I am about to start wiring up the layout.   The track power will be the typical red and black wiring, but should I use other colors for accessories, building lights, ect. 

I can see on a large layout that this would be needed,but my layout is pretty small, 3.5 x 6 with one loop of track and a few operating accessories and a few building lights.  

Should I bother with other color wires, or stick with the red/black for everything?

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Jim, when I first did my attic layout I used one color for everything. Five years ago one winter I decided to color code everything. Each mainline is a color, accessories another and for my Ross Switches I was able to get the colors of the switch wires. I am glad I did that it became easier to trouble shoot............Paul 2

I don't see the need on a small layout.  If you feel the need, put some wire labels on the wires.  You could probably make some using WORD and AVERY labels.  I would use what I had available, black and red work fine (electrons don't care).

OR...go BPRC and do away with the wiring altogether


4+ years and STILL Having A Blast Running BPRC

I have two tables with three main loops on each table.  I ran white 16 gauge wire throughout, under the tables.  Each loop has four risers to the track lock-ons.  I used wire tie wraps (the ones you get with bread) of different colors to differentiate between the runs.  Then, I connected the wires to an MTH 4000 and a Lionel ZWL on each table.  Track loops one through three and an extra loop of wire for future on one side and one for the shelf layout on the other side.  Then I ran a red/wiite cable for accessories under each table.  

Jim- I'm a big proponent of color coding (retired master electrician), but on a small layout with few wires it's probably not necessary. A label on each set should do it. Red and black for track power sounds good.


Three Rails Are Better Than None 

Another option is using 3M Scotchcode wire markers.  They are tape numbers 0-9, that you wrap around wires to identify each wire. Place one on each end, for whatever they are for, and keep track of your numbering.  Best price I found was on eBay at $19.99 free shipping.  Just a thought.

I most strongly recommend color coding your wiring.  Even if it is a small layout, you want to eliminate anything that will delay or prevent you from running changes.  Even by my standards, I'm a little extreme in this regard.  I have 8 power districts.  They all use Red/Black pairs for track power, but they are all tagged with colored cable ties (one for each district).  Track feeder wires from each Red/Black track power pair will get a label with the District Number & Terminal Strip Position (really a feeder number).  I have another page of the spreadsheet with each feeder's location and number noted.

Here's the wiring conventions in place on Panhandle 2.0.  There are also two 15VAC accessory buses - details TBD later which I have not shown.

Wiring Conventions


TCA, NMRA, PRRT&HS Modeling the PRR Panhandle Division between 1948-1957.


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