Power Districts/Sections

Discussion in 'How to' started by MalcT, Nov 24, 2019.

  1. MalcT

    MalcT Full Member

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    Hi all,
    Firstly I hope I've posted this in the correct place.
    Need some advice please. As my layout is still in the build stage and before I permanently fix my track and ballast should I consider adding some power districts/sections with circuit protection?
    I use the NCE PowerCab and see that NCE offer a Circuit Protector - CP6 (6 separate districts/section capability)suitable for this.
    If I do go down this route how do I need to modify my track and decide how to split into districts?
    Below is a SCARM copy of my layout - the colour coding is the different track levels.
    LAY007.JPG
    I only have a track bus-wire, no accessory bus, Twenty five sets of points - mainly as crossovers.
    At most I would have three locos running.
    Thanks

    MalcT
     
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  2. Splitpin

    Splitpin Full Member

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    Hi MalcT
    Your NCE PowerCab - is that the 5amp version or the 2amp 'starter' ?
    IF the 5 - you'd have tons of grunt for that size layout and 3-4 locos IMHO.
    If the 2 - marginal, very marginal.

    One suggestion I'd have either way is wiring a separate accessory bus (even if it's all connected together with the track bus to a single output currently) so that in the future splitting off the accessory bus would be a super simple change.

    John OD
     
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  3. Sol

    Sol Full Member

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    MalcT, the Powercab which is just under two amps, (the 5A version is a Power Pro ) will handle 3-4 modern loco mechanisms and while you can have 3 running continually on the plan you want to use, it can get a bit hard when trying to "control" more than one loco at a time.

    Yes, split the layout up so that a short circuit in one lap will not put the layout down and if it is intended to run the turnouts off the DCC system, then have a separate bus for the solenoids/turnout motors for the same reason.

    The purple outer track, I assume rises to go over the blue track ? so where does the gradient start and how long is each gradient to be able to clear the track underneath?
     
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  4. MalcT

    MalcT Full Member

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    Hi John and Ron, many thanks for your replies.

    John - I have the 2amp starter PowerCab

    Ron - The purple outer does rise over the blue line. The rise starts where the purple colour starts and gives 80mm clearance after the first curve, you might just make out a colour change - the incline is a 1 in 50 and it's about 6 feet.

    You both suggest a separate accessory bus -
    1. how does that work with my Cobalt IP Digital points ?
    2. how do I power this bus ?
    3. would adding a 5amp booster be worthwhile?

    Once again, thanks for your advice.
    MalcT
     
  5. Sol

    Sol Full Member

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    MalcT
    OK for using IP digital points- obtain a separate power supply - contact DCCconcepts https://www.dccconcepts.com/contact-us/ and they will help you

    The riser 6ft/1800mm to rise from rail head of the bottom track to the bottom of the base of the upper track is 1 in 22.5 - too steep ...... for a 1 in 50 you need 4000mm length 13 ft
     
  6. MalcT

    MalcT Full Member

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    Sorry Ron, I omitted to tell you that the purple outer track starts at 40mm above the blue track, so it only has to rise another 40mm.
    Apologies :facepalm:

    Malc
     
  7. Sol

    Sol Full Member

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    Ah ha... so the station area & turnouts are 40mm higher than the blue tracks right behind ? So the two amber tracks also go down ?
     
  8. MalcT

    MalcT Full Member

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    Hi Ron... The blue track is the lower level. The amber tracks decline to the blue level. The white track is all upper level.. This photo shows the levels and
    inclines..
    LAY015.JPG

    The station will be on the lower level with a platform each side of the two parallel tracks.
    Malc.
     
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  9. Splitpin

    Splitpin Full Member

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    Hi Malc

    I totally concur with Ron pointing you towards DCCConcepts. I do realise you know them already with your Cobalts and underlay but have you discovered they have a large library of articles with general help on wiring advice and other topics. The separate accessory bus idea came from them for me.

    1&2. There's nothing 'magic' about this 'separate power bus' - it's just a bit more bus wire. To try and explain: From the power out (to track) connections on the back of the command station, a short run of twisted bus wire to a bus bar (for me that's a double row of plastic screw connectors). In my case the bus bar allows me to split the single pair feed into 4 pairs. Three of which go off to supply track power to various parts of my layout. The fourth goes off to power the accessory decoders. They are all carrying the same thing - they are all connected together - at the bus bar.
    Why this extra complication ? A couple of reasons. If I have a short circuit, sometimes they are hard to find. By selectively disconnecting one at a time the four outputs from the bus bar (just screw connectors) I can narrow down the area of the layout (or it's in the accessories) with the problem. If I'd found later on that I needed separate power districts then essentially all I'd have to do is rearrange the bus bar - not rewire the whole layout. The accessories are just the first obvious power consumer to split out from the rest if required so they have a separate run of bus wire all ready to go if required. The 3 track feed pairs mentioned above amount to future proofed 3 separate power districts if I need(ed) to have broken up power districts. To achieve that possible separation of power districts (for an unknown future) really only took a few more isolating track connectors at the planning stage. As it's turned out I haven't needed to have districts, my 5amps runs 6-7 trains on my layout with aplomb, but I have been grateful for the 3 pseudo-districts to find a short more than once!

