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For a single loop of FasTrack around the perimeter and a CW-80 powering it, if your CW is in the middle of the edge of the 25' side you could get away with a pair of 27' wires to the far side and a pair of 2' wires to the near side track, both sets connected to the binding posts on the CW.  54' + 4' = 58'.  If your track "dogbones" back to the transformer side of the table to run parallel to the front track, you could probably use a pair of 2' wires & a pair of 3' wires with slack to spare for a total of 10 feet.

Wire is one of those commodities on my 10 x 20 layout that is in constant demand.   I started years ago using 14 gauge for primarily track power feeds.  I did star wiring in the 1980's.  I use 18 gauge for most everything else.  I've used three 500 foot reels of 14 gauge and I'm on my fourth 1000 foot reel of 18 gauge.  There's a lot of wire under there but DCS and Legacy both work fine, modifications are easy and there's no overloads.

Last edited by shorling
@shorling posted:

Wire is one of those commodities on my 10 x 20 layout that is in constant demand.   I started years ago using 14 gauge for primarily track power feeds.  I did star wiring in the 1980's.  I use 18 gauge for most everything else.  I've used three 500 foot reels of 14 gauge and I'm on my fourth 1000 foot reel of 18 gauge.  There's a lot of wire under there but DCS and Legacy both work fine, modifications are easy and there's no overloads.

How in the world did you use that much wire in that space?  I can only imagine you have a drop ever foot if you need that much wire!  I currently have around 50-60 18ga drops installed, and I figure when I'm done I'll be close to 100 drops.  That's about 150 feet times three of the 18ga.  I have two 500 foot rolls of 14ga, and I can't see any reason that isn't going to be enough for my 23 x 12 layout with an added 12' x 3' 8 track yard extension, and I'm likely to have some left over!  The layout plan is for around 400 feet of track total, so I'm looking at averaging a drop every four feet, it's hard to imagine you need more than 500 foot of bus wire for that!  I'm also wiring a star configuration with each power block coming to a common connection block centrally located on the layout.

@ADCX Rob posted:

So far without a better description, it looks like something between 10' & 9000'.

I think Rob's got it, you don't really know how much wire your going to need.  Rod's comment "you can never have too much wire" is applicable.  GRJ is starting just like I started with two 500 foot reels of 14 gauge.  The advice here is consistent, purchase 500 foot reels.  Now think wire color, gauge, stranded or solid. I use stranded for the drops.  How are you going to connect all the wires together: solder, wire nuts, barrier strips, etc.  Then there are power supplies, buss design, AC or DC or both.   Don't forget command control.

FWIW, I don't know how exactly many drops I have.  I don't believe it's anywhere near 100.  I have three (one for each rail) 14 gauge wires per drop.  I have a lot of turnouts.  I located the drops to minimize voltage drop and ensure continuity between turnouts and crossovers.  I use 18 gauge solid for accessories, lighting, signals, turnouts, etc.  I use 18 gauge stranded for controls panels since they are hinged.

@shorling posted:

I think Rob's got it, you don't really know how much wire your going to need.  Rod's comment "you can never have too much wire" is applicable.  GRJ is starting just like I started with two 500 foot reels of 14 gauge.  The advice here is consistent, purchase 500 foot reels.  Now think wire color, gauge, stranded or solid. I use stranded for the drops.  How are you going to connect all the wires together: solder, wire nuts, barrier strips, etc.  Then there are power supplies, buss design, AC or DC or both.   Don't forget command control.

FWIW, I don't know how exactly many drops I have.  I don't believe it's anywhere near 100.  I have three (one for each rail) 14 gauge wires per drop.  I have a lot of turnouts.  I located the drops to minimize voltage drop and ensure continuity between turnouts and crossovers.  I use 18 gauge solid for accessories, lighting, signals, turnouts, etc.  I use 18 gauge stranded for controls panels since they are hinged.

What do you think about using Wago nuts?

773-164/PW25-0010: Wire Nuts | Wago | Galco

Last edited by TrainHead
@TrainHead posted:

What do you think about using Wago nuts?

773-164/PW25-0010: Wire Nuts | Wago | Galco

I'm not familiar with this product.  I would recommend products that provide solid reversible connections.   Solid so the product will withstand high current density during short circuit derailments.  Reversible, so when you want change you can easily take things apart and modify your wiring.  I use barrier strips to interconnect wiring.  I use fork crimp lugs to connect the wiring to the barrier strips.  This is not the low cost solution, but I'm never chasing interconnect problems.

@TrainHead posted:

What do you think about using Wago nuts?

773-164/PW25-0010: Wire Nuts | Wago | Galco

GRJ I am understanding correctly that this is what you are using for your wire drops, both hot and ground? Are you going to have one common ground for you entire layout. Mine is maybe as big as yours in feet of track  not as many turnouts do to space restrictions and the shape of the platform. I went  a little over kill as I am using 16 gauge drops and 10 gauge buss wiring. But my layout is U Sheped so I was figuring some 70 to 80 foot wire runs for power and ground as the control panel is at the bottom leg of one side of the U Shape and each U Shape leg is about 35 - 40 feet long.

Last edited by RJT
@RJT posted:

GRJ I am understanding correctly that this is what you are using for your wire drops, both hot and ground? Are you going to have one common ground for you entire layout. Mine is maybe as big as yours in feet of track  not as many turnouts do to space restrictions and the shape of the platform. I went  a little over kill as I am using 16 gauge drops and 10 gauge buss wiring. But my layout is U Sheped so I was figuring some 70 to 80 foot wire runs for power and ground as the control panel is at the bottom leg of one side of the U Shape and each U Shape leg is about 35 - 40 feet long.

