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When Do I Need Insulated Joiners?

insulated rail joiner model trains ho scaleMaurice a keen member of the Online Train Club Member used the ‘ASK A QUESTION’ link to submit this question for readers:

“If I have a DCC setup, then why would I need to use insulated joiners?”

12 Responses to When Do I Need Insulated Joiners?

  • Stephen Duncansays:

    Two places, if you divide into power districts, you can run more locos at the same time and most bigger layouts will do that. And if you need to add an auto reverse device for a reversing loop or turntable.

    • Sheldon Clarksays:

      Or a Wye?

  • Billsays:

    There are a number of places they are required in a DCC setup. First would be when you want to separate your rail into separate power blocks to balance power distribution or just make it easier to find shorts. You would setup each block to be powered through a circuit breaker so that a short doesn’t shut down the whole layout.
    If you have power routing turn outs you would need an insulated joiners on both rails leaving the frog.
    You would also need to insulate any reversing loop at both ends. A reversing wye also needs them.
    If you want to have a programming track as part of your layout it would also have to be insulated from the rest of the layout.
    Those are the major ones I canthink of and there are probably a number of other situations in which to use them.

  • Bob Leesays:

    To kill the power in isolated sections of track: Rail yard where passenger coaches are stored and you don’t want the lights on in the cars…. same for lighted cabooses…. also track leading to removable sections like across a doorway… toggles are in place to activate the adjoining sections only when the crossover section is in place…. a good idea to kill the power in a 2 foot section on either side in case of brain fade…. been there, done that…

  • Kevinsays:

    I also isolate the area where extra loco’s are stored and wont be used for awhile and reverse loop

  • phil johnsonsays:

    I prefer to use insulated joiners 12″ before the frog on the mains and sidings, on both rails on crossovers, through tracks in yard.

  • David STOKESsays:

    I suggest you purchase a book on layout wiring. Not wanting to be a smartypants you sound like you could be a novice, and it is important to get off on the right foot, especially when wiring your layout.

  • Nigelsays:

    Whilst you don’t need insulated joiners to isolate sections if you don’t want to (please see the good advice from other posters regarding power districts etc. though) but a short circuit is a short circuit regardless of whether you’re using analogue DC or digital DCC. Others have mentioned reverse loops but electofrog points also need them.

  • Alansays:

    A question on the same theme. If you separate sections of track, and power them separately, how do you connect DCC control across all sections?

    • Dale Arendssays:

      The power feed bus isn’t what gets broken into sections, only the track. Each track section gets feeders from the power bus, preferably through circuit breakers for short-circuit detection.

  • Joseph franceschettisays:

    Hello all. If you separate your layout into 5 different power districts do you need a booster for all 5 districts

    • Billsays:

      If you can power your layout with one command station prior to separating it into districts then you don’t need more after separating. If you want the full benefit of separate district then feed the power to each district through its own circuit breaker.

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