Track Power Bus

Written by Glenn. Posted in Shelf Layout

Wiring of the track power bus has begun in earnest. This should have been done before isolating the live frogs on the points (to eliminate shorts). There have been a few issues and learnings from the experience, as usual!

Having a separate path from the rails for the power is a good idea as the rail joiners can be unreliable when it comes to providing a good electrical connection from rail to rail.

One frustration was using terminal blocks to do all connections from the track to the bus as suggested by someone unknown. It's very fiddly especially when there is more than one track feed to connect to the bus as shown.

Splice Connectors

scotch-connector

One idea I had was to use splice connectors. These are available from Ebay where you get 60 for about $5. I posted a message on the forum at RailPage and the responses can be read here, http://www.railpage.com.au/f-t11378008.htm. The general consensus was that unless they are quality connectors and they are the right size for the wire the connection they make is not reliable.

Most people said that soldering was the way to go, although some had success with splice connectors that had a spade terminal for the lead in wire. These would be great for fault finding but they are not readily available in Australia.

Soldering On

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After discussion with other members about my frustration with the terminal blocks it was decided to use the terminal connectors for in between the layout sections only and use the wire strippers to do an "in line" strip and connect the track droppers to the track power bus.

The terminal connectors correspond to the track above. That is, the red and brown wires are the inner track, white and green the centre and yellow and black are the outer track. The black droppers are connected to the inner rail and blue to the outer rail.

The track droppers are spliced into the bus as required. I have tried to offset them to avoid shorts but they will need some electrical tape to provide insulation; but I hope there is a better solution as electrical tape can lose its adhesive and fall off the join. A tape that can be wrapped around the join and then heated so it forms one mass would be great. Time to start shopping!

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