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How do most of you train modelers wire your lights for your buildings street lights, yards etc.? Do you run your wires to a block or gather the ends up and add a lead wire nut them together and run the lead to a separate low voltage drop?
Your opinions would be appreciated. Thanks
 

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Mine are all LED now. And not many at the moment. I run a red and black wire from a power pack to a terminal board. then on to next terminal board, etc. The LED light wires come down to the terminal boards.
 

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I wish I could say that I did them sensibly like the previous poster(I didn't think it was bad at the time, and it's not completely. Just when something goes out I have found).

But I use stationary decoders by nce to control the lights, that are powered by the main booster. I then have them on a bus line circuit, and can add to them at any time, just by tapping into the bus.

If you have the amperage to spare, then your DCC system and the decoders give tons of options(and the little Light It decoders are cheap). My only suggestion from experience is to be extremely neat up front and along the way, labeling some kind of way, as iit makes it easier down the line.

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Mine are LED and incandescent. I wire them to the track bus just like a track drop.
 

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I had a separate power supply for lights, another
for panel LEDs, and yet another to power turnout
motors.

Each had a bus that hosted drops as needed.

All were controlled by a master power on/off switch.

Don
 

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Do you run your wires to a block or gather the ends up and add a lead wire nut them together and run the lead to a separate low voltage drop?
you could run a separate bus around the layout for lighting and connect to it using suitcase connectors. Get the ones matching the two wires sizes you use. use solid wire
 

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I wish I could say that I did them sensibly like the previous poster(I didn't think it was bad at the time, and it's not completely. Just when something goes out I have found).

But I use stationary decoders by nce to control the lights, that are powered by the main booster. I then have them on a bus line circuit, and can add to them at any time, just by tapping into the bus.

If you have the amperage to spare, then your DCC system and the decoders give tons of options(and the little Light It decoders are cheap). My only suggestion from experience is to be extremely neat up front and along the way, labeling some kind of way, as iit makes it easier down the line.

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MatroxD;

Something like this? Having spent many years chasing signals through sloppy wiring at work, I try to keep things as neat as possible.

OP;

I use LEDs to light my structures. Each major structure has a nine pin, surplus DB-9 computer plug in it's base. This plugs into a mating connector in the mounting area where that structure goes. Structures are held in place with small screws. The screws are painted bright orange for the photo, so I can find them later. Then they are painted a more camouflaging color, and covered by scenery. The photos go into my "Do it myself direction book" along with lots of other stuff this geezer will forget!
The wires from those plug & jacks feed down to the terminal strips shown. The terminal strips are normally hidden behind a fascia cover plate that can be unscrewed. This lets me trace any circuit easily, and without going under the layout. (I'm 71, and partially disabled, so crawling under is not practical.)

Traction Fan :smilie_daumenpos:

terminals poor focus.jpg

mansion hold down screws 6.jpg
 

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MatroxD;



Something like this? Having spent many years chasing signals through sloppy wiring at work, I try to keep things as neat as possible.



OP;



I use LEDs to light my structures. Each major structure has a nine pin surplus db9 computer plug in it's base. this plugs into a mating connector in the mounting area where that structure goes. Structures are held in place with small screws. The screws are painted bright orange for the photo, so I can find them later. Then they are painted a more camouflaging color, and covered by scenery. The photos go into my "Do it myself direction book" along with lots of other stuff this geezer will forget!

The wires from those plug & jacks feed down to the terminal strips shown. The terminal strips are normally hidden behind a fascia cover plate that can be unscrewed. This lets me trace any circuit easily, and without going under the layout. (I'm 71, and partially disabled, so crawling under is not practical.)



Traction Fan :smilie_daumenpos:



View attachment 514388



View attachment 514390
Yes, that's extremely slick! I like it very much, and that makes a ton of sense! I will check the prices at my local microcenter, and I'm thinking in the next year we will be moving. So a new layout will be in order. I will incorporate this into my setup( creeping and crawling under the table has gotten old very fast)...

