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How to Wire Electrical Connection from Power Pack to Track

Stan has this question for those in the know;

“Let me begin by saying I’m relatively new to model railroading, and have a great deal to learn. I started out with a Bachmann HO set, that came with a very basic (I think it is a #44211) power pack, which has a red cable that connects to the power pack with what looks like a 3.5mm male connector, and an EZ track connector at the other end.

I have recently purchased a MRC 1370 power pack, which has screw down contacts, rather than female plug connectors, as on the Bachmann power pack.

How do you recommend I connect the MRC 1370 to the EZ track? I do intend to eventually use both power packs.”

14 Responses to How to Wire Electrical Connection from Power Pack to Track

  • Robertsays:

    Buy a 2 suitable lengths of different coloured wire. Strip about 1 cm of the insulation from each end of both wires. Solder one end of each wire to your tracks (see youtube on how to) and wrap the other ends of the wires around the screw on your power pack and tighten.

    • Sheldonsays:

      Wrap clockwise, so that it doesn’t tend to loosen as you turn the screws.


    As far as using BOTH power packs to power your tracks…BIG mistake..you’ll end up burning up one or both power packs..probably destroy what ever engine is on the tracks as well…maybe even catch house afire

    • Sheldonsays:

      You can use both power packs on one railway using analogue control, as long as they are connected to parts of your railway that are isolated from each other electrically. Get one of the simple, inexpensive “PECO Shows you how” leaflets from http://www.pecopublications.co.uk or your local model shop. There are three on this subject, and if you’re ordering from outside the UK, you might as well get all three – I expect the postage will be more than the cost of the leaflets. There are other publications available, which may cost more but go into more depth. I have no connection with PECO other than as a satisfied customer.

  • Bobsays:

    I would also drlll through the plastic ballast then run the wires through the holes on each side to your rails then solder them. Bob

  • Norman Eddysays:

    Remember that these wires cannot be crossed. Use insulators, plastic spacers between rail ends ,if you start to get into it. Purchase a good Model Railroad wiring book and enjoy the Hobby. P.s. don’t forget your family.

  • Frank Bsays:

    If you are not conversant with electricity, I also recommend the idea of buying a book on Model Railroad Wiring, there a quite a few available.

    You can also find free online courses on basic electronics, which will be worth your time to follow.

    Having a good basic working knowledge of electrical circuits is important in model railroading.

  • Mikesays:

    I assume you are using DCC therefore I strongly recommend you Sell the power packs. Buy a Digitrax Zephur and read the instructions.

  • Tom roisesays:

    One key point. You have multiple screws on the back of your power pal. Make sure you connect the track to the two that are labeled DC. The others may say AC or variable. The AC is for accessories thatrun off of 12 volts.

  • Ed McEnteesays:

    The easiest way might be to just snip off the end of your cable that connects to your bachmann power pack and attach the wires to the MRC power pack. If needed you could always buy another power cable from a LHS or almost any online retailer.

  • David Stokessays:

    As you are new to the hobby please read the literature Google “Model Railway wiring” or buy the relevant “text book” for which ever system you are running. Be sure you know how the motor on your loco receives its power. DCC means it’s got a special chip that reads its address and the wires /rails carry constant voltage. DC or Analogue uses a change in voltage to regulated speed and direction. They are not generally compatible. DCC is the more recent technology, however Analogue is still used by the majority of modellers. That is not meant to be a criticism of either, horses for courses, and as you grow in knowledge and skill both have their good qualities.

  • Don Jenningssays:

    I hope this will be on the web site and understood by the person who asked it

    Starting at the beginning.
    1st You must have wiring for 110 AC volt electricity.

    2nd You need a 12 volt commercial power pack or power supply( $$$) connected to the 110 AC wall outlet.

    3rd You would need a train set with track and a locomotive that will operate on that track.

    4th you need two wires from the power supply to the track.
    Connect the wires to the DC or direct current {that what DC is} terminals on the power supply.
    Some connector tracks have screw terminal as part of it.
    Other tracks do not have this.== which is OK because you solder the wires (one to each rail)

    5th the big test. (drum roll)
    a. place the locomotive on the track
    b. turn on the power supply to the AC wall outlet and adjust the power ( speed ) of the locomotive as the locomotive starts to move.

    • Kevin Aldridgesays:

      As this blog goes worldwide we must not assume that the country that the OP is in uses 110 volt mains (could be 220 or 230 or 240 or 100 volts AC). I do not know a lot about DCC but I understand that the track voltage may be up to 18 volt AC not necessarily 12 volt DC

      • Sheldon Clarksays:

        Absolutely correct. I am slightly worried that “You need a 12 volt commercial power pack or power supply( $$$) connected to the 110 AC wall outlet” could be misunderstood by a newcomer. There are controllers that need to be fed with 12V DC and these MUST NOT be connected to mains electricity. EVER! What you need is either a control unit incorporating a transformer (and rectifier, unless your mains supply is Direct Current) and a control knob with which you can regulate the voltage (to control the speed of the locomotive), or you should have a separate transformer (+rectifier) supplying approx. 12V DC to your separate 12V DC controller that has a voltage regulator knob but does not incorporate its own transformer. In the latter case, great care needs to be exercised if the transformer does not come in its own earthed and/or double-insulated case.

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