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Discussion Starter #1
I got a few pointers from others on my last post about wiring (Thank you by the way). So I did a bit of checking into wire size vs. amps and once again - am confused (what’s new right :confused:
According to the AWG chart I read, it says that 14 gauge wire is only rated to carry 5.9 amps for power transmission. If I am using a 10 AMP power supply so I can run multiple trains, should the wires to the track not be at least 11 gauge which is rated at 12 amps? 11 gauge seems like way to much, 14 seems like a bit of over kill in my opinion as I know I have 14 AWG in my home and have at least 20amp breakers… so to the laymen this makes no sense.
My guess is it has something to do with the working load and a percentage there of, but if 14 AWG causes some difficulty in laying, 11 AWG seems like it would be even worse...
Can any one offer some advice.

Thanks again for helping a newbie

Todd
 

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10 amps at 12 volts is about 120 watts.....120 watts at 120volts is about 1 amp...although there is a slight loss in changing from 120 volts to 12 volts, 14 gauge wire should be fine....go for it.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Posted By Dean Whipple on 08/26/2008 3:04 PM
10 amps at 12 volts is about 120 watts.....120 watts at 120volts is about 1 amp...although there is a slight loss in changing from 120 volts to 12 volts, 14 gauge wire should be fine....go for it.



Thank you for the quick reply. That came WAY TO EASY... you must be an engineer by trade:)
Does the distance I run it have any bearing?
 

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I would agree that 14 gauge would probably work ok. I went with 12 gauge low voltage landscape wire (from Home Depot or Lowes) which has a thick rubber insulation.

Also I thought the voltage / amperage ratings on a given gauge wire was also tied in with the ft length you plan to run the load.


Raymond
 

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I would use at least :) 0000 :D just to make sure you have enough for an up grade/DesktopModules/NTForums/themes/mls/emoticons/hehe.gif
Roland
Actually #14 should run it but if you have a long run to make #12 would be better.
 

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A better way would be to run 2 feeders of #14 from the power source to 2 opposite sections of your track.
This doubles the current capacility thus lessening the loss of power and evenly distributes the power.

My RR now has 3 separate feeders on the mainline of #14 wire.
 

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Getting our home built so maybe we can start playing with trains again!
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Before I made the switch to battery and MTS I promissed myself that if I ever built a layout again (after the one in KC) I would use 2" conduit under the layout so I could pull what ever wire I needed as I made changes to the layour. Having as much track as we did and only one point of power I was worried that the resistance would cause us to have issues running trains.

This never took place for so many reasons but the main was mentioned in my first sentence. I also found that even with the length of track (close to 1000ft) when we used rail clamps and an extra jumper wire (a wire at one end of the track to connect closer to or at the point of the power transformer) we had no neglegable loss in power when using the power pack, an MRC Power G

That said and being that there's not big difference in price when stepping up to 12gauge from 14gauge why not just upgrade?

Beats the heck outta having to pull wire under roadbed and landscaping if you ever decide to change or add on. Plus don't think the comment of the 2" coduit is a joke. Burying something like that with a couple of feeder runs to points on the layout may seem like over kill but for the same reason I just mentioned about ripping things up, you can add anything to the area without disturbing or little disturnabce to the work you've already completed. Depending on codes that could also mean additional 120 circuits for additional power supplies.

We now run all our building lights off of the low voltage system (600watt) from our landscape lighting so I have wire I can tap into without issue. This all went in before the layout and since we run MTS and battery on the new layout, there was no need to add the conduit to the mix. We also had 3-120volt outlets that existed in the yard already so..... But there may be a time when you wish to add something like accent lighting to the layout and having the means to do it without disturbing things is something to consider. Either that or just run as much wire as you can in a trench (in place of the conduit) and mark the connection and termination points with colored tape. That way you can connect as you add.

