Everything on model trains, model railroads, model railways, locomotives, model train layouts, scenery, wiring, DCC and more. Enjoy the world's best hobby... model railroading!

If You Want Truly Photo-Realistic Plans – You Won’t Find Better!

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.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Add a photo or image related to your comment (JPEG only)

Use Tiny Railroad Micro Controllers

Model Train DCC HELP

N Scale Track Plans

Watch Video

Model Train Help Ebook

Download Your Free Catalog

Watch These Club Videos

Club members access helpful new resources each month: diagrams, video tutorials, articles, track plans and more. Watch the tour videos here.

Scenery Techniques Explained


Model Railroad Building House Plans

rail yard buildings


Submit Your Model Railroading Questions!

Before you submit your model railroading question please add some feedback, answers or comments to other postings on this model train blog. What goes around comes around... so if you can help others in the hobby, someone else may help you.

Important - Please add plenty of supporting details to any question you submit (eg. scale, solutions you have already tried etc.) , as the clearest and best questions usually get the best answers. Also, please check your spelling and punctuation as all questions need to be approved by the blog moderator prior to publication. Approved questions are normally published within a week (if not sooner).

Submit your model train questions here.

Scenery & Layout Ideas

Submit Your Article

Would you like to write an article and have it published?

Preference will be given to articles that help others progress in the hobby, maybe suggesting an idea for their layout, a quick tip or two... or perhaps a little bit of good advice based on your model railroading experiences.

We are all in this hobby together, so the more we can do to share ideas and help each other, the better.

Submit Your Article Here

Model Railroading Blog Archive

Reader Poll

Sorry, there are no polls available at the moment.