Jan 3, 2007

After fighting the flu most of Christmas break, I was able to do some more wiring. I've now gotten the main track bus (#10 wire) plus other power supply busses (another 3 pairs of #12 and #14 wire) all the way around the layout. These will provide track and aux power to each of (now) 7 local panels. I've gotten three of those built and installed - Rico, Ridgway and Durango. Each of the panels is a 18" x 24" hunk of 1/2" plywood covered with terminal (or barrier) strips. The panels are hanging below the benchwork, but are hinged so they can fold up under the layout when I'm not working on them. Of course, all the runs to these panels are using stranded wire, so the panel movement won't break the wiring.

I also wired the existing track from Durango to Mancos, so trains can now run between the laundry-room hidden track all the way thru to Durango! There's nothing visible to see after all this work, but it's critical infrastructure and it's good to have gotten the main bus runs completed. Although it feels a little like I'm using too much wire, I've decided to run the main track bus to each local panel, then individual wiring to each block. Although I'm running command-control, I want to wire each block individually so that I can add block detection later if I want, and also so I can run of sections (say, staging tracks or enginehouse spurs) if they're just storing trains. I've got a good deal of hidden track, so all that will need detection, at least.

From each local panel, I'm running #14 or #12 to each block. The track is being laid with every other length of flex track soldered, so I'm running short #20 jumpers to every other section of track - thus feeders approx every 6' and every rail is either soldered to a jumper or to another piece of track. I'm using mostly electro-frog Peco turnouts, and with these newer ones you can easily wiring the frogs directly, which is what I'm doing. This does mean that each turnout will need it's frog powered, and I'm still trying to decide how to best accomplish that. At the moment, I'm leaning toward manual push-pull knobs connected to slide switches for local turnouts, and Tortise moters for turnouts further away.

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