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OK, before I even start this post, all you battery guys, lay off. I know I wouldn't have to ask this question if I went to battery. But, I'm a track power guy, so here goes.

I had an electrician over to my house today to get a quote on installing a 4 plug outlet box down by my layout - a place to plug in my transformers and lighting etc. Hed have to run the line from my house about 125' or so. Apparently such an installation would be very expensive (buried cable/pipe check, burying conduit two feet down, trenching, new circuit from the house, etc.) So, here's my question. Can I plug my transformers into the outlet within my garage and then run and bury a direct current wire (like those used for garden lighting) from the transformers in the garage out to the track side Aristo TE receivers, or will this not work? Can I put the Aristo TE receivers in a water proof box trackside or do I need to hook them up every time? Or, can I keep the receivers in the garage as well and just run the wire from the receiver to the track (buried)? Please, someone suggest a brilliant solution for how I can get power down to my track without always haveing to carry out transformers, receivers, wires, extension cords, power strips, split jaws, hex driver, etc.

AND DON'T SAY ANY OF YOU RCRR GUYS TELL ME TO SWITCH TO BATTERY!!!! You know who you are. /DesktopModules/NTForums/themes/mls/emoticons/crazy.gif

Ed
 

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Posted By Ed Harvey on 07/29/2008 8:23 PM
OK, before I even start this post, all you battery guys, lay off. I know I wouldn't have to ask this question if I went to battery. But, I'm a track power guy, so here goes.
I had an electrician over to my house today to get a quote on installing a 4 plug outlet box down by my layout - a place to plug in my transformers and lighting etc. Hed have to run the line from my house about 125' or so. Apparently such an installation would be very expensive (buried cable/pipe check, burying conduit two feet down, trenching, new circuit from the house, etc.) So, here's my question. Can I plug my transformers into the outlet within my garage and then run and bury a direct current wire (like those used for garden lighting) from the transformers in the garage out to the track side Aristo TE receivers, or will this not work? Can I put the Aristo TE receivers in a water proof box trackside or do I need to hook them up every time? Or, can I keep the receivers in the garage as well and just run the wire from the receiver to the track (buried)? Please, someone suggest a brilliant solution for how I can get power down to my track without always haveing to carry out transformers, receivers, wires, extension cords, power strips, split jaws, hex driver, etc.
AND DON'T SAY ANY OF YOU RCRR GUYS TELL ME TO SWITCH TO BATTERY!!!! You know who you are. /DesktopModules/NTForums/themes/mls/emoticons/crazy.gif" border=0>
Ed




Fingers... typing... can't... control... /DesktopModules/NTForums/themes/mls/emoticons/pinch.gif

Go... Live... Steam,... No... wireing... problems... with... Live... Steam...

There I said it... and it needed to be said... Sorry! /DesktopModules/NTForums/themes/mls/emoticons/hehe.gif

But, of course, it doesn't answer your question, even though it certainly solves the immediate problem...

Yes, you could run the DC wires that far, BUT!!!! you could also just get a long extension cord and run the AC power out there. Obviously, you'd need a large gage of wire in the cord or you would run the risk of damaging the electronic due to voltage loss running it that far. And reeling out the extension cord every time you want to run (or alternatively, taking it up when you intend to mow) is a hassle which you are obviously wanting to eliminate.

The same (or similar) problem would exist if you run the DC via long wires. They would need to be heavy gage to carry the current and reduce the loss caused by the long wires. You might have to set the supply in the garage to a higher voltage in order to get the proper level at the other end of the wires. The voltage to set it to would depend on the resistance of the wires, which is directly related to the length and the gage. Bigger gage makes up for longer distances... to a point.

I am sure someone could calculate the voltage increase needed based on distance and gage, but it might be easier to lay the wires, set the power supply and measure the voltage at the other end... then adjust the supply to get the voltage you want.

As for using the Low Voltage Lighting wires, I think it might work (and this is advice from a strictly Live Steam guy), but those lighting systems are fairly low current and thus they are not large gage wires so I wonder about how they would work with higher current of a locomotive running.

What current (Amps) do your engines draw and at what voltage. If the Low Voltage Lighting systems have similar specs then it should work... I do believe I have read here on MLS of people using the Malibu wiring for running track power, but I don't know the distances they run it.

I realize I have not given you concrete answers, but I know that my first answer is the sure fix! /DesktopModules/NTForums/themes/mls/emoticons/whistling.gif
 

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Hi Ed,
I have my Crest 10 amp transformers in my garage along with my track side receivers and then run conduit out to my layout and run the wire thru that. The only thing, I have steel siding on the garage so range of control is mostly close to garage. I would try to put the receivers in a 8"X8" weather proof electrical box or some other weather proof box closer to your layout so you have better range for your signal from the transmitter. I beleive I used just plain 14 gage wire in the conduit but the low voltage wire should work fine.
 

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I would never tell you ......
place your power packs in the garage, with recievers, run your antenna up the wall. then run your feed lines out to the RR. Don did this for years.
I used to have mine in a water proof box with a heavy power cord running our to the packs.
It will all work.
 