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Moving? New layout? Don't like crawling? Sectional construction

Yes, that's extremely slick! I like it very much, and that makes a ton of sense! I will check the prices at my local microcenter, and I'm thinking in the next year we will be moving. So a new layout will be in order. I will incorporate this into my setup( creeping and crawling under the table has gotten old very fast)...

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MatroxD;

If your moving, and plan to build a new layout in your new home, I highly recommend sectional construction on your new layout. Since you don't plan to take your present layout with you, at least not relatively intact, I'm guessing it is not sectional. The portion of my layout shown in the "something like this" photo is one side of my end section. (See other view below) all told, my N-scale shelf railroad has 12 sections. The standard size is 4'L x 16" H x 16" deep. The end section shown, and some of the others, are a bit larger to accommodate return loops, yards, etc. A few are smaller. The trestle scene is on a semi-standard section 4'L x 32" H x 8"-16" D. It's odd shape was to allow a chest freezer's top lid to open under it. The point is they can be any size and shape you want, or need, to fit whatever you run into in your new home.

Having built my layout in sections enabled me to take it with me the last time I moved and I was able to adapt it to a new size & shape space with little trouble. Sectional construction has also been a hobby preserver since I have gotten older, and a whole lot less strong, and flexible, that I once was. I can remove a section and work on it seated at my workbench. I can even turn it upside down to do wiring and any other traditionally "under the table" chores. My bookshelf railroad design is from an old Model Railroader Magazine article. Another article from MR inspired me to move all electrical and most mechanical hardware to the area just behind the fascia. This will let me continue to enjoy the railroad indefinitely, even from a wheelchair, should that ever become necessary.

Therefore my advice is, "Plan ahead for the long term." Model railroads take years to build. It would be great to be able to take all that hard work with you if you move again (American average is 11 moves per lifetime) and to be able to enjoy the "fruit of your labor" even in your senior years. (Don't laugh! They come up to bite you faster than you think! :smilie_auslachen:)

Regards;

Traction Fan :smilie_daumenpos:

Cape Ripiculous peninsula end view.jpg

Garrison creek trestle good view.JPG

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

Cedar Falls motors & linkages.JPG
 

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Hey traction!

Ok, I'm going to try and remember everything you spoke on(ugh, tapatalk)..

Anyhew, well, I'm going to"try" and take the current layout with me, but as we know, the chances of not damaging delicate things like the wiring, and all the things like grass, etc.. Well, I'm not holding any hopes at all honestly, thus why I'm saying a "new" layout. I've already thought about the possible expansion "arms" I could add to the "L" that I already have.

Honestly, the yard, I built it with modular in mind. It's 2'x3', and only has, both a single track lead to it, and a single wire lead to everything. It's also connected/ disconnected by a single XT60 connector.

It's just the main 8'x4' that im worried about. But, my thought is, worst case scenario, I can use the board, to basically, and probably cut it in half lengthwise, creating 2 2'x8' to base the new layout around.

And yes, I am for sure thinking about the future with any and all things from now on that I do to any platform that I have. Im taking in all the suggestions, add far as the connectors mentioned, all of your suggestions, definitely the IDE like cables and fascia interface/ versus under the table terminals, e.t.c, and more. All excellent and great stuff! And I thank you all for the thoughts and shares...

You all have given me a ton to think about as usual, and I hope I addressed everything.. Keep it coming if you or anyone else can think of anything(no matter how small). And no, for sure not laughing at age. That's grave, and it's funny how over 40 has passed so quickly..

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Sounds good

Hey traction!

Ok, I'm going to try and remember everything you spoke on(ugh, tapatalk)..

Anyhew, well, I'm going to"try" and take the current layout with me, but as we know, the chances of not damaging delicate things like the wiring, and all the things like grass, etc.. Well, I'm not holding any hopes at all honestly, that's why I'm saying a "new" layout. I've already thought about the possible expansion "arms" I could add to the "L" that I already have.

Honestly, the yard, I built it with modular in mind. It's 2'x3', and only has, both a single track lead to it, and a single wire lead to everything. It's also connected/ disconnected by a single XT60 connector.

It's just the main 8'x4' that im worried about. But, my thought is, worst case scenario, I can use the board, to basically, and probably cut it in half lengthwise, creating 2 2'x8' to base the new layout around.

