Hi, what is the simplest way to connect multiple operating accessories in parallel to power from one CW-80?  I will not be soldering anything.  Crimping and/or tightening screws attached to terminal blocks is what I'm going for.  I'm an amateur at electronics, some pictures of actual products would be very helpful.  This is for a Christmas layout and I'd like to be modular so I can disconnect the items and reconnect next year.  

Thanks

Garrett

 

George Bailey: You know what the three most exciting sounds in the world are? Anchor chains, plane motors, and train whistles!

It's a Wonderful Life, 1946

 

Check out my Lionel and MTH auto trains

http://gwpreisch.wordpress.com/

Original Post

thanks. 

questions-

is this a common item?

Anyone know if it's carried at Lowe's?

If not, what brick and mortar location can I get one?

is it bare wire ends or do I need to purchase some sort of end connector?

what holds it in place, screw pressure?

Thanks

George Bailey: You know what the three most exciting sounds in the world are? Anchor chains, plane motors, and train whistles!

It's a Wonderful Life, 1946

 

Check out my Lionel and MTH auto trains

http://gwpreisch.wordpress.com/

Garrett, that barrier strip is a fairly common item that should be available at Lowes, HD, ACE, Menard's, Radioshack if you're lucky enough to still have one nearby or any quality hardware store.  They come in various lengths so depending on the number of accessories you may want a longer or shorter strip.  Look closely at Chuck's picture and you'll see the copper "jumper"wires  connecting the cells of the strip so that one power wire from transformer feeds up to six accessories.  You'll also see the screw in each cell that tightens down on the stripped end of the wires, no special connector necessary.

so, do all the red wires go on one side (top) and all black wires go on other side (bottom)?  or is it power wires on the outside (left and right) and operating accessory wires go the middle?  a sketch on paper would be helpful.

thanks!

George Bailey: You know what the three most exciting sounds in the world are? Anchor chains, plane motors, and train whistles!

It's a Wonderful Life, 1946

 

Check out my Lionel and MTH auto trains

http://gwpreisch.wordpress.com/

Garrett76 posted:

so, do all the red wires go on one side (top) and all black wires go on other side (bottom)?  or is it power wires on the outside (left and right) and operating accessory wires go the middle?  a sketch on paper would be helpful.

thanks!

It's left and right. Each vertical pair of screw downs are electrically isolated from each other. I connect half of them of them together and call that red, then the other half connected and they are black. In Lionel terms that is A and U. Instead of using wire jumpers which I make out of #20 ga wire cut in about one inch length and bending around a needle nose plier in the shape of a U, you can buy jumpers. They come in say 8 or 12 long and I cut off what I need like say 4 in a row to connect 4 connections together.

Here's a link to some jumpers...you have to pay attention to the spacing and order what fits your euro type terminal strips. There are also jumpers for the barrier strips (the larger black strips which take the spade connectors). I use both for different reasons.

 http://www.digikey.com/product...id=0&pageSize=25

Chuck TCA LCCA ARRL BMWMOA

I am learning from everyone but still not all the way there, yet.  I am a visual learner and would really appreciate a hand drawn sketch with arrows showing the flow direction of electricity at each connection point.  please clearly label polarity and other relevant points

Thanks!

George Bailey: You know what the three most exciting sounds in the world are? Anchor chains, plane motors, and train whistles!

It's a Wonderful Life, 1946

 

Check out my Lionel and MTH auto trains

http://gwpreisch.wordpress.com/

Garrett76 posted:

I am learning from everyone but still not all the way there, yet.  I am a visual learner and would really appreciate a hand drawn sketch with arrows showing the flow direction of electricity at each connection point.  please clearly label polarity and other relevant points

Thanks!

Are you also asking about accessory activation wires? Those vary by each type of accessory. Are these all buildings? Otherwise, could you list the accessories you are trying to hook up?

Also, you asked about modular connections.  There are great ways to use labeled Molex connectors so that you can unplug a module just like you would with a power cord to a wall outlet.

ADCX Rob posted:

excellent, exactly what I was looking for.  One question- as the wire leaves the transformer and becomes many before connecting to the jumper, how do I simply get multiple wires from one?  something happens at that intersection which is not clear to me

thanks!

George Bailey: You know what the three most exciting sounds in the world are? Anchor chains, plane motors, and train whistles!

It's a Wonderful Life, 1946

 

Check out my Lionel and MTH auto trains

http://gwpreisch.wordpress.com/

Garrett, if you look at ACDX Rob's excellent diagram you will notice that he says to use a jumper strip on one side of the barrier. A jumper strip is a thin metal strip that looks sort of like a comb. Think of the prongs of the comb and imagine two going under each screw on one side of the barrier strip. Now all of the screws on that side of the barrier strip are electrically connected.  So, if you attach your red (hot) wire to any of the screws on the side with the jumper strip all of the screws receive current.         

          0    0    0    0    0    0          <---- terminal block barrier screws (to accessories)

          0    0    0    0    0    0          <---- terminal block barrier screws (power side)

          I___I___I___I___I ___I___I          <---- jumper strip (like a metal comb)

 

After adding the jumper strip....

