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Discussion Starter #1
Hello all, I'm new to the forum here and getting back into the hobby after 30 years. I have created a new outdoor track plan in Anyrail and have some questions. If you look at my layout you will see it consists of roughly 163 feet of total track. Each box is 1ft square for reference. I am using LGB brass track. Currently I have two older single motor LGB locos and two other locos (Piko Mini Mogul and USAT GP9 that are running on Rail Pro w/battery). The layout has roughly 7 switches and three loops in its current form. I'm planning on using a 5amp Piko Power pack to run the two outside loops, and a smaller LGB 1amp (from starter set) to run the inner loop. These analog power packs will only be for the smaller locos, switches, and some building lighting (in the future). Going forward all new loco purchases will be converted to battery.

My layout will be an outdoor elevated layout in Southern NJ, so it will see all four seasons of weather.

My questions:
-Do I have enough power with using the current power packs I have?
-Should I break down the layout into Power districts?
-Instead of using multiple power packs should I use one large one with multiple throttles?
-Will a BUSS line with feeders work or should I home run all feeders to a terminal strip then provide power to terminal strip for track power.
-What type of connectors shall I use? Rail clamps?

Sorry for all of the newbie questions but this will be my first outdoor layout coming from a much smaller indoor layout.

Thank you for all of the valuable information on this forum!
 

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Hi Jared,
Welcome to MLS.
I know nothing, and wish to know nothing, about track power, so cannot answer any of your questions, but hopefully many will.
Enjoy the build of your railway, and let us know how it progresses.
All the best,
David Leech, Delta, Canada
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Thank you David. I looked forward to all the knowledge here.

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So you want to "get by" until your entire fleet is battery?

I'd say based on your locos, the 5 amp unit will be fine, with maybe the inner loop on the 1 amp, as long as you stick to small locos. If I was converting to battery, I would want to not spend any money on power supplies that will no longer be used after a while.

About feeds, and joiners, etc.

If you are going battery SOON, then I would put as little money in joiners as I could, and minimize effort on wiring. I'd guess your entire layout is level.

Make sure your LGB track is clean and shiny where the joiners go, put some grease in the joiners (any good automotive wheel bearing grease is fine) and that should last long enough for you to get converted to all battery.

Hope that helps,

Greg
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Thank you Greg,

As far as getting power to the track. Is there any recommendations or standard about number of feeders per foot of track? Should I homerun the feeders to a terminal strip ?I am going to go battery Soon, but I may always have two or three of my original locos on track power.

I appreciate the information

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JT,

I want to be sure I am understanding correctly. You have two loops. The outside loop is the largest with a long passing siding, the inside with a short passing siding. There is a single crossover between loops. You are currently planning to use a 5 amp analog DC power pack for the outside loop and a 1 amp DC power pack for the inner loop. Be VERY careful with the crossover, reversed polarity between loops running a loco over that crossover could be trouble.

I understand you to have two small locomotives that are track power only. I see no issues running the small engines on either loop, so long as the trains are short, the journals are well lubricated and being as you are going to be outdoors, you will have steel wheels on the rolling stock. The two battery powered loco don't really play a role as they are dead rail.

My club has two loops near 400 feet and we have 4 feeders on each loop, so for your layout I would think 2 would be plenty. Only recommendation is to make sure that however you make the electrical connection, it is reliable. As for any more detail on electrical one would need to know where you plan to go from here. As Greg mentioned, if battery/RC is the long term goal, don't spend more than you have to at this time. If you plan to stay analog DC, maybe other recommendations based on more detail.

My closing comment is "The only dumb question is the question you don't ask."

Welcome aboard 'The Crazy Train'
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Armor,

Thank you for the detailed reply. Yes you are correct, two loops each with a passing siding. Thank you for pointing out the polarity as I think I may have overlooked that. Regarding the polarity, should that crossover be wired as a reverse loop or is that even possible? I do think I will leave the layout DC and just operated newly acquired locos as Deadrail or smaller trains until they are converted to battery.

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Just insulate (both rails) where the 2 loops connect. DC operated reversing loop controllers are a real pain.

You can hook a couple of LEDs at the "junction" between the loops, across the insulated gap and indicate if the polarities "match" so you can travel between the loops. It's simple and we can help you through that at the time needed.

I did note the GP7, but with the layout flat, it won't draw too much for the 5 amp unit. The 1 amp unit will indeed struggle.

Greg
 

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Discussion Starter #10
Just insulate (both rails) where the 2 loops connect. DC operated reversing loop controllers are a real pain.

You can hook a couple of LEDs at the "junction" between the loops, across the insulated gap and indicate if the polarities "match" so you can travel between the loops. It's simple and we can help you through that at the time needed.

I did note the GP7, but with the layout flat, it won't draw too much for the 5 amp unit. The 1 amp unit will indeed struggle.

Greg
Thanks Greg, I just purchased another 5amp unit off G Scale Swap and Shop so there will be 5amp controllers on each loop. Is there a diagram or simple way to show wiring the led to check polarity? As long as the positive and negative from both units are wired on the same rail from each separate controller I wouldn't think the polarity would change?

Appreciate the help.
Jared

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let me think on how to do it if the 2 controllers are completely independent, most likely you will want 2 leds, and make them bicolor. one across the rails of each section. then you make sure the colors are matched.

Greg
 

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Discussion Starter #12
let me think on how to do it if the 2 controllers are completely independent, most likely you will want 2 leds, and make them bicolor. one across the rails of each section. then you make sure the colors are matched.

Greg
Greg,

Thanks for this information. I have changed the plan a little and added a double slip switch in between the crossover from the outer loop to the inner loop. Can I send this to you with my wiring plan for a second set of eyes? I am going to keep the two tracks with track power so this will be permanently moving forward, even though most of my locos are being converted.

Jared
 

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If the trains are running at full speed ain opposite directions on the 2 loops then the isolated joint has the full voltage of each power supply on the rails so the insulated joiner has a possible potential of the sum of both supplies across it. that could be over 40 volts!!
 

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If the trains are running at full speed ain opposite directions on the 2 loops then the isolated joint has the full voltage of each power supply on the rails so the insulated joiner has a possible potential of the sum of both supplies across it. that could be over 40 volts!!
Dan,

Pardon my ignorance but isn't the isolation joints sole purpose to isolate each track to separate power supplies or feeds? Are you referring to some sort of voltage jump across the rails?

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that is indeed what he is saying, with a particular set of polarity the potential could be that much right at the insulated joint...
 

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If any rolling stock goes across the isolated section then the black magic smoke can occur. Also any person touching this joint can get a good shock and jump thus causing possible harm. Aristo 27mhz units would sometimes 'fry' when this happened.
When the human body is dry it may not feel the flow of electricity as the current will be low, but if one is hot and sweaty, body resistance is much lower. In the summer outdoors when working on my live DCC 24 volt track I get a good tingle from touching both rails at the same time. It can be quite shocking.
 

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Discussion Starter #19
Ok, so the track plan has changed alot and I tried to make things a little more interesting and expandable. @Greg Elmassian would you mind taking a look at this wiring diagram to see if I am on the right path for DC? Like I said before I am going to start converting my locos to battery but will still have a few on DC. I did not show the switches wired because I didn't want the drawing to get to messy. Thanks again for all of the valuable feedback.
 

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I would run the inner loop and the switchyard and the passing siding from one controller, and the outer loop from the other one.

You have mixed them. Maybe you wanted to run the switchyard independently of the inner loop? Using the yard will almost surely need to overlap to the "main" inner loop.

take the left hand output and move it to the inner loop... take the right hand output and move to the outer loop.

Greg
 
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