A Selection of Wiring Diagrammes and drawings.


We anticipate that the subjects covered on this page will simply keep 敵rowing like Topsy over the next few months, but for now, we have tried to kick off by including many of the most common wiring problems that may one day face the average modeller.

Where possible we致e used colour coding on terminals, rails and wiring to clarify the images a little especially on the more complex subjects

The content will grow a little randomly so there is no particular order to the subjects. Scan down and take a look, and if your problem isn稚 answered here, please feel free to email us!


WHEN AND HOW to Solder droppers to the layout!

We致e explained this first as it痴 the one thing modellers seem to dread. But it doesn稚 need to be a hard, frustrating or back breaking job at all!

This is the 溺ethodical and easy way to get droppers soldered without fuss, and even better, to have them already in place so you don稚 have to work under the baseboard to do it!

Print this out and take it to the layout room. Do it one step at a time exactly as we say and YOU will be an expert very soon. We guarantee it!

(1) Pre-cut lots of 300mm lengths of red & black medium hookup wire. This is so they are ready when you need them and the job will then flow smoothly. (For Droppers I always use 14*.02耀lightly smaller is fine, but there is no need at all to go any heavier for most layouts)

(2) Place the track where is will go and measure, cut and check it to be sure its ready to be laid.

(3) Take it up again and turn it over. At about the mid-point, remove one section of the web from between the sleepers on each side at this point. (the web is the plastic that runs parallel to the rail, and joins the sleeper strip together)

(4) With a small file, even if the track is new, clean the bottom of the rail so its guaranteed oxide free.

(5) Apply a little DCCconcepts Sapphire Flux with a cotton bud.

(6) With a hot, clean 25~50 watt soldering Iron fitted with a 2~3mm chisel tip, apply a little DCCconcepts Sapphire 179 solder to the bare metal, tinning it. (it will flow instantly because of the flux - less than ONE second needed)

(7) Strip a red and a black dropper wire for about 10mm / 3/8 of an inch.

(8) Twist the strands tight

(9) Apply a little DCCconcepts Sapphire Flux with a cotton bud.

(10) Tin the bare wire with only a little solder預s with the rail, it will flow easily thanks to the Flux.

(11) Now, with a pair of pliers grip the tinned part of the dropper about 3mm from the insulation and bend it 90 degrees.

(12) Cut the bent part to a length of about 3mm, leaving a 3x3mm right angle.

(13) With the cotton bud dampened with flux, apply a little to both the dropper and the rail bottom where you tinned it.

(14) Hold the bent wire end to the tinned rail bottom (making sure it痴 the right rail for each colour of course!) and apply a hot Iron with just a little DCCconcepts Sapphire 179 solder on it to the rail/dropper. Use the tip of the flat of the bit.

(15) The Solder will flow immediately. Remove the Iron the instant the solder has flowed, hold the wire very still for the count of 5 and its done - a perfect solder joint, done by YOU in less than 2 seconds... that will be invisible as it doesn稚 have too much solder and it is under the rail too!

(16) Now place the track back where it will go, mark where the droppers are with a texta or chalk and after removing it, drill two small holes for the wire.

(17) Clean up the drilling mess and lay the track, feeding the droppers through the holes as you do it!

ALL DONE - Now its time to do the next and the next. and the next.



BASIC DCC Layout Wiring:

We have covered much of this subject in earlier pages so here, I will take a look at a generic smaller type home layout which could be created from either set-track or flexi-track.

A reversing loop is also shown as this is a common problem for modellers. Our chosen diagramme includes an auto reverser and one of these can be seen here.

Wiring advice for both set track and flexi-track is precisely the same, that is, use a T shaped bus and not a ring, use good quality wire of the right size and please don稚 skimp on the number of droppers used (more is always better, especially on set-track layouts where rail joints are far more frequent)

It is of course impossible to cover everything in one image however hopefully many questions are answered in this one drawing - However if you have a specific problem or cannot find an answer to your own layout problem, please do feel free to email us at sales@dccconcepts.com and ask - we will be happy to help.


