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Power source & jumpers on large AFX tracks.

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  • #31
    So you use one PSU for all four lanes then?

    Can't have too many boosters in my opionion - belt and braces


    • #32
      Yes, it has power to spare. Although I have a spare for race day, just in case.


      • #33
        I have a spare for race day
        There you go - belt and braces

        Hope you get the opportunity to run your big (footprint!) tracks again


        • #34
          Oh I will, no doubt about that!


          • #35

            Originally posted by Backmarker View Post
            We mostly run box stock too. I just wanted the power supply and wiring to be robust enough to handle anything. Even though I haven't experienced any power issues, I've considered adding another jumper or two for insurance. Now I have experience in making the jumper tracks, I'm certain I could do a much cleaner build than I originally did.
            I'll be prepping some track for a 'big track' for our Series in May timeframe. What did you do (pic?) and what would you do differently?

            On previous temp tracks we notched the rails & tightly looped 22ga solid wire over it and through holes drilled through the track, then twisted tight, leaving a 'tag' to tie to the 14ga 'busses' back to the power supply. Not very satisfied with final results, so I'll solder jumpers under the rails like i did for my 'permanent' track. I also need an easier quick-(dis)connect method to the main runners back to the power supply. Our temp tracks rest on 2" foam sheets (w/ undergirding trusses & sawhorses), or use tables. So the jumpers need to be low profile until they reach table gaps or holes to drop through.

            Suggestions / pics welcome.
            See you at the races!
            Mike L.

            (edit): BTW, I'd post a diagram of the track designs I might use (two, based on Barber Motorsports & Riverside Raceway) in the Big Track thread, but my albums have disappeared. I don't use any image hosting services (Flickr, etc. - especially after the PhotoBucket debacle) to link external pics from.
            Last edited by theroad87; 02-07-2019, 09:38 AM. Reason: add BTW comments


            • #36
              I used a 1/4 inch thick particle board where I attached the track itself. I then screwed down a terminal, and ran wires to the track, attaching them by looping around like you did. I could then attach my homemade wire "cable" to the terminal. It works, but its not elegant. My satisfaction level is the same as yours. In fact its downright ugly. The particle board thing was so I can simply plug the track section in without having to rewire every time I setup.

              After experimenting with connecting frankentrack pieces together, I discovered the beauty of a one inch long piece of rail canniblized from a 9" curve I could afford to lose. I cut small slits next to the rails of the track with a razor saw, inserted the piece of rail snug against the rails of the track, soldered the connections underneath the track, and viola! Perfect, elegant, and smooth connection.

              If you're making a permanent track, I would attach the terminal underneath the table. If you're building for a temporary track, and plan to build more in the future, you need to accommodate the terminal being above the table (thus my little board to hold everything in place).

              For a jumper track I would do the same thing, except I would drill a small hole on one end of the small "connector rail" piece to attach the wire. Razor cut the track next to the track rail about 1/4 inch, insert wire connector piece vertically so it hangs below the track. make sure the upper end is level with the rail, and solder. Nice tight connection, hardly noticeable, and most important, no bumps when cars go over the jumper.

              You could easily cut a hole in your foam underlayment to make space for the wires.

              EDIT: I don't have pics available, but I'll dig out my jumper and get you one.

              Hope this helps!
              Last edited by Backmarker; 02-07-2019, 05:27 PM.


              • #37
                Here are a couple pics of my jumper track. My first one of this type. Not pretty but works, and robust. Will do a better job with my next attempt. I see that I used 1/8 inch thick mdf, and used layers to make the sides thicker so I could screw in the terminal, and have a halfway hollowed out bottom. The additional layer also keeps the two track sections tightly in place. I cut grooves for the wires so the board lays flat. Wires soldered to the track, then hot glued. You can see its easy to place the track anywhere in the layout, then attach my power wire cable to the terminal.

                Notice that the terminal caps are color coded to the lanes so I don't get too confused when hooking up the power wires.