And yes, I am for sure thinking about the future with any and all things from now on that I do to any platform that I have. Im taking in all the suggestions, add far as the connectors mentioned, all of your suggestions, definitely the IDEAS like cables and fascia interface/ versus under the table terminals, e.t.c, and more. All excellent and great stuff! And I thank you all for the thoughts and shares...

You all have given me a ton to think about as usual, and I hope I addressed everything.. Keep it coming if you or anyone else can think of anything(no matter how small). And no, for sure not laughing at age. That's grave, and it's funny how over 40 has passed so quickly..

Sent from my Note 10+ using Tapatalk


MatroxD;

I'm always glad to hear that my posts, pdf files, & responses have helped someone. That's exactly what they're for. ;)

It sounds like you have things figured out pretty well.

You might look at that 4' x 8' main section from both the top, and bottom. Consider what track, and other difficult-to-move items, are on top, and what wiring, switch machines, etc. are underneath.
Then think about the possibility of dividing the 4'x8' into four 2'x4' sections sometime before your upcoming household moving adventure. :laugh:
The smaller sections will not only be easier to move, (without bashing into door frames, the walls around corners, etc.the way 8' long ones would.) They will also be more adaptable to a different size/shape space when you have moved. One more benefit of the shorter sections is that they will fit on a table, or workbench, so you can make any repairs, or modifications, in comfort. Until someone has done it both ways, it's hard to appreciate just how much incredibly easier it is to wire, and mount switch machines, with the section upside down on a table, and you seated in a chair. Once you have tried it, I doubt you'll ever want to go back to crawling under the layout, and working above your head. That way really is a lot harder! It's just the only way most model railroaders have ever done it, so they accept it.

If you were to make the cuts along the 2'x4' lines, what, if anything, would be destroyed/ seriously damaged? Would it be better to cut in different spots? Remember to think in terms of random-sized sections, rather than true modules, which are rigidly regulated sizes designed to mate with modules made by other people.
Sections can be whatever size and shape you choose, so plan your cutting in whatever places make the most sense to you. Once you have your cut locations picked out, and marked on the bottom, think about building some 1"x3" frames to support each section, and the electrical connections that will be needed at each boundary between sections. You don't have to actually build the frames, or wire any connectors just yet.

Unless you have picked out the exact location of your railroad in the new house, and been granted a "building permit" by the "domestic authority" :rolleyes: (wife) You don't really know what size and shape your "new"/old layout will have to take when you are in your new house.
My layout changed shape, and size, pretty drastically when we moved from a 2 bedroom condo into a 3 bedroom single-family home with an attached garage. Fortunately it was an increase in available space, but my "standard" 4'x16"x16" sections fit just fine, and I was able to build additional sections to fit the space, and the concept of the railroad. Hopefully you will have a similar positive change when you move.

The files below were written for new modelers planning a first layout. I know you're not new, and this may not be your first layout, but you did ask for any info. Section 3&4 of "How to build a better first layout" has some sketches showing how some 4' x 18" sections can be arranged into a layout to fit a small spare room. Those may help, if you wind up using a somewhat similar space.

I may also have already sent these to you. If so, just write it off to my senility and ignore them. :eek:

Good Luck & (I normally add "Have fun!" here, but you are moving! :eek: Perhaps "My condolences" would be more appropriate! :rolleyes:)

Traction Fan :smilie_daumenpos:

View attachment WHERE DO I START rev 4.pdf

View attachment 1 How to build a better first layout.pdf

View attachment 2 How to build a better first layout.pdf

View attachment 3 & 4 How to build a better first layout.pdf

View attachment 5 How to build a better first layout.pdf

View attachment 6 How to build a better first layout.pdf

View attachment All AboutTurnouts rev 4.pdf

View attachment MODEL RAILROADING ON A BUDGET.pdf

View attachment Model Railroad Terminology 3.pdf
 

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Hi Reaction! Whew! You're like me with posts.. But an excellent thing inn my opinion..

Hmmmnnn. That cutting the layout, and all that you mentioned, it has me thinking. I will have to honestly look at it, maybe tomorrow and see where I could possibly do that. It makes much sense honestly.. And im sure it would be easier(I have this mad, bald head scientist image of myself as Dr Gero, working away in the dark), in sections..

