Tidy wiring question.

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Shunter46

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As a relative novice at building a new G gauge garden railway. (DC ) What advice can members offer on wire,ing up switches ,points motors etc etc. out doors. I would like to keep the cables hidden and tidy where possible. Any advice please.Thanks
 
dunnyrail

dunnyrail

DOGS, Garden Railways, Steam Trains, Jive Dancing,
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I use Electricians Trunking and run it beside the line as if ir was the real thing. Works fine if you can secure it. If not at the rear of Baseboards or just on the ground works as well though you may find that beasties and eartg get into it more. I spray mine matt grey to replicate concrete. Have a look at my build thread below you will see where I have used it probably somewhere in the middle pages of the thread. Though if yo take the trop round the line YT vid you will also see some in that as well. This is a quite old vid so not all of the trunking had been colored, some will never be where it is not seen in scenic parts of the line.
 
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JimmyB

JimmyB

Semi-Retired; more time for trains.
As per Jon, where possible i use trunking as well.
 
Rhinochugger

Rhinochugger

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If you are planning on using loose ballast, you can run wiring in the ballast under the track - that makes it reasonably accessible without being unsightly.

Each to their own :):)
 
idlemarvel

idlemarvel

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When I had an outdoor layout I used black flexible tube trunking. You are limited to length in terms of threading wires though it, probably 4-5 m max. It has the advantage it is watertight and you can bury it if you want, or if you need to run it under paths etc. The other thing is to adopt strict colour coding and labelling of the wires, for track power, lighting, points, signals, etc.
 
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Shunter46

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My problem is my track bed is raised 24inches of the ground only a few mm wider than the sleepers.
 
PhilP

PhilP

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My problem is my track bed is raised 24inches of the ground only a few mm wider than the sleepers.
In which case, either fit the trunking to the 'rear' of the board-sides, of run the wiring underneath..

PhilP.
 
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phils2um

Phil S
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Use DCC and eliminate the wires!
 
Rhinochugger

Rhinochugger

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My problem is my track bed is raised 24inches of the ground only a few mm wider than the sleepers.
Yep, I was going to say. like Phil, fix it underneath, and run it in circular conduit. If there are too many wires for traditional 20 mm conduit, what about 40 mm waste pipe ? >:)

And there are plenty of off-the-shelf brackets for both :nod::nod:
 
dunnyrail

dunnyrail

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Use DCC and eliminate the wires!
Hm that is a bit of a fallacy on a large layout you really need to have blocks to ensure sensible distribution of power, plus I use Air for my points so the trunking doubles as an Air Line route as well. Plus of course you need wires from a point decoder to the actual points normally 4 per decoder.
 
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Paul M

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I suppose if one was really keen, you could do a scaled down version of the grid and use pylons etc to run the wiring. It'll look the part, but the maintenance would probably be soul destroying
 
Greg Elmassian

Greg Elmassian

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You use way fewer blocks on DCC than conventional DC track power. Many garden railroaders use fewer feeds if they don't run high current or a lot of locos at the same time.

Overdoing it with the level of blocks of a DC layout is an old problem, often by people who have converted a "block control" DC layout to DCC.

I run my points decoders from the rails, since they draw little current, so no extra wires.

So DCC can have much reduced wiring... but you CAN do it wrong if you really persist! (like anything)

Greg

p.s. didn't you give up DCC some time ago?
 
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phils2um

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Hm that is a bit of a fallacy
Come now Jon, we know you've converted to battery/RC control for your locos but don't dismiss the huge advantage DCC gives for turnout operation on outdoor layouts - especially large ones. Wires (at least two for each electrically operated turnout which I believe the majority of forum members use) back to a central control location and all the associated terminal blocks and control switches are totally eliminated. Yes, it is more economical to use 4 channel switch decoders where appropriate but large scale single channel decoders while more expensive are weather-proof and can be connected up right where the turnout is joined to the rest of the rails. Even with a 4 channel decoder the wiring is much simplified by shorter runs. And, if a separate turnout motor needs to be bought, MD electronics makes a servo motor driven unit that includes an integrated decoder at a very reasonable price. (I've ordered a few to use on LGB R5 points that don't come with EPL drives. I'll report on my impressions of the MD drives once I've used them awhile.)
 
