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Discussion Starter #1
This isn't the permanent location...
Before the plywood, sheet-cork, and construction foam goes on, it'll be moved into the alcove in the background, about 3 feet out from the window wall.
The alcove now suffers from poor lighting, and is being upgraded with banks of programmable LED overheads that are sold for large aquarium and museum mood lighting... bright daylight, sunset, dawn, etc.

It's taking a long time.
I'm working alone, and while the spirit is willing, these bones and muscles are only good for short periods.
Lousy picture, from my old backup phone.

2_1-HO-train-bench~4.jpeg
 

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Discussion Starter #2
Overall, it's 5x12... I gained an extra two feet by removing a closet on the right side of the alcove.
The jut-out provides extra length for a planned single-ended ladder yard. It'll require a 28"r. curved lead-in turnout at the other end (probably custom). If that won't work out, there are other options.

I have tons of cork roadbed and flextrack.
I plan to superelevate curves of 24" and greater. Elevation changes will be minimal.
I'm good at soldering and track wiring, but I'm very concerned about turnouts and their reliability. I was thinking of augering holes for bus wire and bundling, but that could potentially present a problem with circuit-tracing.
 

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Augering holes for bus wire? Ya only need to drill a 1/16" hole right next to the rail to bring the wire up from the bus. Give the end of the wire a twist so it points into the side of the rail and solder it in place. Solder the other end to the buss.
Drop wires.jpg
 

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For the bus wires I'm using these screwed to the bottom of the joists:

I'll use suitcase connectors to run wires to a terminal block

and run feeders from the terminal block to the track. Since terminal blocks come with even numbers of terminals, I use a piece of 18 gauge solid wire and make a jumper across one side of the block. For instance for the 10 circuit block I'll jumper 5 terminals for positive and 5 for negative. Use 1 terminal for the bus tap and you still have 9 terminals per side for feeders.
542877

This pic explains it better than words do. This is a 6 circuit block. If you look at the top row of terminals you can see the wire jumper across 3 terminal on each side. And don't be shy about making notes on the benchwork about which wire goes where.
 

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There is multi color wire on ebay, As I recall I bought the 10 color to make circuit tracing easy.
 

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I use Digitrax DS64s for turnout machine control. Each one can control four turnouts (8 wires). I use Ethernet cable (cat5) from the DS64 to the turnout machine - 8 wires. Coincidence? I think not!

Cat5 is only 24 AWG, but the pigtails coming off the machines is only 22, so... it works fine.

I used these to make the connection... Amazon.com: SMITON 200pack, UY Wire to Wire Connector K1: Home Audio & Theater
Back in the day when I did a lot of telco cable splicing we called them beanies.
 

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I got a little used to Lionel Fastrack and the switches could be powered from track power -- and they worked well like that. At one time I had 100+ ft of it and at least a dozen of their switches -- and never had an interest in wiring separately. I did have to do a lot of jumps between sections for continuity but over time I avoided the bus terminal thing if I could. Just jumped under the track to the next segment of interest. Seemed to work ok.

But its AC... But DC here yet its DCC ... I still just want "1 wire" ...
 

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This isn't the permanent location...
Before the plywood, sheet-cork, and construction foam goes on, it'll be moved into the alcove in the background, about 3 feet out from the window wall.
The alcove now suffers from poor lighting, and is being upgraded with banks of programmable LED overheads that are sold for large aquarium and museum mood lighting... bright daylight, sunset, dawn, etc.

It's taking a long time.
I'm working alone, and while the spirit is willing, these bones and muscles are only good for short periods.
Lousy picture, from my old backup phone.

View attachment 542871
I do like boring thru the joists to run cables, lets it all tuck in without going under the woodwork. But that's just me...
That's shaping up to be a great layout! (y)
 

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Nice thing about the DS64 is that it can be powered by something other than track power, the track power should be reserved for running locomotives!
 

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Nice thing about the DS64 is that it can be powered by something other than track power, the track power should be reserved for running locomotives!
One more reason I'm powering the Torti from a separate DC power bus. If a train gets run into a turnout that's thrown against it, the resulting short won't disable the point motor from being switched.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
I know about the DS64's... just not sure how they work.
Are they a separate (independent) plug-in power source? Or how do you power them?
 

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So there used to be this argument on that -- where to power switches in O world. And the measurements done by none other GRJ himself suggested at least switches like fastrack take a tiny fraction of power. I admit, I have no familiarity with HO offerings here terms of switch motors -- yet it seems it could be small. The home brew approach suggests an arduino and small DC motor could be milliamps. the track has 16 v say in DCC, you need 5V one imagines smooth volts for the arduino and maybe the servo gets it power from that, and the input the dcc thingie is pwm track power. anyway blah blah -- no 'i have done this' answer, I'm tempted to delete! it's really a different topic anyway.
 

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I know about the DS64's... just not sure how they work.
Are they a separate (independent) plug-in power source? Or how do you power them?
The DS64 can be powered directly from the rail power source via TRKA and TRKB terminals, or from an external DC power source via AX1(-) and AX2(+) terminals, or from a AC or DC power supply via the modular power connector.

I went with the latter... AC/DC Adapter 14V DC 300ma
 

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So these would need to be under-bench.
Personally, were I using a collection of controllers such as those, I would mount them
all together on a convenient panel NOT under the bench. Switch machines in general MUST go
at the switch, but control components can remain accessible. IMO
 

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Mine are under-bench, but... I stole an idea from member @Mark VerMurlen and mounted them on a board that is attached to the bottom, front edge of the bench via hinges so it can swing up and out of the way and out of sight (first pic).

Second pic, released and in the down position. Work on it sitting on a bucket. :)

Third pic, in the up position (from the floor looking up). The board is held in the up position with a hook-and-eye screen door latch.


542894
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542896


Mark's is much more cleanly done... Modified Peace River HO Layout
 

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I think that's a good way to go. I also sort of envision all the bus, etc terminal blocks on the same kind of arrangement. Going back to fix jumpers, blocks etc. under the benchwork can be a trial...
 

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I think that's a good way to go. I also sort of envision all the bus, etc terminal blocks on the same kind of arrangement. Going back to fix jumpers, blocks etc. under the benchwork can be a trial...
My wiring is about as simple as it gets. The one bus is connected directly to the Zephyr controller and the feeders have a good, solid solder connection. I have two more track feeders to connect and two more switch machines to install (not counting my future expansion). After that the only time I'll be under there is if a switch machine goes bad - knock on wood.
 
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