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Losing Power with DC

Jim needs answers to this question:

“I lose power around my HO layout using DC power with a MRC 280 controller. I have added two lead feeds from the track to the controller to boost power but did not get the desirable results. Any advice would be appreciated.”

7 Responses to Losing Power with DC

  • geoffsays:

    Do you have a voltmeter? I think your best bet is to try and determine precisely where the power loss is occurring, specifically between which rail joiners. Then you’ll know where to try and fix it, either by adding more power feeders, or maybe using a small length of wire to connect the rails around the problematic rail joiners. As a last resort, you could try soldering the rail joiners, but then you can never really get the track apart again.

    (I’m assuming that the power is fine next to where your power leads attach to the layout, otherwise your controller would be the problem.)

    • jkennysays:

      Thanks I look to get a voltmeter.


    Check the AWG of your wire, perhaps it is too small leading to voltage drops. i would not go any lower than 14 AWG.

  • Léo Nourysays:

    In wire size, the lower numbers are bigger wires than high number wires.
    eg: 12 AWG is bigger than 14 AWG, by the same token 16 AWG is smaller than 14 AWG.

    You must run a say a 12 AWG wire around the the the big loop and equidistant wires 16 AWG taps from the bigger wire to your rails, which boost the voltage to the area were the locomotive is.

    Goog luck
    Léo canadaù

  • David Stokessays:

    Regardless of knowing where the problem manifests it is always a good idea to solder wires to each rail of every piece of track on the layout. They can be bundled and a single wire to the controller if you are a complete bodger (as I was for many years), or run them to a schematic control panel. Lynn Westcott’s book has been around for 50+ years but is still valid for DC layouts today.

  • Hardie Johnsonsays:

    Run 12ga wire along the tracks. Drop down 16 ga wires every 3 feet to the 12 ga wires. Connect with “suitcase” crimp connectors or solder the wires.
    This is a simple answer to a complex issue, but it is what is generally suggested.

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