This was the first basic wiring for my 4x8 On30 layout, alligator clips and Bachmann turnout contollers cannabalized for Tee's to route the MRC Auto-reverse Module for the reversing loop. This actually worked but it's reliability was questionable. Get's it running quickly though.
There has been a lot of talk in the model press about these suitcase connectors to join wires. I prefer solder, it is solid and dependable. Suitcase connectors seem to be a temporary quick fix, especially with low amperage wire circuits.
Soldering irons accumulated over the years. The small iron is used for delicate work. The gun iron is over 20 years old and is a good buy. Both bought at Radio Shack. The soldering gun is a Craftsman dual range, Radio Shack has a nice single range for under $15.00. I use the gun for track wiring.
Solder supplies, rosin flux a necessesity for electrical work and 60/40 rosin core solder, buy the .031 diameter solder it is more versatile and only about a dollar more. Go to the craft store and get these toothpick sticks, they have many uses.
The device on the right is a wire stripper, you will need one. This type is the best. I use brown packaging tape instead of clips to neaten up hanging wire with map pins holding it in place. A 3/32 diameter drill for track feeder holes and a 3/8 diameter drill for wire run holes in the benchwork.
Wire in two distinct colors is needed. I like red and black, 14 gauge for the bus wires, and 18 gauge for the feeder to bus connections. I use 24 gauge solid wire for track feeders, I take these from intercom wire, mine are black and white. Door bell wire is also good, solid is easier to work for feeders. Washers and screws are needed to tie the bus to the benchwork.
This is basic wiring for a small layout in readiness for DCC. If you don't want DCC but want to run regular DC there are several articles and books on wiring for Dual Cab Control. After you see how much fun Dual cab wiring is DCC is simple.
DCC needs a bus wire to run the electricity around the layout. I run a red and black 14 gauge bus wires around the layout in a U-shape following the track. I make black the outside rail and red the inside. They are about 3 inches apart.
The ends of the bus are held with screws and washers.
3/8" diameter holes are drilled in the cross members for the bus.
Use washers and screws to turn the bus around corners.
Drill a 3/32" diameter hole for the feeder wire and take the spike head off with a chisel exposing the railbase.
Use an ink eraser with the tip sharpened to a chisel point to clean the area to be tinned.
Replace the soldering gun tip with a piece of #18 solid copper wire it will heat faster and work better than the original.
Bend the feeder wire to this general configuration. But a kink in the wire going into the hole so the wire stays in place.
Clean the rail with the eraser, apply flux and solder, tinning the rail. Tinning is a thin application of solder. Tin the wire and bend it over the rail.
Pull the wire down, if you bent it over the rail right it will lie snug up against the rail base.
Push the wire against the rail with a toothpick with flux in the end and apply heat from the soldering gun. Press solder up against the rail, when it is hot enough it will wick into the joint. If solder does wick there is not enough heat. Tinning makes the joint clean.
I solder rail joints to make sure of electrical continuity. Use lots of flux, when the solder wicks into the rail joint the solder joint is correct.
I use DCC, I have a Digitrax Chief I bought in 1999. DCC makes running your railroad realistic and is easier to wire. The price of DCC is dropping.
Skin back a short length of insulation on the bus wire for soldering the jumper.
Join the jumper to the feeder and bus with solder. Use lots of flux and wait for the solder to wick into the stranded wire.
I use packaging tape to keep the feeder ends separated.
Next step wiring a DCC control bus for Walk-around throttles
How many feeders? In sectional track I solder the rail joints to make fewer sections and connect the turnouts to the other sections. This makes the number of feeders less. Soldering the rail joints is easier than running feeder wires. I have four sets of feeders in an eight foot section.