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inobu

Power Pole Connectors?

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inobu
Posted (edited)

What is the deal with the power poles. You Tube has dropped my reading comprehension down by 60% and all I can understand is pictures or illustrations.

I down load a bunch of T-Trak manual and nothing seems to be definitive of that the bus harness looks like.

 

I just want to know what the colors are suppose to be on the back of the module and their orientation.

 

Does anyone has a module that they actually used at a event? with pictures of the connectors.

 

Inobu

 

 

 

 

Edited by inobu

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cteno4

Inobu,

 

we used them on our last club sectional layout to connect the modules to a buss.

 

they are basically just square power connectors that you can slide multiple units together for a larger plug of multiple connectors. The internal metal connectors are pretty standard in the connection to the wires with a solder/crimp sleeve and a strain relief crimp on the insulation.

 

the connection part are flat pieces with a reciprocal dip that helps them interlock and get a good connection.

 

they are beefy and great for high amps (I think two amp levels) with thick connectors and large contact surfaces. But the main issue is they are rather difficult to pull apart. It was always a bit of wiggling to pull them apart and we left them in pairs only. We only had a couple of failures but I think that may have been when one was sticky and really whaled on to pull apart and when it let go just some ripping on the cable connection.

 

i think we got ours from the local ntrak club that gets them in bulk and we got them around a buck for a m/f pair.

 

on Ttrak modules they are just on the end of the wire coming out of the bottom of your module, not mounted. I’m not sure what the current colors are for Ttrak specs if they are using the blue/white or red/black now. It was many years ago and we got red/black which I think ntrak uses, Ttrak likes blue/white for Unitrak connector colors.

 

jeff

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Cat

We're just getting started in T-Trak too, and it is rather frustrating how much the electronic details are left to "well that depends on local customs"

It took me more digging than it should have just to figure out what the heck is a power pole; the name led me to envision that it was some sort of connector strip, not just individual connector blocks for each wire.  T-Trak could definitely benefit from a Kalmbach style comprehensiv How-To book filled with pictures of actual wiring and insulation joiners in situ and starting shopping lists.  The T-Trak documents and wiki aren't as helpful as they could be for new folks coming in.

After checking with local folks and eventually getting a reply, the custom in the New England region is that the track closest to the front edge connects to red power poles and the rear track connects to yellow.  We are adding additional branchlines to ours, and the local recommendation is to connect those to blue.  Other regions may well have different practices.

Another helpful tip we got was that Kato #6 turnouts are not power-directional and need to be fully isolated and get their own power feed to prevent short circuits.  The #4s are power-directional.

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katoftw
3 hours ago, Cat said:

 and it is rather frustrating how much the electronic details are left to "well that depends on local customs"

To be fair. Electrical supply systems are vastly different worldwide. So make complete sense that it depends on local customs. As we all need to modify our setups to suit our own area.

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cteno4

yeah in the old days it was all Unitrak power connectors and the only debate was the BWBW or bwwb debate! Now it’s the colors of the lines (ramped up later from ntrak as it was just inner/outer), colors of third party connectors, club histories, etc. ntrak is slowly trying to standardize all at his be refining the track standards, but because of its history and more variability in Ttrak, it’s not going to be clean for a long time.

 

good news is if you play by yourself you can do what you want and when you then later play with others you can make converter dongles for 

 

3 hours ago, Cat said:

Another helpful tip we got was that Kato #6 turnouts are not power-directional and need to be fully isolated and get their own power feed to prevent short circuits.  The #4s are power-directional.


Not quite sure what you are talking about here? #6 do power direction, the difference is #4 can turn it on and off. Both have the common rail issue so you have to be careful if you make a passing siding with two points of the same direction.

 

jeff

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cteno4
39 minutes ago, katoftw said:

To be fair. Electrical supply systems are vastly different worldwide. So make complete sense that it depends on local customs. As we all need to modify our setups to suit our own area.


its standardizing the 12v dc track power and connections not the Ac to the power pack. The track power issues are pretty much the same a world around. It’s more that Ttrak developed locally more than centrally after its launch and did not have a big org behind it to standardize more until recently. In the past it was a few larger clubs in each country world sort of setting standards and now trying to standardize all those standards.

 

jeff

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Cat
2 hours ago, katoftw said:

To be fair. Electrical supply systems are vastly different worldwide. So make complete sense that it depends on local customs. As we all need to modify our setups to suit our own area.


Country differences certainly make practical sense.  US regional not so much.  Electronic shops in Texas sell the same Anderson Power Poles as the ones up here.

A Kalmbach type thorough How To T-Trak book with photos and parts lists could easily have a page specifying the typical colour choices as practices in different regions/countries.

 

2 hours ago, cteno4 said:

Not quite sure what you are talking about here? #6 do power direction, the difference is #4 can turn it on and off. Both have the common rail issue so you have to be careful if you make a passing siding with two points of the same direction.


I was given that information in reference to cross-overs between the two mainlines with the BWWB wiring.