dunnyrail

dunnyrail

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Come now Jon, we know you've converted to battery/RC control for your locos but don't dismiss the huge advantage DCC gives for turnout operation on outdoor layouts - especially large ones. Wires (at least two for each electrically operated turnout which I believe the majority of forum members use) back to a central control location and all the associated terminal blocks and control switches are totally eliminated. Yes, it is more economical to use 4 channel switch decoders where appropriate but large scale single channel decoders while more expensive are weather-proof and can be connected up right where the turnout is joined to the rest of the rails. Even with a 4 channel decoder the wiring is much simplified by shorter runs. And, if a separate turnout motor needs to be bought, MD electronics makes a servo motor driven unit that includes an integrated decoder at a very reasonable price. (I've ordered a few to use on LGB R5 points that don't come with EPL drives. I'll report on my impressions of the MD drives once I've used them awhile.)
I think that is what I was saying? So either DCC gets rid of the wires or it does not but if you run a set of wires for each point back to a central location that is a lot of wire. My layout was set up for DCC and because my line was long I did wire up on an almost block system having sections that typically had 80 ft between them with a feed to each end. My panel has some section switches and yes they are now all redundant but I never had any faults it was only the track cleaning that got to me. Now I did not use electric points as I wanted to have a signal box experience for each of my 7 now 8 stations. This if I had gone DCC or just MTS each box would have needed a Power Feed then a feed from whatever switches to each point, hardly diminished by DCC though the separate feed to the switches could have been trapped from the track a saving of 1 set per box. Because of the way my line is Operated with a capital O, a central location for control is not relevant, I understand that for any it may be and I do not diminish others systems and want. But I stand by my comment that it is a fallacy to expect a good sized or even complex Garden Railway to be run with most of the wires eliminated.
 
Greg Elmassian

Greg Elmassian

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Jon, now please do not change the subject of less wiring to electric points motors vs pneumatic, or other things, really somewhat disingenuous!

Your statement:
Hm that is a bit of a fallacy on a large layout you really need to have blocks to ensure sensible distribution of power, plus I use Air for my points so the trunking doubles as an Air Line route as well. Plus of course you need wires from a point decoder to the actual points normally 4 per decoder.

Is the objection, and the reason I am pursuing this is it is advice to a newcomer (relatively)

You submit 2 issues:

1. you do NOT need a lot of blocks to ensure sensible distribution of power, indeed many DCC people use fewer feeds, and a feed is NOT a separate block as in DC layouts, where multiple locos requires separate blocks.

2. using a points decoder, it is not "normal" 4 to a decoder, you can just 1 or more, depending on how close the turnouts are, BUT no matter what running the wires only to a decoder powered from the rails is significantly less wire than running the points wires back to a home location. Since you cannot use the rails to power points decoders in DC, this is a huge advantage.

So, in general there is significantly less wire in a DCC installation. I likewise use pneumatics, but that is a different tradeoff as cost starts to become a significant factor.

In my layout of ~900 feet of track, there are only 3 locations that have points decoders. One central location that has support for 8 machines, a remote location that has 5, and a high density switchyard with 16.

I run unusually long trains that can draw up to 10 amps per train, so I use heavy gauge wire, and more closely spaced feeders, but the feeders are still only every 30 to 40 feet.

If I ran lower current locos, my feeders would be spaced double to triple the distance. Many of my friends have only a couple of feeders.

I submit in general DCC has less and more simplified wiring, and no reason to enforce multiple blocks like DC.

Greg
 
NCS from Qbyn

NCS from Qbyn

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I have a fairly large layout in the garden that actually goes right around the house. I do use DCC, but I run a DIMAX central controller with two boosters. So I have the track split into three zones separated by isolating rails. I found that the blue and red power cables that LGB supplies were leaking too much voltage, so I rewired the power feeds with 10-AWG high quality speaker cables. [not cheap, but worth every penny] Each zone has 2 power connections. So, I run the power lines on telephone poles alongside the track, except in a few spots, where I run it underground in electrical conduit pipes. The speaker wire made a BIG difference to the voltage loss problem. I painted the speaker wire grey, to protect it from the sun. UV is quite a problem here.
However, all the wiring for trackside lighting, points and signals is buried underground - usually in trackside gravel - which removes it from sight and similarly keeps the sun off it. I have a large number of 4 port switch controllers scattered about the place. These are above ground, but covered by hard plastic electric junction boxes [the sort used by real electricians] These protect them from sunlight and direct rain contact. In a few cases, where wiring has to cross bridges, I attach it to the bridge structures in as unobtrusive way as possible.
That way, my power wires look rather like oversized optic fibre cables of the type used by some cable TV suppliers and the rest of the wiring is only visible where it runs into the junction box covers.
This has all worked pretty well for over 10 years now.
 
Greg Elmassian

Greg Elmassian

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Sounds very similar to what I have done, right down to the 10 gauge.

By using all conduit, I could use the much cheaper wire that is used in homes, fewer and larger strands.

I've used electrical junction boxes (gray plastic PVC) to house DCC switch decoders.

Greg
 
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Paul M

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So, I run the power lines on telephone poles alongside the track,
Is this has high maintenance as I suggested in post #13?. It does seem an obvious way of disguising cables in full view