And ha! Im lucky that "general" has pretty much said that the basement is mine for all the hobby stuff when iyer commutes to the layout and my tank/ system. Though I may not set up the tank immediately(like in the first year honestly). I'm having to much fun with the RC models once again, and the train. Never, ever expected that combination.

I really am tossing around in my head about cutting it apart now.. lol! Thanks! The general will not be pleased with you my friend.. Nonetheless, it's a great idea!

And your files, they showed little broken squares. Im sure it's crappy Tapatalk. I will PM you with my email, and you can send them there. And thanks!

I hope I touched on everything... I need to go smoke and think on these things. Or maybe in the morning. Like you said, we're don't have anything concrete at all yet, just trying to think well in the future, to not have to last minute mechanical things...

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Who is "Reaction?"

Hi Reaction! Whew! You're like me with posts.. But an excellent thing inn my opinion..

Hmmmnnn. That cutting the layout, and all that you mentioned, it has me thinking. I will have to honestly look at it, maybe tomorrow and see where I could possibly do that. It makes much sense honestly.. And I'm sure it would be easier(I have this mad, bald head scientist image of myself as Dr Gero, working away in the dark), in sections..

And ha! Im lucky that "general" has pretty much said that the basement is mine for all the hobby stuff when iyer commutes to the layout and my tank/ system. Though I may not set up the tank immediately(like in the first year honestly). I'm having to much fun with the RC models once again, and the train. Never, ever expected that combination.

I really am tossing around in my head about cutting it apart now.. lol! Thanks! The general will not be pleased with you my friend.. Nonetheless, it's a great idea!

And your files, they showed little broken squares. Im sure it's crappy Tapatalk. I will PM you with my email, and you can send them there. And thanks!

I hope I touched on everything... I need to go smoke and think on these things. Or maybe in the morning. Like you said, we're don't have anything concrete at all yet, just trying to think well in the future, to not have to last minute mechanical things...

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MaytroxD;

Who is "Reaction?" My screen name is "Traction Fan," not "Reaction." Maybe "Reaction" is one of those strange critters that inhabit the magical land of autocorrect?
I don't understand why your wife would be upset about the notion of you cutting your layout into sections. Did she help build it, or doesn't want the mess generated by cutting, or what?
I guess after 38 years of marriage, I should know that wives can be upset, even when there is no apparent reason. At least not one apparent to us ignorant males! :smilie_auslachen: In any case I'm sorry if I got you into domestic trouble.

Perhaps you might consider buying a real computer to use on this forum, and for whatever else you want to. You don't seem to be very happy with Tapatalk.:mad:

Let's see, a "basement." This long-term Californian is jealous of the notion of having a basement! :( We don't have such things out here in sunny California. On the other hand, we don't have blizzards, "polar vortexes," or driveways & sidewalks in need of shoveling, either. Just the usual earthquakes, mudslides and huge brush fires. You know, normal stuff.

Traction Fan :smilie_daumenpos:
 

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Ha ha! Yes iit was a typo.. You'd think with an 1100.00 phone the keyboard would work 100%.. But I digress..

And oh, I didn't get in trouble yet. I was speaking of the mess it would make and if I didn't clean it up good. That's the only reason she'd be angry with me. She's great about the hobby stuff. I have 5 planes(40" average wingspan on the smallest 2, about 60" on the other two, and my froakie is 25" wingspan), 4 helicopters, with on a 700 class(if I put it on its tail, its about 5 feet tall), I think I have 6 drones that range in size, 1 RC car, the layout, my 220 gallon saltwater system in the basement(180 display tank with 75 gallon sump, and 40 gallon lagoon tub), and my 3d printer. She doesn't complain about all that stuff..

And I have computers for sure( I'm an IT guy), a desktop that I built, 2 laptops, chromebook, and about 10 raspberry pi around the house. It's not that I don't have machines. It's just easier to use tapatalk on my phone honestly.

AMD yeah, it's 6 of one/ half a dozen with location of ones homestead. Always positives and negatives..

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