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I'm working on my 2nd layout, my 1st was 20+ years ago using a framed base with Homasote top, where all wiring was underneath.
Right now my new layout is a module on a 2" foam board laying on a large table so wiring under the foam means flipping the module on it's side.

I've been pondering the merits of topside wiring, where scenery can hide the wiring. There are obvious issues of maintenance for covered wires, etc. But there is a distinct advantage to flipping the module as well as dealing with potential wire snags etc. I've considered "trenching" or otherwise embedding the wiring with tape, etc on the underside, but I'm open to other ideas that might work on the topside.
 

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I'm in the same boat, but because my layout is on folding tables and I'm not putting any holes in them. I tried taking straws, spraypainting them black, splitting them and feeding the wires into them so they would look like pipe, not a perfect solution. I think you'd need to make them look more regular but at least the colored wires don't show this way. My other plan is to make sections of that thin foam board found in sheets in the craft stores, add ground cover and hopefully it'll lay down over any irregularities in the table like wires, but I haven't gotten there yet (too much fun building rolling stock).
 

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I would suggest as much wiring as possible be under the layout. For the reason of access.
Or if you do want them up top, you could make removable paths throughout the layout that connect, as areas for installing wires like, bike paths, dirt walking paths, sidewalks etc. especially the road areas adjacent to the tracks.
You could route in channels, and cover them with tape, and then grass, or sand to make them look like side roads or paths. If you need access, just pull up the tape, fix and redo the cover. Very simple and cheap.

Dan
 

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Wire routing

I'm working on my 2nd layout, my 1st was 20+ years ago using a framed base with Homasote top, where all wiring was underneath.
Right now my new layout is a module on a 2" foam board laying on a large table so wiring under the foam means flipping the module on it's side.

I've been pondering the merits of topside wiring, where scenery can hide the wiring. There are obvious issues of maintenance for covered wires, etc. But there is a distinct advantage to flipping the module as well as dealing with potential wire snags etc. I've considered "trenching" or otherwise embedding the wiring with tape, etc on the underside, but I'm open to other ideas that might work on the topside.
DCwom;

I don't understand your implied reluctance to "flipping the module on its side," in order to access the wiring. Is your module basically a slab of foam? (A photo would help.) Are you concerned about damage to whatever's on top of the foam? Or are you worried that the whole module may fall over off the table and onto the floor?

My own sectional layout has a "roof"over each section (it's a bookshelf model railroad) so turning a section completely upside down is not a problem for me. (See photo 1)

However back to your situation.
You can easily cut a trench in the top of the foam to hold your wiring. I suggest that you cut your trench(es) out to the front of your module, and actually put the wiring in "conduit" made of straws, brass tubing, PVC pipe, or even real metal or plastic conduit (it's cheap) The reason for doing this that you can then construct any kind of permanent scenery, structure, whatever, on top of the buried conduit and still be able to add to/remove/replace any wiring, should that ever be necessary. (After all, electricians have been using this same system successfully for decades.)
My money's on the "add to" option, since we modelers have an expensive habit of buying more stuff, and some of that stuff is electrically-operated (like additional turnouts, signals, crossing gates, etc.) and therefore will require more wires. So having conduit that has some extra room in itis a good idea.
Once you get all the wiring up front, you can connect it to the control panel of you choice. You could even angle all your conduits toward one centrally-located panel.

I am old (71) and partially disabled, so for me, crawling under the table is not a reasonable option. For this reason, I went a step or two further with this "everything up front" idea. All the turnout motors, frog polarity microswitches, and other electric gear, for my railroad is mounted just behind hinged front fascia panels on each of my sections.(see photos 2 & 3)
The front wiring that connects all the sections electrical gear, bus wires, etc. is also accessible by unscrewing fascia panels. (see bottom, white area of photo 5.) Note: If you click on photo 5 three times, and scroll down, you will be able to see the wiring much better. Each wire goes to a marked terminal strip. This makes tracing wiring easy, instead of the miserable job it usually is.

All this wiring is connected section-to-section by plugs, or terminal strips, and the sections are bolted to each other. So, I can unplug, and unbolt, a section and take it to my workbench. The only remaining wires under my railroad are the track feeders and part of the structure lighting wiring. Each lighted structure has a DB9 connector in it's base, and is screwed down. So, structures too can be unscrewed and unplugged if needed. . My turnouts are connected to their respective motors by mechanical linkages. (see one in the top center area of photo 4) So, there's nothing "down under" that is likely to need attention. If it does, I can pull out the appropriate section (not easy, but doable) take it to my workbench and turn the section upside down to repair whatever needs repairing.

Traction Fan :smilie_daumenpos:

Cedar Falls module. showing lightwood bookshelf arch with enginehouse & station in background.jpg

Cedar Falls control panel.JPG

Cedar Falls motors & linkages.JPG

Cedar Falls section bottom view.JPG

Clif & mansion 2.jpg
 

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t.f., outstanding work... kudos.
Some 15 years ago I built a modular switching layout comprised of several dioramas joined together with 5/16" bolts. Very similar to your setup. Just not as thorough.
 

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If you are going to bury the wiring in the top, pu will have to tear it up to make repairs or access it. Will you want to redo scenery each time?
 

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It ain't necessarily so.

If you are going to bury the wiring in the top, pu will have to tear it up to make repairs or access it. Will you want to redo scenery each time?
D&J Railroad;

If the OP uses conduit, as I suggested, he wouldn't have to tear up anything. While plain insulated wire doesn't tend to go bad on its own, at least not in the lifespan of a model railroad, you're right that some form of access to the wiring is a good idea, hence the conduit suggestion.

Traction Fan :smilie_daumenpos:
 

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Praise from the master.

t.f., outstanding work... kudos.
Some 15 years ago I built a modular switching layout comprised of several dioramas joined together with 5/16" bolts. Very similar to your setup. Just not as thorough.
LateStarter;

Thank you very much! I have always thought your car detailing, and painting, efforts were top notch! :thumbsup:
To have you call my work "outstanding" is quite a compliment! :)

I just learned something about the digital photos posted on the forum. They can be expanded! This is probably not news to most people, but I'm a bit of a "digital dummy." come to think of it, I have "expanded" or "zoomed in" on photos on Amazon while shopping. I don't know if that's the same process or not.
Anyway I sent some photos to caldwest, the OP on the thread "Power supply for Remote Atlas switches", here on the HO forum. One of them is a wood bridge with steel truss rods and NBW casting. I clicked three times, just like Dorothy in The wizard of Oz, only mouse clicks not red slipper heel clicks. Well I didn't get to Kansas (way too cold) but I did get a surprisingly-detailed close-up view of; well details, like truss rods and NBW castings. I made this model from basswood and brass many long years ago. I'm not at all sure I could build it again now that I'm older. But it is nice to have, and I thought, based on what effort must go into your excellent work, you might appreciate the "intensive fun" involved in scratchbuilding something like this in N-scale. For a size check, the truck crossing the bridge is a whopping 3/4" long.



Thank you;

Traction Fan :smilie_daumenpos:
 
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