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I'm in the planning stages of designing a new control panel for my layout. I need some suggestions on some wiring items. My ideas/ questions are as follows:

1. Terminal Blocks for switch controllers. I have Lionel Fastrack (Command control 036 switches/072 Wyes) I'm going to use the manual controllers and an AIU for control of the switches. I'm looking into an easy way to connect all of the wires from each switch controller to both the AIU and the switch itself. Would using 2 blocks like this work? I'll eventually have 11 controllers on my panel. 

2. Quick Connect/Disconnects for switches. In using my CC switches I'd like to have a way to (semi) quickly connect/disconnect the switch from the layout in case I need to work on it. Would connectors like this do the trick? 

3. Ring Terminals for terminal blocks. In an effort to keep my wiring from looking like a rats nest I'd like to use ring terminals for connections I really won't mess with (ie from switch controller to terminal block and from terminal block to AIU/Switch) I'm looking at these. Thoughts?  

4. Manual control of track/passing siding power. I think I'm going to go with the Atlas HD Connector for manual control of power to my siding in addition to my AIU. I need ring terminals to connect to the screw terminals on the connector. Would the ones I listed above work for this or is there something better? 

5. Banana Plugs for TIU. I'm using some plugs from Amazon and I don't like them. The wires come out of the plugs and they spin in the holes of the TIU. Thoughts on something better? 

Also, it's a little unrelated but I figured I'll throw it in. This is the power strip I'm going to mount to the back of my panel. Thoughts on it? I'm terrible at lining up nails or screws on the ones that mount from the back so I can't screw it up here.  

Thanks for your recommendations. I want this panel to be as good as I can possibly to make it. Btw, I'm using an MRC pure power dual for track power. MTH DCS (Remote but will get the Wifi soon) and Legacy (with Wifi) for command control. 

Last edited by Trainlover9943
Original Post

1   For best connections use terminal strips with clamping plates.

See multiple uses at almost middle of page  "Joining Wires - Positive wire connections guarantee trouble free operation.  These products and practices keep the SSPRR operating with ease."

2  A screw gives a long lasting reliable connection (see above)  4-POSITION PC MOUNT TERMINAL STRIP, NUMBERED 1-4

3  Used on postwar transformer posts only and not needed with screw clamp terminals

4  This or similar fits very nicely on a control panel.  SPST ON-OFF HEAVY DUTY TOGGLE SWITCH

5  Email me for the part numbers for correct sizes.

Tips:  Leave wires long enough to move to other taps.  Color coding wires is vital.  Control boxes/spaces need to be almost two times bigger than you think.  Track power switches and turnout controls need to be out of reach of most visitors.  For minimum under table work mount terminal strips toward front of tables.

See Toy Train Layout Wiring for more helpful information.

@Tom Tee posted:

Consider using different color wires.  I solder all "solderless" terminals.

Colored electrical tape and number I.D. tape makes trouble shooting easier.

The MTH 12 and 24 post terminal blocks are very helpful.

panels 024

Consider prewiring through the wire management holes before the decking is installed.

Tom Tee - really nice neat wiring! I clipped a picture so I can remember what a great wiring job looks like.

This is a kind of Ford vs Chevy position but I personally would NOT use any Atlas electrical circuit controller on my panel.  The installed schematic is very tempting but in my experience, there is a variable rate of dependability.

I have been at this game for decades, and yes the failure rate is not over whelming, but the failures that have happened have been a determining factor in never using them again.

Another feature to consider, terminal strips.  They come in many different multiples of posts.  Some brands have slide on sets of posts so you can make your own quantity count .

All soldered connections to track or Tortoise or whatever simply drop down to a terminal strip or direct t o a relay.  This way any component can be removed with a simple unscrewing of just the wire drops involved.

Soldered connections are your friend.

This is how tortoise switch machines can be prepped and attached.  Example for a 2 rail double cross over.

Sometimes I  use the EDAC 306-008-521-101 eight pin slip on connectors.  Very convenient but some folks say they can have less than secure connection.

Tortise horizontal

I use 9 wire conductor 18 ga HVAC control wire.

IMG_7720

 

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Images (2)
  • IMG_7720
  • Tortise horizontal
Last edited by Tom Tee
@Tom Tee posted:

This is a kind of Ford vs Chevy position but I personally would NOT use any Atlas electrical circuit controller on my panel.  The installed schematic is very tempting but in my experience, there is a variable rate of dependability.

I have been at this game for decades, and yes the failure rate is not over whelming, but the failures that have happened have been a determining factor in never using them again.

Another feature to consider, terminal strips.  They come in many different multiples of posts.  Some brands have slide on sets of posts so you can make your own quantity count .

All soldered connections to track or Tortise or whatever simply drop down to a terminal strip or direct to a relay.  This way any component can be removed with a simple unscrewing of just the wire drops involved.

Soldered connections are your friend.

 

Thanks for your comments. I thought about it last night, I'm thinking about just using the AIU only for isolated power control and skipping the manual control. Would save money and wiring. The terminal blocks are really just for easy of use for me. I do solder my connections from my track to the terminal blocks for my wiring there. 

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