Other layouts I've wired have not been modular and weren't wired BWWB.  Isolating for block wiring was easy (and a lot of fun with the old Atlas control switches that could all be chained together on the control panel way back when and I was very proud of getting that up and running on my first layout as a teenager).  It's been causing some headaches trying to puzzle out the T-Trak details with such a lack of photographs of what folks actually do.

I had come across a video on wiring turnouts for DCC which showed isolating all three ends of the #6 (we'll be doing DCC too), and had asked a local T-Trak organiser about that.  His reply was:
"Kato #6 turnout (unlike the #4) are not power directional.  If you power feed all three connections on the #6 turnout and throw the switch, it will create a short circuit.  So Fifer Hobby video show an isolation joiners and continue the next power feed after that point."

I'm still completely confused about how isolating the turnout, but then plugging it into the bus line for either the red or the yellow line will help when you throw the switch to connect to the other line and the BW wired track meets the WB wired track.  And I don't grasp what the difference is between the #6 and the #4 that he mentioned.

This is the DCC wiring tutorial:

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inobu

Thanks for the replies. I'm glad it's not only me.

 

I think I'm going to come up with a face plate that's easy to manipulate. That way it won't matter.

 

Inobu

 

 

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cteno4

 

14 minutes ago, inobu said:

I think I'm going to come up with a face plate that's easy to manipulate. That way it won't matter.


Yep, best solution is using a terminal block under the module so you can just screw in pigtail needed or modify easily on the fly. That’s what we are doing on a lot of our club modules as we have not gotten to a standard yet. Mostly we are doing the old Unitrak plug Ttrak standard, but may modifiy in the future and some run with other clubs. I never use Kato power feeds, I always just solder for bottom of the rails with 18g wire so a terminal block makes it easier. On my really old modules I didn’t and a few have gotten broken connections due to wire getting yanked hard on, so a terminal block saves you from that! My approach is just to put the track soldered power feeds on all my modules and then it can go to a terminal block and then just screw in feeder dongles on the modules needed in each setup easily to get goof feeder spacing.

 

also best to deal with the wiring under the module as depending on depth and what’s behind you it can be hard to get at a plate for plug-in in back after modules are assembled. That being said there are some flush mounted power pole plates.

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cteno4

Cat,

 

power poles are very international, they have been a standard power connector for international stuff like ham radio for a long time. That’s why they were chosen as the modern connector for ntrak over a decade ago and then Ttrak as it came under ntrak umbrella.

 

I think  they got it backwards on the power routing. Yes when doing a crossover between the two lines this is an issue with power routing points as you will cross the power supplies to each line. You can turn the power routing off on #4s and get away w.o the insulator as no power routing, but power routing is always on with #6s.

 

jeff

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Cat
Posted (edited)

Not having used any Kato turnouts before, wouldn't they need a power reversing unit attached at each crossover?

Covid certainly isn't helping.  Our plan had been to go with camera and questions to the next local Greenburg show, but the March one was cancelled and I can't imagine the November one happening either.

Edited by Cat

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cteno4

No they don’t, they just need insulation at the point they crossover to isolate the two throttles if using dc, then just make sure throttles are set to the same direction as you run trains thru the crossover between throttles so the rain runs on thru. You get a short bit of speed up when power comes from each throttle but it’s negligible. if you reverse the throttle against each other engine is stuck at the crossover point and not good if left there for even a short time.
 

This is what happens with the double crossovers, they are all insulated at the crossovers.
 

jeff

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Cat

Even going from a BW wired track to WB wired track??  They do some dark magic inside those turnouts!

We'll be running DCC, so I think the engine should continue running in it's current trajectory if I understand that magic correctly.

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cteno4

No with dc throttles you just reverse the throttle directions so that both are going the same direction. With Dcc the DCC throttle wiring is set at the throttle and boosters so that everything is going the same direction and direction is set by the decoder.

 

jeff

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Cat

So if I've set my decoder to going forward, then it would kick into reverse crossing over on the T-Trak mainlines?  I had thought the decoders maintained their own selected course of travel when crossing blocks.

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katoftw
17 minutes ago, cteno4 said:

No with dc throttles you just reverse the throttle directions so that both are going the same direction. With Dcc the DCC throttle wiring is set at the throttle and boosters so that everything is going the same direction and direction is set by the decoder.

 

jeff

12v same. 15 years ago oldies didnt buy connecters online. They used whatever was available locally to them.

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cteno4

Yep Australia has been using rca jacks for Ttrak as they are inexpensive and everywhere and until the last decade mini tamiya connectors were not available locally much (r/c got these more local but even now some are not perfect matches to Kato connectors). Only downside is with rcas are They not insulated and can short on a metal surface or in contact with each other on male ends. But not a huge issue usually. Australian Ttrak is currently talking about some updating and unifying of Australian Ttrak specs as well.

 

the electrical discussions were the bloodiest here in the us over the years.

 

standards are always a two edge sword with conflict and confusing on one side and stability on the other...

 

jeff

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