Bob’s wiring tip

Bob’s been back in touch – his last post is here.

Just have a look at his wiring!


The adage “necessity is the mother of invention” holds true.

In setting up my signaling on my new layout, I am using three-headed signal masts.

Telephone wire works great for these since each signal has a Black ground wire and Red, Green, and Yellow wires for the LEDs and that is what phone wire has.

That makes it easy to run wire from my signal control panels to the signals (first picture).

Now the IR sensors I am using only use three wires: positive, ground and data. I could use phone wire again band just not use the green wire, but I decided to use separate Red, Black, and Yellow wires.

It was going to be more work than using three different spools instead of one phone wire. Then the light came on.

I fashioned a spool rack using a ½ in dowel and some scrap wood(picture two).

It works great. I just tape the ends of the three wires together and pull the wires together from the control panel to each sensor.

The spool rack is also a great way to store wire and it is portable.

Here it is on the floor where I am working but I also use it on my workbench when I am putting together and wiring the dwarf lights for my turnouts.

Bob in Virginia”

“Hi Al,

I have been enjoying your posts for a couple of years now. So it’s probably time I contributed something. As well as the modelling and running a layout I enjoy working on the controls side of things.

With DCC loco’s the reading and changing CV’s becomes tedious if you have to remove the engine and put it on a programming track each time. So I devised a simple improvement.

I made a section of track isolated and wired it to a switch that can connect either to the running output or programming output of the controller.

I simply run the engine onto the isolated section ( switch set to run) then switch to programme, read and change CV’s. Then switch back to Run and check it out.

I never have to takethe engine from the track.

The diagram below shows a simple installation using a double pole double throw switch.

The second diagram shows how I added LED indicators. The resistor value depends on how bright you want the LED. between 270 Ohm and 1k Ohm will be ok.

As the track voltage is alternating the LEDs can be connected either way.

model railroad wiring

model railway wiring


And now some pics from Cassio. His last post is here.

He’s a man of very few words, but we’ll make an exception again because of the language barrier:

That’s all for today folks.

Please do keep ’em coming – it’s all getting a bit thin on the ground again this end.

And if you want to your start, on your very own layout, the Beginner’s Guide is here.



PS Latest ebay cheat sheet is here.

11 Responses to Bob’s wiring tip

  1. Peter Bayley-Bligh says:

    Really impressed by the spool idea and also the wiring from Bob and also the Hot Dog kiosk from Cassio.

  2. Robert Brady says:

    Yo Bobby Glad ur an Electrician cause i’m sure not.If you have that many wires you must have one heck of a layout.Show us in Als next edition.
    The Critic

  3. Robert Brady says:

    Cassio;Where did u get that wiener truck? I need one for my layout
    Great edition
    The Critic

  4. A nice bit of Electrical work done there ….Dangeous Dave

  5. Ashley,
    Great idea and well implemented. However, what type of switch is the Programming one?

  6. Rob McCrain says:

    I love the wire spooling rack. I have one as well and it is so handy and portable too. You can take it to your work instead of guessing the length you need. Just pull it and snip it.
    Rob McCrain – Farland Howe

  7. William Jones says:

    Great idea. I am borrowing this one. Cut a couple of carefully places slots on the back board and you can hang it on the wall and still be portable if necessary.

  8. Norman says:

    this is something i could use  wiring tips for my train set when i get Lionel’s Legacy System

  9. Dave Massimi says:

    A question about “piano wire”… rather than order 1 of each diameter, would anybody suggest which sizes might be most useful to start with ? I expect to use it mostly for throw bars on switches but am sure there are lots more uses.
    Any guidance would be most appreciated.
    Dave in NY

  10. Ashley when wiring your LED’s on a alternating current, do you protect them from the high reverse voltage on the negative cycle as this will eventually damage the LED. You need to connect a small signal diode across the LED in the opposite direction to clamp the voltage to below the reverse voltage of the LED.

  11. Colin Edinburgh says:

    Ashley Great Idea. Thanks

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