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This is my first actual post to this vast knowledge repository.  I am building a 5x8 layout, design and picture attached. I am using Fastrack.   I am going to power this with (2) CW80 transformers, one for the outer loop and long sidings, and one for the inner figure 8 loop and short sidings.  I am going to power the 6 remote switches (some of the switches are manual) to the accessory terminal on one of the CW80s.  I will use the other accessory terminal for a few accessories I will eventually add.  I have attached a crude wiring diagram (star design, because I don’t like the idea of using suitcase connectors for bus feeds). I will have 3 terminal blocks, one for each transformer and one for the switches.  Also, I am going to add 4 toggle switches for each siding, so I can power those off and on.   I have been researching this forum for advice on wiring, gauge size, bus vs terminals, etc.  I have some 18 gauge and 20 gauge red / black braided “hookup wire” and a spool of 18 gauge speaker wire laying around.  I will rig up the wire with spade connectors for connections to the terminal blocks and the transformers, and will use female insulated spade wire connector / crimp terminals to connect to the fastrack sections.  In my wiring diagram I show 8 track connections to the outer loop and 4 to the inner loop.  Is that adequate or overkill?   My biggest hang up is the wire gauge.  I’ve read all kinds of opinions and recommendations on this forum, 14, 16, 18, 20 or a mix of either.  Like I said, I already have some 18 and 20 gauge, will that be sufficient for the size of the layout, the wiring design plan, and the type of transformers I will use?  I will have TMCC, Lion Chief, and conventional operation going on, a mix of the old and the new.  Oh, I will be adding a small platform off the front for the transformers, toggles and switch controls.  Any thoughts, opinions, critiques are welcome and thank you for reading my post.



Images (3)
  • Layout photo
  • Layout design
  • Layout wiring plan
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@JRM posted:

No replies.  This is why I joined Facebook train groups.  This one sucks

JRM - you should have allowed more time for a reply especially since it is Thanksgiving. Now you have merely antagonized forum members.

For your layout size 14/16 ga main runs from power supply to terminal are fine. I don't use fastrack so am not sure what size connector is used to hook into the underside of the track. I assume 18 ga will fit which is fine. Some say power drops every 6/8 feet but in my opinion no such thing as too many power drops from track. The more the merrier especially on all three sides of turnouts.

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