Another track feeder wire question
#1
I hope I have posted this in the proper place.

I am using Atlas code 83 flex track. I am making home made feeder wires for my joiners. I have watched several videos and people are attaching the feeder wires directly to the track on the outside of the rail. I realize it would be a very minimal visual distraction but a distraction none the less. I plan on using soldered rail joiners at every connection. Is this going to be a problem? Having the entire layout soldered solid? I will not be soldering the turnouts in place but I will solder wires directly to the bottoms of the rails. My train room is climate controlled so expansion and contraction should not be an issue.
Be the kind of person your dog thinks you are
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#2
If the train room is climate controlled , then soldering rail joiners is not a big issue I guess, but I would warn for future changes you might not think of. It's a lot easier splitting the track if rail joiners are not soldered, very tricky to un-solder.
Feeder wires are easier to remove. I suggest you consider putting feeders every 3 to 4 feet , and on each spur/ siding too so you don't have to rely on the rail joiners for conducting electricity, but run bus wiring under the layout.

That way you get the best of both worlds, reliable power supply and relatively easy to modify/ change things a bit.

You can solder them to the outside of the rail, but cleaner is to solder them to the bottom. Just cut away a little bit of the plastic and solder between ties, it's just as good, and near invisible.

Koos
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#3
Thanks Torikoos! I didn't think about that. I will use the feeder wires I have made up for turnouts. I was just down in the train room scoping out your suggestion and I think I'll take It.
Be the kind of person your dog thinks you are
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#4
I have a 24x40 room, not climate controlled, and every joint is soldered. I have no problems with the track, the room has gone from 32 to 70 degrees in 4 hours without a problem. As for wires, I used a 12 gauge bus with separate wires every now and again. Once the track joints are soldered you have a continuous loop of at least 14 gauge carrying current. I run DCC and have had as many as 16 locomotives running at the same time. I do have 4 separate power districts. When I was putting the layout up I was running 80 feet (straight line, no loop connections) with no trouble. I do plan on adding a few more feeder wires, but that is not a priority. The bus being 12 gauge is a real plus and I have a different 12 ga bus to each power district. I have over 1000 feet of track.
I know not everyone agrees but it works for me. I love soldered joints and have been doing it 40 50 years.
Charlie
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#5
I try not to solder to turnouts or other expensive track if there's an alternative. But I did do it on a bunch of them a few years ago.
I would possibly solder a joint between two three-foot sections with a feeder and leave the ends slightly loose (a bit of a gap in the rail joiner). Not a sloopy rail joiner!
David
Moderato ma non troppo
Perth & Exeter Railway Company
Esquesing & Chinguacousy Radial Railway
In model railroading, there are between six and two hundred ways of performing a given task.
Most modellers can get two of them to work.
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#6
If your room temps are not perfectly controlled you will have some problems with the humidity if you solder all of the track sections into a one piece set up.If your good at soldering I would suggest attaching the feeders to the bottoms of the rails. I would also suggest feeders for each piece of flex.Do not solder the turnouts to anything and do not glue them in place incase you need to replace . A good plan is to leave just the slightest gap between track sections to allow for expansion of the rail section.These gaps do not need to be very big but they do need to be there.

One trick we learned with our On30 which uses ATLAS code 100 rail is to use the N scale rail joiners they are not easily seen and it only takes a few swipes with a file to clean the ends of the larger rail to use them.

I hope this is helpful,it is not the ONLY way to do it.It is just what works for me. :mrgreen: YMMV
Johnathan (Catt) Edwards
"The Ol Furrball"

"I'm old school,I still believe in respect"
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#7
I solder feeders to the bottom of the rail joiners , dont solder the rails ( or turnouts ) and evrything has worked just fine ......it is a small layout though .

T
To err is human, to blame it on somebody else shows management potential.
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#8
My layout is in an unheated but well-insulated basement. I soldered all rail joiners, including those on turnouts, and have had no issues with expansion or contraction, although I have only 200'-or-so of mainline. As far as turnouts are concerned, there's especially no good reason to not solder them in place, as they're one component from which one should most wish to eliminate all extraneous movement.
While there is a bus wire for the throttles to allow walk-around operation, the picture below shows the feeders for power to the rails - the only feeders:

[Image: Somelayoutviews003.jpg]


I have installed switch-controlled jumpers for tracks which I may, for various reasons, wish to temporarily kill, as this is DC operation, but all wiring is extremely simple. Since the layout is in its own room, I can keep it clean (even during the current construction project) and never have to clean track unless it's just been ballasted.

Oh, and :welcome: to Big Blue. You'll not likely find a friendlier or more helpful train site anywhere.

Wayne
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#9
Well, I kind of figured I would get both ways opinions. I put down two pieces of flex and wound up soldering a feeder wire outing the middle of the track on the bottom side. I am not sure yet but I have a feeling I will just solder wires to my joiners and call it good enough. It is a fairly small layout and I never had trouble with my N scale layout and it was down for about 3 years. I am running DCC and will only have 1-3 locos running at any time. Most likely only 2.

I appreciate the info so far and love reading how others do their work!
Be the kind of person your dog thinks you are
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#10
Late but, on the layout I just tore down to move, the only feeders were soldered to the joiners. I only soldered every other set of rail joiners, but I had joiners with feed wires on EVERY track joint, except where I used insulated joiners between power districts. Even on every turnout (Atlas) - powered joiners on all 3 legs. Never had issues with stalling, even running a small loco like a GE 44 tonner at creep speed. I did have wires attached to every frog, but never got around to hooking any of them up to actually provide power. With all those power feeds, it seemed to overcome most of the weak points in the electrical connections within the turnouts. Even after painting the rails - and I was none too careful to make sure no paint got on the pivot points for the points, I didn't want any of that shiny showing through - I still had no power problems anywhere on the layout.
In short, I see no problem with feeding via rail joiners, especially if at least some of them are soldered tot he rails. If all joints are soldered, then feeding power through the joiner is no different than soldering the wire directly to the rail web. I'm pretty handy with a soldering iron, but some of the contortionist-like options I've seen illustrated in the hobby press for attaching feeders, no wonder someone who's new to this has problems.

--Randy
Modeling the Reading Railroad of the 1950's in HO

Visit my web site to see layout progress and other information:
http://www.readingeastpenn.com
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