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Author Topic: 12 g wire to the track  (Read 4354 times)

DT&I Railroad lives on in memory

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« on: December 20, 2012, 12:11:43 PM »

  My transformer is about 15 feet away from the track.  So I have bought 12 g wire in hopes to reduce power loss to the track.  Not thinking ahead I ran into another to attach 12 g wire to my track?  Obviously it is too big for the track screws to handle.
   I could splice the wires together, but wouldn't that be defeating the purpose of buying a bigger wire?  OR would using the 12 g wire up to the power clamps be the same thing as having my transformer next to the track?  My layout is not that big.  3 photos below.  I appreciate any input given.

UpDate #2:  I think I need to clarify the layout.  I have no switches.  That is why you see side by side track for 20 feet. Basically I have made a lop-sided figure 8.  Sorry for the misunderstanding
Presently I am using a clamp such as this:

This is my 10 amp transformer:

My little layout:
« Last Edit: December 20, 2012, 06:44:21 PM by SteveWard3928 » Logged


Gonna get blamed for might as well do it!!
Joe Satnik

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« Reply #1 on: December 20, 2012, 02:38:12 PM »

Dear Steve,

Your "little" layout is at least twice the size of my definition of a "big" layout.

I assume that you know your (DC Block) layout has turn around loops, which require

1. Isolated track sections (aka "blocks") with both rails gapped or insulated,

2. Special electrical switches to change the polarity of the power in those isolated track blocks,

3. Extra wires between those special switches and the isolated blocks,

4. Trains shorter than the blocks, and

5. A definite sequence of throwing polarity switches and turnouts to avoid shorting and derailing. 

Without the 4 turnouts, your layout would be a simple "dog bone" loop, not needing any of the 5 requirements mentioned above. 

As far as attaching the 12 gauge wire to your clamps, solder short pieces (2" or so) of the thickest gauge wire the clamps will accept, to the ends of the 12 gauge wire. 

Those short lengths will not add too much to the overall resistance of the wire. 

In previous posts you have mentioned having trouble with bad rail-to-rail connectors. 

This 12 gauge "power pack to track" wire will not help bad rail-to-rail connections.   

The cheapest way to maintain good r-t-r connections is to start with clean and tight rail connectors and load them up with wheel bearing grease, which keeps the corrosion producing rain and oxygen out. 

Another way is to not worry about r-t-r connectors at all:

Just run  thick gauge "bus wires" along the track, and for each and every track piece, solder "feeders" of thinner gauge wire between the bus and its rails.

Hope this helps. 


Joe Satnik     


If your loco is too heavy to lift, you'd better be able to ride in, on or behind it.

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« Reply #2 on: December 20, 2012, 05:01:41 PM »

Hi Steve,
I think using 12g wire to feed your track is a bit of overkill.  The resistance of 15 feet of 18g wire would only be 0.096 ohms, which would result in a voltage drop of 0.48V if you are drawing 5 amps.  Assuming that you're only drawing 2 amps, and your voltage drop is only 0.19V.  Compare that voltage drops of 0.12V and 0.048V respectivly for 12g, and the hassel and cost isn't buying you much, IMHO.  If you went down to 22g wire, you would still only loose 1.25V over 15 feet at 5 amps (22 guage single wires in free air are rated up to 7 amps).  It's certainly up to you, but you can easily "over-engineer" it if you're not careful. Smiley

Home of the Petaluma, Santa Rosa & Napa Valley Railway
Chuck N

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« Reply #3 on: December 20, 2012, 05:12:16 PM »

You have a reversing loop around the shed.  This is a dead short.  I suggest that you remove the switch and connect the track to the track that dead ends close to the shed.  Reversing loops can be done, but they take more work to automate and maintain, especially outdoors.

Ron Tremblay

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« Reply #4 on: December 20, 2012, 05:38:24 PM »

I have the same transformer and use 12 gauge wire. Distance between transfomer and track is 25ft. Had this set up for 5 years now no problem. I conect my wire to track wire disconnects. put wire in sleve and smash with hammer then connect other end that has small screw hole to bottem of track. Hope this helps. Regards,Ron   

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« Reply #5 on: December 21, 2012, 08:51:35 AM »

Go with the landscape wire
 and this type of connection!/~/product/category=3439640&id=16633055

Put one by shed an another hookup on the other end of layout!
Xnay the switches that cross over to other track. Keep ones that give you a pass siding.
Since we know you can post pics we need to see some thing running! Like this!   Grin

 Roll Eyes
Good luck!
« Last Edit: December 21, 2012, 10:24:17 AM by smcgill » Logged
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