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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I'm new to both DCC and these forums and have a question that I hope might be simple but it driving me insane: where do I add my feeders so that all tracks are powered without shorting out?

Here is my layout (thumbnail):
Product Slope Map Rectangle Font

From all the videos I've watched I want to add a power bus so that all my tracks, turnouts, and future lights, etc. can connect to it for both power and control. I'm concentrating on the track first (naturally) and I think I have understood correctly, but could really use some advice from experienced railway modelers.

In the image I posted, I've marked where I think I can add feeders, connecting using suitcase connectors to my power bus. Also, I plan to run my locos mostly clockwise, in case that makes a difference to where red and black wires go.

To cut the question short(er)... am I right, and will this work?
 

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Hi, How big is the layout ?
Your "feeders" look to be ok, as long as you keep the same polarity (red and black) on the same track (inside or outside) consistently around the layout all should be fine.
I say, around the layout, as, if this is a DCC system, I suggest you add several more droppers around the layout to ensure a good electrical and data flow.
Some people like to "feed" every piece of track individually, but in my experience, every couple of feet (60cm) or so is sufficient. Some get by on less without issues, its your call, but I would definitely say do more than one feed point per circuit.
Regards
Alan
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Hi, How big is the layout ?
Your "feeders" look to be ok, as long as you keep the same polarity (red and black) on the same track (inside or outside) consistently around the layout all should be fine.
I say, around the layout, as, if this is a DCC system, I suggest you add several more droppers around the layout to ensure a good electrical and data flow.
Some people like to "feed" every piece of track individually, but in my experience, every couple of feet (60cm) or so is sufficient. Some get by on less without issues, its your call, but I would definitely say do more than one feed point per circuit.
Regards
Alan
Thanks for the feedback. My layout is about 9' x 5' (US measurements <g>). I just added my power bus around the table (1' in from each edge), so maybe I should add 'droppers' with one in the southeast corner, middle at the north side for those two tracks, and again two on the east side tracks? Makes sense, especially given that I just found out my bus need to be a loop, not just wires that don't connect. Still learning!! :)
 

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Thanks for the feedback. My layout is about 9' x 5' (US measurements <g>). I just added my power bus around the table (1' in from each edge), so maybe I should add 'droppers' with one in the southeast corner, middle at the north side for those two tracks, and again two on the east side tracks? Makes sense, especially given that I just found out my bus need to be a loop, not just wires that don't connect. Still learning!! :)
You are certainly not the only one "still learning", fortunately those who post here are very willing to share what they have managed to learn from each other... and maybe a few... err... experiences of their own?

Lots of people seem to think that your Bus round the layout is a first class idea and most like to take the time to add droppers from every / at least most individual pieces of track. It isn't a mega task, particularly if the droppers are soldered to the track before it is laid. {I haven't tried adding droppers after laying the track, but many have. It may be a good idea to see what the options involve, before making that choice.}

Deciding is all part of the fun.
 

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9' x 5' is a small layout, so I would suggest that the guidelines which apply here are not the same as for much larger layouts.
The position of feeders you have chosen is fine, but I would add further feeds on the opposite side of the layout to accommodate for any voltage drop through joints. You really don't have a large enough layout for there to be a voltage drop problem, so I would suggest that soldering wires to every rail in your case, is unnecessary. However, if you plan on painting the sides of rails, paint can leak into fishplates and that is where attaching a connection to every rail can become important. I myself do solder to every rail because my layout is large enough to have voltage drops over distance through rail joints.

As to soldering wires to rails, I have a couples of articles about this here:

Power Feeding with Droppers - Model Railways On-Line
Avoiding Solder Globules on Rails - Model Railways On-Line

As a general comment, I know a lot of people wire after they have laid track, but solder globules on the sides of rails looks truly awful and ruins all realism, so please, solder to rails prior to laying track.

Also, there is nothing wrong with your bus forming a circle, after all, that is what your rails are doing already. The debate about 'rings' relates to the various bus systems used by command station manufacturers for their throttle connections (which can't be put in a ring), not the DCC track bus which you are implementing.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Thank you all for your feedback. I have indeed already laid the track, and my existing soldering iron was, well... quite old. I ordered a new one so I'm hoping my joints will be better going forward. Without locos I see 17.1 volts on each track but with two locos it drops to around 11v. Not great, but it works. I did add another connection from the bus to my furthest track but saw no benefit in the voltage, so clearly I'm still learning.

Next? Smail point controllers. Yikes! That looks complicated.
 

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Something not right there. 17.1 track volts seems high for a OO/HO layout, but what worries me more is that the voltage drops with an extra loco. What DCC system are you using and what power supply voltage do you have?
 

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I missed that - yes, Hoonsou, you are correct. A drop from 17.1V to 11v just with two locos suggests something wrong to me. I have something like 20 locos on my layout at any one time and most are sound fitted. The voltage drop is negligible, but it is running at 5A.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
I'm using the NCE Power Cab "starter set" placed at the bottom of my layout, close to the R/B points in the thumbnail above. My locos are a DCC fitted LNER 8011 and a DCC adapted Flying Scotsman 4472 (if that helps). I did my 'feeders' as per that thumbnail, and another feeder in the top-right and outer track corner. I think I have about 1.5A but not confirmed. Both locos run, I'm just concerned about adding small motors and whether they have enough juice. I can always add more power for lights, etc. later.
 
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