Greetings,

I just started my first permanent layout and attempting some wiring. Each loop will get a post on a new ZW-L. The instructions say to limit the pole connections to two and I plan on distributing power to 4 sections on each loop. Later, I recognize, I'll probably need to insulate sections and separately power switches. So, point of this post is that I've been researching and tinkering with ways to distribute power. I have plenty of the parts pictured and these are certainly the cheapest of solutions. One uses terminal block jumpers and the second is a solid copper wire hack. Thoughts on these are welcome or are there better options that justify the cost you might recommend. Feel free to point out any mistakes in basic assumptions/plans described. Also, do I need to insulate between these sections when only using one power source and maintaining the consistency of the outer rail? And, if it matters I plan to run TMCC-Legacy-DCS but want to learn the basics first.

Thank you in advance.

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Last edited by Rich Melvin
Original Post

You say each loop will get a post on a new ZW-L.  Does that mean four loops then?  And what is the approximate length of each loop?  Also, what brand of track are you using?

  If you plan to use DCS/Tmcc etc., you may want to wire for it now (DCS esp).

So, two loops(?)... each loop gets divided into four blocks of approx. equal length (8 blocks total)...sounds ok in general... size? 

Terminal blocks like those are fine. The plastic "euro" block terminals are ok too (nice for light stuff imo).  Look at Wago clamp splices too. (quality isn't cheap...and nice is nice )

ibrewtoo posted:

Greetings,

I just started my first permanent layout and attempting some wiring. Each loop will get a post on a new ZW-L. The instructions say to limit the pole connections to two and I plan on distributing power to 4 sections on each loop. Later, I recognize, I'll probably need to insulate sections and separately power switches. So, point of this post is that I've been researching and tinkering with ways to distribute power. I have plenty of the parts pictured and these are certainly the cheapest of solutions. One uses terminal block jumpers and the second is a solid copper wire hack. Thoughts on these are welcome or are there better options that justify the cost you might recommend. Feel free to point out any mistakes in basic assumptions/plans described. Also, do I need to insulate between these sections when only using one power source and maintaining the consistency of the outer rail? And, if it matters I plan to run TMCC-Legacy-DCS but want to learn the basics first. Thank you in advance.

Both of those will work for your plan - the wire loop hack uses a terminal - whereas the factory jumper leaves all terminal screws available. If you find a source for 12 position barrier blocks and terminal jumpers get a supply of those with sufficient jumpers.

Yes, you do need to insulate between sections for DCS. Only the center rail needs to be insulated. Legacy likes to be connected to both outside rails, so they should be jumpered at the track. 15' long sections + or - work.

Last edited by Moonman

After building many holiday layouts, module wiring harnesses, etc., I have settled on terminal blocks and crimp-on forks or rings for wire ends into the terminal blocks.   Secure connections are made and can be easily reconfigured for testing and extensions to power feeds.  Multiple rings or forks can be stacked together or combs/bare wire can electrically join the terminals together so power can be distributed.

Euro terminal blocks have proved problematic.  One to many distribution points are physically difficult as only two 12g or 14g wires manage to fit in my blocks.  Stranded wire likes to pull free and tinning wire ends to prevent this is an extra step.

Avoid the temptation to skip using crimp-on connectors.  Having a bare wire come loose from a terminal block mounted underneath the layout will cost you more time and work than crimping during initial assembly.  With quality stripping and crimping tools, the work goes faster than fussing with bare wire ends.

 

For power harness building for my club, the best price for 8-position terminal blocks was from from Newark.com.  These blocks are heavier plastic than alternate samples I ordered from the river site.  The price is half what the big box stores charge for the same item in a blister pack.

Manufacturer Part No:1546310-8
Newark Part No.: 07J5431
 

"The 1546310-8 is a 8-position 30A black panel-mount Dual Barrier Terminal Block with binding combo phil-slot head top hardware and end mounting ears. It is made up of PBT housing with tin-plated brass terminals and a nickel-plated steel screw. It has open end position mounting style and a vertical mounting angle. It is suitable for use with the printed circuit boards."

