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DanielMackay

Most basic DC power question ever...

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DanielMackay

I've not made much time in my life for running trains, and have only set up the most basic of track plans to check out a slowly accruing lineup of engines and cars. But I have also been acquiring a good amount of Kato track, and plan to set up a fairly lengthy  2 track/1 track set-up in the next few weeks, when I can temporarily take over a 10x15 room, with the aim of giving some 8, 10, and 16 -car passenger trains some room to run side-by-side.

 

At the moment, all I have is 3 standard Kato power packs/controllers. With one assigned to each of three lines I plan to put into operation, what is the maximum length of track each will power? I figure I have room and track for 35-45 feet for each dedicated line.

 

Clearly I need to spend time reading the wiring section of this page. And will do so over the next few days. But wanted to throw this question out to get a head-start on any power or wiring purchases I need to think about.

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bill937ca
Posted (edited)

The best way to find out is set up the track and run some trains. If the trains slow down at the back you have a voltage drop. This can be overcome by adding an extra power  feeds. A very useful part is the Kato 24-827 3-Way Extension Cord which can be attached to the DC outlet on your controller and up to three power feeds added on the other end of the 24-827.

 

https://www.1999.co.jp/eng/10003115

 

There are layouts that are full basements so your layout can be as large as you want it as long as you have feeders every few feet or so.

Edited by bill937ca
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katoftw
Posted (edited)

I will generalize here. But I like to work on expecting power/voltage drop when 2.0m or 6'6" away from a feeder.

 

You may get more distance. You may get less. Factors like connections, cleaniness etc all play a role in this.

 

But I'd say you should be safe with 13 foot of track. Over that. More feeders are required to fend off voltage drop.

 

But in saying that. Voltage drop might only be a few volts. And all you see is a train running 10-20% slower for a few feet of track.

Edited by katoftw
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cteno4

We have done loops of like 12’ Long of Kato double viaduct with just 2 or 3 feeders with little or no visual speed change. Usually in the 1-2v voltage range is where you start to notice a speed change. Like Kato said there are a number of variables involved. With a loop you get the track fed from both directions which helps. We run track loops 8’ Long with only one feeder with little or not noticeable speed change. Start with 3 power drops evenly spaced around the loop and go from there. If you put them every 6-8’ it would be fine. With a temp setup you can just start with a minimum and add more as needed. With a fixed layout folks tend to put more in worrying connections will get weaker wirh scenery and oxidation with long time and don’t want to tear things up to fix

 

jeff

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Ochanomizu

Hello,

 

I use heavy 10 gauge copper feeder wire under the board.  This minimises potential drop over long distance.  To connect to the track, I use short 6" lengths of 18 gauge copper.

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DanielMackay

Will have some time - and space - over the next few weeks to set up a temporary layout on our enclosed porch, and expect to have a two-track set-up that will have about 35 linear feet of track and a single track setup that will likely be about 45 feet in length. What is the maximum length of track a basic Kato transformer will power, and (if less than lengths referenced above), what do I need to do to wire for continuous power across these distances.

 

No switches or yards planned in these plans.

 

 

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cteno4

A Kato power pack should do you for 45 feet, but I would have like 4 or 5 equally spaced power drops to a central feed to the powerpack. We use to have a folded figure 8 loop on our old layout that had about 45’ or so and I think we had 5 power drops on it like every 6-10’ depending on siding locations. These used pretty wimpy feeders of like 18 or 20g wire and did fine. Newer layouts we use 16g buss and 20g feeders.

 

you can try just using 2 of the Kato 3 way splitters to go from the power pack to 5 leads (3 will get you 7 drops). Then use kato extensions to get to your feeder tracks. There are other ways to make your own feeders as well, but if you are just starting with some temp setups then Kato cords may be your best bet but could get expensive to run a long lengths. If you are handy as soldering you can just snip a regular Kato extension In the middle and splice in a longer pair of wires to what ever lengths you need. Just solder up and heat shrink. You can twist and tape but may not hold up with any tugs, but in a pinch!

 

jeff

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brill27mcb

That's what I use on our tabletop setups - the Kato 3-way splitters and Kato extension cords. Very flexible for future layout designs, and simple plug-and-play.

 

Rich K.

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