There are two major objectives for this reference. One is to recommend practices that should be followed by clubs wishing to use DCC operations in conjunction. layouts. This manual gives many ideas, but in general remember that there .. layouts are now powered with. DCC. For very large NTRAK layouts with multi . In , NTRAK adopted a “Recommended Practice” (RP) for track wiring on mod-. The wiring practices described are based on Best Practices which have been demonstrated to work, both in a home layout and large modular layouts.

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Inkaneer Aug 2, Log in or Sign up. Ntrak wiring standard change Inkaneer Aug 2, In case any Ntrakkers have not visited the Ntrak website there has been a change in the wiring standard. The RP that was initiated about six years ago is now the new standard. So today 12 gauge bus wire and Powerpole connectors are required for any new modules. Older modules can still be used but the CJ plugs either have to be replaced by Powerpole connectors or the module owner has to supply conversion cables to convert the CJ plugs to Powerpoles.

This is the immediate impact on most people. Previously under the RP it was the module with the RP wiring that had to supply the layoute cables. Naturally this applies accross the board as it is now the Ntrak standard.

However, as in the past whatever individual clubs do on their own is up to them. So as long as your club sets up layouts by yourself you can continue as you did in the past but if you combine with another club then the new standard will apply.

I don’t know if this was publicized in the Ntrak Newsletter as I haven’t gotten one in a long time for some unknown reason. Our club usually covered that out of our dues. So I don’t know if not getting a newsletter was a local problem or at Ntrak. Anyway the issue generated some discussion on the Ntrak yahoo groups in which I initiated and participated until the moderator shut it down threatening everyone with expulsion from the group.

In any event, like it or not, what was previously a recommended practice is now the law. When the discussion on Yahoo Ntrak groups was shut down we were getting to what appears ntrrak be a movement to cleave Ntrak into eecommended groups called “Ntrak Classic” and “Ntrak 2. Does anyone have any information on this plan? InkaneerAug 2, Power Poles are a very good idea, but alas I am leaving Ntrak because 12 gauge is overkill.

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This can be mathematically proven if one understands advanced calculus and electromagnetic field theory. DC conductance and resistance characteristics are totally different than the DCC waveform and results will not be consistent. It will not necessarily work for everyone. If NTrak wanted to do a more complete specification, they would have looked more at the DCC side of the house and also did a qualitative study on the quality of the wire used.

So much power was lost pracgices the wiring that only a couple of locomotives could run at any one time in the power district. So the 12 gauge wire is not the solution all by itself.

At least it is not a step backwards. DCESharkmanAug 2, Recommsnded club has been steadily switching to power poles on everything and problems have been decreasing as we do practicee. Anything to get rid of those horrible 50’s era cinch jones ppractices is good in my eye. We have not seen any issue with 12 gauge wire and since many of the modules have been converted, we no longer need to run a second feeder set to our loop.


For a while, our system tapped in at two places in the layout to cover voltage drop on the back side, away from the main power modules. I would rather see overkill than what some of our older modules have, zip cord. I come from a car and home audio background and the wire specified is fine for high frequency use.

What is btrak big deal anyhow? This did run in the NTrak newsletter, which I occasionally receive. I don’t remember what issue. The jumpers used to be required from Powerpole users at a meet and now they are required the other way. In practice, I am guessing most meet organizers will have some of these or know someone who does, so I don’t think it’s going to be that big of a deal. After spending the better part of our weekly meetings for a couple years converting wiring done ALMOST to the original standard over to a much more robust PowerPole and ga wire standard in part to facilitate our DCC conversion Nttrak am quite glad we did it, and I learned some very important lessons about not cutting corners along the way.

I don’t really fpr ga is overkill for larger meetups where DCC is being used. Not only does the power tecommended to get through but the signal strength needs to stay strong.

