Locomotive power for the Northern New England Scenic Model Railroad is provided by a 5 amp NCE Wireless PowerPro system. Plug in panels are also mounted in multiple locations of the main level fascia to support use on wired throttles. The track wiring is divided into districts. At this time I do not have separate boosters for the districts since a maximum of two trains is ever being run at a time and because the upper level has not yet been added.
The power districts currently are connected through a simple set of terminal strips that accept the main power connections from the PowerPro system and distribute power to bus wires for each of the districts. Current districts are:
- Underlayout staging and helix: The comprises all of the hidden track.
- Dover/Madison: This power district begins at the entrance to the yard from the under layout staging and ends between the Madison marsh area and the beginning of the North Conway section of the layout.
- North Conway/Bartlett: This power district begins at the start of the North Conway area approaching from Madison and ends where Bartlett approaches the helix.
There will be either one or two power districts for the upper lavel. If I use two districts, they would split as follows:
- Crawford Notch from emergence from the helix to after Crawford House
- Gilman, VT paper mill area.
Connecting the Feeders
Track power feeders using 20 gauge solid core wire attach to every section of track, regardless of whether it is a 3 foot section of flex track or a 2 inch section between turnouts connecting adjacent tracks. Since I use all Peco track, the turnouts are power routing. As such, track power reliability is very high because the power routing turnouts combined with the metal track joiners (except where insulated track joiners are called for) adds redundancy in addition to each of the individual feeders. Feeders are soldered to the outside of the track rails. As I move on to the upper level, I may try my hand at soldering feeders to the underside of the rails. Feeders are connected to the 14 gauge solid core bus wires with suitcase connectors. In order to ensure that the suitcase connectors are making proper contact, feeder continuity to other feeders is tested for every feeder before the feeder is soldered to the rails. Faulty suitcase connectors are replaced.
At this time, all turnouts are manually thrown directly on the turnouts except for one very hard to access pair in the hidden staging approach to Dover. That single pair of turnouts are thrown via side-mounted Peco PL-11 solenoid throws connected to a single DPDT switch and powered through a Peco PL-35 Capacitor Discharge Unit via the AC outputs of a DC model railroad transformer. The DPDT switch controls both turnouts simultaneously due the the fact that the track arangement either requires both turnouts to be straight through on parallel tracks or requires both turnouts to be diverging towards each other to allow train movement between the two tracks. Use of the PL-35 ensure adequate throw power for reliability throwing the two turnouts simultaneously in this hard to access area. I will be wiring detection circuits to LEDs for the fascia panel to detect and indicate turnout positions as well, but have not completed that project yet.
Lighting for the under lyout staging uses LED strip lights. Since the intention for the under layout staging lighting is simply to be able to see when rarely needing to attend to the hidden areas, I chose fairly low costs strip lights for this area. There are two 5 meter strips, powered in parallel by a single 20 amp power supply. Each 5 meter LED strip should draw a maximum of 5 amps, so I am currently drawing 10 amps with room to add a third strip for the helix. The helix is not complete yet (it does not rise to the upper level yet), so the third strp off of this power supply will not be installed until the helix is complete.
Until the upper level benchwork is built, all other lyout lighting currently is just temporarily placed work lights. Once the upper level benchwork is mounted, then high quality LED strip lighting will be used driven from additional power supplies. The same approach will be used for lighting the upper level. Mounting decisions for the main and upper level strip lighting have yet to be made.
Currently there has been no attention given to accessory control, either for accessory lights in layout structures or for signalling. These will be future considerations on the layout, but will not be likely to receive attention until at least 2018.
While the NCE PowerPro system is capable of connection to a computer to allow use of JMRI, I have not yet purchased a spare computer for this purpose. This will likely receive attention sometime in 2017.