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Discussion Starter #1
I'm starting to build the Woodlands Grand Valley layout kit (HO). I estimate it's about 60'+ of track consisting of around 65 Atlas code 83 track segments. Some guys claim that all they've ever done is one power feeder and never had a problem. On the opposite extreme are guys that claim every single track segments should be fed with power. Is there a consensus on a common sense approach to number of feeders? (I plan to start with DC and transition to DCC later on)

TIA
 

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usual installation involves feeders about every six feet or so ....
there's no 'hard or fast' rule to this though ..
 

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In general, I solder six feet of track together and use one feeder for each six foot section. My turnouts have there own feeders and are never solder to any track section.

LeRoy
 

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Do you solder the Atlas connectors directly to the rails?
Yes directly to the rails and I attach my feeders to the rail joiners. I just slide rail joiners with a very small amount of space (0.030") between each six foot section to allow the track to move slightly is it wants to.

LeRoy
 

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Joiners tend to fail over time electrically. So, to get around the eventuality, hobbyists have taken to thin, ideally short, feeders, often several of them.

You want robust voltage all along your rail system. The way to minimize work and materials is to solder one pair of feeders to the joint of every OTHER pair of joiners. This has positive power going bi-directionally to the next joints on either side. Schematically it looks like this:

[x= soldered joint, o= sliding joiner offering only mechanical alignment]

======x============o==============x==============o======

This makes the logic easier to see for visual people. Each x must run power two ways, but maybe only to the sliding joints on either side. After those joints, there’s another soldered joint midway.
 

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Like HBC, I Solder 6 feet together but use a PC tie to actually make the feed as it hides everything. The joints between 6' section I leave un soldered to all for a little expansion and contraction.
 

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For a combo joiner/ feeder, I've soldered wires directly to the bottom of rail joiners. I just make a bunch at a time, using just 2 colors for pos and neg. I put them about every other track connection so every piece will have power, kinda like what Messenteria does. Just attach the feeders to a bus wire.
 

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No Lie: My last layout, a 35' x 5.5' tapering to 2' to 90 deg. turn to 8'x2' yard/interchange HO switchback was controlled by 1 NCE PowerCab, it's 2 leads to the track, running sometimes 2-3 trains at same time, had no feeders a n y w h e r e !
Build your layout..If it runs fine without feeders, then.............
 

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Discussion Starter #11
Thanks everyone. I think for my layout I'll solder joiners to whatever length of rail I'm comfortable working with (maybe 4-5') and feed each of these sections. Then connect these sections with unsoldered feeders. I assume I can feed each section wherever I want since voltage drop will be negligible and the goal is reliable electrical connections. (solder vs mechanical). It sound like a little extra work during the build may save big headaches/rework later on.
 

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I'm more in Telltale's school. Don't over engineer the darn thing. It's a hellish lot of soldering, especially using sectional track (when these guys say "section" they mean a 3' long piece of flex track) and a lot of opportunities to melt ties and inflict other damage. I'd recommend a pair of feeders every 10' or so. It really isn't that hard to add another set if you do have trouble.
 

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Thanks CTV....But even the 10' feeder advice is not needed until the owner keeps finding a stall out area.. Even then it may be a blessing because he or she found the fish plate there was under, not engulfing the opposing rail and this fix was all that was needed...Capeesh ?
Later for feeders if ya doesn't need em... (I.E. at least on medium to small size MRRs). M
 

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Thanks everyone. I think for my layout I'll solder joiners to whatever length of rail I'm comfortable working with (maybe 4-5') and feed each of these sections. Then connect these sections with unsoldered feeders. I assume I can feed each section wherever I want since voltage drop will be negligible and the goal is reliable electrical connections. (solder vs mechanical). It sound like a little extra work during the build may save big headaches/rework later on.
It sound like a little extra work during the build may save big headaches/rework later on. No one could have said it better.

LeRoy
 

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Discussion Starter #18
I'm more in Telltale's school. Don't over engineer the darn thing. It's a hellish lot of soldering, especially using sectional track (when these guys say "section" they mean a 3' long piece of flex track) and a lot of opportunities to melt ties and inflict other damage. I'd recommend a pair of feeders every 10' or so. It really isn't that hard to add another set if you do have trouble.
Are Atlas track joiners reliable over time? It does look very tough to solder them on without damaging the ties or having solder creep onto the rail. I have some scrap track to practice with.
 

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NOTHING is 100% reliable over time. No matter what you do some corrosion will set in and gunk things up, a soldered joint will kink due to expansion, etc. It's all a tradeoff between the amount of work you do initially, and what you MAY have to do later if things go awry.

Now, if you're asking whether JUST using an unsoldered Atlas joiner is a reliable way to join track, I would say no, it isn't. Practice on some scrap pieces of track. Use a pencil tip and a 35-45W iron and very fine solder (1/16") and it can be done

It's tedious to solder 4 pieces of Snaptrack (six joints) to get the same continuity you get from one continuous piece of flex track (no soldering required). Plus, when soldering flex track, it's common practice to remove a couple of ties at each end so that you're not soldering directly over the ties.
 
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