I have my layout all wired up with power now, with about 9 power supply points on the tracks, and 18 power wires (hot/neutral) running to the skeleton of my uncompleted control box. These power wires will all be attached to two terminal blocks mounted inside the box, and the hot wires will also be connected to 9 off/on toggle switches, so as to control the supply of power to the big track sections. And, of course, I will probably have many switch wires and accessory wires running to and from the box.
Obviously, the toggle switches themselves, the switch controls, the fuse buttons, etc. etc., which will be manually operated, ,will be mounted on the face of the top panel, with their wires running inward, to the inside of the box.
My question is, what about all of the OTHER fixtures that must be mounted inside the box? Terminal blocks, separate wires running from "poles" sticking through to the outside of the box, for the purpose of externally attaching the various transformer poles (A, B, C, U etc), to the outside of the box, rectifiers, and other electrical fixtures..
Do you normally mount these to the underside of the top panel of the box, so that there are no attachments to the inside face of the rear panel of the box? This would enable you to totally remove the rear panel, to add, subtract or fix the wiring and things in the box. Or maybe somehow remove the entire top panel and lift it open or off to service everything attached to the back of it? However, the underside of the top panel would sure be crowded if EVERYTHING it attached to it.
Or, do you mount these fixtures inside the box, on the bottom panel, with their various wires running in various lengths to attach to the switches, fuses, lights, etc. at the connection points on the underside of the top panel? This would enable you to service the interior items by using the top panel as the access panel (perhaps even having the top panel attached to the box by hinges, so that you can simply open the box by lifting up the top). This would be really convenient, like opening a rectangular lunchbox for working on wiring, without having to turn the box over, or crawl in from underneath the table, to remove the back panel to service it.
BUT, if the box opens from the top, then this means that every fixture mounted in the bottom of the box will have to have long wires running to their attachments to the items on the underside of the top panel, so that when you swing the box lid open, the wires are not pulled or disconnected from those items. I guess those connecting wires would each have to be a foot longer or more. This would mean that there would be lots of long wires that you would have to somehow curl up or smash down when you close the top of the box.
Is there a conventional answer or wisdom as to the proper design on this issue? I will probably end up, in three or four years, with 10 switch controllers, 9 power toggle switches, two pop-up fuses, a whistle shed button or two, and four or five accessory switches mounted on the top of the box. So, that is alot of wire and separate fixtures!
Thanks for all experience and advice.