Author Topic: Is 1/2 inch telephone line too small?  (Read 3567 times)

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rochsub

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Is 1/2 inch telephone line too small?
« on: September 07, 2013, 06:48:03 PM »
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I added some telephone poles to the layout complete with telephone line.  I use .003" EZ line from Berkshire Junction which scales out to 1/2 inch on the prototype.  The lines are so small its difficult to see.  Should I move up to .006" to scale out to 1" wire or stay with .003"  Any telephone linemen out there who know if the lines are a full 1" thick or is 1/2" more typical?

See if you can spot the lines in the photos below.



« Last Edit: September 07, 2013, 06:50:28 PM by rochsub »

C855B

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Re: Is 1/2 inch telephone line too small?
« Reply #1 on: September 07, 2013, 09:09:02 PM »
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Telephone line, Daryl? What I see are power distribution lines. :ashat:

Anyway... stay with the .003". Distribution wires are typically in the 1/4"-3/8" range.
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kornellred

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Re: Is 1/2 inch telephone line too small?
« Reply #2 on: September 07, 2013, 10:04:41 PM »
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The lines on the poles closest to the backdrop scenery in the second photo down are clearly visible, and they look very realistic, no matter what purpose they depict (communication or power).  This leads me to speculate that the lack of visibility of the lines in closer proximity to the camera lens is a simple matter of contrast.

Perhaps just the tiniest dusting of the EZ line with a dark colored chalk would enhance visibility?

ljudice

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Re: Is 1/2 inch telephone line too small?
« Reply #3 on: September 07, 2013, 10:05:42 PM »
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Your layout looks fantastic as always, but did you consider putting in fiber cable markers or some microwave towers and not bother with pole lines?

- Lou


rochsub

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Re: Is 1/2 inch telephone line too small?
« Reply #4 on: September 07, 2013, 10:09:53 PM »
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Telephone line, Daryl? What I see are power distribution lines. :ashat:

Anyway... stay with the .003". Distribution wires are typically in the 1/4"-3/8" range.

hey, what do I know. I guess they should be called power distribution poles.

thanks for the info.  I'll stay with the .003

nkalanaga

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Re: Is 1/2 inch telephone line too small?
« Reply #5 on: September 08, 2013, 02:00:29 AM »
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MILW's overhead used 0000 wire, about half inch.  It could handle the load of one of their trains, although they used two contact wires for more current.  Maximum available current on the MILW was 4000 amps, which means that a single wire had to be able to handle at least 2000.  Many yard and some siding tracks had only a single wire, but those were probably areas where the motors were unlikely to be drawing their full load.

I'll assume Mike knows more about distribution lines than I do, but half inch should be able to handle at least a light industrial load.

N Kalanaga
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peteski

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Re: Is 1/2 inch telephone line too small?
« Reply #6 on: September 08, 2013, 03:30:19 AM »
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I think that the queston here was not about the :1 scale lines and their capabilities but rather what looks right on an N scale model layout. Sometimes (very seldom) slightly oversize details actually look better than properly scaled ones (which might be difficult to see).  The color of the simulated wire can also make a difference.  Some wires have copper patina on them (whitish green), some weather to dark brown. Aluminum wire probably appears to be light gray (or darker if it is subjected to heavy pollution).
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rochsub

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Re: Is 1/2 inch telephone line too small?
« Reply #7 on: September 08, 2013, 07:33:21 AM »
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Your layout looks fantastic as always, but did you consider putting in fiber cable markers or some microwave towers and not bother with pole lines?

- Lou

Good idea, but here's a photo of the prototype Proviso Yard.


I'll need even more poles and lines if I want to be completely accurate.  I don't think I will though due to operators needing to couple and uncouple lots of cars during a typical operating session. 

Daryl

MichaelWinicki

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Re: Is 1/2 inch telephone line too small?
« Reply #8 on: September 08, 2013, 08:22:02 AM »
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I used the thin line in this scene.  I have some of the heavy line too, but it would have made the lines too noticeable...


rochsub

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Re: Is 1/2 inch telephone line too small?
« Reply #9 on: September 08, 2013, 12:34:28 PM »
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I used the thin line in this scene.  I have some of the heavy line too, but it would have made the lines too noticeable...


very nice.  How many wires? More wires probably means more visibility. Mine only have four.

Loren Perry

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Re: Is 1/2 inch telephone line too small?
« Reply #10 on: September 08, 2013, 12:48:16 PM »
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Absolutely "zero" complaints from me. The scene looks amazingly realistic. I think your power lines have exactly the right effect - just enough to fill in that subconscious awareness of "what's right" but not so much as to attract too much attention. Very well done.

