tidy. Keep the bundles loose at first, tightening them up when complete.

 

Good luck.

 

Dave.

Rear Panel5.jpg

You're just showing off now. 🙂

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  • 2 months later...

My layout runs Hornby Live Steam, so similar to DCC, I put dropper wires to EVERY piece of rail, to ensure reliable distribution of power. Which = reliable control. Live Steam loco's don't like voltage drop !

 

To do this, I use Wago connectors on each board, to distribute the power to the individual rails.  The Wago connectors are Hot Glued to the underside of the baseboard.

 

The Wago connectors then all daisy chained together,  back to the controller.

 

I also use small, screw in, Brass Cup hooks, to support wires on longer runs.

 

When everything is tested and settled, I then use small cable ties to keep the wires in tidy bundles.

 

Joe

 

LS cup hook.jpg

LS Wago connectors.jpg

LS Wiring.jpg

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Hi Joe,

Thanks for your post and pics - that's a great method and funnily enough it's very similar to the one I've ended up using. I love Wagos and am now replacing all my choc block connectors with them! So much easier and tidier. I share your liking for screw in hooks as well, making good use of them :)

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What is important is to keep disparate circuits apart from each other to avoid induced cross talk.

Track Bus, Points and Signals Accessory Bus, Lighting Bus, Loco Detection Sensors and associated circuits, etc.

Twisted pairs is also a recognised way to avoid cross talk.

Where such looms cross try to do it a right angles.

Given that - the underside of my boards is a rat's nest of wires running from A to B as direct as possible, as and when they were added over time. When I move house I intend to rewire it all properly - honest.

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Ha ha! Yes I totally empathise with that last point. I like to call it the 'Heathrow effect' where it started off in some semblance of order, and over time descended into complete chaos 😂

 

I finally bit the bullet over the weekend and ripped out everything except the droppers themselves, and have got rid of tons of excess wiring in the process. WAGOs are definitely the way to go, and I've also found those self adhesive cable tie mounts really handy for threading bus wires through. It's still a rats nest but a slightly more organised one! 

I did have one additional circuit providing power for both lighting and signals, but I am going to separate that into two separate circuits just to keep things more manageable and to help with problem solving. 

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I occasionally bemoan not having stickers on wires or controllers to indicate what turnout they relate to. The trouble is that by the time I've traced the wires back from the turnout and found the controller and fixed the problem there is just not enough left in the tank for me to bother attaching a sticker.

 

Rinse and repeat

 

😁

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I use this simple method to keep leads out of the way when move boards, not my original idea. The twin cable with the screw in takes the strain if the lead gets pulled.

IMG_0686.JPG

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Another fan of WAGO connectors here, and of keeping bus and control wiring separate, as much as possible. This is one of a number of removable boards on my fixed layout, where access underneath is restricted:

 

StationWiring9.jpg.eb6f7222b177f18a5860e

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On 03/04/2024 at 09:24, RAF96 said:

What is important is to keep disparate circuits apart from each other to avoid induced cross talk.

Track Bus, Points and Signals Accessory Bus, Lighting Bus, Loco Detection Sensors and associated circuits, etc.

Twisted pairs is also a recognised way to avoid cross talk.

Where such looms cross try to do it a right angles.

Given that - the underside of my boards is a rat's nest of wires running from A to B as direct as possible, as and when they were added over time. When I move house I intend to rewire it all properly - honest.


yes it is correct twisted pairs can reduce cross talk, but this introduces inductance. This can be an issue when using track occupancy modules as you might get false activity if the occupancy unit is sensitive.

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I haven't bothered with twisted pairs for droppers but have with some of the lighting. Interesting discussion around 'cross talk', it's not really something I know much about but to be aware of!

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