Model Train Forum banner

1 - 15 of 15 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
8 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
I'm very much a rookie at model railroading. My 8 year old son has been hooked on model railroading since I can remember and this year, for Christmas I decided to upgrade his Bachmann EZ track to Kato Unitrack and also increase the size of the layout.

We're running the Kato "HV1 Outer" oval track along with their "HM1 Inner" track and a switch connecting the two. These are boxed sets offered by Kato, and intended to be run together. We're using the Kato Power Pack. This layout is much larger than our older Bachmann EZ track layout and talking to some folks at the local hobby shop, they suggested I should add additional feeders in each loop to better distribute power to the far ends of the loop where trains have been loosing power.

I need some oversight on my wiring though. As mentioned, I'm a rookie and also not an electrician.

I bought and will use two additional "UniJoiner" power feeds for the far and of the track. My plan is to then wire those UniJoiners, along with the ones on the near side of the track, back to a "Terminal Bus Bar" like the one pictured in the Amazon link below. I'll also tie into that Bus Bar the Kato Power pack which will of course be then plugged into a wall outlet. On the Bus bar, all blue wires will be on one side and white on the other. The two bars on the bus are NOT connected, with full insulation between the two.

Here are my questions for those willing to entertain them...
1. Is this a safe set up? i.e. won't electrocute anyone or catch fire

2. If someone were to touch the metal parts on the Bus Bar, or the exposed wires going into them, would they get shocked? How bad?

3. Any other suggestions or considerations I should take into account?

Thanks and I appreciate anyone will to help me out!


https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B07NX6QF7W/ref=ppx_yo_dt_b_asin_title_o00_s00?ie=UTF8&psc=1
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
890 Posts
Here are my questions for those willing to entertain them...
1. Is this a safe set up? i.e. won't electrocute anyone or catch fire

Yes, safe. Nope, no electrocutions.

2. If someone were to touch the metal parts on the Bus Bar, or the exposed wires going into them, would they get shocked? How bad?

No. No different than touching the bare rails, so no worries. But, you don't want 'exposed wires'. Use heat-shrink tubing or electrical tape to cover them.

3. Any other suggestions or considerations I should take into account?

Nothing else to add. Except, due to the close proximity of the connections on that bus bar, you might want to put some electrical tape over it... but its not necessary in most cases, just depends on how you have it set up. If it's to be mounted under the platform, it's not necessary. If it's laying out on top where something could short the terminals, then add the tape.

ADDED: But, are you seeing power problems? Your set up isn't that big, so if you aren't seeing power problems don't add the stuff. It certainly won't hurt, but you may not need it at all. If you make this a more permanent set up, add it. But if you plan to keep changing it, leave it out for now,
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
8 Posts
Discussion Starter #4
Actually, one other question for you Tom. You mention the close proximity of the links on the bus bar I linked. Do you have any recommendations on other bus bars I should consider instead?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
890 Posts
Glad to help. There are no newbies or experts. Just varying degrees between those extremes.

ADDED: As to other buss bars... I have no other suggestions. The one you show is fine. I mentioned it only if you have it laying out where something could fall onto it. If you mount it somewhere, then it's fine.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
8 Posts
Discussion Starter #6
Glad to help. There are no newbies or experts. Just varying degrees between those extremes.

ADDED: As to other buss bars... I have no other suggestions. The one you show is fine. I mentioned it only if you have it laying out where something could fall onto it. If you mount it somewhere, then it's fine.
:smilie_daumenpos:

Thank you sir!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
9,897 Posts
That one you linked to is fine, althougn somewhat overkill for the application. That's designed for some pretty heavy marine voltages (600V, 45A).

You're using very low voltage, low amp DC current (max 14-16V, ~5A). It's hard to do a lot of damage with that. You could find a less robust terminal strip for a couple bucks which would work just as well.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,210 Posts
You don't need all those terminals and that one comes with covers so you don't need to worry about something falling on them. I took a quick look at the ones with less terminals seemed to cost more! I'd still give it another search, might save you some money. You should only need to use 16 gauge wire (available at Home Depot also). Stranded wire bends easier, but you might consider some cheap terminal crimps to make the connections easier and neater.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
8 Posts
Discussion Starter #10
Thanks guys for all the input. I was looking at that bus bar because it looks robust and like it could handle being around an 8 year old. My son is actually really responsible with his collection but he's still an 8 year old so I've tried to engineer his stuff to handle slightly harder use.

I also thought I might need more terminals down the road so was looking at a bus bar we could grow into to. Right now, we'll power feeds into each oval track at the 12 and 6 o'clock positions. So that would use 4 pairs of terminals plus the 1 terminal for the power pack. We extended each oval so they're approximately 10x7 feet. I'm thinking I may need to add more power feeds at the 3 and 9 o'clock position too, which would require 4 more pairs of terminals. Most of the bus bars I found were either 6 pair or 12 pair of terminals so I figured I should go with the bus bar with more.

Do you guys think I won't need more feeds than those at the 12 and 6 o'clock positions?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
845 Posts
Kato has an excellent "modular" system for connecting the unijoiners to the main power source.

Not "a bus", but they have a "3 into 1" adapter you can plug the unijoiner leads into.

Rather than install a bus setup on my unitrack RR (4x8 with extension), I used the modular components and things work fine.

TIP:
I route my leads through the plywood.
I got a "pin push" tool, and "pop out" the pins from the modular connection at the end of the unijoiner lead.
https://www.evike.com/products/26956/

Now I could drill a hole in the table top, push the wires through, then re-connect to the modular connector.

TIP 2:
The unijoiners (as they come out of the package) have the cable leads fused together. They go on ok, but if you ever try to remove them, you run the possibility of pulling the leads out of the joiners.
So... do this:
- cut through the little "band" where the two leads are joined with a sharp blade. Take care!
- gently pull the leads apart so that you have about 2" free.
Things go much better this way.

You can now drill a hole under the track for the leads.
But... DON'T put it directly under the joint.
Put it a couple of inches away on either side.
Again, this gives "manipulating room".

MAKE SURE you drill a hole big enough for some "wiggle room".

For a relatively small layout (4x8 or 5x9), you'll probably only need 2 connections (at opposing ends).

If you remove the modular connectors, take note of which pin goes into the square hole and which goes into the round one. Put them back the same way!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
9,897 Posts
My son's 8x8 Atlas TruTrack layout runs just fine from a single pair of 22AWG feeders. Two feeders will be more than enough.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
694 Posts
If you are using multiple Kato feeder tracks on the same loops, make sure the wires are coming out of the same sides of the track on each feeder.
It doesn’t matter which side, (inside the loop or outside the loop), they just have to be the same.
If they are installed opposite each other you will get a dead short because the rails will be connected together.
 
1 - 15 of 15 Posts
Top