 

          0     0    0     0    0    0          <----- terminal block barrier screws (wire one per accessory)

          I_0_I_0_I_0_I_0_I_0_I_0_I        <----- term. block barrier screws with jumper installed so

          all are connected. Attach hot (red) lead from + (A) post of transformer to any screw on this side of barrier strip and jumper provides power to all screws on this side.

Each wire to an accessory will go from a screw on the terminal block (top row of screws in the diagram)  to the switch for the accessory, then on to the + pole on the accessory. You wire the same for the (-) (black) wire on a second terminal block strip, but there is no need to connect to the switch for the accessory.

You can get jumper strips from allelectronics.com. They sell the terminal blocks and jumper strips that go with them. No doubt there are other sources. My local Radio Shack was out of stock.

Good luck with your project.

 

 

 

         

IMG_1266

Garret, I've borrowed Chucks picture, If you look closely the red wire entering the strip on the left hand top side is hot power from the transformer into the strip, it is connected to the next five cells on the top side of the strip by 5 short, un-insulated copper jumper wires connecting each terminal to the next terminal to the right thus powering six terminals. On the bottom side you can see three red (Hot) wires coming out of three individual terminals, these are the hot wires to the accessories. Moving to the right, half way across is a black wire entering the strip this is the ground from the transformer.  Continuing to the right you will five more jumper wires and again three black wire leaving the bottom this in the ground to the accessories.  Chuck did it this way to use one 12 terminal barrier strip to provide both hot and ground with one strip. ADCX Rob showed two separate six terminal barrier strips to do the same thing.  The key is the little jumper wires from one terminal to the next on the same side of the strip.

There was a recent post that suggested using grounding strips/grounding bars to avoid the need for jumpers.  These seemed to be a cost efficient approach at $5.58 for 9 terminal (you can have more than 1 wire in each terminal hole). 

http://m.homedepot.com/p/Squar...t-PK9GTACP/100161420

Good luck and please update us when you get a chance.

Thanks,

JD

 

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JD2035RR posted:

There was a recent post that suggested using grounding strips/grounding bars to avoid the need for jumpers.  These seemed to be a cost efficient approach at $5.58 for 9 terminal (you can have more than 1 wire in each terminal hole). 

http://m.homedepot.com/p/Squar...t-PK9GTACP/100161420

Good luck and please update us when you get a chance.

Thanks,

JD

 

Grounding strips are made for 14 to 12 gauge electrical wire used in 15 to 20 Amp circuits in electrical boxes. The gauge of wire for most accessories is much smaller, since they draw very small amps. I use grounding strips for track power, but you need to be careful with accessory wire connections. It is possible to reduce the effective gauge of the wire at the connection if only a small portion of the wire surface is making contact with the connector. It can also be difficult making the connections with small wires in a grounding strip.

Also, "double tapping" a terminal hole in a grounding strip or terminal strip would be against electrical code (if it applied) and is considered an unreliable means of connection. There are connectors that are made to allow two connections, but the ones shown here are not.

George

I probably wouldn't have been able to write it up as nicely as George, but I had similar thoughts on the grounding bar and how it could be less than ideal for smaller wires, especially stranded ones.

That screw connection is relying on a conductor close to the size of the hole.  A properly sized conductor, such as the size George points out, can then reasonably be held in place with the screw. 

Mashing one (or more) smaller conductors down with the screw will probably not be ideal.  You may get poor contact, and if you use more than one wire, you are probably getting to the point where you are losing the intended utility of using a barrier strip, that being you can easily remove one connection later if required. 

-Dave

I don't care for the grounding strip in our applications. The only thing it has going for it is that it's inexpensive. I very much like an insulated strip which is more compatible with our wire gauges. Compared to the cost of the layout, each appropriate strip we may purchase is less cost than one piece of track. I think it's important not to focus on one favorable aspect of a choice, but to think more broadly about all the aspects including safety, ease of use, appropriate for the purpose and compatible with the associated parts, etc.

Chuck TCA LCCA ARRL BMWMOA

So, apparently I bought the wrong item from Lowe's (pictured).  There's never anyone in that place who knows anything about electrical items.  I asked the hardward guy if he could open the package and check it out.  I was primarily interested to know if the terminals were connected on the long side.  He said he couldn't tell but thought they were connected on the inside.  They were not as I found out two days ago.  In another post, someone suggested a jumper strip which I think can be used with these terminal strips and solve the problem.

There won't be any more changes this year, but setup will be smarter and faster next Christmas.  I'm going to wait until after I remove all houses and scenery to run the wiring for the accessories.  It will be much easier to drill holes through the wood supports and route the wires in a manner that will not interfere with the various power cords for the Dept 56 houses.  I had to use a coat hanger to push the power cords across the table surface since the benchwork with track and buildings was already on top of the folding table.

trains 111

George Bailey: You know what the three most exciting sounds in the world are? Anchor chains, plane motors, and train whistles!

