my layout is 15' x 32' before I get into a lot of trouble I think I need some help. I have three big single loops, and then I have Three loops that are hoked together, I hear that these power districts can save me a lot of trouble. I am not a electrician I just like to play with trains.

Original Post

Ernie: This is a great place to find out all you need to learn about whatever it is that you're trying to do in O gauge. Learn to use the "Search" feature and start reading. That will get you pretty far along. If you've got specific questions, we can try to work out what you need to know. Good luck.


Simplified strategy - figure out sections of track where you want trains to run while trains in other sections are turned off (no power). Designate these areas as individual power districts and isolate them electrically (by this I mean separate power but common ground everywhere).

You only need isolate the middle (power) track. The same ground should run everywhere. Isolate the middle rail from another section using plastic rail joiners or by using no rail joiner and slipping in a piece of styrene plastic.

Bear in mind separate power districts means separate power supplies so this can get expensive. Another good technique especially for sidings is to isolate the siding from main line as above, use the same power supply to power them but run all the middle rail power lines to a common point then connect this to a SPST toggle switch and the other end of the switch to the power supply line. This gives manual control of power to the sidings.

You may also want to consider connecting all loops together so you can switch any train to any loop. As long as you electrically isolate the individual loops from each other you are fine.


PS - not sure if you are running command control or conventional or both. However with track isolation you can actually run both at the same time as long as you are using two separate power supplies. You just don't want to cross from command control district (18 volts) to a conventional control district or vise versa. If the conventional control loco crosses over to the command track it will see the full 18 volts and go airborne.

Joe Fauty

Are you going to use command control? or conventional?

What is your power source to the rails? Single handle or multiple?

Do you have separate power for accessories and switches?

What types of engines are you running? Old or newer? Do you remove stuff off the rails when not running?

Three loops can have some decent amp draw if there's several engines and old lighted cars on the rails. I have to guess that you have some isolation already?

The best thing about power districts is keeping trains on separate power sources. If one derails and/or shorts somehow, the others keep running. You can actually use the same transformer if it's big enough to handle it, and just place separate fuses or breakers in line to each loop. It will also help protect modern engines from older transformers that might not have fast breakers or see it as a smaller short and just keep powering the track.

 I think your question(s) in the original post could have a very wide range of responses. So "trouble" to me means keeping things running and protected.

There's a lot of good help here if you ask specific questions from here on. You already got some good advice, I just wanted to take it further.

I saw the post the other day and didn't have the time to fully answer. Sorry.

" on Sour mash and cheap wine " ??

Why go back to DCC when I have DCS!

Add Reply

Likes (1)
OGR Publishing, Inc., 1310 Eastside Centre Ct, Suite 6, Mountain Home, AR 72653