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12v going 125 feet will require a larger wire size because of the distance....on the other hand if you if you get some 'direct burial #12-with ground' wire and put a plug on one end and plug it into GFI wall outlet (replace outlet with a GFI outlet if needed) and and put your outlets on the other end of the wire, then hide, bury or cover the wire however you want, what you will end up with is a 125 foot extension cord, which because it really an extension cord, legal and not subject to any building code...
 

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Ed,
My layout is right beside my garage tho. You may need larger wire for a distance of 125'.
 

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Ooo ooo ooo... I just remembered another thread here that might be your solution...

Use a 12-Volt car or boat battery and an "Inverter" that converts 12-V DC to 120-V AC and run from that.

I kow that cannot run my refrigerator, as I tried it during the last power outage, but it might be enough to run your trains for a while. I run my laptop computer in my car that way (lots cheaper than the car adapter for the PC, and I can charge my cell phone and run my electric razor and lots of other small AC things with it).

Inverters are available at Wally*Mart type and automotive type stores for anywhere from $25.00 to $90.00 depending on the power capability of it. Match one to your power supply and have at it! Just need to put a trickle charger on the car battery overnight and be ready to run the next day. (Maybe?)
 

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Ed, how far is it from the garage to the layout. The #12 low voltage wire for lighting will do the job in most cases. Bigger wire is better, less voltage drop. If you do any voltage testing it must be under load to give you any useful information.
 

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Posted By Treeman on 07/29/2008 9:50 PM
Charlie, actually the car batteries will work without the inverter. Two in series = 24 volts PURE DC. OHMS law will apply here, but please install a 10-15 amp fuse. Then just hook a solar charger to them and no AC is needed.




That is true, too, unless the remote control devices require something other than 12 or 24V DC.
 

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Due to the voltage drop over such a distance I would use 10 gauge outdoor Romex wire (buried) to run the power out to the trackside receiver and then run the low voltage cable to the layout. Of course, I put in my own electric lines into the back yard (don't ask, don't tell!).

-Brian
 

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For that distance, I would use 12 gauge direct burial cable, but I would double it up. Use two sets of two conductor cables with one cable for + and the other for -. 12 gauge direct burial is easy to find. 10 gauge if you could find it is harder and less wieldy.
 
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if you can get "garden"-extension cords long enough, just buy one of those.
take off the plug, push the cable through a gardenhose (or plasticpipe), refit the plug, seal the ends of the hose with silicone, bury it.
then you just plug in, when you need current.
but keep your DC cables short.
 

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Hey Ed,
If you install the AC out to near your track you would save money on wire if you run multiple feeds to parts of your track. It would also mean your transmitter would be right by the track. Depending on exactly where you live, you may have to get a permit, but the work would be pretty simple to run a new circuit. As stated above, 125' is a long way to go at low voltage.
Unless you are planning on a water feature or a really huge layout, you wouldn't have to have a new circuit from the panel. You could rent a trencher and install cheap electrical PVC conduit (3/4" would be large enough, 1" even better.) Then just pull single conductor wire out to a weatherproof plastic box big enough to install a receptacle inside, along with your power supply. In the winter it would be better to have a light bulb or control cabinet heater to keep the condensation down inside the box.
If you decide to go this way, let me know. I could make you a drawing, material list and instructions.

Matt
 

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I would go with Dean Whipple's suggestion. The AC loss is minimal and if using the Aristo Elite or similiar supply, the power loss will not matter as these newwer power supplies create a constant output even if there is a brown out.

I have my Aristo power and receivers insidie a water proof metal cabinet here in southern Massachusetts, with the antennas hanging down outside the cabinet.
Been working for 5 years now and I keep everything in it year round. I do open the door an inch when running trains to keep everything cool.
 

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Ed,

I would go with Marty on this one. I had may T/E in the basement for years and
ran low voltage lines out to the layout. I used the Malibu cable and never had any problems.
 
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Discussion Starter #17
hehehe!
i think, when we all had our say, you are still at the same point, where you were when you typed the question....
 

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I was faced with a similar problem. Too costly to wire and quite often I take my trains to special displays and special venues. I am using a rechargeable 12 volt battery designed as a backup power source. I run 2 trains and a set of lights for 16 hours on a single charge. The unit I have is made by Noma and sells for $125. Regards, Dennis.
 

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At the botanic, all the TE receivers are in the sheds and wired to the track underground. Sometimes a LONG ways.
 

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Posted By kormsen on 07/30/2008 1:55 AM
if you can get "garden"-extension cords long enough, just buy one of those.
take off the plug, push the cable through a gardenhose (or plasticpipe), refit the plug, seal the ends of the hose with silicone, bury it.
then you just plug in, when you need current.
but keep your DC cables short.




I agree with Kormsen. If it is a easy dig Just bury it about 6 inches down. YOU KNOW IT'S THERE. So you wont damage it. If you sell the house later just pull it up no one will know.

My orginal TE sat on the back pourch with my power pack. I used low voltage light wiring to my track. It sat ontop of the ground then I poured dirt over it.
 
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