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Early this morning I noticed 2 more lock-ons with no wires running to the ground clip, so I added drop wires from the ground clip and connected them to the Common/Ground bus under the table

Continuity was further improved. Below see an MTH Proto 2 Pennsy diesel hauling freight cars at perfect prototypically slow speed on DCS:

Arnold

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Early this morning I noticed 2 more lock-ons with no wires running to the ground clip, so I added drop wires from the ground clip ….

Continuity was further improved….



Arnold

Arnold sounds like your track pin connections have loosened up or has built up resistance internally to the track rails over the many years on your layout.  You may want to also check that the existing lock-ons are making good, tight and clean connection to the track rails. Removal of the lock-on and cleaning the outside rail connection points is straightforward.  You can also check the wire tightness under the holder clip. Additional lock-ons are certainly the easier and effective workaround for the pin issue.

Last edited by Rich Wiemann

Arnold sounds like your track pin connections have loosened up or has built up resistance internally to the track rails over the many years on your layout.  You may want to also check that the existing lock-ons are making good, tight and clean connection to the track rails. Removal of the lock-on and cleaning the outside rail connection points is straightforward.  You can also check the wire tightness under the holder clip. Additional lock-ons are certainly the easier and effective workaround for the pin issue.

Thanks, Rich, all of your ideas make perfect sense.

I'm having fun on a continuity crusade of sorts. LOL.

Incidentally, the real test is to run conventional or Proto 1 engines at slow to moderate speed. Before I added the lock-ons and drop wires for the ground, my Proto 2 and 3 engines on DCS were already running very evenly.

Arnold

Last edited by Arnold D. Cribari

Thank you, Leroof.

I totally agree with you, John, about cruise or speed control. IMO, it is the most important change in modern locomotives (PS 2 and 3, LC+ and Legacy) vs. Postwar, enabling trains to run prototypically slow and smooth even on layouts with mediocre wiring and trackwork and significant voltage drops, like mine has had until very recently.

Last edited by Arnold D. Cribari

To hold drooping wires in place under the train tables, what do you folks think of using insulated staples?

Today, I bought a Cable Boss Staple Gun and one-half inch Cable Boss staples, which I may use tomorrow to position and hold in place certain wires underneath and on the bottom of the plywood tables

I used clamps to position and hold in place bunches of wires under the tables well above the basement floor.

Last edited by Arnold D. Cribari

I definitely like insulated cable staples for running Romex inside walls and ceilings.

For train layouts, I prefer Cable Clamps like these.  Attached with screws, it's easier to remove or add wires as circumstances may change in the future.  Often I will only run the screw through the back hole as I'm still running wire to make placement (and removal) easier.

cable clamps

For a layout already having scenery and buildings, not jarring everything by hammering in staples is also a plus.

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Last edited by SteveH
@SteveH posted:

I definitely like insulated cable staples for running Romex inside walls and ceilings.

For train layouts, I prefer Cable Clamps like these.  Attached with screws, it's easier to remove or add wires as circumstances may change in the future.  Often I will only run the screw through the back hole as I'm still running wire to make placement (and removal) easier.

cable clamps

For a layout already having scenery and buildings, not jarring everything by hammering in staples is also a plus.

I'm with Steve. I use these all the time. They are very versatile and wire pulls through them easily. Other than a Arrow T-25 staple gun to hold wires right where they come through the surface, I don't staple any wires under the layout.

Bob

Last edited by RSJB18

More update:

I did not like using the Cableboss staple gun and insulated staples because it was hard for me to use (hard for me to pull the trigger) and when I tested it, it worked, but it was very hard for me to remove the insulated staples from a plywood board. This might be a great product for someone who is 100% sure of where he wants his wires to be permanently fixed, but I'm not like that. I may have reasons to move wires in the future.

My new, but smaller, rat's nests appear in the photos below.

The pictures still show a mess, but it's a much, much smaller mess than before. Also, now, none of the wires dangle down to the basement floor.

I found the wire holder clamps and plastic 11 inch ties (to keep a bunch of wires together and tied to a table leg or piece of wood under the layout) were very useful.

Another reason for the mess is that I have not yet rewired the power wires to the 022 switch track plugs and the accessory wires, which I will do as an ongoing, and much less intense, project over the next couple of months. Arnold

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I've taken to using "plumber's tape" to keep wires neat and up against the bottom plywood layer of my layout.

Plumber's tape is not conventional "tape", but rather a semi-hard plastic tape about 1" wide and 1/8" thick that plumbers use to hold pipes in place. It's the modern version of the old copper strips with holes that plumbers use.

The tape comes in rolls of 100' or so. Basically, depending on how many wires I need to staple in place and how thick they are, I cut about a 3"- 4" long piece of the tape off the roll; place it over the wire(s) so that an equal amount of the tape extends out about 1" on either side of the wire(s); and then just staple the tape ends to the plywood with a heavy duty or electric stapler using 3/16" to 1/4" heavy duty staples.

The tape firmly holds the wire against the plywood and, to me anyway, is easier than using cable-type clamps. You can even bend the tape in the middle to form a little "loop" for the wire(s) to sit in.

It's available in white or gray on the big A or at most hardware/big box stores.



PLUMBER'S TAPE

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Last edited by Richie C.

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