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Thread: Wire size for n scale code 40 turnouts

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    Default Wire size for n scale code 40 turnouts

    Hi - This is my first post under this topic so I hope it is under the right forum subject. I am making several code 40 n scale turnouts using a FastTracks jig. I now need to solder 5 solid core wires to complete the electrical part. My question is what AWG size of wire should I use to attach the wires to the rails and frog. I have a spool of AWG 24 solid core wire which measures in at 0.020". The wires will attach to a bus so will probably be no longer than about 6" or so. Thanks for any input.

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    That should be fine, although 22AWG would be better. But you're keeping the leads short, so the difference in resistance due to the smaller wire should be minimal.

    Some folks swear that all feeders should be 18AWG. Meh. ...

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    Use that. If the wires melt when you throw the switches, go larger. .

    Doug
    Atlas First Generation Motive Power and Treble-O-Lectric. Click on the link:
    www.irwinsjournal.com/a1g/a1glocos/

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    I use AWG 22 wire for track leads on my code 55 rail, but with a twist. I strip it and then smash the end of the wire using a hammer and something hard to bang on (in my case, the "anvil" part of a very small bench vise). I then put a 90° bend in the flat part and then trim it with a small diagonal cutter to make a small lip. That is then soldered to the base of the rail.

    To prevent moose stampedes, and since a picture is worth a thousand words, here's a picture.

    Feeders.jpg
    Tim Rumph
    Modeling the Southern Railway in N-Scale

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    Clinic in a post, that's what that is, Tim!

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    Truth is, you're fine. See https://www.calculator.net/voltage-drop-calculator.html

    It's all about length. 28 AWG at 1' long with a 1A draw @12v gives:

    Voltage drop: 0.13

    Voltage drop percentage: 1.08%

    Voltage at the end: 11.87

    Which is just fine.

    More realistically you'll only have 1/2 of a loco on a switch drawing current, and they draw more like .3 amps, so if I plug in .15A:

    Voltage drop: 0.019

    Voltage drop percentage: 0.16%

    Voltage at the end: 11.981

    Distance is the killer, which is why your bus wire 30' back to the booster needs to be 16 AWG. From the terminal block up to the switch, 28-30AWG is good enough. 24 is overkill.
    --
    Leo Bicknell

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    ALL of my feeders are 24AWG solid. Nearly all are less than a foot long, but most are at least 6-8 inches. I generally have every piece of track fed by a feeder, though, so you're never more than about 2 feet of rail from the nearest feeder, and that would be at the far end of a solid piece of flex track (I only very rarely rely on joiners for current, and even then I solder them if at all possible. @bicknell is right. Even 30AWG wire can carry a tremendous amount of current over a short enough distance.

    That said, my bus wire is 14AWG solid, and any intervening sub-bus wires (if the feeder is more than a foot from the bus, or if creating detection sections) is usually 16AWG stranded. I go as big as possible where size is not an issue, and as small as practical where it might be visible (i.e. soldered to a rail).
    Never mistake a guy who talks a lot for a guy who has something to say...

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    I use 24AWG solid wire as well on my switches, and I have a good number of code 40. The only other thing I haven't seen mentioned here is that solid wire will break more easily than stranded. I strip the wire, make a 90 degree bend and then solder to the bottom of the rail between ties to hide the feeder. Once in a while I'll get a wire that breaks at the bend. Simple to fix, but be aware.
    Doug M.
    Modeling the Arizona & California Railroad in N Scale


    Visit my blog at parkerlocoworks.blogspot.com to see more of my models
    Visit my Facebook page www.facebook.com/nscalearzc to see more of my layout build

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    Quote Originally Posted by parkerlocoworks View Post
    I use 24AWG solid wire as well on my switches, and I have a good number of code 40. The only other thing I haven't seen mentioned here is that solid wire will break more easily than stranded. I strip the wire, make a 90 degree bend and then solder to the bottom of the rail between ties to hide the feeder. Once in a while I'll get a wire that breaks at the bend. Simple to fix, but be aware.
    Usually solid strand breaks because a nick or ring has been scored into the conductor during the process of removing the insulation. Easy enough to do with the small stuff; done it once or twice myself with the AWG 6 we use for track circuits.

    No amount of bad railroady words ever helps. ...

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    FWIW, I only use stranded on the layout. Part of that is I do N-Trak and the modules will be bounced around.

    Tin the end of stranded, then you can bend/shape the tinned end just like a solid wire to make attaching to the rail easier.
    --
    Leo Bicknell

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    Quote Originally Posted by Paul Schmidt View Post
    Usually solid strand breaks because a nick or ring has been scored into the conductor during the process of removing the insulation. Easy enough to do with the small stuff; done it once or twice myself with the AWG 6 we use for track circuits.

    No amount of bad railroady words ever helps. ...
    Wait-what? AWG 6?? How far are you stringing that stuff? Or how much current are you pulling?? That stuff is massive!

    Oh wait... you mean on the prototype, right?
    Never mistake a guy who talks a lot for a guy who has something to say...

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    Thanks for all the inputs. I can see there is a lot of knowledge here. You all are great!

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    Quote Originally Posted by TwinDad View Post
    Wait-what? AWG 6?? How far are you stringing that stuff? Or how much current are you pulling?? That stuff is massive!

    Oh wait... you mean on the prototype, right?
    And here I was going to make a joke about using AWG 12 and just using it for the track itself...
    Yeah, the AWG 6 guy wins.

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