Hope this all made sense. Still a bit early in the day. Hehehe
 

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Discussion Starter #10
Well I guess I am like minded to cmjdisanto.
Since I intend to raise my layout up about 2’ from ground level using a containment wall (timbers) and back filling, I would really like to run some conduit to a few different areas and pull wire to them at the beginning stage rather then go back and have to dig something up so I can add future track. If nothing else for the simple fact that I can have more places to attach power to my main line and any future expansions without to much hassle. This seems like a good way to go maybe over kill but I am all about the planning and looking down the road in anything I do :eek:)
So for now (haha) my plan is to use #12 AWG pulled to a few preplanned locations and installed before I backfill.

Now that I have the track power thing somewhat on “track”, can you guys help me with two more areas?

Wiring Switches: (I have a ton of other questions on these but for now I will ask about wiring :eek:))
Lets say I plan to use 4 switches in my lay out. Two on the near side and two on the far side.
1) I am assuming this can be done with smaller wire then the #12AWG - Is that correct?
2) Should I run (whatever size) wire to the same pre-planned areas I am using for my track power?
3) I am planning on using DCC. Do I need to run 4 separate wires from a control panel to each switch or can I run 1 set of wires to the each side of the layout and then branch off that main line to the separate switches?
4) I believe DCC will allow me to branch off of one line to many switches. From what I understand as long as there is constant power to the switches, the decoders will control the switching operation and individual wires back to a panel are not needed.
That way would seem to save a lot of wire?

Low voltage lighting:
What about this low voltage lighting…
I would very much like to have some lighting in and around the layout but I would also like to have maybe some lights in/on some of the buildings and accessories through out the layout. Is this typically done all on the same system and would I be ahead to run low voltage wire to the same preplanned locations? In other words can the larger garden lights and the smaller accessories be on the same wire or do they need to be separate systems?
Do I need a certain wattage converter and should it be on a separate 120 amp breaker from my track power supply?

Thanks for your input you guys are great and I am truly appreciative of you time and advice.

Todd
 

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Posted By Idraw4u on 08/27/2008 9:37 AM

1) I am assuming this can be done with smaller wire then the #12AWG - Is that correct?
Yes, it is. You could even use 16AWG wire or smaller, really, because the load is negligible. Phone cable would
even work.
2) Should I run (whatever size) wire to the same pre-planned areas I am using for my track power?
Not sure what you mean here.
3) I am planning on using DCC. Do I need to run 4 separate wires from a control panel to each switch or can I run 1 set of wires to the each side of the layout and then branch off that main line to the separate switches?
I am not familiar yet with DCC, but even if you want to switch in the mean time using DC you could run a common wire for your switches and just one 'switching' wire for each.

That way would seem to save a lot of wire?
Absolutely!

Low voltage lighting:
What about this low voltage lighting…
I would very much like to have some lighting in and around the layout but I would also like to have maybe some lights in/on some of the buildings and accessories through out the layout. Is this typically done all on the same system and would I be ahead to run low voltage wire to the same preplanned locations? In other words can the larger garden lights and the smaller accessories be on the same wire or do they need to be separate systems?
As long as your power source is large enough and you want everything on the same wire to be switched together, they can share the wire -- I assume you are talking about straight DC here.
Do I need a certain wattage converter and should it be on a separate 120 amp breaker from my track power supply?
Yes, make sure it is more than capable to handle your future loads. It is not necessary to have them on separate circuits, but it certainly isn't a bad idea. It will also help to keep down the interference you might have from the other circuit.
Thanks for your input you guys are great and I am truly appreciative of you time and advice.

Todd





Hope this helps!
Matt
 

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I think I used 18 ga. wire for my track feeders (2 for 150 feet of track, short run of 10'). 22 or 20 ga. for wiring turnouts is more than enough (I assume you are talking about wiring the turnout motors). In my opinion, most folks really overkill on the wire gauge; but it doesn't hurt anything.

When planning my layout, I considered laying conduit for future needs. The little bit I did install all ended up in the wrong places. If you can plan that far ahead, more power to you. I now try to avoid any kind of wiring in the railroad; I use battery power, solar lighting, etc.
 

