Saturday 3 December 2011

DCC wiring of HO track

If my memory serves me well - and, frankly, if my memory serves me well, it isn't - wiring up a model railway 50 years ago was a non-issue. One simply clipped a connector to the track and off one went. Even a circuit with points demanded no more than a single connector.

However, even my relatively short DCC circuit is going to require considerable wiring. When one reads the model railway literature, one is frequently re-assured that DCC wiring is actually simpler than wiring for a traditional layout. This is true for large layouts of the type one sees at model railway exhibitions. I don't think it is true for small home layouts. However, I've chosen the DCC route, so hell mend me.

The essence of DCC wiring is getting a constant source of electricity to all parts of the layout. It is not enough to connect the electrical supply to the track at one point and then rely on the rails to carry the current elsewhere. The reasons for that are that the metal in the rails is only a moderately good conductor, connections between sections of track are even poorer and points need to be isolated. (Strikes me that those reasons would apply to non-DCC layouts too  - I'll have to think more about that.)

Anyway, the recommended solution to conductivity problems is to run a powerful pair of cables alongside the track (obviously, underneath the baseboard and out of sight) which carries a constant source of power to all areas of the layout and then take feeder wires from this primary source to the tracks themselves.

In the diagram below, the source cables are in blue and in red. (In the literature, this is referred to as a BUS or power BUS.) The feeder wires are the short,  thin black lines. In the diagram, there is only one set of feeder wires going to each track. In reality, feeder wires will go from the BUS to the track every 75cm so that the power is constant right to the farthest most points of the layout.)

Composers to be investigated more fully: Alexander Scriabin

Over the years I've heard numerous bits and pieces on Radio 3 and read a fair amount about him. (Russian - end of 19th beginning of 20th Century.) Greatly influenced by Chopin's nocturnes and subsequently an experimenter in tonality with mystical aspirations, he should be right up my street - ticks all the boxes, as they. However, something has stopped me short of actually purchasing an album.

Perhaps, I'll ask someone to buy me a Scriabin CD for Christmas. Their choice. But what a nuisance for someone to have to do this when I can simply download whatever I want from iTunes! There must be a moral there.

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