Slow Motion Point motors

Text Box: There are several brands of slow motion machines. After comparing all the options available in late 2009, and finding good and bad aspects to each of them, we started a project to create one which had none of the weaknesses.
The result was a design we are very proud of, and we released our 鼎obalt turnout motor in mid 2010 to exceptionally positive reviews from all who saw it.

The Cobalt Turnout Motor:

Cobalt is a motor driven point motor. It is set one way or another by simply reversing the polarity of its DC supply.

Unlike Its nearest competitor the 典ortoise, which can be somewhat noisy especially at anything above 6 or 7 volts, Cobalt has a properly regulated motor which gives quiet and solid results between 6 and 12 volts, and even if run at up to 15 volts, is comparatively quiet.

Cobalt drives through a high ratio set of gears which make it very powerful. It will last almost forever too - they are very, very reliable (our life tests regularly give a full-life performance of between 140 and 150,000 repeat cycles, counted on its own switches.. Far beyond the life of ANY layout (Equivalent to over 50 years use on a busy club layout!

Cobalt can be used with pushbuttons but is really happy with a simple toggle switch and is designed to simply stall at the end of travel with voltage still applied. Unlike others however because of the higher gearing we use, Cobalt will NOT relax at the end of throw if power is removed預 very big advantage with hand laid track with sprung blades!

Cobalt is quite happy with this 都tall at end of travel and will NOT work better or last longer with the power turned off once thrown, Cobalt draws very little power and works perfectly either with our own Cobalt or Cobalt Quad accessory decoder or any decoder designed for tortoise of course. If you want the best of both worlds, Wire your cobalt with our accessory decoder and standard normally off pushbuttons. This gives you full DCC or coputer control, PLUS the ability to use one OR two pushbuttons and even parallel butons so it can be controlled from more than one control panel!

Cobalt connections:

Cobalt has 8 terminal points on its Solder-Free connectors. These are all you will need in order to connect the Cobalt, switch panel lights, switch turnout/point frog polarity etc.

Terminal 1 + 8 are For powering Cobalt (reverse to change the turnout)

Terminal 4 is the 鼎ommon for switched terminals 2 and 3. Use for any form of layout switching you like, including turnout frogs, signals, panel lights etc.

Terminal 5 is the 鼎ommon for switched terminals 6 and 7. Use for any form of layout switching you like, including turnout frogs, signals, panel lights etc.

Wiring Cobalt to automatically reverse the track polarity:

If Cobalt is used to power the turnout/point that controls access to a simple balloon type reversing loop, or controls the stub (terminal) track on a wye, then you can wire it to automatically change the polarity of the reversing loop when it is changed.

Example (refer to diagram above).

Please note: Depending on the orientation of the Cobalt Turnout motor to the reversing section or wye, you may need to reverse which rails of the reverse loop or wye stub go to terminals 3 and 7.

Left main track bus rail to terminal 4, right main bus rail to terminal 5

Make a wire link from terminal 2 to terminal 7

Make a wire link from terminal 3 to terminal 6

One rail of loop/wye stub to terminal 3 other rail of loop/wye stub to terminal 7

Powering and switching Cobalt :

You can do this easily with any small power supply as Cobalt draws only a few milliamps. Because it is a motor drive pure DC is much better than half wave AC as some use - that makes it noisy and turnout motors should be quiet!

Here is a simple Cobalt connection diagram, using a standard on/on type DPDT switch which is wired as a simple reversing switch.



Wiring Live frog points and turnouts of any brand (or peco electro-frog) for the very best reliability and performance.

Its always YOUR choice of course, but 50 years of modelling has proven to me without any shadow of doubt that there is only ONE best way to wire a turnout for best reliability and running預nd that痴 to make sure its perfect everywhere.

