@Steve Harris posted:
Interesting that the manual says avoid common bus wiring. Also says to clean off the blackening on top of the center rail. I wonder how many people have done that.
Steve, you're right. I followed the manual on my first attempt to install DCS. As I mentioned, I had six loops, but decided to try the set up on the first loop I installed and make sure it worked before I proceeded with the others. My layout was around the room perimeter. On a 140' loop I had 16 sets of feeder wires (every 10th track joint) around the loop from the track with a center rail plastic insulating track joiner in between. Trying the 'star' or 'home run' wiring was daunting, getting wire from the other side of the room, around the perimeter to a terminal strip was a mess of wires. And I'd have five more to do like that. No way!! When I tried operating I had bad signal problems. I eventually put light bulbs at every wire feed at it made it worse!
I ripped it all out and tried running bus wires around the layout. My first mistake was connecting the ends of the bus wire together. The signal problem was no better. So I just went simple. I unconnected the ends of the bus wire, attached one end of the bus directly to the TIU output, connected the feeder wires to the bus and added one bulb to the other end of the bus. BOOM!! Perfect 10 signal all around the loop! That's all I did other than make sure the track was clean, PS 2 batteries fully charged and fresh remote batteries.
I did clean off the blackened center rail on my Atlas O track, but I didn't notice any difference. The rest of the loops I left the center rail alone and still had good results. I've also been told it's not necessary to insulate the center rail around a loop. I'm going to test this out on the current layout I'm building.