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What gauge wire do folks use for DCC layouts ?

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Noel
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Noel, for the ignorant among us what do the numbers mean? Gauge, resistance, maximum current?

Yours is a large layout, your main bus should be larger. The larger the drops the less current drop you'll have but probably a size down from the main bus so they're more flexible to work with, easier to solder, and less conspicuous.

  1. Thanks DC. Sounds a good idea to use heavier guage on long runs under the baseboard.
  2. I count myself as also 'ignorant' until it was explained to me recently. I've used the stuff on DC for years not knowing what the numbers are. I've been reliably informed 16/0.2 is 16 strands of 0.2mm wire, or 32 strands of 0.2mm wire.

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Noel, for the ignorant among us what do the numbers mean? Gauge, resistance, maximum current?

Yours is a large layout, your main bus should be larger. The larger the drops the less current drop you'll have but probably a size down from the main bus so they're more flexible to work with, easier to solder, and less conspicuous.

I'm with DC on this & I'll include " BUS" whatever that means, so as I pointed out before on this site short cuts are fine for the informed, but that's not everyone on here,let us in on the lingo please, rant over,

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I use

 

Multicore security cable,2x18awg,PVC152m (the grey cable) – will be used for droppers and connecting accessory decoders to motors, etc.

 

Eco wire 12awg 65/30 red 600V (and black) – will be the main and accessory bus wires (both in rolls from Radionics)

 

Thanks Stephen. I never got my head around converting to AWG. Do you know would the rough equivalent of 32/0.2mm be in AWG?

 

CORRECTION 0.2mm (not 2.0mm)

Edited by Noel
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I'm with DC on this & I'll include " BUS" whatever that means, so as I pointed out before on this site short cuts are fine for the informed, but that's not everyone on here,let us in on the lingo please, rant over,

I don't think that bus is an acronym or abbreviation but basically it refers to the main length of wire running beneath the baseboard that supplies current to the track. There will be two buses usually one red, the live, or right hand rail, and a black or neutral, attached to the left hand rail. Never the twain shall meet except by placing a locomotive or something else that you want to power across the tracks, or wired from them such as turnout motors, etc! The droppers refer to the smaller wires that attach from the main bus wires to each individual piece of rail. You would want to attach a dropper from each rail to the main bus because the rails do not conduct electricity all that well nor do the joiners between the rails leading to substantial drops in voltage and current over longer lengths, unless each rail is individually fed from the bus so that all the individual rails are effectively at the correct track voltage that is required for DCC running. Each of the buses will be a larger diameter wire on the droppers because even the buses them selves can have a voltage or current drop along their length if they are long particularly in large layouts.

Edited by DiveController
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I am using lighting circuit wiring stripped out of its grey sheath. You get a blue and a brown which makes life easier. Just checking the details now.

 

The only problem with using solid core copper cable on DCC is that the data being transferred through the cable can break down. The ideal cable for DCC is a twisted pair as this cancels out interference.

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I don't think that bus is an acronym or abbreviation

 

Bus is just a shortening of busbar - a major conductor that other circuits run from. Bus is being used more and more these days and seems to be an American form - if you read Apollo 13, they gone on about the Main Bus frequently, Old World terminology would be Main Busbars, note the singular/plural difference.

 

A busbar can take many physical forms - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Busbar - what is, or isn't, a busbar is dependant on the circuit form that's in use, it can be a bit of a matter of opinion, sometimes...

 

In general, the bigger it is, in cross-sectional area, the better, but the gain is very slight if you go beyond a reasonable size. It's just a matter of knowing what the maximum total current will be and having a suitable cross-sectional area to cope with that. In a static situation, it doesn't matter if it's solid, single core cable or multi-core flex.

 

If you are running high frequency signals down a busbar, then there could be some advantage to using multi-core flex - this is because the 'skin effect' will be reduced, but I would be surprised if it has a significant detrimental effect in a model railway scenario - I would be interested to know if anybody ever finds this to actually be the case.

 

There would, of course, be no harm* in using multi-core, and the extra cost would be marginal, so it might be worth doing anyway, to be on the safe side.

 

* apart from the need to secure it a little bit more often, maybe?

Edited by Broithe
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Careful mixing metric stranding and awg , they are not directly compatible

 

Assuming droppers at 1-2 metres With a power bus close by

 

For droppers I'd suggest 16/02 , OD 1.6. , for the power bus I'd suggest 32/0.25 , OD 3.1m. , round about equivalent awg20 , and 14 respectively . This would be for a typical modern motors based locos.

 

Note that dcc does not typical have a live and neutral. Both rails are live at AC

 

Little can be gained by twisting the DCC cables. The operating frequency is around 200 kHz

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