Feeders and Turnouts

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#1
I am starting to build a 2 X 8 section to add onto my current 4 X 8. The 2 X 8 will be a yard. I used Atlas remote turnouts #540 and #541 on the 4 X 8. I have some extra of these Atlas remote turnouts for the 2 X 8. I plan on staying with the #540s and #541s but not the remote type. I plan on using Caboose ground throws instead of wiring the remote turnouts. I use NCE DCC. My question concerns feeder wires and turnouts. For the yard on the 2 X 8 I am plan to use a "Ladder" type turnout configuration on both ends of the yard. In one series of the Ladder type configuration I have four turnouts in a row. Should I place feeder wires (Atlas rail joiner type) between the turnouts? I plan on having feeders on each of the tracks that are attached to the turnouts. Just wondering if those will be enough to supply sufficient power as the locomotive moves through the ladder of turnouts.
 
#2
That's a good question. I personally wouldn't bother doing that unless the turnouts in question don't route power. Or it's a particularly long bit of track and you're seeing voltage or signal drop by the end. If you don't do it, then you aren't going to be in the position where the train derails itself going over a turnout that's directing to the other spur.

I'd check those turnouts, Atlas ones aren't supposed to route power, but mine do. I'd take a multimeter to them and see if they're passing the power to the side that's being directed to. If not, then you have the option of setting them up to route power manually.

I have no idea whether or not having these powered if you're not using the train is going to do any damage over the long term, but it seems like even in the best case scenario, it's a waste of power and wiring.

I'm not sure what scale you're working in, but I've been doing N scale and it's a pain to solder directly to the track without messing up the rails. I've gone so far as to just proactively remove and replace them. But, I have been informed that you can sometimes get away with moving the ties out of the way while soldering to make it easier. For sidings, you can also sometimes just solder at the very end where there's a bit of space.

Hope that helps.
 
#3
I appreciate the reply Frank. I am using HO. I understand what you mean about the Atlas turnouts not supposed to route power but in fact, they do. I found that out when I built the original 4 X 8 part of my layout. However, to be on the safe side I put feeder wires on each section of track coming off of the turnouts. You are right, it was a probably a waste of power and wiring. Santa brought me a track voltage meter (the one you set on the rails with the red, yellow, and green lights). I could use that on each turnout as I lay it in the ladder. Thanks again.
 
#4
I appreciate the reply Frank. I am using HO. I understand what you mean about the Atlas turnouts not supposed to route power but in fact, they do. I found that out when I built the original 4 X 8 part of my layout. However, to be on the safe side I put feeder wires on each section of track coming off of the turnouts. You are right, it was a probably a waste of power and wiring. Santa brought me a track voltage meter (the one you set on the rails with the red, yellow, and green lights). I could use that on each turnout as I lay it in the ladder. Thanks again.
The references I've found for these turnouts suggest manually wiring them to route power past the frog. I should really take a look at my old HO set up, because I don't recall having had to wire that specially. But, then again, I probably wired a lot more than I needed to as I didn't have the internet to tell me other wise.

I think the main downside to wiring them specially is that would then have a harder time installing an indicator LED for when a train is taking a particular path. I'm probably going to do that with my layout because I have a ton of turnouts and it's going to be a real pain determining which way the train is going to go when it hits a given turnout.

Then again, wire is relatively cheap and doing this sort of thing before going to the trouble of doing things like ballasting the track is a lot easier.
 

Iron Horseman

Well-Known Member
#5
I am starting to build a 2 X 8 section to add onto my current 4 X 8. The 2 X 8 will be a yard. I used Atlas remote turnouts #540 and #541 on the 4 X 8. I have some extra of these Atlas remote turnouts for the 2 X 8. I plan on staying with the #540s and #541s but not the remote type. I plan on using Caboose ground throws instead of wiring the remote turnouts. I use NCE DCC. My question concerns feeder wires and turnouts. For the yard on the 2 X 8 I am plan to use a "Ladder" type turnout configuration on both ends of the yard. In one series of the Ladder type configuration I have four turnouts in a row. Should I place feeder wires (Atlas rail joiner type) between the turnouts? I plan on having feeders on each of the tracks that are attached to the turnouts. Just wondering if those will be enough to supply sufficient power as the locomotive moves through the ladder of turnouts.
Way way way more than enough. If it were mine I would put one set of feeders at the point end of the first turnout in the ladder and be done. There are only two instances I would power all the ladder tracks. First would be if it was a locomotive service yard and I expected there to be 10s of locos just sitting there sucking power. Second would be if the yard tracks were longer than 10 feet long.
 

Iron Horseman

Well-Known Member
#6
I think the main downside to wiring them specially is that would then have a harder time installing an indicator LED for when a train is taking a particular path. I'm probably going to do that with my layout because I have a ton of turnouts and it's going to be a real pain determining which way the train is going to go when it hits a given turnout.
That should be done from the turnout controller not the track. In fact, I don't even think you can do that from the track with the type of turnouts you are using.
 
