Layout Wiring

If you have not read the Standard wiring tutorial, stop, and read it now. There are two basic tenets that it covers and they are fundamental in wiring T-TRAK layouts. The first tenet is that modules with power drops should be built to the T-TRAK wiring specification (i.e Kato male connectors and BWWB or "Blue" to the outer rails). The second tenet is that when polarity reversals are required they are done at the bus or the power pack and NOT AT THE MODULE.

Wiring T-TRAK layouts is not difficult if those two tenets are followed. Most T-TRAK layouts, but not all, consist of a single outer loop with one or more isolated inner loops. Modules with a double crossover can be used to interconnect the outer loop with an inner loop (polarity reversal required) or to connect two inner loops (no polarity reversal required). However, it is possible to build a single loop layout with standard, two-track T-TRAK modules or even a two line point to point layout. This requires us to recognize that the wiring on the module is not the reference point which we should consider when wiring the layout. We must consider the wiring needs of the layout first and foremost. In other words, the module with power drops is merely the means by which we wire the layout.

The next important tenet to learn about wiring T-TRAK layouts is that there should be a power connection on the layout every six to eight feet, or six to eight "singles" worth, of contiguous track length per line (or loop). For smaller layouts of three tables or less, the Kato power cables (24-843 Terminal Adapter Cord, 24-825 DC Extension Cord, 24-827 3-Way Extension Cord, and wiring for feeder tracks) work well. When required, polarity reversals can be performed at the power packs.

For layouts larger than three tables (24 feet / 8 meters) the smaller gauge of the Kato wiring can be problematic. The Northern Virginia Ntrak: T-TRAK Division documented their Bus Wiring Specification which has subsequently been adopted/adapted by numerous T-TRAK clubs. This bus wiring methodology permits easy adaptation to whatever wiring need the layout requires and polarity reversals are easy and intuitive.

Some additional information regarding wiring, especially for DCC with long bus runs (30+ feet / 10+ meters), can be found in the "Considerations for Layouts with Long Bus Wires" section on Alan Gartner's Wiring For DCC website and in the "Snubber/RC Filter" section on Mark Gurries' DCC Welcome Page. Based on the information on these websites North Texas T-Trak Modular Railroad Club has built and is using RC Filters for its bus wiring on larger layouts.

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