Author Topic: Bus wire question  (Read 819 times)

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PiperguyUMD

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Bus wire question
« on: February 07, 2014, 10:16:54 AM »
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Hello all,

I've just come into a large spool of speaker wire.  It is 18 awg stranded copper wire.  Can I use this for my bus wire?  Does anyone foresee any problems?

Thanks!

trainforfun

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Re: Bus wire question
« Reply #1 on: February 07, 2014, 11:04:53 AM »
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I think it should be bigger than that , also depending of the distance you have to cover .
I used # 12 solid copper ( skinned house wire ) that I tacked under the work bench with enough separation to prevent short . A lot easier to connect the tracks just above .
Thanks ,
Louis



conrail98

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Re: Bus wire question
« Reply #2 on: February 07, 2014, 11:09:17 AM »
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14 or 12 is most common with N scale. 18 would probably be overkill for the feeders. I have seen people do 18 to splits to 22 for the feeders, i.e., one 18 feeds a few 22 gauge feeders,

Phil
- Phil

reinhardtjh

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Re: Bus wire question
« Reply #3 on: February 07, 2014, 11:14:26 AM »
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Depends if your DCC or not.  And the distance you're going.  A DCC bus really should be in the 12ga to 16ga range but 18ga may work for a HCD size layout - especially if you're using a Digitrax Zephyr or the entry level NCE unit.  Either only goes to 2.5 or 3 amps so the smaller gauge wire might be okay for short distances.  A more powerful 5a command station is probably not a good idea.

Alan Gartner's "Wiring for DCC" site is always a good place to check  http://www.wiringfordcc.com/track_2.htm#a26

If you're using DC then 18ga wire is probably okay even for longer runs.  The reason is you only have the current draw for the running train flowing through the bus.  Even with double or triple headed N scale engines that's likely to be less than an amp.  At lower currents the voltage loss is less and with DC all one usually does is turn up the rheostat (or speed control) anyway.
John H. Reinhardt
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PiperguyUMD

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Re: Bus wire question
« Reply #4 on: February 07, 2014, 11:16:10 AM »
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I'm an n scaler, and I'm using DCC. My layout is basically an HCD.  Just thought I'd check because it was free!!   Thanks!

reinhardtjh

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Re: Bus wire question
« Reply #5 on: February 07, 2014, 11:26:10 AM »
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As Phil said, 18ga is overkill for the feeders attached to the track.  You'll probably want either 22ga or 24ga solid wire for that. In two colors - white/black white/red or red/black which you then tie to the 18ga bus.  If you use some sort of terminal block you can always replace the 18ga with 16ga if you find out you fail the "quarter test" and need a heavier bus wire.  Or if you solder, just snip the feeder off at the joint and re-wire.  For free it might be worthwhile to try.  Although for a HCD the few feet of 16ga wire won't be too pricy anyway.
John H. Reinhardt
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C&O HS #11530
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C855B

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Re: Bus wire question
« Reply #6 on: February 07, 2014, 11:38:41 AM »
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As Phil said, 18ga is overkill for the feeders attached to the track. ...

#18 stranded directly to the rails is not so much overkill as it is mechanically awkward, and ugly. But agreed, #24 solid is my go-to for feeders.

#18 for a bus on a small layout is fine, DC or DCC. But I wouldn't exceed ~20 ft. per contiguous run.
...mike

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We don't make mistakes, we have happy accidents. We just don't tell anybody. -Bob Ross

mmyers

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Re: Bus wire question
« Reply #7 on: February 08, 2014, 11:07:56 PM »
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18 ga should be okay for a hollow core door layout. Longest run should be no more than 80 inches. Go for it. I use 18 ga solid for my feeders.

Martin Myers

conrail98

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Re: Bus wire question
« Reply #8 on: February 09, 2014, 12:24:12 AM »
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As John gave a link to, Alan Gartner's site is pretty much what everyone I've talked to locally about my DCC needs points me to,

Phil
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