#7
That should be done from the turnout controller not the track. In fact, I don't even think you can do that from the track with the type of turnouts you are using.
Well, the diagram I saw had that being don on the siding side of the turnout, I'm not an expert on that so I'm really not sure if that really works. But, if you're doing manual throw turnouts, then I'm not sure where else you would wire that in.
 
#8
I appreciate the advice Iron. I do not think that I will be having that many locos and the yard tracks will not be that long. I had not thought about installing indicator LEDs Frank. That would definitely add to the operation of the layout. That is something that I will consider in the future.
 
#9
I appreciate the advice Iron. I do not think that I will be having that many locos and the yard tracks will not be that long. I had not thought about installing indicator LEDs Frank. That would definitely add to the operation of the layout. That is something that I will consider in the future.
I recommend doing some research if you want LEDs to indicate turnout positioning. It appears that the way these switches work, one of the rails will have the wrong polarity when switched in the other direction, that would require some additional electronics. I think a diode + resister + the LED might work, but I'm far from an expert on the matter.

It's not normally an issue as without a train or something on the tracks, there's no circuit at all, but when you add a train or you add something like an LED, you can wind up with problems if you don't carefully design it.

From what I can tell, most layouts that do that use the switch machine to handle the signalling information. It might be easier to just create a moving sign to point the right path.
 
#10
PrairieKnight…..looks like the turnout power wiring you have covered, I have some info on turnout indicators. All of my turnouts are manually operated. I don't have the yard switches on LED's as any power operating there is at restricted speed. I do have the LED's on the main line turnouts, as I wanted to be able to see how they are lined at a quick glance. Green for through routing, yellow to take the siding. The LED's I used have a resister in them, ready to go.
IMG_2193.JPG

IMG_2186.JPG

The turnouts are powered from the turnout switch, so the leads for the LED's are wired to the frog, through rail & turnout rail.
 
#11
Frank and Iron,
I am going to wait a while before attempting to wire in LEDs on my turnouts. My wiring and electrical skills are no where near the level of you two gentlemen. However, thanks to the suggestions, advice, and pictures from both of you I can refer to this thread when I attempt to install them. Thanks again, I truly appreciate it.
 
#12
Frank and Iron,
I am going to wait a while before attempting to wire in LEDs on my turnouts. My wiring and electrical skills are no where near the level of you two gentlemen. However, thanks to the suggestions, advice, and pictures from both of you I can refer to this thread when I attempt to install them. Thanks again, I truly appreciate it.
To be fair, you're overestimating my skill and probably somewhat overestimating the skill involved here. DC circuits are relatively easy to design for things like this. The necessary components are relatively simple to understand. Unlike AC circuits or ones with inductors. If you glue the track in place with like Elmer's glue or something that's water soluble and put off ballasting, this kind of thing is relatively easy to retrofit later on.

My personal plan is to put off some of the wiring until later as I want to have a functioning layout that I can enjoy and that operates properly, before I mess around with things like that which make it harder to move track.

There's several features that I'd like to incorporate, block detection, autobraking and turnout signal lights. But, that has to come after I've got the rest of it functioning properly.
 

Iron Horseman

Well-Known Member
#13
I could not find the post I wanted on this topic nor the image, because it was post 3357 on another forum.. And at that time the image was copy righted by Railroad Modeler magazine because I had submitted it as part of an article on the same.

But as you can see from the diagram below, it requires hot frog turnouts to work. I think some caboose ground throws have contact points in them that could be used instead.

But here is the circuit diagram (also not mine but more easily network mine-able).


And here is a thread on this forum (also not mine) covering the same topic:
http://www.modelrailroadforums.com/forum/index.php?threads/led-wiring.16665/
 
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#14
I could not find the post I wanted on this topic nor the image, because it was post 3357 on another forum.. And at that time the image was copy righted by Railroad Modeler magazine because I had submitted it as part of an article on the same. But as you can see, it requires hot frog turnouts to work. I think some caboose ground throws have contact points in them that could be used instead.

But here is the circuit diagram (also not mine but more easily network mine-able).

SNIP

And here is a thread on this forum (also not mine) covering the same topic:
http://www.modelrailroadforums.com/forum/index.php?threads/led-wiring.16665/
If I understand the diagram, that's more or less what I came up with. Rails A and B are the outside rails coming into the split and you're using the reversing polarity of the center 2 rails to divert the power from one LED to the other.

A 1.8mm LED would even fit in the track path, if you don't mind losing a bit of realism and needing to keep that little spot clear of ballast.
 

Iron Horseman

Well-Known Member
#15
If I understand the diagram, that's more or less what I came up with. Rails A and B are the outside rails coming into the split and you're using the reversing polarity of the center 2 rails to divert the power from one LED to the other.
Yes, and note while this was originally designed for a dwarf signal protecting a turnout, that wire to the frog could be as long as needed. The two rails could just as easily be the two wires of the bus, so these LEDs could be in a control panel.
 





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