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Bus wires- what's the best wire to use?


westcountryman

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Hi,

I am in the process of carrying out the wiring on my DC layout, & obviously want to avoid the usual 'spaghetti junction' of hundreds of individual droppers going back tot he controllers, so it has been recommended that I use a 'bus wire' master feed system. What would be the best wire to use as the main bus wires for this purpose? I have used standard Gaugemaster multicore feed wire, EW16, 0.2mm - 3amp, as droppers. Sorry if this subject has been aired before, I've trawled back through the system, but can't find any clear advice, so any suggestions would be incredibly helpful.

Thanks in advance

Rob (westcountryman)

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Hi Rob,

Nothing to stop you using a simiilar bus to that on DCC layouts as essentially the purpose is the same!

In which case, a common source is stripped out household ring main s/h from your friendly electrician! Just be sure to keep a good separation between the two polarities to avoid any possibility of a short.

Cheers,

John E.

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Hi,

I am in the process of carrying out the wiring on my DC layout, & obviously want to avoid the usual 'spaghetti junction' of hundreds of individual droppers going back tot he controllers, so it has been recommended that I use a 'bus wire' master feed system. What would be the best wire to use as the main bus wires for this purpose? I have used standard Gaugemaster multicore feed wire, EW16, 0.2mm - 3amp, as droppers. Sorry if this subject has been aired before, I've trawled back through the system, but can't find any clear advice, so any suggestions would be incredibly helpful.

Thanks in advance

Rob (westcountryman)

 

Hi Rob.

A few things will come into play here.

How big is your layout.?

What gauge are you modelling in ?

 

Some general advice on a layout the size of a bedroom or up to 25ft x 10ft would be.

Main bus wires 32/0.2 & for Droppers 16/0.2 (up to 300mm/1ft in length). This would be known as equipment wire & is available at Electronic stores like Maplins,Rapid etc. Rapid Electronics have very good stocks of the correct type of wire at good prices. Maplins tend to be more expensive & their stocks may be limited.Here is a link to the correct section of Rapids web site.

 

http://www.rapidonline.com/Cables-Connectors/Equipment-Wire/Equipment-Wire

 

You can use multi strand or solid wire. I would advise multi strand due to its flexibility & ease of use but solid wire can also be used.

The fact you are using DC will increase the amount of wire needed as you will need section breaks which are not needed in DCC. You can save on wire by arranging these section breaks locally if you have a DC controller with which you can walk around.

Do NOT use scrap wire or leftovers. It is false economy. There are those who will tell you they got away with so & so & it was fine. Just because you can get away with it doesn't make it right.

Do it properly the first time & you won't need to do it again.

If you need more advise just come back again.

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This sounds like good advice - I wouldn't even contemplate using scrap mains wire for this job - same goes for recycled wire (you don't know if there are any hidden breaks or other damage) - and I'd be very conservative about wire current ratings.

 

I'd also agree about Rapid being worth a look. Some of their electronic components might also be worth a look - especially their LEDs and their resistor packs.

 

 

I hope you don't mind me making some further suggestions (based on my experiences when I worked in a university, as an instrumentation technician):

 

  • It's amazing how easy it can be to catch wires - especially if they're running under a board. Clipping them firmly to the board (at regular intervals) makes a lot of sense. Running them through rectangular trunking (with a removable lid) also works well - but you need to be careful with connections and bare wires.
  • Neat cable runs also make sense - as do colour coding and clear number labels on all wires (repeated at regular intervals - and especially anywhere you group wires together or connect to any of them).
  • In a similar vein, it can also be useful to number (or letter) any signals, lights, track feeds, or anything else that needs to be connected up.
  • All of this stuff makes it easier to follow wiring. Something else that really helps is a clear wiring diagram, which is kept up to date. This doesn't need to be ultra-technical - it doesn't need loads of fancy symbols (unless you and everyone else know what they mean) - it does need to be clear and unambiguous. It's actually quite easy to produce one of these diagrams using a simple drawing package on your computer - MS Paint is more than adequate for this job.
  • Using a computer also makes it easy to update the diagram, without missing out stuff that's already on there (but it's still worth checking, before you add today's date to the diagram).
  • Talking of dates, there's probably no harm in sticking a card to the back of the layout, to show what's been done to the layout (and when). My reason for saying this is that, when you change anything on a layout (or any other system, for that matter), anything you've added or changed is more likely to go wrong than stuff that's already been proved to work.

Anyway, I think I've said enough for now.

 

All the best,

 

Huw.

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