                Keep in mind this contraption was built for temporary layouts.
                Attached Files
                Last edited by Backmarker; 02-07-2019, 06:30 PM.


                • #38
                  Out of curiosity, are you preparing for a SHORS event?


                  • #39
                    No ... a local event:
                    Fray-style T-Jets and "X-Jets" (Viper-Jets, G-Jets, etc) ... both with slip on tires only.


                    • #40
                      This thread reminded me, I got the itch to build a giant back in October, and wired these up to cope with the drop. It was a pretty quick procedure since I already had some terminals set up for separate power supplies. I try various longer designs all the time, and I've been suspecting that I'm seeing the voltage drop at the far side of some of these tracks, however this time it was blindingly obvious because of the extreme length--the longest I've ever built. A few inches shy of a full 130' two-lane, with an HO train transformer running a hotwired ghost car that just couldn't get through the far side of the track without stopping, even on full tilt.

                      These jumper tracks helped immensely, but I could have used a couple more this time. My typical track is 50-100' so these have really been helping on all the tracks since then. Should have made the wires longer, 5' means I have to really plan out where the terminals and jumpers go. Gonna add a plug system or something eventually too, but for a quick and dirty job they did exactly what they were supposed to and more. Used them on a new ~55' road course design tonight, it only took 3 laps for the track to get warmed up, which meant 20mins flat from the storage bin to lapping at full power


                      • #41
                        These Relco track cleaners are interesting. I havenít found much detailed info on them.
                        Are they hooked up to 16VAC and the other terminals inserted in one wire to the track?
                        Can they only be used with a round wound resistor controller (Parma type vs Professor Motor or DS)?
                        They appear to be OOP but are cheap on the secondary market, albeit with high shipping from GB. Gaugemaster shows an HF1 and HF2 on their website. Iíll have to research on the desktop.
                        Iíd even like to try one on my large scale track, as the copper tape cruds up after a while.


                        • #42
                          Originally posted by el gecko View Post
                          Should have made the wires longer, 5' means I have to really plan out where the terminals and jumpers go.
                          Good point. I made my "cable" roughly 15 feet long, and still plan where the tap will go when I'm designing a layout. Haven't run into any problems yet as I haven't built a track deeper than 12 feet. When I make more cables, I'll probably make them 20 or 25 feet long so I can reach anywhere from the power source.


                          • #43
                            Keeping the taps as short as possible makes sense, but with temporary tracks, there needs to flexibility. At WHO we use Cat6 networking cable - we're powering each lane with 18V 1.5A power supplies and building 50-150 ft tracks. The Cat 6 cable consists of eight 23 gauge wires.

                            We have various lengths of Cat6 cable (with 8P8C connectors each end) that will connect from the main power straight to one of the two power tap modules we use. On this 81-foot version of the Suzuka track, look for the blue cable in front of the drivers:

                            Although using a 3metre tap, it goes to the one-third point of the layout.

                            There are 3m, 5m and one 10m Cat6 cables in the WHO power tap cable bag. I think the Suzuka track was the layout that made me buy the 10m cable (although not in time for the event). However, it ran perfectly well with the one power tap and it reminds me that we always intended to run that layout again...


                            • #44
                              Darn. Beat me to it Andy. We've been using Cat6 cables for several years. Cheap to buy, easy to replace. Lots of colours and lengths available, so no unnecessary excess cable trailing about. Just used the length required, no more.

                              There were some who thought it wouldn't work but it was ideal for our needs and made for a really transportable set of boosters too.


                              • #45
                                I considered the Cat6 thing during the process of getting THORN going because it looks so neat and tidy. I ended up going with heavier duty wire because I trust it more to handle what my PSU is putting out. My "cable" is simply wires zip tied together and color coded for the lanes at the ends. My tap track is also color coded so there are no screw ups when screwing the wires in. It's very robust, and it works for me.