Large lines and small blocks: there is nothing more frustrating than finding your crimp connectors are slightly wider than the terminal block row.  I get my .25 connectors from TrueValue hardware because they fit (i.e., they are slightly undersized) my terminal blocks acquired from a surplus site.  The .25 connectors from ACE and the big box stores were a very tight fit.

I make my own often.

  Some jumper's wire gauge is pretty light. Watch out for aluminum as that needs to be heavier yet.

Brass and copper make the best connections

Sorry for delayed response. Was busy wrapping up stuff before getting sent home. Thank you for the guidance and interest in helping me.

"Does that mean four loops then? " Two main lines (loops). 

"And what is the approximate length of each loop?" One (over under) will be twice the size of the other. Layout is 12x20 but will grow to be 12x32. Picture attached.

"Also, what brand of track are you using?" Gargraves track, Ross switches and creative use of a Lionel lift bridge.

"Wire for DCS now" will do.

"look at Wago clamps", will do but need to figure out how those work, pictures are so often of the item being sold but its application are harder to find

"If you find a source for 12 position barrier blocks and terminal jumpers get a supply of those with sufficient jumpers." Yes, my layout coach has suggested those as well and I've searched, bought and returned them because they don't fit the terminals I have already. Another example of me trying to save a nickel, haha. This is also where I have found myself missing radio shack. haha 

"you do need to insulate between sections for DCS. Only the center rail needs to be insulated." Thank you, understood.

"Legacy likes to be connected to both outside rails, so they should be jumpered at the track" How is jumpering at the track versus these terminal strips or did I misunderstand comment?

"I have settled on terminal blocks and crimp-on forks or rings for wire ends into the terminal blocks" Do you have a picture of these and sizes? Is that same thing as the previous poster recommending barrier blocks with terminal jumpers?

"Avoid the temptation to skip using crimp-on connectors. " Yes, I am following this guidance. Hopefully what I bought on amazon is good enough.

"8-position 30A black panel-mount Dual Barrier Terminal Block with binding combo phil-slot head top hardware and end mounting ears. " I'll look at these but why would I not use what I already have? Are they too small? My crimp connectors fit but believe these came out of an HO railroad collection.

"Does anyone have a suitable source for jumpers?" amazon had the best price and easiest returns if you get the wrong size. Blue sea 9218. Wish they made a quad.

How much can I daisy chain with distribution/terminals?

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ibrewtoo posted:

Sorry for delayed response. Was busy wrapping up stuff before getting sent home. Thank you for the guidance and interest in helping me.

"Does that mean four loops then? " Two main lines (loops).

One transformer channel per loop - two will work now that I see the photo - channels B & C can be switch and ACC power 

"And what is the approximate length of each loop?" One (over under) will be twice the size of the other. Layout is 12x20 but will grow to be 12x32. Picture attached.

2 x 12 + 2 x 20 ~ 64' loop / 10' or 12' blocks = 5 of 6 blocks per loop for DCS and six pair of power wires per loop

"Also, what brand of track are you using?" Gargraves track, Ross switches and creative use of a Lionel lift bridge. 10-4

"Wire for DCS now" will do.

"look at Wago clamps", will do but need to figure out how those work, pictures are so often of the item being sold but its application are harder to find

"If you find a source for 12 position barrier blocks and terminal jumpers get a supply of those with sufficient jumpers." Yes, my layout coach has suggested those as well and I've searched, bought and returned them because they don't fit the terminals I have already. Another example of me trying to save a nickel, haha. This is also where I have found myself missing radio shack. haha 

"you do need to insulate between sections for DCS. Only the center rail needs to be insulated." Thank you, understood.

Gargraves has insulating connectors in the accessory section

"Legacy likes to be connected to both outside rails, so they should be jumpered at the track" How is jumpering at the track versus these terminal strips or did I misunderstand comment? 

The terminal strips distribute power from the transformer. Jumpering the outside rail saves having to run a second common wire to a connection point. The Gargraves track has all rails isolated. I suppose alternating which outside rail gets a common wire from the distribution block would also work.

"I have settled on terminal blocks and crimp-on forks or rings for wire ends into the terminal blocks" Do you have a picture of these and sizes? Is that same thing as the previous poster recommending barrier blocks with terminal jumpers? 