It's a Wonderful Life, 1946

 

Check out my Lionel and MTH auto trains

http://gwpreisch.wordpress.com/

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Garrett76 posted:

So, apparently I bought the wrong item from Lowe's (pictured).  There's never anyone in that place who knows anything about electrical items.  I asked the hardward guy if he could open the package and check it out.  I was primarily interested to know if the terminals were connected on the long side.  He said he couldn't tell but thought they were connected on the inside.  They were not as I found out two days ago.  In another post, someone suggested a jumper strip which I think can be used with these terminal strips and solve the problem.

There won't be any more changes this year, but setup will be smarter and faster next Christmas.  I'm going to wait until after I remove all houses and scenery to run the wiring for the accessories.  It will be much easier to drill holes through the wood supports and route the wires in a manner that will not interfere with the various power cords for the Dept 56 houses.  I had to use a coat hanger to push the power cords across the table surface since the benchwork with track and buildings was already on top of the folding table.

trains 111

Yes Garrett, this is the jumper strip to use for those following along.

images

George

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George S posted:

Yes Garrett, this is the jumper strip to use for those following along.

images

Do you have a part # and where Garrett can buy that jumper strip? 

As others have noted there are different sizes of these strips; if the pic below is the Lowe's product he has I think he needs 9/16" centers - though you wouldn't know it hunting around for dimensions on the Lowe's site!

lowes gtb-408

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They are called Terminal Block Jumpers and you can get them at Molex or Radio Shack online. I could not find them on the Lowes or Home Depot web sites. I think I bought mine and the blocks at Radio Shack. There is a Molex part number 0380021290 for a Beau 8 circuit connector, but it is spec'd at .375" centers. I am not sure whether that is the exact match to Garrett's terminal block. I couldn't find the specs on the Radio Shack model.

OK.  So you have 3/8" centers.

My guess is Lowe's Utilitech GTB-408-UT is a private-label (or whatever you call it) and close cousin to the big supplier Gardner Bender GTB-408 strip which has 9/16" centers.

gtb-408

You'd think these jumpers to make a bus'd connection would be clearly listed as an accessory or companion part to the terminal blocks themselves!  

And NYC Subway's barrier strip is yet another option with 7.5mm centers.

yet another strip

And Garrett asks for as the "simplest way".  

Anyway, my suggestion to Garrett is to just measure what you have.  If you want to use the jumper-strip method to distribute your voltage, then be sure to get one with the correct center-to-center dimension.  Unfortunately you may need to hunt or go mail-order around as it appears Lowe's, Home Depot, and the other usual suspects may not stock them...

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George S posted:

They are called Terminal Block Jumpers and you can get them at Molex or Radio Shack online. I could not find them on the Lowes or Home Depot web sites. I think I bought mine and the blocks at Radio Shack. There is a Molex part number 0380021290 for a Beau 8 circuit connector, but it is spec'd at .375" centers. I am not sure whether that is the exact match to Garrett's terminal block. I couldn't find the specs on the Radio Shack model.

Radio Shacks are .375 inch centers

Chuck TCA LCCA ARRL BMWMOA

Whada ya mean, why carry those too?

I'd call and put the question in a managers hands and tell them you'll callback. I have seen the jumpers in either Lowes or HD, but that doesn't mean they carry them at every store, or at all anymore.....it also doesn't mean they haven't been moved to the paint department

I'm sure you could find them cheaper, but in a pinch for an odd part like this Grainger is a good place to start. There used to be enough manufacturers represented to cover just about anything, and if they didn't have "it" they often knew who did.

"Still trying to not shoot my eye out"

 

"Nursing insomnia one railcar at a time"

My aroma therapy? Smoke Pellets.

 





John H posted:

In my post above, you don't need the jumper strip. That's why I said it was easier, one side for hot, one side for ground.

It's not a bad idea, they end up being the same thing basically.

But is the bar as easily customizable as the strips? Those jumpers can be clipped and groups set up eliminating empty excesses.

I see wire too, so what was is its max amp rating? 

"Still trying to not shoot my eye out"

 

"Nursing insomnia one railcar at a time"

My aroma therapy? Smoke Pellets.

 





John H posted:

Good point on the amps. I'm not sure. I just use them for buildings and they are all LEDs. Most accessories don't draw like engines so I messed that up.

Messesed up ? Not really. Its still a quick and simple option. We don't know what its limits are though.

Messing up would be to not share what you thought might help

"Still trying to not shoot my eye out"

 

"Nursing insomnia one railcar at a time"

My aroma therapy? Smoke Pellets.

 





John H posted:

2PCS 8 Way Terminal Block Bus Bar,Splits 1 Input to 8 OutI use these. Search for 8 way bus bar from ebay. About $9, but make it easier.

So... a novice here....and don't want to mess up this thread .... but is what I am looking at a bus bar as opposed to a barrier strip.   I have used some bus bars on a simple layout and found them very easy to use.   Having trouble finding more....

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