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DCC Bus cable

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Brian Byrne
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Hi, My layout is DCC, 40ftx10ft with 5 roads, points are manual, and I have only one power connector!!! Everything works ok sometimes, but I need to fit a bus cable and droppers. I need advise as to the size of wires to use for bus and droppers. All advise greatly appreciated as I am in SW Donegal, where buses are seem on television and the only droppers are from emaciated seagulls or low flying crows!!

 

Brian

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I use 4 core alarm cable for the droppers from the rail, I just strip the red and black out and its cheap to buy just €12, for a 100 mtr roll. For the bus I use .75 control panel flex, a 100 mtr roll is €14. You will need a roll of red and black.

Go to an electrical wholesaler, stay away from B&Q and Woodies their a rip off.

 

Solder every joint and make sure your droppers are no more than 2 mtrs apart.

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As a general rule of thumb, I run a dropper to the centre of each (adjusted) electrofrog point, and to every length of track (normally to each 'standard' 3 foot length of peco flex, but also to shorter pieces).

 

The result tho is spectacular. My little 040 Sentinel can shuffle along over the entire station throat at speed step 1 without a failure.

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From what I've read I think your best bet would be to get some Twin and Earth cable. Strip off the outer covering and use the brown and blue cables as your bus wires. Soldering (as Dave said) is the best option for attaching the droppers, but can also use terminal connector blocks if you don't fancy soldering.

 

It may sound like overkill but here's an interesting thread on RMWeb...

 

http://www.rmweb.co.uk/community/index.php?/topic/81198-hot-box-lvz100-and-complete-shut-downs/

 

It's not strictly about DCC Buses, but the OP was experiencing problems that stemmed from an insufficient number of droppers and also from the main bus wire being not being heavy enough. His layout sounds comparable in size to your own.

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2.5 T&E is overkill, also DCC power shouldn't be sent through a solid core cable as you can get voltage drops. Always use multistrand cable.

 

I wouldn't call it overkill, going by the OP's description his layout will need a bus around 100 feet in length. I know solid core wire isn't recommended for portable layouts due to the risk of movement causing the wire to fail, but it shouldn't matter with a stationary layout.

 

The voltage drop caused by the "skin effect" of AC current shouldn't be an issue. The drop is roughly the same in multi-strand and solid wire of the same gauge.

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thanks for all your advise, I have decided to use 1.5 T@E for droppers, (every 3 ft.) and 2.5 T@E for bus, (solder solder), with 10 zones, each not exceeding 15ft, in a star formation. I have 5 roads,all 40ft long by 10ft wide: up and down mainline, up and down suburban line and a branchline with a sub-branch, a quarry, 7 stations, creamery, 2 goods yards, 2 loco depots and a carriage depot with sidings: controlled by, yes a Hornby Select!!, yes I will need to update it, another day's work.

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thanks for all your advise, I have decided to use 1.5 T@E for droppers, (every 3 ft.) and 2.5 T@E for bus, (solder solder), with 10 zones, each not exceeding 15ft, in a star formation. I have 5 roads,all 40ft long by 10ft wide: up and down mainline, up and down suburban line and a branchline with a sub-branch, a quarry, 7 stations, creamery, 2 goods yards, 2 loco depots and a carriage depot with sidings: controlled by, yes a Hornby Select!!, yes I will need to update it, another day's work.

 

Wow! That's an ambitious project, looking forward to see it develop. Keep us updated!

 

When you say zones, are you talking about splitting the layout into power districts? That would be a good idea with a layout of this size. Also to be honest I wouldn't go with a star formation for the bus, it sounds like more hassle. I'd probably run a ring bus around the main loop.

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Find the comments interesting as I have used T&E as busbars on three exhibition layouts without ill effect. One was a 20' long terminus - fiddle yard, the other two large 0 gauge ovals. Despite being loaded in & out of vans/cars and put up/knocked down at a dozen or more shows, never had problems with loose connections, nor any noticeable power drop. Started off with a Lenz 90 system, but have since moved on to the Prodigy Advance which is SO much more intuitive & easy to use.

Arigna Town on the other hand is a total back to basics - simple Gaugemaster hand-held controller and wire in tube point operation [instead of Tortoises, to cut down depth of baseboards].

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