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Old 08-18-2012, 09:48 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Default Power connections to the rails

What is the preferred method of connecting a DC power supply to the rails? On eBay, I'm seeing what look like those split jaw clamps with wires attached being sold for this purpose. I'm using USAT track and Piko turnouts so far, along with a USAT 10 amp supply. At what interval should power be supplied to the rails, too? Thanks.
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Old 08-18-2012, 11:06 AM   #2 (permalink)
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Default RE: Power connections to the rails

I have used the LGB starter set clamps for about five years. No problems until this summer. Changed out to 16 gauge landscape light wire with crimp connectors attached to the screw on a splitjaw clamp. Went to check my old LGB clamp. I had wired it to a terminal block with another wire leading to the PS. Both wires checked good and I found that the terminal block had corroded. I have about three hundred feet of track, six switches with sidings. I use just one feeder, I think the weather in central Oklahoma is good with brass track and wiring. I do have a well drained track area with no standing water problems. I lot of variables will depend on what you will finally need.
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Old 08-18-2012, 11:49 AM   #3 (permalink)
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Default RE: Power connections to the rails

I have 1 pair of soldered feeder wires that supply power to approximately 400 plus feet of brass track. Most of my track has been down for more than a dozen years I solder jumper wires around all joints I use Split-Jaw clamps on any sections of track that may need to be removed for maintenance such as switches and bridges, (I use jumper wires around switches as they are a weak link in conducting electricity) I am very happy with the Split-Jaw clamps, however as good as they are, over the years I have had to remove some of them and clean/remove oxidation to restore conductivity....
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Old 08-18-2012, 02:06 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Default RE: Power connections to the rails

A few weeks back there was another thread with similar questions.

power connections to track

As to the number of leads to the track, it all depends on the length of track and the quality of your rail to rail joins. If you are using rail clamps you may not need any additional feeders. If you are using slip on rail joiners that are not secured to the track with screws you will need more. Start out with the one and then add to the furthest point away from the primary feed if you notice performance problems.

Chuck



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Old 08-18-2012, 06:07 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Default RE: Power connections to the rails

Posted By Dean Whipple on 18 Aug 2012 11:49 AM
I have 1 pair of soldered feeder wires that supply power to approximately 400 plus feet of brass track. Most of my track has been down for more than a dozen years I solder jumper wires around all joints I use Split-Jaw clamps on any sections of track that may need to be removed for maintenance such as switches and bridges, (I use jumper wires around switches as they are a weak link in conducting electricity) I am very happy with the Split-Jaw clamps, however as good as they are, over the years I have had to remove some of them and clean/remove oxidation to restore conductivity....
I have pretty much done what Dean suggests. My track has been down for 8 years or less (the railroad was started 8 years ago but has been expanded since so it is not all 8 years old). I have one pair of soldered feeders and about 500 foot of track. Rail clamps on all turnouts, etc. My railroad is split into two sections (about evenly) and I have two DCC boosters the supply everything. Everything works great 95% of the time. There are always some occasional problems.
Bob
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