You don’t want to run right lyouts the capacity your wiring can handle or you’ll start having problems. SteamDonkey74Aug 3, InkaneerAug 3, How much consideration was given to the new fire codes that have eliminated in some but possibly not all venues the power strip ganging? Could that have been a contributing factor in requiring heavier wiring for the fecommended power feeds?

Actually, the RP was recommendwd before the blow up on daisy chaining extension cords and power strips. The recommendeed committee was asked to work on an acceptable method for supplying VAC that complies with code because we were already available. A power strip is considered to be an extension of the house outlet. An extension cord is considered an extension of the appliance. So you can have a power strip plugged into a wall outlet with half a dozen extension cords connected from it to half a dozen appliances.

Use one extension cord from the house outlet with jtrak power strip on the end and it is a code violation. Frankly, our load on the daisy chained power strips would normally not be a problem. Most inspectors would probably give a pass if they were given the proper figures by a knowledgeable NTRAK’er.

Problem is you can’t always count on those individuals to be present when the inspector comes by. Sometimes the inspector is just having a bad day.

Rules for DCC Design and Operation of NTRAK Layouts | NRMRC

A few dormitory fires with tragic deaths brought the practice under closer scrutiny by the authorities. That got the committee working on alternatives. To this day, my club has never been cited for daisy chaining. BUT, I work for the Balto Housing Authority’s construction division which is just a couple of floors up from code enforcement and across the street from the Fire Marshall’s office.

Every inspector I’ve asked including their director tell me the practice is a code violation. Last edited by a moderator: DCESharkmanAug 3, Okay that last post was way over my head so let’s bring it down to my level.

How does this all relate to ntak voltage drop issue and the size of wire used? Are you saying it would be better to use a smaller wire than the 12 gauge as specified? I honestly haven’t read the standard, Dor just know what our club is using, which is very high grade home theater 12 gauge speaker wire which I am very comfortable with.


I would use it in audiofile quality sound system installs so it is good enough for model trains. I can see a problem using any old 12 gauge wire but as I said, things are getting better for us as we upgrade things.

One other thing you are fogetting, the signal is also piggybacked down the rail, not just the buss so there is some effect there also. You are not relying exclusively on the buss to carry signal, although it is doing most of the work. It’s ok if your modules are only ever going to be used on their own but once you want to put them in a layout with other modules, or you want to invite other module owners to take part in your layout, you have to follow the manual.

I think it’s good that Ntrak is at least starting to get out of the ‘s and acknowledging changes that have come to N scale since the days when running longer trains than HO was the only way to show off our scale. What will be next, trackwork good enough that you don’t need pizza cutter flanges?: WestfalenAug 4, I thought I was told somewhere along the line that the heavier conductor allowed the DCC system to detect a ddc better and trip sooner protecting models and track from “melt down” better.

I still had a problem with a set up where there was an extra DCC practoces line running under my modules and periodically tied into the CJ leads. A locomotive derailed on a switch on my modules and shorted out.

The plastic in both the pilot truck and the switch melted and the system never sensed the short. I guess you just have to have more boosters and not try to run excessively long stretches for each booster. TwinDadAug 4, Okay what you all have said just convinces me that I was correct all along. First, I said this wiring change was strictly a DCC issue from the get go that involved the mega layouts. The average DCC guy probably doesn’t need a power booster and could easily remedy any voltage drop by adding an additional feed just as the analog guys do.

Second I said this change in the wire standard will not solve the problem. The mega layouts will still need power boosters. They just won’t need as many. So what we have is a problem shared by a small group but the solution involves all of Ntrak. It’s akin to killing a flea with a sledgehammer.

The small group wants to save money on power boosters by transferring the cost to everyone. Now contrast the wire size issue with the issue of the CJ plugs. I supported the change to the Powerpoles. I did so because there were real problems with the CJ plugs that affected everyone. There were hard to find.

They lacked versatility and they had an uncertain future. They were dinosaurs in other words. No other industry was using them and in light of that to expect they would continue to be manufactured was wishful thinking.