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We like most have said.. We use 2ea Nbr 12-2 w/G romex from the two Aristo 10amp power supply's over to a Console ( 40 ft away ) to our two TM receivers in our Linai area (Outside covered patio area) then Nbr 14-2 w/G romex to track from blocks from console. All track remotes LGB Switches is tel. ph. wire (two pr.) and div. up to two track switches.. Save a lot of wire. We use on the Console, a three Gang 6 pos. rotor Switch to dial up the Track Switch you want and LED show loc. of Switch you want to throw.
Very simple sys.
We have had as many as 6 USA Eng. on same track with no problems of Amp. or voltage lost so far on over 300 ft of track..
We also like most said use the Malibu wiring (Being its easy to put in the ground.) for our Layout building with a Timer Transformer from Homedepot that puts out 10vac and we use 14 volt grain of wheat or rice lights for most of the building.. They not a harsh bright light and don't seam to have any burned yet over the 4 yr they been in.

With three now Malibu transformers we have over 60 some lights.

We just help a Friend wire up his layout that is over 700 ft that goes around his yard four time that starts off at 4 foot off the ground on his patio and ends down to a two foot area with a pond and MT. Very impressive layout. All of the feeders to blocks are Romex 14-2 w/G in PVC pipes in the ground to then up the tracks. Also ran the Tel ph. wires for the LGB track switches motors in the PVC.
Also hope this helps to ans. some of your questions. /DesktopModules/NTForums/themes/mls/emoticons/wow.gif
We can post photos if needed.
 

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Discussion Starter #15
Posted By noelw on 08/27/2008 11:29 AM
We like most have said.. We use 2ea Nbr 12-2 w/G romex from the two Aristo 10amp power supply's over to a Console ( 40 ft away ) to our two TM receivers in our Linai area (Outside covered patio area) then Nbr 14-2 w/G romex to track from blocks from console. All track remotes LGB Switches is tel. ph. wire (two pr.) and div. up to two track switches.. Save a lot of wire. We use on the Console, a three Gang 6 pos. rotor Switch to dial up the Track Switch you want and LED show loc. of Switch you want to throw.
Very simple sys.
We have had as many as 6 USA Eng. on same track with no problems of Amp. or voltage lost so far on over 300 ft of track..
We also like most said use the Malibu wiring (Being its easy to put in the ground.) for our Layout building with a Timer Transformer from Homedepot that puts out 10vac and we use 14 volt grain of wheat or rice lights for most of the building.. They not a harsh bright light and don't seam to have any burned yet over the 4 yr they been in.
With three now Malibu transformers we have over 60 some lights.
We just help a Friend wire up his layout that is over 700 ft that goes around his yard four time that starts off at 4 foot off the ground on his patio and ends down to a two foot area with a pond and MT. Very impressive layout. All of the feeders to blocks are Romex 14-2 w/G in PVC pipes in the ground to then up the tracks. Also ran the Tel ph. wires for the LGB track switches motors in the PVC.
Also hope this helps to ans. some of your questions. /DesktopModules/NTForums/themes/mls/emoticons/wow.gif" border=0>
We can post photos if needed.




Thank you all for your input.
If you have photos and it is not to much trouble, I would very much like to see them... as they say a picture is worth a thousand words :cool: plus I am a much more visual type person.
 

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Todd

I'm no expert for sure, but a couple of comments.

First, regarding the statement you made about your house wiring. I doubt that you've got any circuits that are protected by 20 amp breakers that are 14 ga. wire, since the ampacity of 14 ga. is 15 amps as specified by the National Electric Code, which most local building codes follow.

If in fact the breakers are 20 amp, then I would bet the circuit wiring is 12 ga. instead of 14 ga., since the ampacity of 12 ga. is 20 amp. If in fact there are 20 amp breakers on 14 ga. wire, then there is a potential problem of over heating the circuit wiring.

The second comment relates to your statement that you are intending to use DCC on your layout (i.e. Third reply, item #3). Which I'm not so sure everybody that replied happened to take notice of, and with my limited knowledge of DCC, can't provide an accurate answer for. However, I do know that there is a fair bit of difference when it comes to using DCC. What I would suggest is, that you place an additional topic in the DCC in Large Scale forum, in the Power and Sound Forums section. Asking for advice on concerns regarding wiring your layout, especially regarding wiring the turnouts and structure lighting..