    3. That's a hard one. The cost of upgrading to a 5amp system as opposed to the cost of providing for 2(?) separate power districts. I rather think the 5amp option could well be better economically and for convenience would have to win hands down.

    Are you using block/section occupancy detection ?

    JohnOD
     
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  10. MalcT

    MalcT Full Member

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    Hi John, many thanks for this.
    No I'm not using block/section occupancy detection.
    DCC Concepts - I've spent a lot of time reading their articles and have downloaded copies of the most relevant ones.

    As I've soldered all my droppers and attached to the single bus-wire I have - would it be just a matter of removing and attaching to the relevant section of bus for that area?

    I have spent some time today with a SCARM copy of my layout and attempting to work out power districts, so would separate buses do the same thing?

    Suggested power districts (am I over complicating it ? )
    Circuit Protection.jpg

    Malc
     
  11. Sol

    Sol Full Member

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    I personally would delete green & make it part of purple District 4
     
  12. Splitpin

    Splitpin Full Member

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    Malc, I think we've got some misunderstandings here - and they are mainly mine. It was me over complicating things.

    Now I need to display my ignorance as well. The 'Circuit Protection Districts' is that a NCE thing ?
     
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  13. MalcT

    MalcT Full Member

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    Yes, I agree and will amend.
    Thanks Ron

    Malc
     
  14. MalcT

    MalcT Full Member

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    Hi John,
    Yes the CP6 Circuit Protector is a NCE Product that is suitable for the Powercab system:
     

    Attached Files:

  15. Andy_Sollis

    Andy_Sollis Full Member

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    Do you know what, I’d wire it up as the separate sections/loops. That way, should you ever want/need/ have a visitor that is non DCC you can just disconnect the controller and remove the DCC locos and plug in the old analog box to run it (without the sectioning obviously)


    I wish I’d done that. Great when a mate turns up with his new Non DCC locos and I find I can only run one at at time due to how I have wired it..

    (The slight rewire is in the pipe line)
     
  16. paul_l

    paul_l Staff Member Administrator

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    Hi Malc

    For my layout, also powered by a PowerCab, I used MERG accessory decoders and some home made Arduino based accessory decoders (these both use a seperate 12V DC power source) so the PowerCab only provides control signals over the track bus.
    I have also purchased a couple of MERG 5A/10A power booster kits which will work as a dumb booster for the PowerCab giving me a pair of 5A or 10A boosters and at £29.41 per kit (as of 29/11/2019) are very good value - yes you do have build the kits.

    Using an SB5 (NCE Smart Booster) not only provides a 5A power supply, but would also allow you to unplug the PowerCab handset and move to another location to operate the layout.

    Paul
     
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  17. MalcT

    MalcT Full Member

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    Would my existing wiring be sufficient to carry the 5A load - I've used the DCC Concepts Twisted Bus Wire 15g (1.5mm) ?
     
  18. Keith M

    Keith M Staff Member Moderator

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    1.5mm conductors will carry more than twice that 5A load without problem Malc. I've used 2.5mm as the track bus on my layout which has around 300ft of track, 1.5mm for my 2 lighting busses (around 50 LED's on each bus), but this is mainly to avoid any appreciable voltage drop caused by the resistance of the wires, my conductors being solid cored rather than stranded, stripped out from twin & earth domestic power and lighting cables (As I'm a retired Electrician and happened to have plenty in stock!):giggle:
    I use the Lenz system and have 5 of the 5 pin Din sockets around my layout so I can either use any of my 3 handsets from these or unplug and move around just one handset.
    Keith.
     
    Last edited: Dec 3, 2019 at 2:49 PM
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  19. MalcT

    MalcT Full Member

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    Thanks Keith.
    I have some 2.5mm twin and earth left over from when I wired the garage before starting my layout. Can I use this for my extension switched socket to save me keep crawling under the layout to turn the power off?
    Malc
     
  20. Keith M

    Keith M Staff Member Moderator

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    There's no reason why not Malc, although you might find it a struggle to bend 2.5mm conductors into the connections. My "Control Desk" uses a switched spur box (with a pilot light so I don't forget it's on!) that controls a 6 way 13 amp extension socket into which I plug (depending on what I need at any one time) The Lenz layout control, PC and monitor screen (since I can control the layout by PC if I wish) 12 volt DC supply to MERG units which work servo controlled crossing gates, Fluorescent light/magnifier, airbrush compressor, extractor spray booth, and a choice of about 6 various sized soldering irons. By doing it this way, I have a 'Master Switch' so everything layout-wise is turned off as I descend the loft ladder. All that remains on is the dehumidifier (on a time clock) and a 'kickspace' fan heater fed from the central heating, which is controlled by a thermostat in the loft. There is also a further supply to my points/signals panel which supplies 3 separate 16 volt transformers controlling 43 points and colour light signals and 2 separate LED lighting circuits each supplying around 50 LED's around the layout. It perhaps sounds complicated, but much thought went into making this space a clean (though not necessarily tidy) warm and comfortable space to work and 'play' in, as at my age (72) I've had my fill of freezing garages and sheds.:giggle:

    Keith.
     
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