The specifications for the terminal block will have the size of the space between the barriers and the diameter of the screw. The fork terminal will have a stated size for the total width and the width of the fork - size to fit - barrier blocks vary by manufacturer

"Avoid the temptation to skip using crimp-on connectors. " Yes, I am following this guidance. Hopefully what I bought on amazon is good enough.

"8-position 30A black panel-mount Dual Barrier Terminal Block with binding combo phil-slot head top hardware and end mounting ears. " I'll look at these but why would I not use what I already have? Are they too small? My crimp connectors fit but believe these came out of an HO railroad collection.

"Does anyone have a suitable source for jumpers?" amazon had the best price and easiest returns if you get the wrong size. Blue sea 9218. Wish they made a quad.

Yes these are difficult to source. It is best to shop for a supplier that has both. eBay had the Asian suppliers. US suppliers(maybe 2) are 2x more in price. The Blue Sea are marine grade and fit Blue Sea  and fit specific Blue Sea block series - you can find those at marine supplier pricing

How much can I daisy chain with distribution/terminals?

I would not daisy chain the terminal blocks - 2 wires from a transformer terminal can give you 2 blocks of twelve single locations for a supply wire on a jumpered terminal block - 24 should be plenty for track power or accessory power -  the wire size would need consideration of resizing if they were daisy chained to carry the current - 

 

You may also want to consider a 12 volt DC supply. You can power LED drivers, control relays, timers and such with a 12 volt DC bus. Then, it will be there when you want it. 

You could leave two terminals separated as spares on the blocks for such an add-on in the future.

As anther alternative, I use these MTH distribution blocks and attach wires using crimp terminals. They are a little bit more expensive (although generic versions can be found on the internet for less money), but I find them to be extremely convenient and less of a hassle to use.

They also come in both 12 terminal and 24 terminal versions and can be used for both accessory distribution and track power distribution.

I have also daisy-chained two of these together for accessory usage (i.e., using the last terminal port on one block to connect to the main red and black input connections on a new block) with no adverse results.

 

 MTH 12 PORT

 

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Gentlemen, I don't know if this is where I ask the question, but might as well try.  I had a snakes nest under my track that my dad put together for me 60 years ago.  So I ripped all the wiring out, thinking no problem.  It is tedious but no problem, EXCEPT I had to rewire my switch controllers.  All of the rubber was coming off of those cute little flat multiwire cords from the controller to the switch.  I will be running 11 volts fixed from my 1033 to operate the switches.  I cannot figure out how to wire the 11 volts into the switch.  I am using 4 wiring blocks with 10 or 12 pairs of terminals each.  U block. A block. B block. C block. Each pair is independent of the other pairs on the block.  I am UA for my track power.  No problem. 

For the switches do I just connect a B terminal jumper over to a C terminal, then run my power wire to the switch from the C terminal for my 11 volts?  I have found nothing that addresses this question and I don't want to burn the garage down.  This AC stuff is killing me. 

Then my next project is to figure out the terminals on the switch itself.

Wiring Blocks

Can I assume the middle one is ground from the controller?

Then my next project is to convert my controllers on my remote control set type UCS to DPDT momentary switches with a center rest.  Is that possible?

I thank you in advance for your help.  I have three grandsons that are 7 and down awaiting an operating layout.

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I forgot to say that those terminal block jumpers on B and C are there so I don't lose them.  It is doubtful that I use them, or if I do they will be cut accordingly.

Which switches are you using? The 1033 uses different pairs of posts for a specific fixed voltage. O22 switches uses the Common from track power and a fixed hot - through the fixed voltage pin 

So, I am not sure how you use B + C for 11 volts fixed  when using an O22 switch - 

Are you using modern switch motors like Ross of Atlas? Then B & C are the two wires needed

1033 manual attached

 

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I have 5133 switches.  They look identical to the 022 switches to me.  I have the plugs.  I know they were wired that way when I scrapped all the wiring.  I am measuring 11 volts between the B and C posts.  I am just stumped as to how I get that 11 volts over to the plug.  I would think a single wire from a post on the 1033 to the plug on the switch would be how it is wired.  I just can't figure out how or where I pick up that 11 volts.