Also there is a difference in the ease of use between solid core and multi-strand wire types.

Another thing, the more specific you can be about what you are intending to do will be a great help for those answering your questions.

For example...[*]Size and configuration of the proposed layout.[*]Number, location of, and steepness of grades on the layout.[*]Minimum & maximum radius or diameter of curves to be used.[/list][*]Location and distance from the layout of the 110 Volt AC supply.[*]Types & use of rolling stock.[*]Types of locomotives used.[*]Average number of cars in a single train.[*]In the case of passanger cars lighted/unlighted.[*]Maximum number of trains expected to be run at the same time.[/list][*]Proposed brand of DCC equipment to be used (if known).[*]Level of DCC automation to be utilized.[/list]
 

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Posted By Idraw4u on 08/27/2008 12:06 PM
Posted By noelw on 08/27/2008 11:29 AM
We can post photos if needed.

Thank you all for your input.
If you have photos and it is not to much trouble, I would very much like to see them... as they say a picture is worth a thousand words :cool:" border=0> plus I am a much more visual type person.




Here are a few photos of ours.. most are old pic's. Lot of new stuff added now.. but you can kind of get the basics of ours.
This is the power supply on the Patio..



This is a pr.the Aristo TM's receivers in a weather proof box.


http://1stclass.mylargescale.com/noelw/Control Panel/TMs cab veiw.JPG
http://1stclass.mylargescale.com/noelw/Control Panel/TMs brakers.JPG

Photo of the Console on the Lanai(Outside patio) the works the two throttles and blocks.



This is first wiring layed in 8 inch ditch. ( Romex and Tel ph. wires.)



Side of the house where our group use this set up area. Its 100 ft from the layout. Using Nbr 14-2w/G Romex for wiring to it.


And last one we are working on now at one of our group guys home layout is over 700 foot.


Hope these photos works..
Anyway it give you some idea of power locations and wiring on ours. /DesktopModules/NTForums/themes/mls/emoticons/wow.gif
 

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Todd,
You asked about low voltage lighting. Each of the buildings had a Malibu lighting "U assemble" plastic fixture with a 4watt bulb. They are tied into the landscape lighting for the yard and work automatically with a photo sensor amd the timer so they do go off. I think the fixture kits were 4 bucks last time I bought them. I do have one end of track bumper that is wired into the track power system. Not sure if that will run off the Intermatic transformers. It's not lit because it is raining and I didn't wish to open up the electrical box to plug things in. Maybe next time.











It also wasn't quite dark out but we had a break in the rain. When we get a clear night and good sunset, I'll snap a couple better shots of things lit up
And thanks for asking about lighting in your post. I needed an excuse to try out the new camera and the setting for night shots. The old camera really was lousy at this. Hehehe
Joe
 

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Discussion Starter #19
Thank you both for the photos. Your layouts look totally awesome.
I went out and looked at the Malibu Lighting and it seems pretty straight forward.
I will run at least 2 different circuits over to my layout. One to power trains and one to handle lighting, pond pumps etc...

Thank you very much for the info and pictures. Anytime you want to post more, I am eager to see them :eek:)

Todd
 

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The National Code defines anything above 48VDC as "High Voltage" and circuits exposed to the outside elements that exceed this voltage must be protected by some type of GFCI (Gound Fault Circuit Interruptor). When most of us refer to lighting, we're talking about low voltage DC lighting, similar to that on the output of a Malibu Transformer. When you're talking pond pumps, you're now talking 110VAC. A pond pump should definately, by code, be on a dedicated GFCI circuit.

As for the power delivery to your track, if you are using brass code 332, then your electrical cross section of the rails is about the same, possibly even greater than, 12 Gauge wire, so running a bunch of feeders is nothing more than a function of shorting around bad rail joints.

Mark
 
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