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Old 09-29-2019, 03:33 PM   #1
kmillett29
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feeder placement help

I'm just getting back into model trains at age 46 after ~30 years away. I want to start with a basic 4x8 layout as attached. I'm using regular old power pack (not DCC), and am not sure where to place the feeder to ensure the entire track has power...or if it can be done at all. Any suggestions are welcome!
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Old 09-29-2019, 04:01 PM   #2
CTValleyRR
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I'm the resident contrarian when it comes to feeders and power management. Honestly? For a 4x8 layout, a single pair of AWG 22 feeders will be fine, especially if you solder your rail joiners.

If you want an extra measure of security, add a second pair, placing them approximately 180 degrees apart.

It's actually fairly easy to add feeders after the fact if you find you need more, but it'll long odds against you needing to. Don't overthink this and go into paralysis by analysis.
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Old 09-29-2019, 04:48 PM   #3
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If you're planning to use that siding to park a second train, now you're talking old-school "block wiring" and you're going to need at least 3 power feeders. insulated rail joiners, and something like what Atlas called a "Connector".
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Old 09-29-2019, 07:04 PM   #4
kmillett29
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Thanks to all for the replies. I should've added that I'd planned to use Kato #6 turnouts because I already own several. Unfortunately these switches also route the power. Seems like it would make power all sides of each switch an insurmountable beast.
Is there a simple way to make the Kato #6 powered regardless of switch direction?
Other ideas?
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Old 09-30-2019, 06:01 AM   #5
gimme30
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CTValleyRR View Post
I'm the resident contrarian when it comes to feeders and power management. Honestly? For a 4x8 layout, a single pair of AWG 22 feeders will be fine, especially if you solder your rail joiners.

If you want an extra measure of security, add a second pair, placing them approximately 180 degrees apart.

It's actually fairly easy to add feeders after the fact if you find you need more, but it'll long odds against you needing to. Don't overthink this and go into paralysis by analysis.
I can't help with the Kato switches, but I'm definitely with CT on this one. I'd read in so many places how important it is to have feeders all over the place so I went overboard, adding 3 to each switch and another to roughly every foot of track on a layout slightly smaller than yours.

Testing showed absolutely no difference at all.
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Old 09-30-2019, 02:46 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by kmillett29 View Post
Thanks to all for the replies. I should've added that I'd planned to use Kato #6 turnouts because I already own several. Unfortunately these switches also route the power. Seems like it would make power all sides of each switch an insurmountable beast.
Is there a simple way to make the Kato #6 powered regardless of switch direction?
Other ideas?
with kato track and turn outs you only need on feeder put 2 if ya like but 1 will work just fine. im a big kato fan love there track and turnouts and there locos yes sir best in the world if ya ask me....
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Old 10-01-2019, 04:03 PM   #7
traction fan
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West Power routing turnouts

Quote:
Originally Posted by kmillett29 View Post
Thanks to all for the replies. I should've added that I'd planned to use Kato #6 turnouts because I already own several. Unfortunately these switches also route the power. Seems like it would make power all sides of each switch an insurmountable beast.
Is there a simple way to make the Kato #6 powered regardless of switch direction?
Other ideas?
kmillett29;

Yes. You can bypass the power routing feature of a turnout, if you want, by using insulated rail joiners on both of the short rails that are connected to the frog of the turnout. Then you use power feeds to all three tracks that enter/exit the turnout. This way power will be constantly available on all three tracks, and the insulated joiners will prevent shorts through the frog. You would need to do this for every turnout that you wanted not to route power.

Are you sure you want to bother doing this at all? Power routing is generally very reliable, and helps prevent a derailment caused when a train enters the turnout with the points thrown the wrong way. A series of turnouts in a row, such as at the entrance to your yard, acts like a series of electrical switches. All the turnouts that lead to a particular yard track have to be in the right position for a locomotive to move onto/off of, that track. This is obviously necessary mechanically, to get the train into/out of that track without derailing. So why not leave it necessary electrically too? I happen to like power routing, but it's your railroad, not mine, and therefore your choice.

I think Kato turnouts use a twin-coil type switch machine built into their turnouts. It's possible to build a simple matrix of diodes that will let you push one button to set all the turnouts for a desired track. I use a similar system (though mine is designed to work with the DC stall motors I use to operate my turnouts) on my railroad and it makes switching a yard very simple.
Another thing that's very good to have, in order to protect your turnout's electric coils, is a "Capacitive Discharge Unit" (CDU) Holding down the turnout button more than a second or two can fry a coil. Turnout control buttons can also short internally, with the same smoke-producing result.
A CDU prevents this from ever happening. The button shorting thing is primarily a characteristic of Atlas blue button turnout controls. The Atlas turnout controls are not well made. Kato controls may well be a different story, since Kato quality is excellent. I think the Kato turnout controls are bulky though? You may want to check out a turnout control called the Stapleton 751D. It is small, reliable, and has a CDU built right into it.

good luck & have fun;

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Old 10-02-2019, 11:11 AM   #8
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fifer hobby has videos on using toggle switches for kato stuff. me my self i dont like toggles. there a pain to wire up . sid likes plug and play no muss no fuss it just works simple as that. hahahahaha
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Old 10-03-2019, 02:03 PM   #9
WaltP
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In essence, drop feeders on the mainline on the north and south legs. The south feeders will nullify the power-routing for the main, but leave the PR for the siding. Now you can pull a train into the siding and stop it by resetting the entrance switch.

On your design, all the 'yard' switches are PR and each leg gets power only if all the switches up to it are set properly.
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