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Wiring 101

Steve sent in this question:

“Hello, I just purchased an atlas HO layout: senior twice around HO 5″. Is there a step by step diagram on how to wire this set up my grandson and I are getting frustrated?”

Maybe Steve could add some more detail to help readers who want to provide a quality answer.

5 Responses to Wiring 101

  • Bob Graczyksays:


    There are several good wiring books out there. Without knowing your exact problem it is very hard to give you any advice.

  • Robertsays:

    Wiring needs are quite different for the simpler DC compared to DCC. Which of these are you trying to set up and what exactly is the problem?

  • W Rusty Lanesays:

    When I wired my layout I drew a sketch of my railroad tracks and divided it into about 5 different blocks using insulated rail joiners to separate the different blocks. If I can remember (back in the mid 1980´s) I only used the insulated rail joiners on one side of the track (the positive side) and kept the other side as one continuous rail. Even reversed, they were still divided into blocks as the positive side became the negative side. I have a DC only railroad so this worked out well for me. I do not know about DCC.

  • Billsays:

    It should be fairly straight forward. There are no reversing loops and you don’t mention you are using DCC, so I suspect your issue is that trains are loosing speed as they go around the layout. If that is your issue then you need more feeds to the track. I would run a large (14 or 16 gauge) wire under the layout that is connected to your power supply. You would run feeder wires off of this to supply power to your track. Start with two sets of feeds. One wherever you want and the second set halfway around the track from where the first ones were installed. Attaching the feeder wires to the track can be a problem. If you don’t want to solder them then Atlas sells rail joiners with wire soldered to them. Replace the existing joiners with these where needed and connect the joiner wires to the larger wire running under your layout. Here you can solder or use suitcase connectors if you are careful to have wire gauge that the connectors can work with.

  • Frank Bsays:

    Can you post a diagram of the layout and describe exactly what your problem is ?

    A model shop would be able to supply a book teaching the basics of model layout wiring.

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