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So a newbie and I have had 2 Lionel chief starter sets around the Christmas tree. The Polar Express and Christmas Train. This year grandkids wanted to set up a much larger track around the living room for the Polar Express set. It will be roughly 500 inches of fast track using mostly 30 inch sections and O36 corners. In reading through posts I see I may need to run power drops to roughly every 6th track. Since this is basically one big square thinking I would just run 14 guage stranded wire  from a power bus under the track and solder them on.  Do I also need to add jumpers between tracks as well??? Or just do the jumpers only? This will be on the carpet around living room so only for the holidays. For power I figured the wall power that camewith the sets would not be adequate so I did purchase a Rail King Z1000 for power.



Thanks for any advice and directions.



Marc T.

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Hey Ron thanks for the suggestion. I will try that. Since it js on big rectangle I will run the wiring on the carpet under the track to maybe 6 power drops.

So one followup question as this is my first attempt at setting a larger track. It is ok to have power drops and jumper between all the other track joints if needed? In all the forums I read that is the one thing I was confused it seemed either drops or jumpers but I assume you can do both if needed.

Thanks again will be setting this up next week and will update on progress.

An alternative to soldering connections is to use   .110 crimp connectors on the FasTrack tabs provided.  Of course each track section does’t need to be connected. My experience hasn’t been the need for jumpers from each track section, but YMMV.  Here’s a composite photo of the connections to the track.  Click to enlarge.

FE75FC0C-DA85-490E-88C9-A7CE479C55A3

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Last edited by TedW

So a question on the power drops. Can I run 1 line each way (1 left and 1 right) 2 drops each way and splice in a drop with wire nut then continue the line to next drop? Or need to one a dedicated line from terminal to each drop? Since this is a temporary setup thinking maybe the wirenut split line might work and less line.

Thoughts?

@MTrif posted:

So a question on the power drops. Can I run 1 line each way (1 left and 1 right) 2 drops each way and splice in a drop with wire nut then continue the line to next drop? Or need to one a dedicated line from terminal to each drop? Since this is a temporary setup thinking maybe the wirenut split line might work and less line.

Thoughts?

Splicing 14 gauge wires is fine.  No need for dedicated home runs with Lion Chief Locomotives (unless you're also using DCS command control locos).

Just to clarify - "jumpers" are typically used to connect (by soldering) two or more track sections together because the track connections (typically, the pins) are not making good contact and there is not good electrical "connectivity" between track sections, leading to trains stopping, slowing or stalling. These are typically limited to specific areas of the track and not, generally, the entire layout.   

"Drops" or "power drops" refer to connections from the power supply (transformer, brick, etc.) to the track. Depending on several factors like layout size, accessories, lighted cars, etc., it may be necessary to install more than one connection ("drop") to the track from your power source because the power ("voltage") to certain areas of the layout, like those farthest away from the main connection point, may experience a voltage loss and the layout needs extra "power drops" spread out along the layout to insure even, steady train operation and no stopping, slowing or stalling. Thus, even layouts with good electrical connectivity between track sections may still require additional power drops.   

Success!! My grandson and I ran the track, and I had him check all the connections with the ohm meter for continuity...all good. Hooked up the new Z1000 and placed the Polar Express Loco on the track to test power. It started right up and went all the way around. Here is the best news...no power drops. Figured I woukd see where it might slow or stop and then add. But ran perfectly then added cars and continued to work on 550 inches of track. Both amazed and thankful at this point. Even grandma is impressed as am I that she let us take over the living room.

Thanks again to all for the input...if it does start to slow I have all the parts at the ready if needed.

Merry Christmas to all!

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