I'm planning to have a 12 guage stranded wire bus for my 15 x 20 oval but have two questions about feeder wires. I have some 18 guage speaker wire that I'd like to use but is there a problem in the fact that the two wires are of different materials? I have a DCC system
Also, how far apart should I place feeder wires on my loop?
"Speaker wire" is just ordinary stranded wire, nothing special about it except for the packaging. 18 Ga is OK for feeders from bus to rail, in fact it's heavier than it needs to be, but since you have it, use it.
Make the rails continuous by soldering the railjoiners, except for electrical gaps, and the occasional expansion gap. Solder feeders every
6 to 10 ft.
A couple of inches is enough separation for the bus wires.
No. (Different materials? Copper and what? You can't solder aluminum... even if you could find it any more. And wire that LOOKS 'silver' is probably just tinned...) You're soldering it to nickel silver, anyway. (Or SHOULD be... don't use brass track!)
Good move! ;)
Every piece of track should have at least one set of feeders for best results, even if the joints are soldered. Some folks insist on two sets, one near each end. If you solder your rail joints, that's probably overkill in most cases, though for long lengths of flex track it's not unreasonable. Yeah, I did a 7x9 foot N scale layout with a single feed, and it worked... but I'm still putting in more feeders on my next layout.
You _don't_ need to use 18 gauge for feeders. 20 or even 22 is fine, especially if you keep them short (12" or less). Remember, _one_ of the reasons for using multiple feeders is so that no _single_ set of feeders ever carries the entire load.
I have a very large HO layout (24 x 46). I am using 14 gauge stranded for my bus which has a run as long as 150'. I use 22 gauge wires, about 4" long and then 14 gauge to tie into the bus. I use suitcase connectors to join the 14 gauge wires. I solder all my rail joiners and have a few expansion joints around the layout. Expansion and contraction shouldn't be a problem if your space is air conditioned/heated all year. I use feeder wires about every 10 feet because that is how long my blocks are in length. Yes, I am using DCC but "blocks" refer to signal blocks.
Thank you for the information... especally about the different colors but now I have to ask what is a "suitcase connector". I don't think I've heard that term and if they eliminate the need for soldering I want to know about them.
Suitcase connectors are also called insulation disruption connectors or idc. You slip the connector over the bus wire, place the wire you wish to connect in the hole on the other side of the connector, squeeze the metal tab flush with a pair of pliers and you have a perfect solderless connection that is very reliable. You can find them in boxes of 25 for about $2.79 at Home depot. You may get them a bit cheaper at bulk prices (minimum 100 pieces) at an electrical supply house. I use the
I'm assuming that the speaker wire is just tinned copper wire although there is stranded aluminum wire in that size. Tinned wire is just wire that has been solder applied to the surface so that it solders easier. My prefered method for putting feeders on is to get some telephone wire (26ga solid wire) and put oine end of the telephone wire into some 16 or so stranded wire and solder it in place. Drill a hole suitable for the 16ga wire most of the way through the roadbed and then finish up the hole wit a samller drill suitable for the 26 ga wire. The wiere comes up through the last part of the roadbed and to the rail where it lays over the base of the rail and runs along the rail for about 1/8" where it is soldered. Anothe is to run it under the rail but you don't get to inspect the joint there.
-- Why do penguins walk so far to get to their nesting grounds?
I have not seen an idc for connecting wires that differ greatly in gauge such as a 22 connected to a 14. You can connect a 14 to an 18 so a two size difference in guages seem to work. You could bend a 22 gauge and insert a double 22 gauge into a 14 gauge connector. I am not sure it that would work. Try it and check with a meter.
No, there's no crimp-on connector (that's what we're talking about here) to connect wires with sizes so different. But there's a much simpler solution: some smart guy invented something called the "wire nut". You know those little things you twist onto two or more wires to connect them? Just get the right size nut for the larger wire size and wrap the smaller one around it.
Also, no need to use a meter: just see if the wires can be pulled apart easily. If they can't, you've got a good connection.