Model Train Forum banner

1 - 6 of 6 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
17 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
I have 4 turnouts with switches that are the style where you the switch either left or right and slightly depress the switch to move the turnout. there are 3 wires for operation and 2 for power. the operation side uses a red, black, and green wire. What gauge should i use for the operation side, i assume this should be stranded copper? Where can I buy that gauge 3 wire in those colors online or what brand can i buy? Layout is analog.

Thanks in advance for your help.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,642 Posts
Extending the wires.

I have 4 turnouts with switches that are the style where you the switch either left or right and slightly depress the switch to move the turnout. there are 3 wires for operation and 2 for power. the operation side uses a red, black, and green wire. What gauge should i use for the operation side, i assume this should be stranded copper? Where can I buy that gauge 3 wire in those colors online or what brand can i buy? Layout is analog.

Thanks in advance for your help.
LilCal;

It sounds like you are using Atlas remote control turnouts (track switches). The size of wire depends on the length of the wire run from the turnout, back to the control button. If the wire will be under the table, then looks won't matter. Within reason, the bigger the wire the better. I use 18 gage wire, but a size or two smaller won't matter unless you are stringing 20+ feet of the stuff. It's not necessary to have the three colors of wire fastened together in a flat ribbon cable. Often the wire in ribbon cables is too small to reliably carry the high burst of current used to operate the turnout; over much more than a few feet. Instead, I would recommend connecting the short ribbon cable that came with your turnout, to larger, individual wires to extend the length. You can twist, or tape these three wires together, if you wish.
You can get wire, in many sizes and colors, from www.allelectronics.com . Radio Shack (if you still have one), or a hardware store, or Home Depot, Lowes, Etc.
You are smart to keep the color the same along each wire run. This makes for less confusion, if you ever have to locate an electrical problem later. (Murphy's law of model railroading makes this very likely!:laugh:)
Another thing I recommend is a capacitive discharge system to operate your turnouts. This device protects the coils inside your turnouts from damage/meltdown if you hold a button down longer than a second or two; or if one of the control buttons shorts out. Both things have happened many times, and usually result in a ruined turnout. It's possible to buy a capacitive discharge unit ready made; www.walthers.com but it's much cheaper to make your own. DonR, on this forum, has made his own capacitive discharge unit, and used it successfully for many years. He can give you info on how to build one.

Good luck;

Traction Fan:smilie_daumenpos:
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
8,359 Posts
While I strongly agree stranded wire is best for
layout wiring, it is less likely to break because of
an accidental nick when stripping the insulation.

However, sometimes it's difficult to find
stranded wire in the small gauges we use
locally. I've found that the big box stores and some hardware
stores have rolls of wire intended for telephone,
thermostat and other low voltage installations. It usually has 4 or 5 solid wires with color coded insulation in a cable.
This is ideal for turnouts or lighting circuits.

Don
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,584 Posts
Sometimes it's difficult to find
stranded wire in the small gauges we use
locally. I've found that the big box stores and some hardware
stores have rolls of wire intended for telephone,
thermostat and other low voltage installations. It usually has 4 or 5 solid wires with color coded insulation in a cable.
This is ideal for turnouts or lighting circuits.
Telephone cables are getting harder to find. Ethernet wire will work, too. Lots of it is being abandoned in favor of WiFy. I collected a bunch for free from where I used to work.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
321 Posts
I've often used small-gauge wire salvaged from telephone cables, which is OK for shorter runs of a few feet. In my case I use capacitor-discharge power to operate switch machines, which makes small wire "good enough" because the capacitor can charge to a somewhat higher voltage.

If you have basic electrical knowledge, capacitor discharge power is easy to make with just a capacitor, diode and resistor. I generally use parts salvaged from old electronics. Exact values of components are not critical.

I also favor manual turnouts where they are easy to reach, or manual control with under-table linkage for some switches.
 
1 - 6 of 6 Posts
Top