Over the weekend I started something I was supposed to do in May, thankfully I hadn’t completely forgotten everything I was going to do and set about the business of test wiring the power feeds for Oxcroft Junction.
I went back to look at the original wiring diagram I had put together and it still made sense to me… the idea was to have each section of the layout switchable so I could isolate locos in a variety of places.
It consisted of 4 main power feeds and an solo-isolating section in the siding to the left, fairly simple but the wiring diagram still looks complicated as anything and when it actually came to connecting things… well you’ll see the result…
Since I was only test-wiring the layout I had no need to make things look any good, so cables began to appear everywhere as you can see above. I made use of a wiring chock block to handle the main feeds from my small (cheap) Bachmann controller (£25 I believe) which managed to do the job admirably.
The common return are the red cables which all feed into the chock block and back to the controller. The blue cables are the power feeds and this in turn goes onto the switches – I had a combination of [on/off] and [on/off/on] switches that I’d found. In the diagram each power feed has a switch associated to it’s portion of the track – fairly straight forward even though the cables soon got out of hand…
It was all going very well despite the mess – I tested each section as I connected it. Since I was just test fitting everything I did have some trouble with shorts, especially where cables joined the small metal connectors on each of the switches, but these were easily rectified. I would definitely recommend the use of some foam board at this point to hold switches in place, otherwise they can fall all over the place once connected. My ‘test’ control board is seen below. A pencil tip was the right size to pierce the board and a gentle wiggle gave the switch shaft room enough to sit neatly in the foam.
As the wiring progressed I noticed a fault in my original track diagram… On it you might be able to just make out some squiggly lines between the cross overs.. these are in actual fact insulated rail joiners and it turns out I needed these on the other two turnout tracks as well.. so after 30 minutes disassembling the track and replacing these it was back business.
Once this was accomplished the layout ran rather well, albeit with a few shorts and such as cables flew around – I did eventually end up taping sections of them down which I should have thought of LONG before that point. The control panel ended up looking OK and with a bit of TLC could have been used for the final layout however I think I will be making a unit from thin plywood instead.
Conclusion – lots of fun that included lots of head scratching – VERY glad I created a wiring diagram before hand and would definitely recommend that to anyone who is in my situation. Still more work to be done to complete the diagram, in particular I need to add the solo isolating section to the siding on the left (not attached in the picture above) but that should be a simple ish job. Next up – point motors and wiring!