I need some advice. I am planning to build a family room perimeter layout using Lionel Fastrack. The room is 20’ X 18’. I will be using an MTH DCS Explorer with Z1000 power supply, for now, but plan on upgrading to the full MTH DCS system in the future. I wanted to know if it is possible to use jumper wires and solder the rail tabs for each piece of track, and use a single wire to power it or run separate feeder wires to the track to avoid voltage drop issues. If my calculations are correct, I would need 12 feeder wires and I am not sure how I could conceal all those runs of wires under the track. I don’t plan on using any accessories or switches. Please let me know my best way to tackle. Thank you.
Yes. I soldered 14 GA feeders directly to the fastrack tabs.
My feeders are about every 10' of track length. No voltage drops anywhere.
It was fast and easy. All I used was an inexpensive Weller 25w iron.
Thanks RickO. So I can run set of power wires to track, as long as I use jumper wires. Thank you for the info.
what about using .110 spade connectors.i made them for my transformer connection.basically homemade fastrack terminal track.if you are on facebook check out lionel fastrack group.doug granger made a great video on making connections and bus wiring.
It's better to use a wire "bus" that follows the tracks (under bench, under roadbed, etc. and attach feed/drops between track and bus. Normally a bus is slightly heavier than drops.
A heavy wire delivers amps better; and for us, there won't be a "too big" issue other than flexing or fitting somewhere etc (or maybe cost ) Large gauge wire will stay cooler and is less likely to burn/melt than a smaller wire. (my "oversized" wire can take a direct short for a looong time before it gets warm, let alone get hot enough to melt. The breakers and fuses will always go first here.)
note: transformer breaker design protects the transformer, not external wiring. It does afford some protection, but it is coincidence. If the wire can't handle all the amps possibly fed,e asily, it should be fused (or second breaker)
Wire does a much better job delivering amps than track does. So a bus will do better than jumping track to track.
Make sure there is one feed for each turnout exit too. You want to run power around turnouts rather than pass the bulk of the power thru a turnout. All the little connections are points of resistance. Passing a little power isn't a big deal as the whole trains power draw isn't all forced thru those connections. (two turnouts with track between can share one feed.)
AWG wire charts online will tell you how big a wire you need at X feet. (amps are the concern, ignore voltage other than making sure yours is lower than example. Usually the charts are for much higher voltage than we use, that's fine.
Choose bus wire to handle the max transformer amp output. Drops can be lighter and sized close to but over AWG for bus to track, but add the rail length to next drop to account for the rail resistance.
Also, the outer rails have twice as metal to deliver power than the center rail. So pay closer attention to the center rail power delivery overall.
You can hide power wire in a C-channel length of plastic/aluminum/ pvc pipe,l conduit, automotive loom covers,etc. if you don't want it exposed to view.
Thanks Adriatic. I Just want to make sure I understand what your post stated, but a “bus” wire is basically a pair of 14 or 12 gauge wire the will run underneath the tracks and will be attached directly to the track terminals at intervals of approximately 8’? I am sorry to ask but I am just getting back into the hobby and want to avoid any costly mistakes.