BTW, the only thing in this otherwise spectacularly convincing scene that gives it away (other than the glimpse of the fascia at the edge) is that long wobbly gray structure in the back. Is that one of your future subjects for refinement?

That aside, this a some exceptionally fine scale modeling.
« Last Edit: September 08, 2013, 12:53:09 PM by Loren Perry »

C855B

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Re: Is 1/2 inch telephone line too small?
« Reply #11 on: September 08, 2013, 01:09:44 PM »
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Michael is modeling telephone/telegraph/signal wires. (Very) basic rule of thumb - lots o' exceptions - single cross-arm on a tall pole with 2, 3 or 4 insulators is power distribution, multiple cross-arms on a shorter pole is some manner of communication application.

Modeling era is going to dictate your choices. Daryl, IIRC, you're doing "modern". Pole-mounted wires for communications or signalling are pretty much gone, and those you may find are of the category, "not replaced yet but will be soon" or "too expensive to dig here right now". (Riding the Southwest Chief earlier this year, I chuckled at the intact poles through Raton Pass, that BNSF is obviously doing everything they can to not spend money on improvements there.)

The scads of overhead wire in your picture of Proviso is all power distribution. The poles with cross-arms are (likely) utility owned 13KV lines, and with three wires are either split single phase, or three-phase delta. The poles without cross-arms are "local", customer-side (RR-owned) hookups, probably all 120/240V split phase. Four wires as you have modeled ostensibly represents three-phase "Y" @ 13KV, but that would be a utility-dependent thing. Most utilities use delta configuration (three wires). "Y" configuration is primarily an industrial format, typically 277V on the customer side, where you can pick off any of the legs and get a 120V equivalent circuit to neutral (the center of the "Y"), with all three legs used with heavy motors.

If your eyes haven't glazed over yet, more reading here: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Electric_power_distribution

EDIT: Looking back at the Proviso pic, I see some telephone cables on a few of the "local" distribution poles. Those are going to be lower down on the pole (typically 20' up), and are thicker, up to about 1" in diameter, often with a 1/4" stranded steel messenger for support. They mount to the pole with screws and clamps, no insulators since they're insulated copper cable bundles to begin with.
« Last Edit: September 08, 2013, 01:21:49 PM by C855B »
...mike

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MichaelWinicki

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Re: Is 1/2 inch telephone line too small?
« Reply #12 on: September 08, 2013, 01:20:52 PM »
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Thanks Daryl!

I have 10 lines on those poles.

I would consider mixing up your lines.  Run some poles that use the heavier line to create a contrast.

Scottl

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Re: Is 1/2 inch telephone line too small?
« Reply #13 on: September 08, 2013, 01:30:10 PM »
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I'll second Loren's comments, the subtle effect is important to adding to the overall realism in the scene.  Nice work.

rochsub

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Re: Is 1/2 inch telephone line too small?
« Reply #14 on: September 08, 2013, 04:16:47 PM »
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Michael is modeling telephone/telegraph/signal wires. (Very) basic rule of thumb - lots o' exceptions - single cross-arm on a tall pole with 2, 3 or 4 insulators is power distribution, multiple cross-arms on a shorter pole is some manner of communication application.

Modeling era is going to dictate your choices. Daryl, IIRC, you're doing "modern". Pole-mounted wires for communications or signalling are pretty much gone, and those you may find are of the category, "not replaced yet but will be soon" or "too expensive to dig here right now". (Riding the Southwest Chief earlier this year, I chuckled at the intact poles through Raton Pass, that BNSF is obviously doing everything they can to not spend money on improvements there.)

The scads of overhead wire in your picture of Proviso is all power distribution. The poles with cross-arms are (likely) utility owned 13KV lines, and with three wires are either split single phase, or three-phase delta. The poles without cross-arms are "local", customer-side (RR-owned) hookups, probably all 120/240V split phase. Four wires as you have modeled ostensibly represents three-phase "Y" @ 13KV, but that would be a utility-dependent thing. Most utilities use delta configuration (three wires). "Y" configuration is primarily an industrial format, typically 277V on the customer side, where you can pick off any of the legs and get a 120V equivalent circuit to neutral (the center of the "Y"), with all three legs used with heavy motors.

If your eyes haven't glazed over yet, more reading here: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Electric_power_distribution

EDIT: Looking back at the Proviso pic, I see some telephone cables on a few of the "local" distribution poles. Those are going to be lower down on the pole (typically 20' up), and are thicker, up to about 1" in diameter, often with a 1/4" stranded steel messenger for support. They mount to the pole with screws and clamps, no insulators since they're insulated copper cable bundles to begin with.

Thanks so much for the information.  One bad thing though, my reading through information about the wires led me to find out that the poles are generally 100ft apart.  I have mine spaced 200ft apart.  Now I need to put another pole in between all the existing poles.

Daryl