That's my current plan, I have separate drops for inside and outside tracks in case I want to do some insulated track signals, I'll probably leave one side dangling for the time being when I connect it all up until I'm sure what will be done with it.  All of the outside tracks that have power will be common, but they'll join at the main junction terminal strips.  I believe that for DCS, running individual grounds to each power district is a better way than just common everything without bringing them back to a common point.  Right now I don't see more than at most a 30 foot run from where I'm going to terminate all the power/ground runs.  With 10 amps (which I'm unlikely to come even close to on one run), the voltage drop would be 1.52 volts.  In reality with more like 4-5 amps for a typical running consist, it'll be less than 3/4 of a volt.  I'm pretty sure I won't notice that.  Also, many of the drops will be less, that's probably what I figure would be the worst case, and it's likely the longest run will be closer to 20 feet.

@Tom Tee posted:

There is a book called "Basic electricity and electronics for model railroaders" by Kalmbach Books that had a section on diode control for twin-coil or motor driven turnouts that explains how to set up a diode matrix.

If you are familiar with diodes you could just imagine how to set one up w/o the book.

Well I just had to ask! Sounds like it will only work with DC. And I can envision how with one button you could reset all turnouts to default position after a running session. Something I always try to remember to do, but it doesn't always happen! That would be really handy after the grandkids have been by for a visit!

I use a custom built 16VDC power supply for switches and it has a big old 80,000 uf capacitor for filtering. It just may have enough oomph to power say half a dozen switches at once that may be out of default position. May have to experiment a bit. There would be no load from switches that are already in the right position.

That Kalmbach book sounds handy; don't have that one. How old of a publication is it?

Rod

I suggest developing a wire colour standard, then being sure you have enough to maintain the standard. You can run your wire colour standard by the forum to get input. This is very important, both for wire colour and wire size. an inconsistent wire colour decision can cause great confusion a few years later when you just can't remember what that wire is for. I have a wire standard, I label both ends of all my wires, and I still get confused years later. That is because my wire naming standard for some items has changed and evolved, as has my wiring methods. This is part of the hobby.

One factor is if you will be running DCS or not. With DCS, a layout of your size should have 2, 3 or 4 channels in use. For each channel, you will need a separate set of wires from the DCS AIU to a terminal strip, then wires from the terminal strip to the track. This helps reduce the amount of wire you need.

Running wires in a neat and easy to access path requires way more wire than you think. Kind of like golf, a 6500 yard course requires about 10,000 steps (assuming one step = 1 yard).

In summary:

1) develop a wire colour standard that includes wire gauge. There is track power, uncoupler power, switch power, accessory power, building lighting, DC power for some lighting or accessories, Miller signs power, etc

2) develop a wire labelling method and standard naming convention. my labels include DCS# for DCS wiring, AIU# for AIU wiring, W#T for sWitches where 'T' is the first letter of the town or district where the switch is located, U#T for uncouplers, S## for signals, etc

You can see that there is much more to wire than the track. As GunrunnerJohn said, you want to buy your wire at Home Depot or an industrial electrical supplier, where you can get a much better price. 500ft at home depot may be less than 100ft from a hobby shop. I found an electrical supplier to have a much better selection of single strand coloured wire than home depot (at least where I live).

@Rod Stewart posted:

Well I just had to ask! Sounds like it will only work with DC. And I can envision how with one button you could reset all turnouts to default position after a running session. Something I always try to remember to do, but it doesn't always happen! That would be really handy after the grandkids have been by for a visit!

I use a custom built 16VDC power supply for switches and it has a big old 80,000 uf capacitor for filtering. It just may have enough oomph to power say half a dozen switches at once that may be out of default position. May have to experiment a bit. There would be no load from switches that are already in the right position.

That Kalmbach book sounds handy; don't have that one. How old of a publication is it?

Rod

Rod that book came out in 1988 and is available used from Amazon for $7.50.

book

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Last edited by wild mary

IMG-8022

With all the respect it deserves... I am using 6 foot of common lampcord from 90 watt transformer to track. I have started to wire directly to the rails.

'I am lucky to wander through the ogaugerr forum, as I see with young eyes the beauty and mystery in Model Railroading. Starting with Elliot and embraced by Giants who have walked this path before me. Truly inspirational." My successes this year are many, including this brown paper mountain, which does not require wiring.. yet.

Daunting would be the layout requiring more wire than can I afford, space than I can find and skillz i do not have.

Thanks for inspiring me to try, and for that I will be forever grateful...

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Hello Windy City, If you go to the web site that Tony H has highlighted at the top left is the WAGO name. Under that click on PRODUCTS. Click on WIRE / SPLICING CONNECTORS, which is the second heading down. Scroll down to the bottom of the page and click on Page 2. Scroll down you will see the item you are looking for.

I have not used these myself so I can not give any opinion about them.

I hope this helps.



Russ

Nothing wired yet under the table, just got the last switch to finish the track today.  All you'll see is a lot of wires dangling down and waiting for the wiring that's yet to come.  I have all my power drops from above, and some of the switch wiring dropped, but nothing connected below.

Here's a shot under the lift-bridge, that's indicative of what I have right now.

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