I did review your manual.  Thank you for attaching that.  I have seen it online but have not found a download.  I have downloaded that and put it into my Lionel file on Betsy, my old computer.  The manual shows a B post going to one terminal of the lights.  It also shows the C post going to the lights.  They are marked fix voltage.  The lights have two terminals.  The wiring makes sense to me in that case.  So I guess my question should be is where do I hook up my B post and where do I hook up my C post.  This AC wiring is a whole new subject to me for wiring and makes no sense.

Eighthtry posted:

So I guess my question should be is where do I hook up my B post and where do I hook up my C post.

If you want 16 volts to the 5133 plugs, use "C".

"A" to the common / outside rails / lockon clip "2".

"U" to the center rail / hot / lockon clip "1".

"B" does not get used in this connection.

Last edited by ADCX Rob

Thanks, Rob. I was hoping you find this.

So, Eighthtry, you have to switch your blocks with A being the black wires to the outside rails, U being the hot wire to the center rail. 

Then, use B to a block for 11 volts and run an individual wire to each plug on a switch from the block or daisy chain the wire from switch to switch after you get one connected to the block. The neutral (Common) is in the switch from the track rails.

I am having problems getting power to my layout. My layout is made up of Lionel three rail track and is on a 9’ x 12’ U shaped table . I am trying to power it with a ZW transformer. It has 4 blocks and 7 R-22 turnouts. I am trying to set it up forDCS operation, but having considerable eliminating the short circuits in the lay out so that I can operate it.  I would like to have help and advise onn how to eliminate the shorts and other problems to get it operational.  I hope someone on this forum can guide me to correct my layout problems with eliminating the short circuits.  Thank you in advance for answering this plea for help and advise.

MATW

ADCX Rob, thank you very much for the help.

Let me make sure I understand this. 

I am running on a 4'x8' sheet of plywood with an oval.  At the moment, A is my middle Rail, Lockon 1. U is the inside rail of the oval.  Lockon 2.

What I need to do.

Change A to my outside rail of the oval. 

Change U to the middle rail.

Now I can run a single power wire from A to the switch for 5 volts, or

B to the switch for 11 volts, or

C to the switch for 16 volts.

Does this mean that U functions as a ground wire?

Did I get it?

My only other question is can I convert my controller on my remote control set type UCS to DPDT momentary switches with a center rest.  Is that possible?

Eighthtry posted:

What I need to do.

Change A to my outside rail of the oval. 

Change U to the middle rail.

 Yes.

Eighthtry posted:

Now I can run a single power wire from A to the switch for 5 volts, or

B to the switch for 11 volts, or

C to the switch for 16 volts.

 Well, no.

Run a single power wire, daisy chained or home run, from "C" to each of the fixed voltage plugs on the switches for 16 volts, which is what you need to get them to work. 5 volts("B") isn't enough.

"A" is common ground, already connected to the running rails of your switches through lockon clip "2", so "A" to the fixed voltage plugs will give you zero volts to power them.

Eighthtry posted:
Does this mean that U functions as a ground wire?

No, "U" is your variable track voltage, connected to lockon clip "1", and has the speed lever, direction control, and whistle control on it. you don't want this on accessories, lamps, or fixed voltage switches/turnouts.  "A" is common / ground wire.

Eighthtry posted:
My only other question is can I convert my controller on my remote control set type UCS to DPDT momentary switches with a center rest.  Is that possible?

Yes. Here is the diagram using a DPDT center off (On)-Off-(On) momentary switch.

6019 illustrated, RCS/UCS, GarGraves/Ross, RealTrax, FasTrack similar.

RCS UCS 6019

DPDT detail connections... three terminals on the left, three on the right, toggle/slide up & down, as viewed from the bottom.

SW%20Mod - Copy

DPDT

 

 

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Last edited by ADCX Rob

ADCX Rob, Thank you very much for the DPDT info.  I thought I could do that.

I am beginning to understand how this works now.  Once I understood how to hook the power to the track for 16 and 11 variable was easy.  Getting to the fixed voltage was what was messing me up.  I think I now have that down.

Now, I need another transformer.  Is there someone on this forum that rebuilds 1033 transformers?

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