I know some prefer dead or insulated frogs, but there is more to it than that and despite the delight some find in the 澱uy it and whack it down easy to lay aspects of insulated frogs, using insulated or dead frogs in any turnout will almost certainly give you problems in smooth slow running if you are in N scale OR run anything small on your layout in the larger scales.

There are several steps to making any turnout truly reliable long term.

While the notes here describe the steps needed, you may find it helpful to refer to the drawings below which have all gaps shown and all rails colour coded.

Don稚 trust mechanical joints for electrical continuity. If the point (switch) blades are connected to the closure rails with a fishplate, eyelet or similar 塗inge, OR if they have those dinky little tabs that are supposed to pick up power between blade and stock rail, then they WILL become unreliable over time. Take a couple of bits of fine decoder wire and solder a hard electrical link between the point (switch) blades and the closure rails. Do it from underneath before you lay it so its easier and invisible.

That guarantees that as the turnout wears or the metal is affected by oxidization, the blade will not lose electrical contact with the closure rails and cause annoying stalling problems.

Next, cut the closure rails to isolate the frog: There are those who advocate doing this close to the frog but we disagree謡e think it is better to do it at the point where the closure rail is about half way between the two stock rails, as this gives the least possible chance of a short circuit being created by a derailment.

If you have peco then it MAY already be cut at the rail, with just a wire link in place underneath joining the two parts. Cut these links and the jobs done!

Next, Bond the stock rails to the closure rails permanently: This makes each side of the turnout one single circuit with no worry about electrical continuity, so reliability in running is about as good as it can get once this step is done.

Finally, attach a wire to the frog and connect it via a set of SPDT contacts to each of the stock rails. Turnout motors that allow this to happen easily are or own Cobalt turnout motor, the seep brand ex UK or the tortoise ex USA. For users of peco, you should look at the DCCconcepts MASTERswitch range that will provide switching for Peco solenoids AND help them work properly!

The following drawings and notes will explain things in detail for each common turnout type and configuration. In each case, left rails are Green, right rails are Blue and frog rails are Red.

As part of the preparation of the turnout, for each individual turnout the Green rails should all be bonded together electrically, Blue rails should all be bonded together electrically, and each individual frog should have its own dropper attached prior to laying the turnout. Where turnouts are part of a crossover or scissors, then each turnout should be treated as a separate item unless you are sure they can be joined.

Frogs must remain independent within a crossover however green and blue rails can be bonded if the parallel tracks do not need to be isolated

Where a third turnout (or a diamond) depend on an approach turnout such as with the crossover below, then the frog polarity can be controlled by the turnout that feeds it (ie for a diamond) or the turnout motors can be linked (ie for a turnout) so that impossible or conflicting routes cannot be set and cause derailments.

Apart from track wiring, you also need to think about the wiring for the turnout motors for a 3 way turnout, as only three possible routes should exist, so one of the two turnouts will need to be correctly set up to allow change ONLY when it is correct to do so.

The Manual for DCCconcepts MASTERswitch shows how to do it.

Slips are easier than most think: The only trick is to control the frog at the right end with the turnout motor at the left end and vice versa!

Scissors crossovers look complex but they are not really: You are simply switching pairs of turnouts and controlling the polarity of the frogs of the diamond at the same time that the turnout frogs are switched.

Take it slowly, trace it out logically and it will all become clear.

The 適 crossings of the diamond can be ignored as they are always the same polarity (they can be bonded to their 都ame coloured stock rails) but the ORANGE frogs need to be switched by the same switch that controls the turnout frogs. As with the double slip, the left diamond frog is controlled by the right turnout and vice versa!

Well, that covers most possible trackwork issues, however I am sure that there will be situations that are not as clear to you as they might be. Please feel free to email us if you need further help.



More information coming soon I hope! If you would like to see any other wiring issue explained and we have not yet covered it here, please email us and ask - we値l do our best to help and add it here for all to see.


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