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The Quick & Easy How-To Way
To Wire Model Railroad Feeder Wires

how to wire track feeder wires

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It doesn’t matter if your track has 2 or 3 rails; your model trains are HO scale, OO gauge, O scale, N scale or even huge G scale; your power is DC, AC or DCC, even small sized model railway will operate more reliably when the power is delivered with efficient wiring feeders and busses. All model railroad tracks have joints where the gaps can potentially disrupt the electric current flow. A single rail joint, when securely fastened with a joiner, won’t usually cause a problem voltage drop.

However, multiple track joints can have a cumulative effect that can cause a train to stall or slow down the further it gets from your power supply. If the rail joiners are not secure or the gaps are too large, the problem can really start to affect the smooth running of trains.





scale railway models

To avoid this problem its best not to totally rely on the rails capacity to carry the power supply to distance sections of track. A bus wire on each rail can be run underneath the track to efficiently carry the current. Smaller feeder wires can connect the bus to the rails positioned at regular intervals.

Wire for model railroads comes in a variety of sizes and gauges. A smaller gauge number indicates a larger wire diameter. Wire is also available in stranded or solid types. Thicker wires can supply more current flow; however they are more costly and less flexible when it comes to bending and soldering.

underneather track feeder wires

In an ideal world you might have a feeder on every track section on your model railroad. However, in reality this isn’t usually practical. Many DCC manufacturers suggest installing a feeder wire every 6 ft to 12 ft. By soldering your rail joints, you can usually decrease the number of feeders that are necessary.

In difficult-to-reach areas, more feeder wires could be a sensible idea. Installing several feeders and soldering the joints will generally mean you’ll have power even when a joint fails or a wire breaks.

Don’t cut the wire from the spool until your soldering is finished. It’s best to determine the correct length before cutting it. Solid core wire is really good, compared to stranded wire. And use resin core flux. You can bend the wire at a 90 degree angle just before soldering.

Scotch-Loc Connectors seen in this video are a good suggestion. They are available from RADIO SHACK and the usual electronic stores. 

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