Monday, September 23, 2013

Don't Use Speaker Wire For Track Feeders and Maintaining Momentum

The hardest part of constructing the layout I have found is maintaining the momentum of the construction process, most of the time it is due to the wait on materials to arrive from overseas because I point blank refuse to pay nearly thirty dollars each for Peco code 55 points here. I also made a fundamental mistake when I used speaker wire as track feeders, luckily only the helix and two sections of track are affected and can be easily fixed. The track plan is evolving as the track goes down the main line will stay the same but the sidings will be different.

 I used the excuse to check the shunt lead to get out some rolling stock and found it will take twelve modern wagons and two locos if needed. The engine servicing area will be to the right of the wagons.
 The power for the tracks are soldered to the bottom of the rails.
 The main line is the one with cement sleepers in the middle and the yard lead is the track on the left, the yard lead also crosses the main line to the engine service facility and other industries. None of the track is glued down yet to allow a bit of movement when laying the next section. 
This photo is of a mock up of one of the industries serviced by the line leading from the engine terminal, I was thinking along the lines of a frac sand transfer facility and maybe some protestors.


Brad said...


The best thing I have found to use for track feeders is solid copper wire 22 gauge or 24 gauge from telephone or computer cable scraps.

Then I connect these to a larger gauge bus below the deck. I also use a feeder for every single section of rail so they add up quickly.

My problem is not really the momentum but keeping my attention on just one project at a time and not starting a bunch of things.

Glad to see you are making progress.



Ron McF said...

Hi John.

I'm curious as to why you advise against using speaker wire for track feeders? I've been using speaker wire for decades, and wouldn't use anything else.

I usually solder 15cm - 20cm feeders/droppers to every length of track (including turnouts), and then pass these wires though a hole under the track section when I glue the track down. Under the layout, I terminate the droppers with a screw connector. The fact that one wire in each pair is marked with a stripe makes it very easy to identify what's what from under the layout.

My layout was originally built for DC/cab-control, and I also used speaker wire to connect the feeders back to the fascia mounted control panel. When I converted my layout to DCC I retained most of this wiring. It works just fine, and made the conversion go a lot easier and more quickly.